Bought a duff bike from a dealer?


Don’t be fobbed off by what the dealer, manufacturer or the warranty company will and won’t do. You bought the bike from a dealer, and the dealer is the supplier in consumer protection law, and it is the dealer who is first in line to sort out the problem.

Let’s have a look at your options.

The first place people look is the guarantee or warranty provided by the manufacturer. There is usually a set period for protection from the manufacturer, but any rights are additional to the protection you are offered by the law. By all means talk to the dealer and see what they and the manufacturer propose, but do not be fobbed off, and do not let time run away, as timing is important.

So let’s look at your rights against the motorcycle dealer, who we will call the supplier, as that is the term used by the law.

If the bike is defective can give it back and have your money refunded. You have to show that the supplier is in breach of contract to you for supplying a bike which was not “of satisfactory quality”, or did not remain so for a reasonable period of time.

Goods must be of satisfactory quality. This means the standard a reasonable person would regard as satisfactory taking account of the price, description, and other factors such as second hand or new. Yes, second hand goods are included, but you cannot expect them to be as good as new, unless they were sold with that description.

The protection is for six years in England and Wales, and five years in Scotland.

How a case is argued depends on time, but look at those periods above, that is six years in England and Wales, and five years in Scotland. Not the year or two which might be quoted as the period of protection offered by the manufacturer.

During the first six months after sale:

Decided Court cases put a limit of 6 months on the time you can successfully reject and obtain a full refund, though lesser refunds, taking account of mileage covered, may be obtained outside that period. If a defect crops up in the first six months the law presumes it is due to a manufacturing fault, and it is up to the dealer to show that is not so. The price you pay compared to market value will be taken into account. So if you buy a cheap bike on trade terms you may not be able to reject it.

The Courts have set a general rule that the retailer should be given three chances to rectify the fault for which the bike is rejected. If the defect is not put right the bike should be returned with all keys and paperwork, and the retailer sent a recorded delivery letter detailing why the bike has been rejected as not of satisfactory quality. We suggest you formalise matters in writing as soon as possible. The supplier knows you mean business, and you can stay within the first six month period when you have better protection.

So to summarise, you return the goods in the first six months from the date of sale and requests a repair or replacement or a partial refund. In that case, you do not have to prove the goods were faulty at the time of sale. It is assumed that they were. If the retailer does not agree, it is for the retailer to prove that the goods were satisfactory at the time of sale. This comes from Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002, derived from EU Directive 1999/44/EU which became Clauses 48A to 48F inclusive of the Sale of Goods act in April 2003

After the first six months:

Under sale of goods legislation (Sale of Goods Act 1979, Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994) consumers are entitled to expect that any goods they buy are of satisfactory quality.

If a product that was not of satisfactory quality at the time of the sale is returned to the retailer, the buyer is entitled to a full refund (if it is within a reasonable time of the sale), or, if a “reasonable time” has elapsed, to a reasonable amount of compensation. So you can still reject after six months, but it is now for you to demonstrate the goods were not of satisfactory quality at the time of sale. This is the position if you choose to request an immediate refund or compensation.

All cases will be argued on their own facts. So although the Sale and Supply of Goods Act may appear to give you rights, your true rights are governed by decisions of Courts in other cases and asserting them can be very expensive.

Our suggestion is that you act quickly, confirm everything in writing, and do not let the clock tick while you are fobbed off with talk of manufacturers and warranties. Be sensible, but be firm. Remember that the standard is judged against what a reasonable person would expect, so be reasonable.

If the claim is a relatively simple one for a specific amount of money use run by HM Courts Services. If it is not a simple claim get expert advice.

Some useful links: takes you to a Traders Guide: the law relating to the supply of goods and services.

Also worth a look is the Citizens Advice Bureau.