Faults with the car following purchase from a car dealer

Sometimes, buying a car doesn’t quite go as you’d imagined. If you have bought a car from a car dealer, the purchase is covered by the provisions of the Consumer Sales Act. New cars often come with warranties that provide greater protection.

Faults discovered after you have bought the car

The Consumer Sales Act governs what can be considered as faults with the car. That which was included in the agreement at the time of purchase is of great importance. The car must always be roadworthy and safe to drive when you buy it. If it is not, this is always regarded as a fault. You can choose to buy a car which is not safe to drive but you and the seller must have agreed upon this at the time of purchase. Faults that become evident within six months after you have received the car are considered to have existed at the time of purchase, unless the seller is able to prove otherwise.

Sold as seen

The description 'the car is sold as seen' is often used by sellers. If, in terms of price, age and mileage, the car turns out to be in worse condition than you had reason to expect, it is considered to be faulty. Conditions such as 'the car is sold as seen' do not mean that the seller is free from all liability regarding the condition of the car.

Register a customer complaint about the car

According to the Consumer Sales Act, there is a period of three years within which you can register a customer complaint. During this time, you can complain to the seller about any detected faults within a reasonable period. As soon as you discover a fault, you should make your complaint as soon as possible. Complaints made within two months of the detection of the fault are considered to have been made within a reasonable period of time.

Register a complaint in writing

If you do not receive a response to your complaint from the seller, you must register the complaint in writing, by either e-mail or letter. Keep a copy of the complaint – it is good if you are able to produce confirmation at a later date of when you have complained and why. It may be a good idea to send the complaint by registered post, which means that it is sent as first class mail.

Do not make repairs yourself

If you discover a fault with the car, the seller has the right to be able to rectify the fault. This action must take place without delay and within a reasonable period of time, it must be free of charge and without causing problems for you. In exceptional cases where it is difficult to make contact with the seller, you can have the car repaired at a different garage, but you must always try to contact the seller first.

Withhold payment

If you have bought the car on credit, you can approach both the seller and the credit provider. The Consumer Credit Act gives you the opportunity to withhold payments to the creditor if the seller does not agree to rectify the fault. You are only allowed to withhold an amount equivalent to the estimated cost of the repair. Bear in mind that, if the complaint is judged to be unfounded, you may be liable to pay interest charges for delayed payment to the creditor if you have withheld payment.

Your rights

If there is a fault with the car, you have the right to demand that the seller either corrects the fault or supplies an equivalent car free of charge.

Compensation in the event of a fault or delayed delivery

If you incur costs due to faults with the car or because of a delay in the delivery of the car, you are entitled to claim compensation. The amount of compensation sought must be reasonable relative to the cost of the car, and you must be able to provide proof of your costs with, for example, receipts.

The seller's powers of control

If the seller is to be exempted from the payment of damages, he/she must meet a requirement proving that it was beyond the seller's powers to control the delay or the problem with the car. If the fault or the delay are attributed to another party commissioned by the seller, this party must also meet the requirement if the seller is to be exempted from liability for damages.

The obligations of the buyer

If the problem with the car means that you will be without a car for a certain period of time, it is a good idea to discuss with the seller how this problem could be solved. You might be able to borrow a courtesy car temporarily or, alternatively, hire a car. Be sure, however, to restrict your expenses. The courtesy car does not have to be free of charge. The seller has the right to charge you for the corresponding normal depreciation, service cost per distance driven and fuel costs.

Dispute with a car dealer

In the event of a dispute, it can be a good idea to obtain the opinion of a third party who has inspected the car and made a technical assessment. At Bilprovningen, you can have your car tested and receive a certificate stating any faults.