Chandigarh man gets bumpy ride on expensive Harley-Davidson

By Jaideep Sarin, IANS
Thursday, November 11, 2010

CHANDIGARH - Having pampered himself with a whopping Rs.19 lakh ($42,000) Harley-Davidson, Chandigarh businessman Simranjeet Gill had hoped for a cruiser of a ride. But little did he know that the US company did not have permission from the transport authorities in Chandigarh to be registered.

The realisation dawned after a speeding car hit and damaged Gill’s motorcycle here last month. Without registration, Gill’s claim for insurance of the expensive bike has been rejected by the insurance company.

After he complained about this, the Harley-Davidson (HD) authorities in India promised to get his mobike repaired at their cost. The motorcycle has, however, not been repaired for over a month since the company says the parts that need to be replaced have to be shipped from the US.

The motorbike model, Fatboy, worth nearly Rs.1.9 mn, was purchased from Tricity Motorcycles Pvt. Ltd, the authorised Harley-Davidson dealer in Chandigarh.

Gill told IANS: “At the time of sale of this bike, Harley-Davidson had not taken necessary approval from STA (State Transport Authority) Chandigarh, and kept its initial buyers in the dark about this.

“On being asked about the registration process, the Harley-Davidson dealer kept on giving unsatisfactory replies, and no headway was made in this regard.”

He purchased the bike in July this year and the accident was Oct 8.

The dealer sold the bike to Gill and other customers saying the approval from the transport authorities was “under process”. They were even issued temporary registration numbers, which, in Gill’s case, has been rejected by the authorities and the insurance company.

“HD officials and the dealer are not even responding to my communication and calls now. I have no idea when I will get my bike back. Is this the way to treat a premium customer who has invested nearly Rs.19 lakh on a bike?” Gill questioned.

Contacted by IANS, HD Chandigarh dealership owner Siddharth Garg said: “We are working out this issue.”

Garg and HD officials evaded a response when asked if they had written permission from the transport authorities in Chandigarh to sell the high-end bikes in the region.

“When I took the bike for registration, the transport authorities refused to do that saying the vehicle had not yet been approved in Chandigarh,” Gill pointed out.

“I fail to understand whether corporations like Harley-Davidson, who dwell so much on customer support in their native countries, have a different set of rules when it comes to India.

“Do I stand guilty of being a customer from a third world country? If so, why did Harley- Davidson open its shop in India, in the every first place. Having paid an enormous price for the two-wheeler, Harley Davidson’s attitude towards its customers is at its indignant best,” an upset Gill lamented.

In response to queries from IANS, Harley-Davidson India stated: “Gill met with an unfortunate accident that led to severe damage to his motorcycle, requiring some non-service parts that were not immediately available and were sourced from overseas. We acknowledge the delay in receiving these parts, and immediately decided to fully absorb the cost of these repairs to minimize the inconvenience to Gill.”

About the vehicles not being registered in Chandigarh, the company spokesman added: “We are somewhat confused by the statements made as we have acted in good faith and all STA certifications and approvals have been sought and received.

“We will not take shortcuts to accelerate any repair as we are committed to quality and safety for all our customers. We are and will remain committed towards meeting the needs of our valued customers and enthusiasts across India, including Gill.”

Harley-Davidson-India director, operations, Yogesh Phogat, in an e-mail to Gill earlier, admitted that the high-end bikes were sold without the vehicles being approved in Chandigarh.

Phogat wrote: “As far as STA registration is concerned, please note that these vehicles are imported and being sold legitimately following all set rules and regulations. These motorcycles are already registered with other State Transport Authorities like Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra etc.

“Application with Chandigarh authorities were also made in time, vehicles were inspected to their satisfaction but due to certain departmental reasons they are taking more than expected time for issuing certificates. We are in constant touch with them and expecting to obtain certificates in the next few days.”

Gill therefore says: “They commenced deliveries of the motorcycles in Chandigarh, mindful of the fact that the motorcycle was not registered with the local authorities.”

Filed under: Economy

will not be displayed