Have you ever wondered that industrial giants and big brands can also get sued for their actions? If you are a fan of fancy and stylish bikes, you must know the iconic motorcycle company – Harley-Davidson. This article covers some recent lawsuits against the company for breaching its customers’ rights.
About the Company
Harley-Davidson is an American-based automotive epitome that produces cruiser, custom, and touring motorcycles. The stylish designs and powered engines of the motorcycle has been fascinating the bikers for about 120 years of the company’s history. Harley-Davidson operates in Motorcycles and associated products as well as in the Financial Services sections. The first segment deals with the designing, production, and vending of traveling motorcycles and their parts. In addition, Harley-Davidson manufacture and release its merchandise containing clothes, scale models, video games, and other accessories under the first section. Financial services mostly entail consumer loans for making purchases.
Harley-Davidson originated by William Sylvester Harley along with childhood friends in 1903. It took only 20 years for the company to reach on top of the industry. It became the globe’s largest motorcycle producer after beating its historic rivals – Indian Motors. Today the headquarters of Harley – Davidson is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States operating and producing amazing and high-quality motorcycles.
What Is A Class Action In The USA?
A class action is a judicial procedure that allows plaintiffs, who may be one or larger in number, to file a lawsuit and persecute it in court in place of a larger group of people called a Class. People in the class are ones who experience similar problems at the hands of the defendants, these individuals are called Class Members. This procedure helps the court to manage the workload of lawsuits as it minimizes the class members as plaintiffs. Class action has different types. For example, Federal security class action comprises a group of shareholders. As per rule 23 of FRDP, the representative of the group has filed a lawsuit.
Class Actions against Harley-Davidson from 2008 To 2010
The lawsuit was filed by Ronald Garcia for the defective braking system of Harley motorcycles in California Court. The touring and CVO models made from 2008 to 2010 were installed with an Anti-lock braking system (ABS). However, the class action argued that the ABS had major operational issues. Garcia’s lawsuit demonstrated that the flawed design can cause the wheels to lock, owing to the separation of cables between the engine control unit and speed sensors. Because of the non-functioning ABS, anyone can lose control of their Harley, and the danger of death and injury increases.
Little Action from Harley Davidson
Garcia’s case action tried to represent the Harley buyers and lessees’ class nationwide and a small group of people in California. In 2011, the company found out the imperfections of the Anti-lock braking system in Harley-bikes and started fixing them. However, the Plaintiff of this case proclaims that the company knew about their defects many moons ago.
“Right to repair” Lawsuits against Harley-Davidson In 2022 Case Background
Although Harley-Davidson is a well-admired company for decades. It is alleged for damaged parts and unnecessary elevated repair costs.
Problems Faced By the Customers
The Harley bike owners faced the following difficulties that have been challenged in court several times:
- The company restricts its customers to purchase company-owned motorcycle parts for repair.
- Harley-Davidson conditions its consumers to utilize company-authorized repair services only.
- The company warns its users to refrain from the third party for repair, otherwise, they will void their motorcycle’s warranty.
- In the mentioned scenarios, Harley-Davidson is selling overpriced products and high-cost repair services.
- Customers claim that the company denies them the right to repair their motorcycles.
At the start of this august, two class actions were filed against the company regarding their customers’ rights. These federal lawsuits assert that the US motorcycle manufacturer – Harley-Davidson abducts the right to repair of its customers. The company compels its consumers to pay exorbitant maintenance costs by restricting where and how they might have their vehicles repaired.
The first lawsuit, filed in California, claimed that the company defy the state competition law and other official acts. The second case was filed in Wisconsin federal court alleged the company of violating federal antitrust laws. Thomas Burnt, the plaintiff’s lawyer, claims that Harley-Davidson has retained a greater portion of the parts market and charged higher costs for the repair of its motorcycles. The bike producers unlawfully utilized its warranty by forcing bike owners to use branded parts. The representatives of both the cases did not receive any comment from Harley-Davidson neither the company representatives appear in front of the court.
The Federal Trade Commission Action
After all the class actions, the FTC took action against Harley-Davidson for breaching its consumers’ right to repair. FTC lay a claim to Harley- Davidson that the company break the MMW–Act by linking the bike’s warranty with the obligation to purchase the company-made part of the bike for repair. Furthermore, the FTC argues that Harley – Davidson failed to properly reveal all of its warranty conditions single document, forcing customers to visit an authorized dealership for complete information.
In response to these allegations, the FTC gave the following orders to Harley-Davidson:
- Gave the due rights to the company’s consumers by mentioning the following clearly in its warranty. “Taking your bikes to a repair facility that is not associated with or approved by Harley – Davidson, will not cancel this warranty. Utilizing non-branded components will also not invalidate this warranty.”
- Abide complete by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (MMWA). Otherwise, each violation could cost them a penalty of $46,517.
- Inform consumers that their warranties will be honored even if they purchase aftermarket components or use independent repair companies. Moreover, order the company part dealers to stop promoting Harley parts over the third party.
The Final Settlement
A settlement was made between FTC and Harley-Davidson at last. The company ensures that the warranty of the Harley motorcycle owners would not be voided if they utilize third-party motor parts for repair. However, they claimed that it will not offer any warranty to the damaged bikes due to defective aftermarket parts and unauthorized services.
At the Lemon Firm, our experienced Attorneys have been able to successfully recover compensation for our clients who were sold a vehicle with manufacturer defects, and we can do the same for you. Call (833) Lemon-Firm to speak with a Lemon law expert today.