ABR’s legal expertAndrew Dalton explains why motorcycle dealers may ask you to accept a 30-day warranty on a new trail bike and what it means for your consumer rights.
I bought an Enduro machine which is street legal. I bought it solely for green laning and I got no change out of £6,000. I was a bit surprised when I was asked upon pickup (after the dealer had my money) to sign a document saying I was using the motorcycle for competition (I’m not) and accepting a 30-day warranty. This all seems a bit much for a green lane bike. Am I being done out of my consumer rights, and why am I being asked if I am using the motorcycle for competition?
This is all a bit complicated so I will deal with your last question first. The competition exemption is governed by EU law which is unlikely to change any time soon after Brexit (EU law will be amended in order of importance and niche motorcycles are unlikely to be an issue high on the Government’s agenda).
Lots of road-biased trail bikes fail to meet EU type approval (Euro 4). However, bikes which meet basic construction and use regulation are road legal but do not need to meet Euro 4 (and the soon to be introduced Euro 5) so long as they are ‘intended for use in competition, on roads or in off road conditions’ and are thus exempted from Euro 4 type approval. So, in the Husqvarna range, the FE 350 is designed as a competition bike, and does not have to meet Euro 4, whereas the 701 Enduro is a road bike and not exempted.
The 30-day warranty is a lot stickier and I am not at all convinced the seller can rely upon it. Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, a consumer is entitled to proper warranties. The statutory definition of a consumer must be acting ‘wholly or mainly outside their trade, business, craft or profession’.
I suspect the seller’s line of defence would be that you declared you bought this bike as a competition bike and this is your profession. But I think that is a very ambitious stretch of the legislation. There is no statutory exception excluding consumer goods bought for competition. I have seen this ’30-day warranty’, or ’90-day warranty’ with frequency, and I cannot ascertain a legal basis for it.
I suspect it is unenforceable. If the bike which you bought turns out to be unfit for purpose, or it has material defects, the Court will readily imply that the motorcycle must be of satisfactory quality and be fit for its particular purpose (in your case green laning). Under Section 19 (14) of the Consumer Rights Act 2015, goods which do not conform to the contract at any time within the period of six months, beginning with the day upon which the goods were delivered to the consumer, must be taken not to have conformed to it on that day. Therefore, by action of law, I think the very least you have is a six-month warranty.