Can I return a motorbike?

If you’ve bought a bike and aren’t happy with it, can you send it back to the dealer?

I bought a brand new motorcycle. It’s probably best that I don’t mention a brand, because I have had a massive fall out with the dealer.

The bike in question is a very desirable sports machine. I bought it for a mixture of road riding and trackday work. However, the bike handles like a bag of spanners on the road. The dealership told me the suspension was the standard factory set-up, but the bike is very bumpy on poor quality roads. I do not think the bike is fit for purpose, and I have written to the dealers rejecting the bike. However, it is my only form of transport and I do have to use it, so I’ve put 3000 miles on the bike. I have also changed the stock pipes for Akrapovic pipes, put heated grips on the bike and when the Akrapovic pipes were fitted, I also had a Power Commander chip fitted.

The motorcycle dealership has been totally unreasonable and have told me that because I have changed the bike and put 3000 miles on it, the bike which I am currently complaining about is not the same bike as they sold me. I cannot believe that they are taking this position.

The manufacturer is not interested. Their letter to me was a pretty short, saying, “You have changed the bike. We do not know if the bike was faulty when it was sold to you because you have changed the fundamentals of the engine management system. We will not entertain any complaints,” and they have told me not to correspond with them further. Trading Standards are not being particularly helpful, and I am considering suing. Should I?

Name witheld

Fundamentally changing the machine takes away the right to reject the bike. You can’t say ‘this bike was not fit for purpose’ and then spend £600 on a can and PCV. That’s incompatible with your suggestion that ‘this bike was so unsafe, there’s no way that I was keeping it’. Also, you’re going to be in real difficulty showing that any problems with the bike were not as a result of you tinkering about with it.

You’ve admitted that you have and if he sets it up for the road, it will be too soft for the track. You have not got a snowball’s chance in Hell of rejecting the bike. Your act of fundamentally changing the engine mapping and exhaust system means that any chance of rejection is gone as a matter of law. It is also a little bit surprising that it took you 3,000 miles to work out this motorcycle was, “too dangerous to ride on the roads.” You bought the wrong bike, if you dislike it that much, sell it!

Andrew Dalton

Fast Bikes November 2012

Andrew Dalton has been writing articles for Fast Bikes Magazine for a considerable period and have condensed what we believe are the most useful articles to you. White Dalton Motorcycle Solicitors deal with personal injury claims and our sister company, Motor Defence Solicitors, deal with any road traffic offences.

Posted by Andrew Dalton. Posted on: December 1, 2012 at 12:00 am

Andrew Dalton is a highly experienced trial lawyer who delights in taking on difficult and demanding motorcycle cases. He has a tough and relentless litigation style and is utterly focused on getting the best possible outcomes for his clients.