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MCIA Retail Guidance

Following recent updates from Government regarding the retail sector, the MCIA has compiled the following summary of its interpretation of the latest situation relating to the sale of PTWs and other L-Category vehicles.

MCIA is providing this information as general guidance only. The nature of this unforeseen pandemic is that rules and regulations have necessarily been introduced without precedent or precise legal definition and therefore this information should not be regarded as specific legal advice.

Current government guidance

The Government guidance updated on 8 April 2020, states that all retail establishments (with some exceptions) are to close their premises during the lockdown period, currently scheduled to end on 7th May. The list of businesses excluded from this order can be found here.

PTW workshops, MoT testing centres and rental services are considered to be essential for day-to-day life and are included in the list of exclusions. Subsequent to the issuing of the list, MoTs expiring on or after 30th March 2020 have had their expiry dates extended by six months, so it could be that service centres providing only MoTs will lose their exemption. The exemption for general service centres is to allow PTWs to be kept in a safe and roadworthy condition.

PTW retail dealer

As clearly shown in the government list, sales outlets such as PTW dealerships sit within the retail premises category and must remain closed for the duration of the current lockdown, or until otherwise notified.

PTW online sales

Online sales of PTWs is slightly grey area, as there is no apparent ban on sales that take place away from a retail location, e.g. in a bike shop/showroom. In his letter to those working in the UK’s retail sector, dated 8th April, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, The Rt. Hon. Alok Sharma MP, says “The Government has always been clear that online retail can continue to operate and is encouraged, and that postal and delivery services will continue to operate” Nevertheless, MCIA advises members that they and their retail partners should keep the situation under review.

It is also worth noting that storage and distribution facilities are exempt from temporary closure, which suggests that deliveries connected with online sales can take place. Of course, businesses conducting online sales and associated deliveries should ensure that they are carried out safely and in full compliance with all coronavirus-related health and safety requirements, including those relating to social distancing and hygiene. The consensus therefore appears to be that vehicles can still be purchased online during the lockdown, but not by face to face transaction.

PTW delivery remains acceptable although it is expected that authorities will continue to investigate

anyone travelling, including potentially anyone delivering PTWs. MCIA therefore suggests that delivery drivers carry with them a letter from their employer explaining that travel is essential for the execution of their duties. It is worth noting that purchasers travelling to collect a PTW, where it is not considered an essential purchase, are likely to be sent home if stopped, as Regulation 6(2)(f) states that the only reason to be on the road is “travel for the purposes of work or to provide voluntary or charitable services, where it is not reasonably possible for that person to work, or to provide those services, from the place where they are living”.

Even those who fall within this category face being challenged as to whether they have access to another vehicle or mode of travel. It is also conceivable that enforcement authorities would challenge PTW dealers who allow the collection of purchased vehicles from their premises during lockdown, as the Regulations only appear to make express provision for deliveries following an online or other remote sale. As stated before, it is important that retail businesses demonstrate that they are adhering to social distancing and hygiene requirements at the point of PTW delivery and hand over.

Additionally, retail businesses must remember that furloughed staff are not permitted to undertake any work during furlough, including delivery or hand over of vehicles. Retailers must also satisfy themselves that payment or financing of vehicles is complete prior to delivery, as there have already been many examples of criminals being no respecters of a global crisis.

Furthermore, remote sales are subject to distance selling regulations, especially with regard to cancellation of sale, so dealers may need to make changes to their returns/cancellation policy to ensure that the customer pays for the cost of returning the PTW if they change their mind.

Motorcycle Industry Association Ltd

1 Rye Hill Office Park, Coventry CV5 9AB

Tel: 02476 408000


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