Caveat Emptor

I sold my motorcycle a couple of weeks back. It went to a chap in Nelson. It seems to have been a touring bike after all, but with no one aboard. Actually it may be been cursed, a ghost bike. The day its new owner went for his first ride the clutch failed. Regular readers will recall the day I took my first ride the front brake seized - sending me ignominiously over the handlebars.

The buyer is grumpy. Understandably so. But the problem is that I didn't know about the clutch when I shipped it off to him. I would either have not sold it if I had known or I would have indicated in the advertisement on the auction site that the problem existed and would need a repair. I flagged the problem with he rear brake (which I told you about here).

If he lived in the same town he would have wanted his money back, or so he says.
It is a shame because he seems to be a decent, older bloke. We've corresponded on the matter. I've explained that I was unaware of the problem, that I had ridden the bike one last time to make sure everything was fine before sending it away with the freight company. I had been open with known mechanical problems and, in any case the machine was old. Old vehicle wear our. That is part of their charm - the patina of age. If you want a new bike with a warranty don't buy an old one without.

He has asked me to pay for half the repair - or should I say half the cost of parts - oh, and threatened me with the disputes tribunal if I don't, so I suppose he has demanded, rather than 'asked'.

My first inclination was to tell him - get stuffed, strong letter follows. I have no legal obligation to him. Buying second hand goods at auction places few constraints on sellers. The obligation resides with the buyer to ascertain the fitness of the goods for their purpose before entering into the contract. I was frank about the general condition of the bike. It needed 'some TLC' were my very words.

My second inclination was that it is a dispute that could quite easily be resolved - so I have said that I will consider sharing the cost, depending on what the cost is.
I think being reasonable is sometimes better 'karma'.

I don't like being threatened or accused of dishonesty - where none has occurred. I do recommend that, if you are buying something quite valuable on an Internet auction, that you perform your obligation as a buyer - have it checked for whatever indications of fitness you or common sense require.

It wil save us all some time.


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