Harley-Davidson imposes ‘unlawful’ repair restrictions, new class action alleges

Harley-Davidson class action lawsuit overview:

  • Who: Plaintiff James Billings filed a class action lawsuit against Harley-Davidson Motor Company Group Inc.
  • Why: Harley-Davidson warranty terms allegedly include unlawful terms that condition the warranty on the use of authorized repair services and replacement parts.
  • Where: The Harley-Davidson class action lawsuit was filed in Massachusetts federal court.

Harley-Davidson violates federal and state warranty laws by conditioning the validity of its warranty on the use of authorized repair services and replacement parts, according to a class action lawsuit filed Oct. 13.

Plaintiff James Billings says he purchased a Harley-Davidson FLTRX motorcycle in August 2021 and believed its warranty complied with state and federal warranty laws.

In October 2021, he says he took his motorcycle to a third-party repair shop for service. In March 2022, Billings says he took his motorcycle to a Harley-Davidson dealership for warranty repairs on the radio, but he was reportedly informed that his warranty was void because he had his motorcycle serviced by a third-party repair shop.

The Harley-Davidson class action lawsuit says that, had Billings known that the Harley-Davidson warranty contained unlawful warranty-voiding provisions, he would not have purchased the motorcycle or would have paid less for it.

Harley-Davidson class action claims warranty violates federal law

Billings says the Harley-Davidson warranty violates the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act that regulates consumer warranties and warranty disputes. He points out that this federal warranty law prohibits a company from conditioning a warranty on the consumer’s using parts or services that are identified by a brand, trade or corporate name.

The Harley-Davidson class action lawsuit also notes that Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act says that manufacturers’ use of a repair restriction could be challenged as an unfair restriction if it harms consumers (including monetary harm). The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) found that these restrictions could direct consumers toward using manufacturers’ repair networks or encourage them to replace their products earlier than necessary.

The FTC reportedly took action against Harley-Davidson over its allegedly illegal warranties in June 2022.

Billings filed the Harley-Davidson lawsuit on behalf of himself and a proposed class of people in the United States who purchased Harley-Davidson products with warranty provisions that prohibit self repair and/or the use of unauthorized parts.

The Harley-Davidson class action lawsuit asserts claims for violations of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, unjust enrichment, fraud, fraudulent omission and declaratory judgment.

Do you think the Harley-Davidson warranty terms are unfair? Join the discussion in the comments!

Billings is represented by James. J. Reardon Jr. of Reardon Scanlon LLP and Julian C. Diamond, Neal Deckant and Joel D. Smith of Bursor & Fisher PA.

The Harley-Davidson warranty class action lawsuit is James Billings v. Harley-Davidson Motor Company Group Inc., Case No. 1:22-cv-11747, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.