Tip of the week: The seller is liable for defects in a used car also after the warranty period

12 June 2017

When you buy a used car from a car dealer or another business, your rights are protected under the Consumer Protection Act.

The vendor's liability for defects in the car does not end with the expiry of a warranty.  However, once the warranty has expired, the buyer, not the seller, must be able to prove that the fault in question is a defect.

The vendor’s liability for defects is determined on a case-by-case basis. If the actual useful life of the car or its part, in normal use, turns out to be shorter than the buyer can reasonably expect, the seller is responsible. The seller company is responsible for faults that were present in the car at the time it was transferred to the new owner, even if the fault only appears later.

A fault due to natural wear and tear, an accident, inappropriate servicing or improper use is not considered to constitute a defect.

If diagnostics prove the car to be without defects, in most cases the company is entitled to charge the customer a reasonable sum for diagnostics, as long as this has been mentioned or agreed in advance.

It is best to notify the vendor about the defect as soon as possible. If you want, you can use the Complaint Assistant. The importer or another previous link in the sales chain is not responsible for defects in a used car unless the warranty granted by it remains valid.

If your complaint to the company is unsuccessful, contact the consumer rights advisors at a Local Register Office.

Further information
A defect in a used car

Updated 14.6.2017 Print