How to avoid buying a lemon bike

Lemon Motorbike

While Australia is still considering stronger consumer laws covering seriously defective vehicles, riders should do their best to avoid buying a “lemon”.

The best way to do this is to pay just $25 and get a quick online report from the Personal Properties Security Register on the motorcycle’s history, including:

  • Written off records
  • Finance owing
  • Odometer check
  • Stolen vehicle check
  • Registration details
  • VIN validation

Be aware that this replaces the previous REVS check. Avoid using any sites with website addresses that seem like a REVS check as they are spurious and will cost a lot more.

Some of them have extra information, but most don’t.

Meanwhile, Australia needs tough “Lemon Laws” or consumer protection laws that provide a satisfactory repair, full refund or replacement product for a major consumer expense item such as a car, SUV or motorcycle deemed to repeatedly fail to meet acceptable standards. They extend beyond normal warranties and consumer laws.

Australia currently does not have Lemon Laws, but has the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) which is designed to protect the rights of new car buyers only. Yet not one owner has been granted a replacement vehicle or a refund since the ACL came into effect in 2011!

It also doesn’t mention used vehicle warranties or motorcycles.

They are hardly Lemon Laws.

The ACL is being reviewed by the Consumer Affairs Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ) which has released an Issues Paper with submissions now closed.

Several countries such as the US (since 1975) have varying Lemon Laws that set limits on the number of:

  • faults a new or warrantied vehicle can suffer; 
  • unsuccessful repair attempts on the same problem; 
  • days a new or warrantied vehicle can be off the road for repairs.mechanic tools maintenance servicing lemon laws avoid

Where these limits are exceeded, the Lemon Law requires the manufacturer or supplier to give the consumer a replacement or refund.

The Consumer Action Law Centre is proposing a term that defines lemons as “vehicles which have been repaired at least three times by the manufacturer or importer that are still defective – or if the vehicle is out of service for 20 or more days in total due to a defect”.

Meanwhile, if you have bought a motorcycle you believe is a lemon that may be covered by the current ACL, these are your contacts for complaint:

Have you got a motorcycle that is a lemon? Tell us all about it in the “Leave a reply” section below or send us an email.

2 Comments

  1. If you are looking for a REVS Check for a VIN number or Chassis number, give VINNER REVS Check a try at https://www.vinner.com.au reports are only $9.90 which is far cheaper than the other site listed. It’s completely optimised for mobile and supports PayPal along with credit card payments (including Amex) via a secure Australia payment gateway. For those older cars or bikes that are pre-1989 you can request a chassis reports, and if you are planning on buying a boat you can also perform a HIN check if needed. VIN reports also cover all other vehicles (including trailers, caravans, 4×4, trucks etc) for any other types of vehicles you are considering.

  2. One of the issues with any ‘lemon’ is the situation where the motorcycle/vehicle/item is considered by the manufacturer to be ‘within spec’ or for them not to have identified the issue. I’ve often heard the phrase, ‘there is nothing wrong with the vehicle/motorcycle/item, it’s all within spec, what you’re talking about is a feature not a fault’.

    For a lemon law to have any impact the test applied needs to be objective, reasonable and achievable.

    Some interesting and noteworthy points from ACCC.gov.au, for business owners and operators:
    * You must not tell customers they should approach the manufacturer or importer of the good for assistance – the seller must deal with the problem when approached.
    * You must not suggest that their consumer guarantees are limited to any warranty period – the consumer guarantees apply regardless of any warranties in place.
    * Do not display ‘No refunds on sale items’ signs.

    A purchased item has a major problem when it:
    * has a problem that would have stopped someone from buying the item if they had known about it
    * it is unsafe
    * is significantly different from the sample or description
    * doesn’t do what you said it would, or what the consumer asked for and can’t easily be fixed.

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