When going to a car dealership, it is a good idea to keep a cool head. Remember that an old car is not new, and that it is a good idea to be prepared to pay repair costs. Even when a defect in a car falls under the liability of the seller, repair costs can be shared between the seller and buyer if the value of the car clearly increases as a result of the repair.
The more a car is driven and the older it is, the greater the proportion of repair expenses are the responsibility of the buyer.
Ask the seller to write down all items that have been agreed on in the sales agreement and check the maintenance record for all repairs that have been conducted. Also check if the timing belt has been changed. A broken timing belt can lead to costly engine repairs. Remember that the Consumer Protection Act does not apply to a sale between two private individuals. Read all tips from Consumer Advice on used cars.
A warranty is a voluntary supplementary benefit given by the seller; the seller is liable for defects
When acquiring a car, it is good to know that a warranty is not the same thing as liability for defects. A warranty is a voluntary supplementary benefit granted by a seller, importer, or manufacturer. Its duration and coverage are set according to the terms that it contains. Warranties are not always granted for used cars.
Even if a car does not have a warranty, or if the warranty has expired, the seller is still liable for faults that emerge if they fall within the scope of the Consumer Protection Act.
A seller cannot unilaterally set conditions that restrict legally mandated liability for defects. In situations involving a defect, a case-by-case evaluation is made on what can be reasonably expected from a comparable car.
The defect liability period is defined on the basis of the expected remaining useful life. A car's useful life is affected by the amount the car has been driven, the conditions in which it has been used, and how the car is serviced and maintained. The buyer bears responsibility for the proper use of the car.
A business selling the car of a private individual is liable for defects
If you buy a car from another private individual, the Consumer Protection Act does not apply. A car owned by a private individual can nevertheless be sold by a car dealership on the basis of a sales account agreement or other brokerage agreement. In such a case the car dealership deals with contract negotiations and other matters related to the sale directly with the buyer.
In such a situation the car dealership, which serves as an intermediary, is responsible for possible defects in the car. If there is a defect in the car you can complain about it directly to the car dealership that served as the intermediary.
Report the defect to the seller without delay
When a used car is bought from a car dealership, the buyer is protected under the Consumer Protection Act. If something in the deal goes wrong, always contact the seller of the car. The complaint assistant application helps in the drafting of a written complaint. The application also provides information on consumers’ rights and gives instructions for the most common problem situations
The Consumer Advisory Service offers free guidance and mediation assistance in disputes.
A defect in a used car