Babboe employees hid broken cargo bikes – criminal investigation

Babboe employees hid broken cargo bikes – criminal investigation

The scandal surrounding dangerous frame fractures on Babboe cargo bikes is expanding. A Dutch media report shows how defects were actively covered up – the public prosecutor’s office is investigating. Meanwhile, Babboe wants to get his wheels back on the road.

Even almost two months after the sales stop for Babboe cargo bikes, affected customers are still wondering: When and how will I be compensated? And how big is the risk of a frame break really? Was it just an authority being a bit overcautious and in the end everything wasn’t as bad?

Unfortunately, when it comes to the latter question, it doesn’t look like the all-clear is given. Research by the Dutch broadcaster “RTL Nieuws” suggests that the Babboe scandal is much more than just careless sloppiness. The company is said to have not only failed to report reported broken frames to the authorities, as previously known. Employees are said to have actively covered up these defects by hiding broken bicycle frames from inspectors.

Criminal investigation against Babboe

The Babboe scandal is becoming more and more of a criminal case. The Dutch product safety authority NVWA has now launched a criminal investigation. The public prosecutor’s office and inspectors from the authority would now examine whether Babboe had acted negligently, said a spokesman for the DPA. Babboe’s parent company Accell also confirms the criminal investigations. The company said in a statement that they would of course cooperate.

According to “RTL Nieuws”, Babboe has deceived the supervisory authority NVWA for years about the extent of the safety problems with Babboe bikes. Photos, documents and conversations with employees show that bikes with broken frames were actively hidden from inspectors. Through an inspection in 2021, an employee says: “The NVWA should arrive at ten o’clock. So we went out at a quarter to eight in the morning to hide everything. We packed the broken bikes into a van.”

Other Babboe employees reported similar things. Six employees confirmed to “RTL Nieuws” that they had hidden bikes from inspectors. Broken frames were brought into containers or buses – or the scrap dealer was specifically ordered to pick up the scrap metal one day before the inspection. An NVWA spokesman calls this approach “absolutely shocking and downright disgusting” in the report.

In February, the NVWA imposed a sales ban on all Babboe bikes because hundreds of frames were said to have broken without the manufacturer adequately investigating and taking action against it. The sales stop was also extended to Germany. In addition, there is a recall for numerous models and the wheels should no longer be used due to safety defects. Customers can check whether their own Babboe bike is affected by visiting the manufacturer’s website.

Babboe customers should get new bikes – or at least an inspection

At the beginning of March, Babboe recalled the City, City-E, Mini and Mini-E models in Germany. At the same time, Babboe named a dozen other models to which the recall could be extended and which should also not be used for the time being. According to the Babboe website, City Mountain produced before 2020 as well as the Slim Mountain & Transporter, Pro-Trike and Pro-Trike-E, Trike-E and Pro Trike XL Motor models have now also been recalled in the Netherlands. There was no update on this on the German Babboe site on Wednesday.

According to Babboe, a total of 22,000 cargo bikes will be recalled in all countries, a third of all models. Babboe wants to collect the bikes in Germany and the Netherlands from mid-April. According to information on the Dutch site, owners of bikes that are less than five years old should get a new bike. For older bikes that are affected by the recall, the value should be taken into account when purchasing a new bike. Babboe also assumes that the majority of the wheels can be used again after checking and possibly repairing them. For this purpose, specialized technicians would be sent to customers. There was initially no information about this on the German Babboe site until Wednesday afternoon.

Source: Stern

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