What do I do when it goes wrong?

Your contract is with the seller and they have obligations to you as the buyer when something goes wrong, obligations which they are probably more than well aware of.

Act fast – you should:

  • stop using the goods
  • find your proof of purchase
  • tell the seller as soon as the defect arises
  • back up your complaint in writing.

Don’t be fobbed off if a dealer tells you it’s nothing to do with them and you need to get in touch with the manufacturer. Your contract is with the seller and they have obligations to you as the buyer when something goes wrong. You may, however, have additional rights against the manufacturer under any guarantee.

You have the same rights when you buy goods in a sale as at any other time. Similarly, if you managed to negotiate a discount when you bought the bike, your legal rights are not affected.

Continuing to use the goods is considered to be ‘incompatible with the ownership of the seller’, which in English means that you’re essentially accepting the goods, warts and all, and this can wipe out your right to claim.

The best bet is to tell them that you’re rejecting the goods in their entirety, even if all you want is a repair. This is because the seller is entitled to repair the goods as opposed to giving you a full refund if the costs of doing so means that is reasonable, but if another defect rears its head later, you may be held to have acted “incompatibly with the ownership of the seller” (those magic words again) by accepting the repairs in the first place.

You do not have to return the motorbike (or other goods) to the seller at your own expense. You do have to let the seller know that the goods are available for collection.

You must be able to show that the defect was present at the time that you purchased the motorcycle. If the defect arose within the first six months, then this is presumed to be the case, and it is up to the seller to prove that the bike ‘complied with the contract’ when it was delivered to you.

After this magic six months, the burden is on you, and it may be extremely difficult to prove that the defect was there when you bought the bike, particularly where you have ridden the motorcycle for several thousand miles or have had it for a number of months. The general rule is the longer you have had the motorcycle before you complain, the harder it will be to prove it was sold with the defects.

Sadly, we can’t give you a definitive period of time in which you will be deemed to have accepted the goods. The law doesn’t specify one. That’s why it’s so important that you tell the seller of any defects, rejecting the goods, straight away.

If you are found to have accepted the goods/motorcycle, then you will have lost the right to reject the motorcycle and should seek an alternative remedy, such as compensation (damages), a repair or replacement. The seller will be liable to compensate you for up to six years.

Subject to what we just told you about accepting the bike, you have the right to reject the bike and claim a full refund. The seller may be entitled to offer a repair or replacement if this is reasonable given the costs of doing so and whether this will be a considerable inconvenience to you.

A repair must be carried out within a reasonable time and without considerable inconvenience to you. If repair is not possible, you could ask for a replacement motorcycle or a full or partial refund. If repair is disproportionately costly, you must accept a replacement, or vice versa.

Where a repair or a replacement is not available, you may be entitled to damages. Generally, if you have had some use or enjoyment of the motorcycle before the defect arose, the damages you would be seeking would be equivalent to a partial refund (taking into account the fact that you have had some benefit of the motorcycle.) If you had no enjoyment of the goods, then you would seek a full refund.

You may also be entitled to recover out-of-pocket expenses caused by the defect from the seller.

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