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  • 1 Post By granoturko

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Old 15 Feb 2019
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Exclamation Punta Arenas was not the buy/sell haven we had hoped for

Me and a bike seller had read in the HUBB that Punta Arenas was a perfect place for foreigners to exchange foreign-plated bikes with one another; it was supposed to be a simple matter of making the sale and getting customs to transfer the TIP (import document) from the seller to the buyer. However, when the time had come to ask customs for help, we were disappointed to discover that customs was not going to help us at all. We talked to the boss, and then we talked to the boss' boss, and while the underlings at the customs office had previously assured us that what we wanted was indeed possible, the head of customs at Punta Arenas not only refused to help us, but even threatened to call the cops on us because it is supposedly illegal for foreigners in Chile to make sales of vehicles (or even gift vehicles) between each other. If anyone is thinking of buying/selling in Punta Arenas, i would encourage you to consider some alternatives.

Last edited by granoturko; 15 Feb 2019 at 20:02. Reason: Clarity
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Old 15 Feb 2019
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Only thing I have ever read related to a sale between a foreigner and a resident of the free zone, and even that sounded a bit iffy and unlikely to be able to be pulled off ever again.

Similarly, there was a story about aduana at Santiago airport being willing to facilitate a foreigner to foreigner sale, but when I looked into it (because I was in the process of selling my vehicle) it was obvious that process wasn't going to fly either.
I think the problem is that some people fluke an official who doesn't know the law and who is happy to help, or they have the gift of the gab and sweet-talk through it.

My three successful buy/sell deals have relied on don't ask, don't tell aduana anything and use poders to get out of the country, preferably followed by the new owner getting the sale ratified back in the home country.
Not without risk and certainty stressful for all concerned, but seems to work pretty well
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Old 15 Feb 2019
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Interesting that what OP read here suggested a positive outcome. I've been following sell-your-bike-in-Chile posts for many years, and my takeaway was that some get lucky, but many definitely do not. I'm guessing there's some confirmation bias at work for both of us--I don't want to put effort into something pointless, so I tend to notice the negative posts and figure why even bother; someone else might be more optimistic in general, therefore pay more attention to positive descriptions and somehow not even notice the negative ones.

Seems worth keeping in mind, at least.


Last edited by markharf; 16 Feb 2019 at 22:21.
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Old 4 Mar 2019
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Agreed. I am happy to report that things did work out fine in the end and i am having a blast working my way up the continent. If anyone is thinking of buying a bike in South America, i would not want to dissuade them from doing so. There's always going to be obstacles on any adventure, but there's always ways around them too. In my case, i showed up with my helmet, jacket, riding pants, riding gloves, and riding boots, so there was no way i was going to give up and haul my gear around the continent as i took buses from city to city!
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Old 4 Mar 2019
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Thanks for this info, granoturko. We are actually planning on selling 2 bikes in Punta Arenas or Ushuaia in the next few weeks ourselves.

Hiw did you manage it in the end?
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Old 6 Mar 2019
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Katabatic, I would never, ever, ever do anything illegal, ever, but one solution involves switching out the titles at a border crossing. Seller and buyer drive the bike over the border, seller gives in his Chilean import document to Chilean customs, then the two of them walk over to the Argentina customs counter and gave them a different, updated title with the buyer's name on it and enter Argentina with the bike in the buyer's name. The next day the buyer and seller return to Chile and get a Chilean TIP in the buyer's name. All this work for a piece of paper that the customs office could have easily arranged for!

Also i can say for sure that i know of two people who have sold their bike in the way described by driving themselves and the buyer over the border between P. Arenas and Rio Gallegos.

Please note that to do this you will need two titles, one in the seller's name and one in your name. However you make this happen is up to you, but such an approach carries its risks, of course and there is no guarantee of success.
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