Stuart Smith has been embroiled in a dispute for the past 20 months over a £1,200 scooter ordered from a national bikes company.
He ordered the 50cc Scorpion model last year for his brother, Gary, who needs it to travel to and from his farm job.
The machine came from London-based Direct Bikes, which describes itself as “the UK’s No 1-selling scooter brand confirmed by the DVLA”.
But when the order arrived at Stuart’s house in Turriff, Aberdeenshire, its packaging was clearly damaged, he said.
“My wife signed for it and she made sure the courier noted on the delivery form that the packaging was damaged,” he explained.
“When I got home from work and opened the outer cardboard box I noticed how bad this damage was.
“The metal cage the bike arrived in was bashed and bent. It looked like it had been dropped from a height.
“The footrest on the scooter was also damaged and the bodywork was cracked.”
Stuart, 54, contacted Direct Bikes to report the issue – but the company disputed his version of events, claiming the courier stated the goods had been signed for as being in “good condition”.
Stuart was told: “Under the circumstances we are unable to process a claim with the courier.”
After consulting Citizens Advice, he went back to Direct Bikes. He told the firm he had been advised to reject the bike as damaged goods, plus request a full refund and ask the company to uplift it.
But the firm responded: “You are misadvised by Citizens Advice.
“For any damage, you are required to sign for the goods damaged or refuse the goods. The courier has advised you have done neither.”
After months of trying to re-engage with Direct Bikes further with no joy, Stuart attempted to get the cash back via the Government’s Money Claims service.
This enables users to access the court system to pursue debts owed by individuals and businesses in England and Wales.
In January, Money Claims advised Stuart that Direct Bikes had failed to file their directions questionnaire to the court and its defence had been struck out.
He was told he was at liberty to enter a default judgment against the company – but Stuart decided this would be too costly and time-consuming.
Feeling at the end of his tether, he wrote to Raw Deal for advice.
When we contacted the courier company which delivered the bike to Turriff, Aberdeen-based Pegasus Express, a representative told us that, according to its records, Stuart’s wife had indeed signed that the packaging was damaged when it arrived, contradicting what Direct Bikes had told him.
However, a number of approaches to Direct Bikes from Raw Deal have proved fruitless.
The company did not respond to requests for comment sent to all of its listed departments.
The unused, damaged scooter is still gathering dust at Stuart’s house – but he is determined not to let the matter rest.
He wants the bike gone and the £1,200 to be returned, and he is now raising a complaint with the Financial Ombudsman.
Stuart said his brother Gary had got fed up waiting for the bike saga to be sorted and had since shelled out another £2,000 for a Honda scooter from a local bike shop to get to his work.
Stuart added: “The whole situation is ridiculous. I would hate to see anyone else having the kind of hassle that I have.”