Industry leaders from the Fork Lift Truck Association have voiced their concerns over online fork lift truck sales following the discovery of a fork lift truck being sold via an auction site - despite the fact that it was in such poor condition that it had been previously condemned by an experienced fork lift truck dealer.
Just three months after advising the truck's owner that the machine was beyond economical repair, the dealer was alarmed to receive a call from the counterbalance truck's new owner.
Having bought the truck online - without warranty or documentation - the customer turned to his local dealer, a Member of the Fork Lift Truck Association, after spotting their service sticker on the truck.
"The customer was distressed as his 'new' truck had stopped working," said Andy Pilkington, managing director of Allways Forktruck Services. "You can imagine his reaction when he discovered that the truck that he purchased in 'as new condition' had been written off just weeks earlier...
"Worse still, he faced a bill for several thousand pounds - nearly as high as the purchase price itself - to just get this 'refurbished' truck back into working condition."
Martyn Fletcher, Chairman of the Fork Lift Truck Association, said: "Stories like these are by no means commonplace, but we are aware of a small number of rogue traders operating online who consistently sell trucks of poor quality... Unfortunately, customers have little or no recourse when things go wrong.
"The decision to purchase a fork lift truck should not be taken lightly. You should approach purchasing a fork lift truck online in the same way you would a car: with caution.
"First and foremost, you should insist that your truck purchase is accompanied by the appropriate documentation, including a warranty and a valid Report of Thorough Examination.
"Ensure that the dealer you work with is reputable by appraising them... not just the truck. Do they have references? Do they belong to trade associations? Every FLTA Member is fully vetted before joining and must adhere to a stringent Code of Practice.
"While online purchasing allows you to access trucks nationwide, it makes sense to hire or purchase from a dealer that is local to you so that you can be confident that your truck will be quickly serviced if and when problems occur. Make the right choice and your fork lift will give you many years of loyal service."
The Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA) is Europe's largest representative body for dealers, suppliers and manufacturers of lift trucks and associated equipment. To find an FLTA Member in your area, visit www.fork-truck.org.uk today.