IS YOUR MV AGUSTA LEGAL?
MCN investigation discovers up to 50 MV Agusta owners in the Uk may not actually own their bikes
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.
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.
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.
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.
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