Ducati customer service no help at all with import - what to do now? - Ducati.ms - The Ultimate Ducati Forum
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post #1 of 43 (permalink) Old Jul 3rd, 2019, 1:18 am Thread Starter
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Ducati customer service no help at all with import - what to do now?

I moved to the USA from Canada recently, and I brought my '09 Hyper with me on its Canadian plate, thinking I'd just do the importation once the plate expires. All of my other vehicles were imported with no difficulty at all, since the manufacturers of those vehicles were kind enough to supply the very standard and ubiquitous "letter of conformity" stating that, at the time of manufacture, the vehicle met all USA environmental and safety standards.

When it came time to get such a letter from Ducati, they refused, stating that it is their strict policy not to provide such documentation. I pressed them as to why, and the only answer was something about not having a legal department big enough to handle such a request. Huh?

They did, however, provide a list of all components different between the USA and Canadian Hyper - a list with only one item: the ECU (likely due to one defaulting to kph the other defaulting to mph). Given that information, it seemed like a pretty small stretch to say that my bike met all of the appropriate USA standards at the time of manufacture.

As a substitute for the standard letter of conformity, I politely asked if they could re-send that information in the form of an official-looking letter under the Ducati letterhead. Again, they refused, citing legal concerns. They more or less told me to get stuffed. While that's pretty disappointing in itself, their general level of care for my case was clearly pretty low. All of this happened over the course of months, with many unfulfilled promises to return my emails and phone calls. It's really soured me over the prospect of owning another Ducati, given their apparent customer disdain.

I've tried taking the printed emails to US Customs and Border Protection, along with proof of having changed the ECU to the USA part, but they insist on a letter of conformity.

At this point, I'm kind of screwed. The only option I can currently see is to return the bike to Canada, at great expense, and try to sell it. Last I checked, shipping a bike across the border is gonna cost me in the neighborhood of $1500, plus the favors I'll end up owing to Canadian friends for selling on my behalf.

Any suggestions for alternative action? Is there anyone else at Ducati who might be able to see reason and provide the letter?
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post #2 of 43 (permalink) Old Jul 3rd, 2019, 3:03 am
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First: Ducati owes you nothing as you try to import a bike not originally sold & certified for US, with US DOT, EPA and 50 state certifications & legal stickers. You assumed a lot. Own it.

Cali is a stickler for the US conformance stickers, even with US-origin bikes. I wasted three DMV trips (3+ months worth of appointments, they're so jacked up) with their vehicle inspectors on a fully compliant, US-issued BMW R1150rt brought in from Colorado where it was fully legal & plated. Another US state FFS. They couldn't find enough stickers to make them happy even though the bike is fully OEM paint & stickers as a US bike. All original. To make matters worse, FFS, this is the exact same bike that Cali CHP cops used for many years! Do you think its legal for US roads?! I was forced to get a CHP vehicle inspection (2 month further wait time) before DMV would register the bike.

That's how tight their machinery is these days at CA DMV. No imports, not gray markets, no middle ground or wiggle room. Your bike is black market I guess. Ironically, even if Canada had equal environmental rules & regs.

Your takeaways AFAIK:
1. Export back to Canada and lick your wounds.
2. Find, buy a US Cali frame for your bike and install all your bike's parts on it. If you buy a frame from another state, may work.. but Cali DMV inspector will look at engine # and you'll have to maybe explain why its a different engine. Or maybe they call BS on it and you're done? Other states' level of purview vary, such as AZ, which has no bike inspection upon import from another state. They just need title & registration from another state and bingo, you're in.
3. Try another US state, such as AZ, for the above-mentioned reason. Cali is the most stringent as a bike US Customs / EPA bike specialist told me years back as I was considering bringing in a 2-stroke Cagiva Mito. I gave up on the procedure.
4. Part it out.

Would love to hear others' strategies.

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post #3 of 43 (permalink) Old Jul 3rd, 2019, 4:01 am
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the only comment i can make on the matter is (without any malice, had this discussion many times) you should have worked all this out before you left canada. and it still might not have worked. as above.

wrt to ducati na's attitude, they used to do this on australia, maybe stopped 20 years ago. the issue with all this stuff is that, no matter how nice and accomodating you are, at some time some slimy fucking arsehole thought they'd be a bit smart and got their letter without doing all the stuff they should have and instead of coming back on them, it came back on dna because they were the ones who had supplied and signed the legal document (lots of people don't understand the responsibility that comes with that signature) and their legal team had to fend off cbp who were threatening all sorts of shit that would kill their business and the bloke at dna in charge said "never again, for no one".
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post #4 of 43 (permalink) Old Jul 3rd, 2019, 8:51 am
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You’re giving them way too much credit, belter. Some lazy fuck lawyer in the Ducati legal office doesn’t want to be bothered. If the Canadian model passes U.S requirements then there would be no legal reason not to state that on a letterhead. They would simply be documenting a fact. There would only be the possibility of legal repercussions if they claimed the model conformed when it did not. Fixbroke, it’s too bad Ducati is taking this attitude and I don’t blame you if you never buy another one.
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post #5 of 43 (permalink) Old Jul 3rd, 2019, 9:18 am
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I had issues bringing in an out of state bike into Cali. they wanted 4 things the VIN and Engine
numbers and 2 stickers the noise compliant sticker and the emissions stickers. I did not have
an emissions sticker as it was left on the original plastic tank that had been replaced under
warranty by the PO. I found an image of one on line printed out a few copies stuck one on
the bike and the DMV passed it no questions asked. They just look for those 4 things check
off the boxes on the form they use and its done they could care less if the even has an EVAP
can etc they just need to see those 4 things.

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post #6 of 43 (permalink) Old Jul 3rd, 2019, 9:29 am
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Year ago having moved with a brand new Honda (literally, I shipped a couple of boxes and everything else I had was on the bike) I had just bought in Ohio, the Arizona DMV wanted to have an engine number which the Ohio title did not have. So I paid the $6 inspection, waited in line and showed the guy the Honda part number for the air filter as the engine number. Passed on thru!

Months later I did actually find out where the engine number was but it would have required removing a lot of bodywork on that CBR to get to it.

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post #7 of 43 (permalink) Old Jul 3rd, 2019, 12:12 pm
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Ducati provided the list of things which are not the same as on a US bike, in this case the ECU.

Not for nothing but if I'm comparing things that may cause it to not meet EPA standards, the ECU is a HUGE red flag. Maybe it IS just a difference in what's displayed on the dash, maybe it isn't. I don't know. And neither does the guy checking boxes at the border or license branch or where ever. Ducati's legal dept would have zero knowledge of the difference. Have any of you ever dealt with the legal department of a large corportation? I had to recently regarding a patent issue. The things lawyers will get caught up on will drive you up a wall. Things you find "obvious" will make zero difference to them. Anyway, "Likely due to" doesn't mean shit to anyone in the legal department.

Sorry but this one rests on the OP. Sounds like a lot of assumptions made. I'm a little surprised you got the bike into the country legally to begin with. When I brought a bike over from Canada I had to show all the paperwork before they even let it across the border. But I was upfront it was being imported. The paperwork they signed off on made it trivial to get it registered later.

All that aside... It wouldn't surprise me if the reason Ducati isn't helpful with this is related to dealer support. Your bike is basically a grey market import, and a lot of companies want nothing to do with that.

One option is keeping it registered in Canada using a friend's address. I wouldn't recommend it but you've been riding it on a foreign plate up to now. I'm not sure how insurance would work though. The good news is, you've only got 15 more years before you can legally import it without proof of compliance, so there is that. ;-)

EDIT: And you're in California? For cripe sakes it can be a pain to get bikes from other STATES registered in California, let alone other countries.

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post #8 of 43 (permalink) Old Jul 3rd, 2019, 12:50 pm
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1.Make it a track bike ?

2.Forge documents ?

3.Sell it in Canada ?

4.Ride it with expired foreign plates ?

"And like the snows of yesteryear...gone from the earth"
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post #9 of 43 (permalink) Old Jul 3rd, 2019, 1:27 pm Thread Starter
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Thanks all for the input and comments thus far.

I know that DNA has no specific obligation to provide documentation, beyond the conventions and expectations of helping a customer, so I know this is on me. However, it's pretty disappointing to see the cowardice of a motorcycle manufacturer in the face of a trifling, debatably imagined, concern over legal liability. They make products that the general public regards as death machines, and their legal department is too gun shy to provide already-emailed product information on an official letterhead, for heaven's sake!

I remember once, I was stranded with a dead battery in my car. I had my jumper cables out and ready to go, just waiting for the help of another motorist. Finally one comes along, I flag him down, explain my situation and politely ask for a boost. The driver refused, saying he didn't want to add any extra wear or risk to his healthy alternator. See any parallels? Sure, there's no obligation to help, but the refusal is still a dick move.

Getting the bike California registered is a whole different ball of wax, of course, but that's a bridge to be crossed.

Keeping it Canada registered is something I looked at, but my home province refused to re register it without it inside the country. Besides that, and in keeping with the theme of legal liability concerns, I wouldn't be comfortable knowing that my insurance was on shaky ground.

A possibility has come up to have the bike imported by an official importer. Though this is not without cost (and a month waiting out a grace period), it would at least mean that I get to keep the bike. It would unfortunately also entail swapping out my beautiful Termi exhaust system for the stocker, too.

Last edited by fixbroke; Jul 3rd, 2019 at 1:36 pm.
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post #10 of 43 (permalink) Old Jul 3rd, 2019, 2:03 pm
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Originally Posted by DesmoDog View Post
All that aside... It wouldn't surprise me if the reason Ducati isn't helpful with this is related to dealer support. Your bike is basically a grey market import, and a lot of companies want nothing to do with that.


Itís easy to be angry that Ducati isnít helping because this case is legitimate, but I too wouldnít be shocked to find that they are trying to protect their US dealer network, particularly given USD/CDN exchange rates that may make it tempting to go north for a purchase.

I was considering buying another Canadian members bike recently and unfortunately this thread has confirmed my suspicions regarding the degree of difficulty and expense involved.

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