In the case of the sale of a car, the primary method for fixing a defect or fault is repair. The vendor has the right to repair the defect or fault if the repairs can be performed within a reasonable time, without causing a decrease in the value of the item and without undue inconvenience to the buyer.
If the same fault appears repeatedly in a car, other measures for resolving the problem can be pursued after a few unsuccessful rounds of repair. If the fault is impossible to repair or the repairs cannot be performed within a reasonable time, the buyer has the right to demand a price reduction or the cancellation of a sale.
If the seller offers a substitute car for the duration of repairs, the reasonable period of time for repairs can be slightly longer than it would otherwise be.
Cost of repairs
If the warranty is valid, the warrantor is obliged to repair the car in accordance with the warranty policy, without any costs being imposed on the consumer.
If the warranty has expired or no warranty applies, in most cases the repair of a defect may not incur costs for the consumer. The most practical alternative is to repair the car with a used but fully functioning spare part provided such a part is available reasonably soon and the car can be repaired appropriately.
Often a car will, thanks to new parts, be in a better condition than corresponding cars in terms of age and mileage, and the consumer benefits from the repairs as the car’s value increases. In cases like this the consumer can be expected to contribute to the repair costs:
- If the repair costs are unreasonable to the seller, the seller does not have to repair it if the consumer does not pay part of the costs.
- If the seller informs the buyer that the repair costs will be unreasonably high unless the consumer pays for some of the cost, the consumer may decline to pay to have the car repaired to be in a better condition than it was.
If the seller or consumer does not agree to have the car repaired to be in a better condition than it was, the fault can be rectified with a price reduction corresponding to the fault. For example, estimated costs sufficient to repair the car into a condition corresponding to a car of the same age and mileage.
Location of repairs
If the warranty is valid, the warrantor is obliged to carry out the repairs under the warranty and is entitled to determine where such repairs will be carried out. The consumer should contact the warrantor in order to identify the best course of action. This is particularly important if the dealer who sold the car, or the warrantor's service provider, are located far away from the buyer. The provider of the warranty must either organise the transportation of the car or cover the cost of transportation.
If the warranty has expired and the vendor is liable for the defect in the car, the vendor has the right to repair the defect or fault if the repairs can be performed within a reasonable time, without causing a decrease in the value of the item and without undue inconvenience for the buyer.
Having the car repaired in a repair workshop other than the one designated by the vendor is only permitted if the repairs cannot be delayed without causing undue inconvenience for the consumer, for example if the defect appears when the buyer is travelling. Even in such a case, the buyer should contact the vendor as soon as possible. If the consumer has the repairs done in a location other than that which is designated by the vendor, without a justifiable reason for doing so, the consumer may only demand compensation for the costs that the vendor would have incurred from carrying out the repairs.
Replacing the car
Replacing the car is an option if there is no reasonable means of repairing the defect. A fault in a car is rarely so significant that the car needs to be replaced. When the car in question is a used car, it is usually not even possible to find another vehicle that would correspond to the present one.
If the purchase price has not yet been paid in full, the consumer has the right to withhold a portion of the sum that corresponds to the defect until the defect has been repaired or otherwise compensated for. The remainder of the purchase price must be paid in accordance with the sales contract.