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Unable to freight motorcycle, false advertising?

Hello all, I’m in the market for a motorcycle, and I spotted one online at Bike Sales that was interstate at several thousand dollars less than what was available locally (none in stock locally anyway).

I read through the add and it said For Interstate buyers, hassle free support on transport. So I made an inquiry about purchasing it only to be told that it is not available to interstate buyers and it cannot be transported. I have to go there in person to buy it.

To me that is completely false advertising to make a statement that they cannot fulfill?

The website has a facility to report ads, and this I’ve done, but haven heard back yet.

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Selling an expensive motorcycle to a non-local buyer sight unseen can be fraught with problems from accusations of misrepresentation to unseen undocumented damages claimed, to transport damages, to shipping problems, to payment problems.

Without being privy to your phone call or inquiry through email or a form, there seems something unwritten in the detail of the exchange.

While those words could mean different things to different readers, to ‘old cynical’ me they read that after the sale they will cooperate with the buyer’s shipper, not necessarily (but maybe) that they will organise shipping. Selling unseen to an unseen buyer is a step beyond . That interpretation is from other ads that clearly indicate the business will ship and / or provide / cooperate with inspection services and so on.

The operative weasel word for me is ‘support’. It could and probably should have been made clearer, and that would be my complaint were the experience mine.

Regardless, assuming this was a business advertisement they should have known better and been more careful in their wording, but this is far from the most egregious errant advertising I have seen.

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Selling sight unseen for new motor cycles is very common practice now days, nearly all dealers advertise this service with their adds for “out of town buyers”. I’ve bought cars and motorcycles with this method without any issues at all. Just last week I organised for a friend to buy a new car from a dealer some distance away, everything was done over the phone or email a week later they’re driving a new car without seeing it. There are numerous provides for just this type of service.

I still feel its misleading advertising on their behalf.

True, but it’s always the thin edge of the wedge where problems start?

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It was not obvious if it was a new or used advertisement. I am aware buying new is a different and much safer ‘game’ than buying used motor vehicles, so thanks for that qualification.

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The platform BikeSales appears to be advertising or marketing platform for sellers, including for dealers independently ownee to that of BikeSales. It is also part of the CarSales company…which offers a similar platform for the selling of cars.

If there is an issue with an advertisement on the platform, it is likely to the responsibility of whoever placed the advertisement…the dealer or person who placed the advertisement… …a bit like an advertisement in a magazine/newspaper where the magazine owner is the platform for showing the advertisement, we with the advertiser responsible for the advertisement content.

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Also, do you have a link to the exact advertisement on BikeSales. It would be interesting to see if the ‘For Interstate buyers, hassle free support on transport*’ by the seller has conditions attached to it.

Doing an internet search, the only seller I can find which matches the wording is Peter Stevens Motors Dandenong.

The other thing is the wording doesn’t mean that they ship the motorbike, it just means they will provide free hassle support on transport. It is possible not the best wording, and could be reworded to better reflect what they are trying to say.

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Link to bike you have to click the read more button. Also, these links break easily if the add is changed.

Thanks.

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Searching the number in the advertisement, Peter Stevens Motorcycles comes up which confirms that they placed the advertilsement on BikeSales.

In relation to advertisement, it doesn’t promise that the bike can be shipped/transported interstate. If the advertisement guaranteed interstate delivery, and they then said that it couldn’t be delivered interstate, then there would definitely be an issue.

The wording also doesn’t indicate who will organise the transport…maybe if you had arranged collection, transport and delivery, Peter Stevens Motorcycles would assist as much as they can at collection (making it hassle free).

Maybe ask the seller if you can arrange your own collection, trsnsport and delivery to see what they say. If they say yes, then at their end one would expect the collection process to be hastle free!

I would suggest the wording as is and your experience does not necessarily make the advertisement misleading.

It is also worth noting that there is a 2016 Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer webpage on the Peter Stevens Motorbike website, but these seem stock photos rather than of the used motorbike photos on BikeSales.

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Fair enough, thanks for the insight.

I just find it frustrating to go through the process of contacting and getting details only then to be told they cannot transport. I would not have inquired in the first place knowing this.

I’ll just wait until the next “to go to be true” deal! :pleading_face:

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I agree with you that the advertisement is somewhat misleading. The reference to support for interstate transport would lead someone to think that the bike could be purchased by an Interstate buyer (who may have to arrange transport themselves). The seller has promised to support getting it transported eg loading it safely into the transport or some similar action.

I would even take the statement in the ad “All on road costs covered (Victorian License holders only)” as meaning that only for those who hold a Vic license will get the extra on road costs covered and interstate buyers miss out on that benefit.

They either need to amend the ad to show they only support Intrastate (ie Vic only buyers) or they should make good on their ad ie sell to interstate buyers. You will need to write to them or email them with your complaint about their ad and service. Phone calls are not a satisfactory method for proof but do keep diary entries of any phone contact you or they make… You should explain what you would like them to do to resolve the problem. If sending a letter make sure to send it registered post so you have proof of delivery. This is necessary to take your complaint further if they do not respond or fail to respond properly. If this fails you can then make a complaint to Consumer Affairs of Victoria at their site (https://online.justice.vic.gov.au/cav-forms/generalcomplaint.doj) or phone them first to see if they will handle your complaint ( 1300 55 81 81). You should also lodge a complaint with the site that hosts the ad and I would recommend that you also complain to the ACCC via their site at https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/complaints-problems/make-a-consumer-complaint. They probably won’t take action but it is also possible that they may look into the matter and it helps them to see if there is a larger issue they need to address. I hope you have good luck with your endeavours.

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I can see why they chose to do this as each state has differing registration requirements. A local Victorian business like this would also need to have access to number plates and registration processes for a different state as well. As the business appears to only be in Dandenong, it is highly likely that they are not set up to register vehicles in other states.

One point is that is possibly incorrect is the advertisement should have possibly state that road costs covered for Victorian registrations rather than Victorian licence holders …however…on the otherhand they might be right in indicating that Victorian license only as this may to prevent a person residing say in Queensland buying a bike for Queensland, but registering it in Victoria. This might be done for a range of reasons…say to save money if regos are cheaper or for criminal reasons.

NSW has also interesting requirements for re-registration in NSW…and is different to other states.

As the bike is used, this may also complicate things as one usually needs to prove roadworthiness when registering …as different states have different process (got to love our federation), it may mean that the registration process in one state may not satisfy that in another…and the purchaser would need to go through the whole registration process again shortly after delivery of the used bike (meaning the registration process in Victoria was a little pointless and potentially a ‘waste of money’ if additional checks and inspections are required).

I am also not sure about the law, but it is also possible that one can’t legally register a vehicle/bike in one state when residing (principal place of residence) in another (I know for trucks the Commonwealth introduced the Federal registration system to overcome some of the issues associated with interstate trucks). I know that the state laws are very prescriptive in relation to when licences and registration needs to be updated to the new residential state soon after relocation. Limiting registration when not living in a particular state therefore is a possibility and would complicate the abililty of a Victorian business to allow interstate buyers to register bikes in Victoria.

It is also worth noting that they can sell to interstate buyers, but the advertisement suggests that the bike would not be registered in such case. It would then be buyer aware as it would be the responsibility of the buyer to register after its receipt.

I don’t think the advertisement is misleading unless one knows the ins and outs of the legal requires for registration in each state in Australia and can prove that interstate registration is possible (indications are it is unlikely due to the fact that one needs to transfer licences and registrations within a prescribed time after interstate relocation).

As outlined above, the statement about hassle free support on transport, I have addessed this in the previous post and the current wording while not possibly the best or clearest that could have been used, is not misleading. The advertisement doesn’t indicate that they would arrange transport. It just says ‘on transport’ with no information on whom.

Maybe at the end of the day the problem is with federation where each state controls registrations in its state, eventhough in todays day and age, the same vehicles can easily move between states. Maybe we should complain to the Commonwealth government that registrations should be nationalised to assist the consumer and Australian drivers…and to bring about uniformity across state borders.

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Sorry I think you missed my point. The OP

The Ad does say “For Interstate buyers, hassle free support on transport”, they don’t say you can’t be interstate or that the purchase must be made in store. The Ad is in fact saying by that, that interstate purchases are welcome. My point on the on road costs was that the buyer would not receive that benefit if they were not a Vic License holder, so there is a very strong inference made there that they would sell to another in other States just with no on road costs included. No where in the ad does it say the purchase must be made in store or by those who are Victorian residents only.

The OP’s remark that it could not be transported is a bit unclear. Did the dealership say they wouldn’t arrange transport (which of course is their right), or was it that they wouldn’t allow it to be transported (which is not their right after someone has purchased it). If it was the latter then their ad was again misleading as they say they offer hassle free support for transport (and this in particular to interstate buyers).

Perhaps in the Ad they meant to use “Intrastate” rather than “Interstate”, they may have misinterpreted “Interstate”. This still requires an alteration to the Ad to make it clear what they meant if indeed they are precluding interstate buyers. The Ad also has me a tad confused about the numbers of the bike available as they use the line “If this is what your seeking call us now to get one while they last!”, but this may just be a bit of puffery to attract a speedy sale.

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More likely reusing a standard advert template without the brain engaged.

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This is correct, after a bit more searching, the same template is used across several selling platforms for that dealers bikes of all brands.

They said (phone conversation) the buyer can arrange transport (easily done before by myself) and they’ll assist the transport company with pickup time and location . Where it came undone for me is that they wouldn’t allow that particular brand to be transported (because of the wholesalers instructions). This only applied to new motorcycles only. Other brands they sell have no such restrictions. I assume it’s to stop dealers undercutting other dealers (motorcycle sales industry is way different to car sales in that regard).

This is correct, I’ve bought bikes and cars before, new and used, unregistered and unregistered from interstate. Once delivered, just get a safety/road worthy certificate and go the registration office and register for my state.

At the end of the day they were happy to sell me that particular brand of bike, new, but only if I was there in person to “ride” it away. They could even sell it unregistered and I put it on a Ute, tow-truck or van. They just can be involved in any way to facilitate the transport of a new bike of that brand, which is what I thought the add implied, and thus my reason for the post.

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Thank you for clarifying the issue.

As a “what if” if you purchased the bike and asked them to hold it for a few days. You would then have taken ownership and title once that sale completed. If you arranged for a 3rd party to then pick the bike up (say a good friend or a transport company) and transport it to you (giving them authority to act on your behalf to transport it) how could the business refuse to allow the bike to be taken from the premises and transported to you? They would no longer have any title to the bike but could, I guess, refuse entry to their property to that third party. Though doing that could possibly give them a legal problem in that they refused to release something they do not own. Would this constitute the act of theft or some similar property law breach?

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I’d have taken the advert to say they would sell/transport interstate, but that said I’ve always seen interstate purchases as a good excuse for a road trip, my last being a shade over 3000k - amazing how far one can travel without being asked about not having a number plate :wink:

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Is this saying the wholesaler or importer has dealership restrictions on a state by state or locality basis?

IE, one dealership is being prevented from selling into another dealerships sales district!

As a restriction on trade, the ACCC has the following to say about ‘Exclusive Dealing’, which is intended to prevent a supplier imposing restrictions on sellers based on

An assessment of whether full line forcing results in a substantial lessening of competition would involve consideration of:

whether consumers are severely restricted in their ability to buy a product or its substitutes because the business has imposed territorial restrictions as a condition of supply.

As a general guide, the more exclusive the product and the more powerful the supplier, the more likely it is that the competition will be affected.

Whether ‘Moto Guzzi’ is an exclusive product or the Supplier all powerful might depend on your personal point of view. The ACCC from past experience does act aggressively where it has the evidence. Not always by way of remedy, but through penalty after the the fact.

Some straight forward talk about the ACCC and the fact that exclusive dealing if that is what the dealership is saying might find they are keen to negotiate a sale. Of course you might need to consider what sort of a dealership they are operating and is it worth the hassle of their ‘hassle free’ offer.

Of course the dealer cannot refuse a sale if you turn up at the door, as you become a local customer. Where you choose to keep and register the bike is not relevant to the sale. As @draughtrider suggests, it can be transported or ridden (assume permit obtained) unregistered to…? Although if you choose to register it in Victoria as a Victorian license holder, no problem.

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I missed that bit earlier - did they give any indication whether this was based on the destination or some other factor? Could it be picked up by a transport company and delivered to the next suburb? If you are arranging the transport and they are just ‘cooperating’ I think the destination would be none of their business and they’d be on a very slippery slope as @grahroll also suggested …

If it is based on destination, the scenarios are interesting - they are happy to know you are taking it to some far flung place, but will not assist the transport company to take it there even if the transport company is arranged, engaged and paid for directly by you, but they will assist you in buying it knowing you are taking it there.

I’d be tempted to call a few freight companies and see whether they have some ideas on how it could be achieved. I had another bike shipped 1500 km or so by a company called Fergusson (with whom I have no connection) - I was led to believe they picked the bike up from the dealer in a van and crated it at their facility … problem may be that dealers may well know said companies :wink:

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Thanks for updating and filling in the missing pieces of the jigsaw. It makes a lot more sense now and appears some of the assumptions might have been near to or on the mark.

I agree with the above comments that the details attached to the advertisement are generic and likely to be that cut and pasted to each advertisement the company places.

Notwithstanding this, even though they won’t arrange interstate freighting of the bike, one can arrange their own transport (even driving to Victoria to pick up the bike on the back of a ute), the wording of the advertisement, while not the best, still applies. If you do decide to drive to Victoria and pick up the bike, hopefully on arrival all things would progress hassle free. If not, then their advertisement would be misleading.

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Waste of time discussing misleading or not advertising.

Refusing the sale in difference to any other brand of bike because the bike needs to be transported, a condition of sale place on the dealer by the supplier is BS!

Section 34 of the ACL may be applicable in respect of the representation of service not excluding interstate or even intrastate transport.

The ACCC on what basis a supplier can refuse a sale or impose conditions on a seller.

The more serious circumstance if proven is attribution of the dealerships refusal to permit transport of a Moto Guzzi product to the customer hence no sale, as it is prohibited by the supplier. Either BS or likely contrary to law. Perhaps the ACCC should be invited to comment?

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