I Bought a Stolen Bike

If you buy a stolen bike, then be prepared to lose the bike and your money.

You have no legal rights to keep the bike. The general rule is that it remains the property of the original owner and the police can take the motorcycle from you to return it to the original owner or the insurance company if the owner has been paid out.

If you knew that the bike was stolen, or you had some inkling it might be, and turned a blind eye, you need to face up to the fact you may be charged for handling stolen goods.

The insurance company or original owner may also have a claim against you for your use of the motorcycle. No, that’s not fair, but technically you used it when it wasn’t yours. Similarly, if there has been a depreciation in value as a result of you using the bike, the original owner or their insurance company could claim against you for the difference.

The only situation where they may be prevented from doing this is where at some stage they have made a positive representation that the seller owned the goods, or where they have signed a document which gives that impression.

There is a term implied into every contract of sale that every seller must have the right to sell the motorcycle (this is called ‘the title’) and if that motorcycle was stolen, they didn’t have the right to sell it. Strictly speaking, you’d be entitled to a full refund from the seller for the purchase price of the motorcycle.

You can sue the seller for your losses, but this may be very difficult if you bought it from a bloke who only gave you his mobile number and is now nowhere to be found. You will have the right to the reject the goods even after long use, and will be entitled to claim the full purchase price, and interest, despite having the benefit of the goods.

You may have to wait until the criminal investigations are complete to ascertain whether you bought the stolen bike or a clone. If your bike was the cloned one, then you may get nothing at all.

If you bought the bike on finance or credit, you may still have to pay off the loan.

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