I was involved in an unfortunate off. I own a 2017 BMW S1000 XR. As I was riding through Soho, on my journey into work a food delivery truck reversed out of a loading bay and into me.

It was all very low speed. I got bumped off the bike, I jumped off it and the motorbike then got scraped along the deck. I was completely uninjured.

The motorbike suffered some plastics damage, but was largely unscathed, I thought, naively and stupidly, that I would call my insurers, they would get the bike, my fully comprehensive insurance would get the repairs done at my local BMW garage, they would reclaim the money off the delivery guy’s insurance and that would be the end of it. The motorbike was ridable.

I regard myself as a reasonably bright and sophisticated graduate and I am the financial director of a medium sized business turning over around 10 million pounds a year, but I think that I have just entered a parallel universe.

I phoned the insurers and when I pressed the button and said that I had a claim the phone was answered by somebody who said that she was a solicitor, or certainly representing a solicitor’s firm.

They did everything they could to get me to use their “approved dealers” and when I said no, it is a BMW with over a year left on its warranty and it is going to a BMW garage I was basically told that I was an idiot, I would lose my £800 policy excess, I would lose my no claims bonus and the whole attitude changed to one of passive aggressive patronising.

Then, clearly following a script, I was told that l needed to hire a replacement motorcycle, for which I would not have to pay, and as this would make my journey into work easier, I accepted. A couple of men turned up in a smart and respectable looking van, and dropped off a fairly tired but basically sound VFR800.

I was asked to sign the delivery note, which I read. The delivery note obliged me to pay something like around £130 per day for the bike which the insurance clerk/solicitors’ clerk had told me was free.

When I queried this with the delivery driver the driver became annoyed, albeit he was perfectly civil. He kept telling me it was just a delivery note and when I pointed out to him the hire charges he said the same as the solicitor’s clerk, namely that nobody ever pays for this and I was not to worry.

I declined to sign and until my own bike is repaired I am going to work by public transport which is tedious, but £22 per day is a lot cheaper over five days than £130 every day for seven days a week.

I am now trying to get my bike back to my dealers near London, but my motorbike is somewhere in a yard in NW England and I have been told that I will have to pay the recovery charge/storage charge and the delivery back to London otherwise my motorbike will not be released. Have I just gone into a parallel universe? Am I mad? What happened?

Imran from North London

Unfortunately you have just entered collision management. What you thought should happen is indeed what should happen but your insurers, their scummy brokers, and the claims vultures masquerading as solicitors have decided to squeeze every penny they can out of your case. Never mind what you want, and while they are at it, they will screw up your BMW warranty.

Luckily, and I regret, unusually, you read the ‘delivery note’. I have had clients and friends caught up in this scam, but you were a bit too sharp to fall for it. Your bike was moved to the other end of the country for no purpose at all, other than to rack up delivery and movement charges, along with storage charges, as well as keeping the profit from the repairs in with your insurers.

Your insurer was not acting on your instructions or to your benefit in moving your motorbike to the NW, well, apart from a benefit to your insurers who will cream off a chunk of the ‘storage’ charges and the profit elements of the repair, which, and I know all the companies involved in your nightmare, will involve second hand parts salvaged off other motorbikes. Also, your bike was ridable.

You had some plastic damage done to it. You made the fundamental but understandable error of trusting your insurer. I am afraid that most of the insurers I deal with treat a minor collision as a feeding frenzy. Some people just accept it. You have not.

However the remedies available against your own insurers when they turn on you are limited. I always tell people on their first call to me keep hold of your motorbike and unless you have an overwhelming need avoid the ‘free replacement bike’ because you are personally liable for it.

I regularly see these ‘free motorbikes’ generate five figure hire bills and for the poor buggers on these bikes, they are regularly forced to court, and obliged to reveal all of their bank statements and personal finances and fairly frequently they are encouraged to perjure themselves as to why they needed a motorbike and what they were told by bully boy tactics from insurers.

You have now politely asked for your motorcycle to be returned and the next stage is an application to the court for an “order for delivery up”. I will not go into detail about this. It would bore a glass eye to sleep so I have sent you the relevant law by email, and if anyone else is in the same difficulty, if you Google “Torts (unlawful Interference with Goods) Act 1977 and CPR 25 of the Civil Procedure Rules Para 25.1 (e)”, that’s the relevant law.

I suspect once you lodge an application at your local county court, the bike will be delivered back to you pretty damned smartly. Like most bullies, when you fight back, insurers tend to buckle. Good luck.

Andrew Dalton

Fast Bikes August 2018