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socrateaser
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A little over a year ago I purchased a motorcycle from a Harley

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A little over a year ago I purchased a motorcycle from a Harley Davidson dealer in Santa Cruz, California. At the time of purchase I paid for an extended warranty and a new seat. About a week after making my purchase the dealer went out of business. Subsequently I discovered that neither the warranty nor the seat were ordered. I have recently discovered that the check the dealer used to pay the vehicle registration fees bounced. The total dollar amount for these items is approximately $1400.00.

Since the dealer closed and has possibly filed for bankruptcy protection I am interested in knowing if I have any recourse directly with the Harley Davidson company.

Any information you can provide will be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,
David Gripton XXX@XXXXXX.XXX
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 4 years ago.

Unless your extended warranty was provided by the manufacturer, you would have no recourse, because the dealer is a separate legal entity.

 

If the warranty was provided by the manufacturer, you claim that the dealer was the manufacturer's agent, and that by accepting your money, the manufacturer is liable for the dealer's acts to the extent of an existing agency to sell the warranty.

 

Re the registration, the failure to pay the fees on your behalf, technically amounts to theft under Penal Code 484(a). The problem is that the police/sheriff frequently will claim that this sort of action by the dealer is "a civil matter," in an effort to push the litigation costs on to the injured party, rather than to use taxpayer money to try to bring the purpetrator to justice.

 

That said, you have nothing to lose by reporting the dealer's actions to law enforcement, because if they accept the report, then maybe they will prosecute -- especially if they discover more than one similar bounced registration check.

 

Other than that, you would have had to file what is called an "adversary complaint" in bankruptcy court to have the debt declared nondischargeable due to fraud. The problem here is that this would be a very expensive legal action, and the attorney's fees would far outstrip the $1,400 that you have at stake. So, it's probably not worth the effort, especially as the dealer probably doesn't have any money to pay with, even if you were to win.

 

Sometimes, there just isn't much you can do to get justice, and this may be one of those times.

 

Hope this helps.

 

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socrateaser, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 34403
Experience: Attorney and Real Estate Broker -- Retired (mostly)
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