Two Delaware-based motorcycle dealers are currently under investigation by state regulators and the state’s Department of Justice following double-digit numbers of complaints regarding plating, titling, and vehicle registration practices. Both Indian Motorcycle of Wilmington and Indian Motorcycle of Seaford have multiple customer complaints on file with the Delaware Better Business Bureau, in addition to the 13 complaints lodged with the state DOJ.
Both locations are owned by the same person. For those unfamiliar, in the US, federal motor vehicle laws prohibit manufacturers from selling their vehicles directly to consumers. As a result, a massive patchwork of state and local laws governing independent motor vehicle dealers (and sometimes specifically powersports dealers) exists across the country. Since dealerships can be so individualized, experiences from location to location can vary wildly—as seems to be the case reported by the Delaware News Journal.
Complaints range from allegations of failure to deliver license plates, title, and registration for a used vehicle sold in December 2022 to issuing multiple temporary tags to customers for the same vehicle—an action not sanctioned by the Delaware Department of Motor Vehicles.
In more than one case, customers said that they ended up finding out the hard way that the temp tags they believed were completely aboveboard hadn’t actually had their accompanying paperwork filed with the state by the dealership. Effectively, that meant those customers were riding around, thinking they were legal when they weren’t.
One customer even claimed that “my license was suspended because they never turned the tags in” for a bike that they had traded in, according to DNJ. This customer had a bike with Maryland plates that they traded in, and said they were told that the dealership would facilitate the return of those Maryland plates in exchange for Delaware ones for the new bike they had purchased.
Both the state DOJ and DMV confirmed to DNJ that they are actively investigating the complaints they’ve received. While the DMV said that it was investigating “numerous complaints,” it did not specify an actual number. The newspaper also stated that it reached out to the owner of both dealerships, who denied the charges and said that their attorney would call back. As of publication time, that had not happened.
Another BBB complaint from a customer filed in March 2023 says that the customer purchased a new Indian Scout Sixty in full, with no need for financing. They said that they received a 60-day temporary tag at purchase and were told that they should expect to receive the title in the mail within a month. When that didn’t happen, the complainant said they began contacting the dealership weekly to try to resolve the issue—because without the title, they can’t register the vehicle and get it legally plated.
As of September 11, 2023, this complaint has a status of “Unanswered” on the Delaware BBB site. Two other complaints filed by customers both before and since this time have been answered by the business. To date, there are more unanswered complaints across the two dealerships’ BBB pages than there are answered ones.
It’s a good reminder that no matter where you do business, if you’re buying from a dealer, you may want to do some research to make sure other customers are (mostly) happy with the service they’re receiving. A complaint or two here and there isn’t necessarily a red flag, but when you start to see the same issues raised over and over in complaints, it’s probably a good idea to look elsewhere for your own peace of mind.