Faults with the car following purchase from a private individual

If you have bought the car from a private individual, you are not protected in the same way as when you buy from a car dealer. A basic level of protection is provided via the Consumer Sales Act, but what is most important is what you and the seller have agreed upon.

Sold as seen

If the seller says, for example, that the car is “sold as seen”, this does not mean that the seller is free from all responsibility. According to the Consumer Sales Act, the car is still considered to be faulty if:

  • it does not match the information provided by the seller – for example, about features such as traction control
  • the seller has avoided informing you of anything important about the car that he/she is likely to know about – such as, for example, if there is significant damage to the car
  • the car is in considerably worse condition than the buyer could have expected.

Complaining about a fault with the car

If you discover a fault with the car, you must make a complaint within a reasonable time. At the very latest, this must be made within two years, but you should make your complaint as soon as you can. If you and the seller agree to repair the fault, you can demand a deduction in the price of the car to cover the repair costs. You can also demand to return the car and get your money refunded.

Cancel the purchase

You have the right to cancel the purchase if the seller knew about a fault to the car but expressly denied it – such as serious damage, for example. If the seller does not agree to cancel the purchase, you are said to be in dispute and this will have to be settled by a court of law unless you can reach an agreement.


If you can prove there is something wrong with the car, you may be entitled to receive compensation from the seller for any costs you had to pay because of the fault. You are also entitled to compensation if the seller has failed to take care of the car during the period between payment and collection, or if the car doesn’t have a particular characteristic or feature that the seller has claimed that it has – such as a certain engine size, for example. Bear in mind that the buyer’s responsibility to inspect the car is greater than the obligation of the seller to provide information. You can claim compensation orally, but it is best to present a written claim as complaints are also made in writing.

Dispute with the seller

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

If you bought the car from a private seller and have ended up in dispute, The National Board for Consumer Disputes cannot help you to resolve the dispute.