In April 2017, I saw a 1958 Vespa advertised on eBay. The description was as below.
As you can tell from the text, this is a good as could be, fresh concours restoration. The description is clear, and concise, and there can be no mistake about the condition this Vespa is in.
Their eBay advert invited offers. I made an offer of 4700EU or 4000GBP. I was told that they would accept the offer but not on eBay. They would accept it if I bought direct. Having checked the website, and seen the very machine for sale with detailed pictures, and the listing of well known couriers like UPS, DHL and FedEx, I decided to go for it.
I wired the money, and waited.
Italian Vintage Motors used a company called Mondologistic to ship the bike.
They contacted me in due course, in fact after two months, to say it had been collected by Mondologistic, and I should contact them for delivery information.
What then happened can best be described as nothing. Any emails to Italian Vintage Motors were replied with telling me to speak to Mondologistic. They either didn’t pick up the phone, didn’t reply, or at best were very unhelpful.
Around three months in, I started to feel that I had sent £4000 abroad and this might be the last I saw of it. I emailed Italian Vintage Motors suggesting that they should make some commitment to delivery by a certain date or give me my money back. I had no reply.
At this point, I wrote again, and asked if they could reply, as I had a feeling I had been scammed and I would get one of my contacts in Italy to call in person.
What I got for a reply was this:
we are sorry for the delay in the response but we are on vacation until 27/08
I'm not following this sale but my co-worker,what I can say with certainty is that we are serious professionals and not SCAMMERS, do not write another time something like that because end up very badly ... you can come to us anyone, we are not afraid of anyone!
If you want,we can get in contact with one of the many satisfied customers, there are no problems,I can tell you that we had problems with a courier
If there have been delays we can understand your frustration but this does not give you the right to threaten,be careful about how you write and talk, If you think we are a scammers go to your lawyer
When my co-worker comes back from vacation,will surely contact you
My reply to this emotionally charged email was this:
OK, I’ve read your emotional response to the situation.
Let me summarise the situation simply, just in case it has been forgotten:
- I paid you EU4700 on April 27th for a 1958 Vespa as advertised on your website including shipping to my address in the UK.
- You told me you have shipped the motorcycle.
- I have not received it.
- It is now August 12th, and neither you nor the shipper have given any indication as to where the Vespa is. No one can tell me if it is in England, or even still in Italy. Neither of you can tell me when it will be delivered.
- Unlike other ‘sold’ vehicles on your website, the Vespa is still listed for sale http://www.italianvintagemotors.com/1958-vespa-125-vna-fully-restored-very-rare/.
Let’s make this contract complete as is should be now. You have had plenty of time.
Please advise within the next seven days:
- Where is the motorcycle now?
- Please provide evidence of it’s exact location. The shipper claims to have tracking information. Let me see it.
- When will I receive it, exactly?
Unless you can give me a firm delivery date, within an agreed reasonable time frame, then I will make the reasonable assumption that you cannot complete your side of the contract.
If it is still in Italy, refund my money immediately.
I would point out to you that my emails have been to you and your shipper only, both of whom are directly involved, and no communications have been outside of that. Do not attempt to distract the situation with emotional responses. There is no threat. You have not delivered your side of the contract, and you cannot tell me where the bike is, or when I will get it. I am in the right, and you are in the wrong. It is simple, so cut out the emotion, and deal with it. Get onto the shipper and find out where the bike is, and when I will get it. My contract is with you, not the shipper. It is your job to make sure I get the bike, it is not my job. The contract with the shipper is with you. Deal with it. If the bike is still in Italy, or the delivery cannot be given in a reasonable time that we can both agree, then refund the money in full, and sell the bike to someone else.
None of the above is either untrue, or unreasonable.
What then followed was pretty much on that basis. I consistently asked them to tell me where the motorcycle was, and to give some commitment to either deliver it, or refund me, but they skilfully avoided
answering any direct questions about where the machine was, and when I was going to get it.
I contacted them on a roughly monthly basis.
On September the 28th, I emailed them and asked them if they would contact the shipper and find out what’s going on.
They gave me his number and suggested I call him.
As they continued acting as if all this was my problem, I sent them the following:
Thanks for your reply.
Not being funny, let’s just recap. I paid you for the Vespa including shipping, you instructed and paid them, you speak Italian. I still haven’t had my bike after six months.
Rather than put it on me, it would be nice if you offered to call them.
By November, I was simply asking for a refund, and giving my bank details.
Then I decided to have one more try at phoning Mondologistic, and amazingly enough, they answered the phone! They told me in no uncertain terms that the motorcycle would be delivered on the 28th November!
Needless to say, they didn’t turn up, and wouldn’t answer the phone or return messages.
Let’s move on to Christmas 2017.
I was going away for Christmas and the New Year, so I sent Italian Vintage Motors an email advising them that I had had enough and I expected a full refund by the 31st December 2017. If I didn’t, I would start a process of letting the world know what had happened to me.
Now get this. I kid you not, within minutes of me advising I.V.M that I would be away between the 23rd December and the 8th January, I received a phone call from the courier, Mondologistic. They insisted that they deliver the bike on the 28th December. I told him no, I was away. They weren’t having any of it. What I did manage to extract from them was the Scooter’s whereabouts. Guess what? It was in a lock up in Italy. They even sent a picture.
Now having been told once when this thing would come, and them not turn up, and also finding having it confirmed that it hadn’t moved for eight months, I was pretty upset at being dictated to as to when it would be delivered. I wanted to be there to sign for it.
I received an email from one of the owners of Italian Vintage Motors (IVM) ‘Mario.’
Amongst the highly charged reply was the comment ‘Is the Vespa a matter of life or death?’
Seriously, I ask you, can you believe this guy’s attitude after me waiting 8 months, during which communication was poor, and at no time, did Italian Vintage Motors take control of their chosen courier.
Anyway, I was told by IVM on January 5th 2018 that the courier would be coming to England that weekend.
I heard nothing more, and after contacting IVM, guess what? It had been delivered to my business premises. Mondologistic had arrived unannounced, got some random person to sign for the Vespa, and drove off!
So, let’s cut to the chase. What did this Vespa look like when it arrived?
Let’s just remind you of what the advert says. Here is a screen shot of it, confirming that this is the bike that I bought ‘Sold to Mr Peter from the UK!!!’
Now I want you to look really closely at the bike in the picture. Now please take in the description.
Please take on board the words
Now look at what I received after 8 months:
Notice the differences between the bike in the advert above, and this one. Firstly, the bike in the advert has:
Just a couple of more photos if you're interested. I was just checking why clutch wasn`t working when I saw the spring from the crankcase oil seal sticking out. So full motor strip to find all the problems with the fully restored engine !!
Iv`e attached a few photos of the fuel tank and the front hub shaft bearings. The bearing are caged needle rollers and in total I found 6 needles from 2 bearings. The front damper is seized, will not move in or out no matter how hard I try to persuade it and the cylinder cooling cowl was missing so wouldn`t have got far before it nipped up.
So, you decide.
I have emailed IVM sending the above pictures and asking them to explain the yawning gap between the description in the advert, and what I eventually received. I gave them an option of refunding my money, but they don’t want to discuss it with me. Like I said before, they skilfully avoid any difficult questions.
So there you have it, a complete account of my experience with dealing with Italian Vintage Motors.
When I received the Vespa, it was a very, very poor restoration, and didn’t resemble either the glowing description, or the machine in the photographs. If you are considering purchasing from them, please bear in mind their idea of delivery times, and customer care & service. Also, take a view on what they consider to be a 100% perfect concours bike without flaw. The best available. Good Luck !