BUYING YOUR BIKE
It can be hard when you are buying your first bike to make sure you get it right. This page gives you lots of advice so your first bike can be a great one.
Here are some top tips when buying a bike:
- Make sure you are the correct legal age to ride the type of motorcycle you want to ride
- Make sure all the documents are in order. Ask to see the V5C vehicle registration document (logbook), any service records, repair bills, inspection reports and handbooks
- Remember that a V5C vehicle registration document is not proof of ownership; it records who the registered keeper is for legal purposes
- An MOT certificate simply confirms that the motorcycle passed the test on the day it was submitted. It only covers the specific tests required and does not provide an absolute guarantee of the general quality of the motorcycle. If you have a problem with an MOT contact the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), which enforces the law relating to these tests
- You can check the MOT history of a vehicle on GOV.UK website; it holds the test date, expiry date, test result, the mileage recorded when it was tested, the reason for an MOT failure and any advisory notice items
- An older motorcycle with high mileage may not be as good as a newer motorcycle with low mileage. It should still be fit for use on the road and in condition that reflects its age and price. Fair wear and tear are not considered to be a fault
When you buy a new or second-hand motorcycle from a trader you are making a legally binding contract that is covered by the Consumer Rights Act 2015 which gives you rights and remedies against the trader.
- The motorcycle must be of 'satisfactory quality'
The description, price, condition of the motorcycle, fitness for purpose, appearance and finish, safety, durability, and freedom from minor defects are all important factors when considering quality. If the motorcycle is not of satisfactory quality, then you are entitled to a remedy
- The motorcycle must be fit for purpose
If you make a trader aware that you want the motorcycle to be 'fit for a particular purpose', even if it is something that it is not usually supplied for, then you have the right to expect it is fit for that purpose. If the motorcycle is not fit for a particular specified purpose, then you are entitled to a remedy
- The motorcycle must be as described
The motorcycle must match any description made by the trader and have all the features claimed in any statements or adverts. If the motorcycle is not as described, then you are entitled to a remedy.
A trader must not mislead you - for example, by telling you the motorcycle is 'sold as seen', by advertising it as 'one owner' when it has had several.
- The motorcycle must match the sample
If you see or examine a model or a sample of the motorcycle, then the motorcycle must match the model or the sample.
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 does not entitle you to anything if:
- You were told of any faults before you bought the motorcycle
- The fault was obvious, and it would have been reasonable to have noticed it on examination before buying it
- You caused any damage yourself
- You made a mistake - for example, you ordered the wrong engine size
- You have changed your mind about the motorcycle or seen it cheaper elsewhere
Remedies through the Act
If the goods are faulty, then consumers have the legal right to one of the following 'remedies':
- a full or part refund
- a replacement or repair
- a price reduction
- compensation for losses incurred
The remedy that you are entitled to does depends on the circumstances of each sale.
If you paid for the motorcycle on finance arranged by a trader, or if you paid using your credit card (not debit cards) and it costed between £100 and £30,000, you have rights under the Consumer Credit Act 1974. Section 75 of the Act makes the finance / card provider as responsible as the trader for a breach of contract or misrepresentation. This could include supplying a faulty motorcycle, non-delivery or making false claims about it. You are entitled to take action against the trader, the finance / card provider or both.
You have the same rights when you are supplied with a second-hand motorcycle as you do when you are supplied with a new one.
However, because it has been used you should be realistic and have different, possibly lower, expectations when deciding if it is of satisfactory quality.
Check the motorcycle thoroughly before you buy; you may not be entitled to make a claim for it not being of satisfactory quality if the defect is something that you ought to have discovered or was pointed out to you before you bought it.
You do not have the same legal rights when buying from a private seller as you do when buying from a trader.
You are entitled to expect that the motorcycle is 'as described'.
You do not have the right to expect that it is of satisfactory quality or fit for its purpose, unless the seller informed you that it was. For example, if an advertisement says, 'low mileage, one previous owner', this must be correct.
This also applies if you buy from a private seller online or through an internet auction. You should check the motorcycle thoroughly before you buy it.
Whether you buy privately or from a trader you are entitled to expect that the motorcycle is roadworthy, unless you and the seller clearly agree it is bought for scrap or for spares and repair.
You are also entitled to expect that the private seller has 'good title' to the motorcycle. This means the person selling the motorcycle must own it. If you buy a motorcycle that you later find out is stolen, you do not have the legal right to keep it. You will have to try and get your money back from the seller.
If you buy a motorcycle from a trader by distance means, such as from their website, you have the same legal rights as you have when buying from a trader’s premises.
The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 gives you extra protection because the contract you entered into is concluded at a distance and without face-to-face contact. You have the right to cancel most 'distance' contracts and the cancellation period is 14 days.
Most internet auctions only provide the site for the auctions to be held and are not generally liable for goods bought and sold privately. You should check the terms and conditions of the internet auction for full details.
You have the same legal rights when buying from a trader via an internet auction as you have when buying from their premises. The Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 also apply to internet auctions. You may have the right to cancel a purchase from a trader if you change your mind, regardless of whether it is sold through the auction or via 'buy it now'.
As you have fewer rights against private online sellers research the seller carefully before you go ahead with a purchase.
When buying from sites such as eBay always buy the goods via this site and pay via PayPal, never agree to buy the goods outside of eBay terms such as paying cash on collection or paying direct into the seller’s bank account.
Sales at motor auctions are unlikely to be considered consumer sales, in which case most of your rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 would not apply. It is very important that you check the motorcycle thoroughly before you bid on it. The auction will have terms and conditions setting out the role of the auctioneer and the obligations of the buyer and seller. Check these terms and conditions carefully before you bid. You are entitled to expect that the seller has the legal right to sell the motorcycle. If you think it might have been stolen, report it to the auctioneer. The auctioneer must accurately describe the motorcycle.
The 'Sale & supply of goods: what to do if things go wrong' guide explains the practical steps you can take when complaining to a trader about a faulty motorcycle.
This guide gives you the information you need on the rights you have and the remedies you are entitled to. Find out more through the link below:
For further information in England and Wales contact the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 2231133.