Legal Question in Consumer Law in California

I recently test drove a motorcycle (2001 Triumph Sprint ST 955). Before the test drive, I filled out a form assuming responsibility for damage to the bike while in my ownership among other things. When returning to the dealership after a 5 minute ride around the block, the bike stalled while turning, it came to a stop and it was pretty gingerly laid down as I couldn't keep the 500 lbs. bike upright. There was minor damage to the cockpit fairing and a little damage to the mirror. When the employees assessed the damage initially, they jokingly insinuated that I buy the motorcycle. I went along my merry way test driving a few more bikes at other establishments, ultimately deciding not to purchase a bike at this time. Later that weekend, I got a call from the dealership wanting to settle the bill (don't they have insurance?). I sent a claim to my insurance company, but found out it wasn't covered. While that was being attempted, I got the repair estimate. The bike was going for $2999, the repair bill was $1450 for all new parts. They kindly informed me that they were going to assume the cost of rewelding the bent foot brake pedal because it was already busted up prior to my disastrous test drive. I'm sure that was the least expensive one of the repairs. During every conversation I had with the dealership, I was encouraged to buy the motorcycle because "parts are very expensive for this make of bike" (like that's a selling point?). I am willing to accept responsibility and pay for some of the damages, but to buy all new parts for a 12 year old bike that already showed signs of it's age long before my arrival on the scene, seems too much. They are also pressuring me to settle this quickly, telling me that I may be assessed further fees because they're having to hold the bike while this gets settled. Another point that lends me to believe that I shouldn't have to assume all responsibility (regardless of what I signed) is because while small talking and filling out the paperwork for the test drive, I mentioned several times that I was a new rider. While I was out on the ride, my wife was asking questions about the motorcycle and asked if it was a good bike for beginners to which the salesman properly replied "No. It's a 955cc. Definitely not a beginner bike". I normally wouldn't even bring this to light, as I am not the litigious type, but almost 50% the cost of the bike for repairs and you're trying to bully me into paying in a week? C'mon man! Any advice would be helpful. Thanks!

Asked on 7/22/13, 6:05 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Kelvin Green The Law Office of Kelvin Green

lets see, you signed a form assuming all responsibility for damage. You dump the bike, you damage the Ike, and now you don't want to pay. You admit that you are a novice rider which means you know little about the bike. This makes your assessment of a gingerly laid down bike seem extremely suspect.... It is a Triumph Bike so it make be expensive to fix.... You emphasize that are a new rider and somehow that's their fault. This compounds your negligence as you should have asked the simple questions about the bike and your ability to handle a high performance bike. You test ride it without insurance.

They are entitled to a bike that works as good a it did prior to your accident... If it takes that amount of money to make the whole you need to probably make them whole.

Sorry but I'm sure you won't like this...

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Answered on 7/22/13, 8:02 pm

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