MCN in­ves­ti­ga­tion dis­cov­ers up to 50 MV Agusta own­ers in the Uk may not ac­tu­ally own their bikes

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Jor­dan Gib­bons MCN SE­NIOR REPORTER

There could be as many as 50 MV Agusta mo­tor­cy­cles be­ing rid­den in the UK by own­ers who may have no le­gal ti­tle to their bikes – de­spite hav­ing handed over thou­sands of pounds to fran­chised deal­ers.

An MCN in­ves­ti­ga­tion has un­cov­ered al­le­ga­tions of se­ri­ous in­ci­dences at two UK deal­er­ships – both of which have now ceased trad­ing. One cus­tomer now says that he does not have the bike or his money, while oth­ers have an MV Agusta that they may not legally own and say they can’t sell, reg­is­ter, tax or in­sure.

Buyer be­ware

The al­le­ga­tions first came to light when MCN was con­tacted by a reader who told us that he had se­ri­ous con­cerns when the Drag­ster 800 RR he had pur­chased from Hamp­shire MV Agusta (a trad- ing name of Hamp­shire Mo­tor­cy­cles Ltd and not to be con­fused with the new Hamp­shire MV Agusta busi­ness run by Alf’s mo­tor­cy­cles of Wor­thing or Moto Per­for­mance Ltd) was de­liv­ered to him on trade plates. Af­ter some in­ves­ti­ga­tions of his own, he says that he dis­cov­ered that – de­spite there be­ing a reg­is­tra­tion plate un­der the trade plate – the bike was un­reg­is­tered, the reg­is­tra­tion num­ber fake, and that the bike he had paid the dealer for in full was still legally owned by Ifi­talia, an Ital­ian fi­nance com­pany.

An­other cus­tomer we spoke to said that he had paid a £3000 de­posit to the same com­pany for an F3 800 RC, and told us that he ended up suc­cess­fully tak­ing them to court to re­cover the money be­cause no bike or pa­per­work were forth­com­ing. In fact, the MV Agusta fo­rums are lit­tered with posts from dis­grun­tled cus­tomers of this deal­er­ship. Yet an­other cus­tomer says that he took them to court over the non-de­liv­ery of an F4RC. In this in­stance, the cus­tomer said that he lost the money he had paid to the deal­er­ship. Hamp­shire Mo­tor­cy­cles Ltd was even­tu­ally wound up in June 2016.

An­other dealer in the North took five bikes from MV Agusta, and is al­leged to have sold them on ‘fake’ num­ber­plates with­out reg­is­ter­ing any of them, or in­form­ing MV Agusta of the sales – then ceased trad­ing. The al­le­ga­tions about this dealer’s prac­tices only came to light af­ter they sold a Turismo Ve­loce to a po­lice of­fi­cer.

Fran­chise prob­lems

There is a the­ory among some deal­ers that MV Agusta’s UK agent be­came less cau­tious over man­ag­ing the sales sup­port role in re­cent years. Al­though, of course, it is hard to know what the cat­a­lyst was for the al­leged prob­lems – dif­fi­cul­ties like this can arise when deal­ers en­counter un­ex­pected fi­nan­cial prob­lems. One cur­rent dealer told MCN that they be­lieved MV Agusta had been very naïve about what was hap­pen­ing, de­scrib­ing it as “giv­ing a child a box of ice cream, telling them to only take one scoop, and then leav­ing the room”.

The com­pany in charge of MV Agusta regis­tra­tions in the UK be­lieves as many as 20 bikes may have been sold to road rid­ers – with the cus­tomer be­ing to­tally un­aware that they may not ac­tu­ally own their bike. If that is cor­rect, be­yond the fi­nan­cial and emo­tional im­pli­ca­tions, this would be par­tic­u­larly wor­ri­some as any­one rid­ing a bike they don’t own would be unin­sured, and could be li­able to pros­e­cu­tion.

Track at­tack

It’s not just road bikes that are im­pli- cated in these al­le­ga­tions – but also track bikes. Un­til re­cently, there was an ‘MV Agusta Ex­pe­ri­ence’ that ran in the UK, giv­ing rid­ers the op­por­tu­nity to ex­pe­ri­ence race-prepped MV Agus­tas on track. The Ex­pe­ri­ence seems to have had con­nec­tions with Hamp­shire Mo­tor­cy­cles Ltd. Some of the Ex­pe­ri­ence track fleet is be­lieved to have been sold off, re­put­edly at very low prices – we have been told of one per­son who says they bought an F4 RC track bike for just £7000 – but MV Agusta in Italy say that they have never been paid for any of them. If that is right, this po­ten­tially means that HMRC, MV Agusta or the firm’s fi­nance house – Ifi­talia – may be able to seize the bikes in or­der to re­cover their losses, should they choose to do so.

Time bomb

The other twist in the story is that since Jan­uary 1 this year, all new bikes reg­is­tered in Europe must be Euro4 com­pli­ant, but all of the MV Agus­tas

‘It’s not just road bikes that are im­pli­cated, but also track bikes’

al­legedly in­volved here are only cer­ti­fied to Euro3, so short of sub­mit­ting the bikes for sin­gle ve­hi­cle type ap­proval (SVA), they’re just ex­pen­sive art­work in­stal­la­tions, or restricted to track use.

So what now?

We con­tacted MV Agusta about these trans­ac­tions, and they told MCN: “MV Agusta Mo­tor S.P.A. is aware of the grave sit­u­a­tion in the UK where some MV Agusta cus­tomers have been de­ceived dur­ing the pur­chase of MV Agusta mo­tor­cy­cles from some in­de­pen­dent UK deal­ers which have acted with fraud and then closed their op­er­a­tions. In brief, it hap­pened that some of now closed in­de­pen­dent UK deal­ers pur­chased MV Agusta mo­tor­bikes di­rectly from us, with­out pay­ing the in­voice to MV Agusta Mo­tor S.P.A. Af­ter this, they sold the mo­tor­bikes to fi­nal cus­tomers with­out sup­ply­ing the nec­es­sary doc­u­ments for the reg­is­tra­tion, cash­ing in the re­tail price from the cus­tomers and clos­ing their com­pany.

“The Com­pany con­demns the ac­tions of these and any other deal­ers that have mis-sold any MV Agusta prod­uct to any cus­tomer.”

Clearly, these are very se­ri­ous al­le­ga­tions that should be in­ves­ti­gated. MV Agusta say that they are in the process of build­ing their own case against those in­volved, and so are un­able to tell us when they be­came aware of these al­le­ga­tions nor how this might have hap­pened. MV Agusta have sug­gested that own­ers pur­sue the deal­ers through the courts them­selves.

Their of­fi­cial re­sponse stated: “We strongly ad­vise any cus­tomer that has un­der­taken any trans­ac­tion with such deal­ers, to act against the deal­ers or the per­son/per­sons as­so­ci­ated with the deal­ers through the UK Crim­i­nal Court Sys­tem. MV Agusta Mo­tor S.P.A. is fully avail­able to as­sist any cus­tomer that has fallen vic­tim if ad­di­tional doc­u­men­ta­tion to sup­port their ac­tions is needed.” MV Agusta S.P.A. have not said which spe­cific deal­ers they are re­fer­ring to in their state­ment.

At the time of go­ing to press, MV Agusta were un­able to pro­vide MCN with de­tails re­gard­ing the ex­act num­ber of un­ac­counted-for bikes, or their chas­sis num­bers.

In the mean­time, we have been in con­tact with those who ran Hamp­shire Mo­tor­cy­cle Ltd, but they have de­clined to com­ment.

Is your MV yours?

So should you be con­cerned if you’ve re­cently bought a new or used MV Agusta road bike, or a track bike? In sim­ple terms, if you have a V5 then you should have noth­ing to worry about what­so­ever. But if you don’t have a V5 yet, and bought the bike more than eight weeks ago, then you should con­tact your dealer in the first in­stance, or go di­rect to the DVLA to check they have a record of your bike. If they don’t, and your sup­ply­ing dealer is no longer trad­ing, then you should con­tact MV Agusta in Italy for fur­ther as­sis­tance.

Turismo Ve­loce sold to a po­lice of­fi­cer pro­voked fur­ther con­cern

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