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Title: Poor quality bike - what are my rights?

Date: 29 September 2014

Question

I purchased a new Triumph STR ABS last June. It had a damaged tank which was replaced under warranty 5 months later so it’s been on the bike for about 8-9 months now. The seat rubbed through the tank and it was replaced again at the 6k service. The one they replaced it with is bad quality and so another warranty claim has been approved but they have none in stock and no idea when they will have them.

During this time I have also had various other warranty claims, subframe, alarm, seat, head race bearings, indicators x 4, and this will be the 4th tank with 1 other tank being sent back due to quality issues so 5 tanks in total. To say I’m a bit unhappy would be an understatement. The bike has no finance on it so I don't have the backup of a finance company - as far as I'm concerned the bike is not of satisfactory quality. Any ideas as to how I can proceed with this?

Bruce, MCN Legal Forum

Answer

Your legal protection when you buy a bike (or anything else for that matter) comes from the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and it’s the reason that every warranty has written next to it “this does not affect your statutory rights”. The idea being that the dealer can give you more consumer rights but not take away or amend the ones you already have.

One of your consumer rights (under section 14 of the Sale of Goods Act (SGA)) is that any item sold by a business must be fit for purpose, and part of that is its durability. The test that the courts use for what constitutes sufficiently durable is “how long would the average person expect the purchased item to last?”.

As a further helpful point on this, recent EU regulations state that if an item breaks within 6 months of purchase then there is an assumption that those goods were faulty at the time of purchase unless the seller can prove otherwise.

Once the bike is deemed not fit for purpose then the dealer has to repair it, replace it, or give you your money back (also required by the Act)

Should they refuse to comply with the SGA you should refer them to first Triumph, then trading standards and eventually the small claims court to enforce your rights.

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