Monday, April 22, 2024
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REGULATOR SPANKS HARLEY

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has initiated an action against Harley-Davidson, for illegally restricting the rights of its customers to have their own motorcycles repaired at anywhere other than a Harley franchised dealership using approved parts. According to the FTC, Harley warranties include terms and conditions that effectively make them void if customers use independent sources for parts or repairs. And these illegal terms must therefore be removed.

Commenting on its proceedings, FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection director Samuel Levine said: “Consumers deserve choices when it comes to repairing their products, and independent dealers deserve a chance to compete. This order requires Harley to fix its warranties, come clean with consumers and ensure fair competition with independent providers. Other companies that squelch consumers’ right to repair should take notice.”

Mike Kennedy, chief executive of leading US aftermarket exhaust system supplier Vance & Hines has issued a statement supporting the FTC’s move against Harley-Davidson — where, ironically, he once served as a senior vice president.

“This action taken by the FTC is a huge win for motorcycle riders,” said Kennedy. “While we still need to see how it plays out, we anticipate that riders will have more choices in how they repair and update their motorcycles during the warranty period, which is clearly a big deal for companies in the aftermarket too. I hope that the threat to void a warranty for someone who just wants a better-sounding or smoother-running Harley is a thing of the past.”

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