St. Paul Harley-Davidson settles lawsuit with Motor Co.

Publish Date: 
Apr 11, 2012

St. Paul Harley-Davidson and the Motor Co. have settled a lawsuit over dealers selling official Harley-Davidson goods using third-party websites like eBay and Amazon.com.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, other than a judge’s April 11 dismissal order stating that both parties would handle their own legal fees. The dismissal is “with prejudice,” meaning the parties cannot re-file the case.

Dealer principal Tom Giannetti and his attorney, Douglas Boettge, confirmed the settlement and its confidentiality. Attorneys for the Motor Co. did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Although the terms of the settlement are under wraps, St. Paul Harley-Davidson’s eBay store now carries the following disclaimer:

“Thank you for your interest in St. Paul Harley-Davidson®. Due to recent internet sales policy changes with Harley-Davidson Motor Company, we are no longer able to accept third party website transactions for any of our products. We will continue to honor our thirty (30) day return and exchange policy from the date of your purchase’s receipt. Please contact us directly at esales@stpaulhd.com for specific instructions regarding exchanges and returns. We thank you for your past business and support, and appreciate your understanding.”

Dealernews was unable to find a listing for St. Paul Harley-Davidson as a seller on Amazon.com or ShopNBC.com, both sites mentioned in the dealer's complaint.

The dealership sued The Motor Co. last November, claiming the OEM's restrictions on foreign sales by U.S. dealers and sales through third-party websites are unfair, and undercut dealer profits.

St. Paul Harley-Davidson owner Tom Giannetti alleged in the complaint that new restrictions on PG&A sales “would deprive [St. Paul Harley-Davidson] of literally millions of dollars of annual revenues, thereby jeopardizing its ability to remain in business.” He claims the dealership made $8 million a year in revenue from online and foreign sales from 2008 through 2010.

According to the lawsuit, the OEM notified U.S. dealers that, starting Aug. 1, 2011, they would no longer be able to sell Harley-Davidson parts and accessories to any customer outside the United States. The lawsuit said that starting Jan. 1, 2012, U.S. dealers may not sell new parts or accessories on third-party websites. The dealer claimed that violated his franchise agreement.

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