Do I have to have my bike serviced by a franchised dealer during its warranty period?

Martin Duce

The short answer is that if you have your bike serviced by a perfectly reputable, fully qualified mechanic using all the appropriate parts and specified fluids, the exemption that applies to cars under the Office of Fair Trading guidance, which led to the OFT threatening to take all major motor manufacturers to Court, does not apply to motorcycles.

However, there could well be arguments that such a guarantee contract is unfair and if you felt strongly enough about it you could refer the contract to the Court, but if I were you, I would get my servicing done by the franchised dealership as you would have a massive fight on your hands with a well resourced manufacturer. Most dealerships survive on the servicing and clothing sales. The margin on new bikes is genuinely tiny.

I have acted for a number of motorcycle dealers and I know their mark-up on new bikes is very small. Those dealers have got to survive, and if they lost the servicing, I think a number would collapse. Also, if your motorcycle developed a fault, you could well fail on having the fault repaired as you would have to prove who caused the fault. If, for example, your Ducati has only been in the hands of franchised dealers, then Ducati would not be able to allege a breach of contract and you would not have to prove the fault was a manufacturing fault or other defect.

A practical example I saw recently involved a high performance machine that had, under its warranty period, been chipped along with its wheels, pipes and swinging arm changed. It developed an engine management fault and both the dealer and the manufacturer denied the warranty claim as they felt, correctly in law, that what had been brought back for a warranty claim was not the bike that they sold. Without the “block exemption” that car owners enjoy, you are left with a tightly written contract.

Andrew Dalton

Fast Bikes May 2013

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.