Harley-Davidson has been targeted by two class action lawsuits in America over competition and antitrust regulations.
The two lawsuits are both federal, although originate from different states. One is from California, and the other is from Wisconsin.
Reuters reports that the lawsuits allege that Harley-Davidson did not adhere to US competition regulations, as well as antitrust provisions, by limiting where customers could have their motorcycles repaired, and thus forcing them to pay inflated prices for the repairs as a result of such limitations.
Specifically, the California lawsuit, which was filed on Friday, is in relation to Californian competition laws, as well as other statutes that Harley-Davidson is alleged to have broken, while the Wisconsin case relates to antitrust provisions.
The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Thomas Burt of Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Hertz, said that Harley-Davidson “has kept a larger share of the parts market for itself, and commanded higher prices for its repair parts, because it has used its warranty to unlawfully force Harley owners to use its own branded parts.”
These latest lawsuits come after an agreement was reached between Harley-Davidson and the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in a case brought to the manufacturer over ‘right-to-repair’. That case was brought against Harley-Davidson by the FTC because the Commission said that restrictions on which parts and services can be used to repair a vehicle increase costs for the consumer and hinder innovation. The restrictions were such that the use of third-party parts or services for the repair of a bike could lead to the warranty on the bike being denied.
In the FTC case, Harley-Davidson said that it would not deny a warranty if a customer used third-party parts or services, but said in its consent agreement that “for defects or damage caused by unauthorised parts, service, or use of the vehicle, including defects or damage caused by the installation of unapproved or aftermarket parts,” warranty claims on the vehicle could be denied.
When asked by Visordown, Harley-Davidson declined to comment on either the Wisconsin or California lawsuits.