Car purchase law - defects and warranty
Lawyer car purchase: When buying a vehicle, the following unfortunately happens very often: during the test drive everything was still very good. But (shortly) after the purchase, defects appear on the vehicle. The buyer then asks himself: What can I do? Am I entitled to a warranty from the seller? In the following, we would like to take a look at important questions from our legal practice on the subject of car purchase. We are a law firm in Frankfurt am Main specializing in car purchase law. When it comes to cars and warranties, you need a lawyer who specializes in car buying. We have a lot of experience here and can help you.
Car purchase law - When is there a material defect?
The buyer only has warranty rights against the seller if the vehicle was defective at the time of transfer of risk. Whether a material defect exists is to be answered on the basis of § 434 BGB. The law distinguishes between the subjective and the objective concept of defect. Subjective concept of defect means: What have the parties agreed in the present case? Does the actual condition deviate from the target condition? Objective defect definition means: Is the purchased car suitable for normal use? However, it is then also decisive that the defect - whether objective or subjective - already existed at the time of transfer of risk. This means that the defect must have existed when the vehicle was handed over.
Does it make a difference if the seller is a private person or a dealer?
Yes, in several respects. For example, a private seller can exclude warranty rights completely by contract. A dealer, on the other hand, cannot do this if the buyer is a private individual. In this case, the dealer must provide a warranty for the vehicle for at least one year. Another difference between a private seller and a dealer: in the case of a so-called consumer goods purchase (i.e. seller is an entrepreneur, buyer is a private person), there is a reversal of the burden of proof according to § 477 BGB. This means the following: If a material defect becomes apparent within six months of the transfer of risk, it is presumed that the item was already defective at the time of the transfer of risk, unless this presumption is incompatible with the nature of the item or the defect. However, this reversal of the burden of proof does not apply to a private seller.
Is a disclaimer always permissible for a private seller?
Lawyer car purchase: A private seller can exclude warranty rights in principle. That is correct. However, an exclusion of warranty is not always permissible. For example, an exclusion of warranty for contractually warranted characteristics is not permissible even if the seller is a private person. As a buyer, you should not give up too easily. In case of doubt, it is always better to seek advice from a specialized lawyer.
A defect exists - What rights does the buyer have?
If there is a material defect at the time of transfer of risk, the purchaser may demand subsequent performance in accordance with § 439 BGB. This is understood to mean the removal of the defect or the delivery of a defect-free item. Only if the supplementary performance fails or the seller refuses the supplementary performance, the buyer can exercise further rights (e.g. withdrawal from the contract, reduction, etc.). This is referred to as the seller's right to a second tender.
Who bears the costs of subsequent performance?
Pursuant to Section 439 (2) of the German Civil Code (BGB), the Seller shall bear the expenses necessary for the purpose of subsequent performance. These include in particular transport, travel, labor and material costs.
How often is the seller allowed to rework?
According to § 440 S. 2 of the German Civil Code (BGB), a remedy shall be deemed to have failed after the second unsuccessful attempt, unless the nature of the item or defect or other circumstances indicate otherwise.
What rights does the buyer have if the supplementary performance fails or the seller refuses it?
In this case, the further rights of the purchaser are determined according to § 437 No. 2 or § 437 No. 3 BGB. Accordingly, the purchaser may either withdraw from the purchase contract or reduce the purchase price. Claims for damages and reimbursement of expenses may also be considered.
Withdrawal or reduction?
Withdrawal or "only" reduce the purchase price? This always depends on the individual case. According to Section 323 (5) sentence 2 of the German Civil Code (BGB ), rescission is only permissible if the breach of duty is significant. When is this the case? Here, the BGH has established the following principle: in the case of a remediable defect, the costs of remedying the defect must exceed the limit of 5% of the purchase price. However, in a landmark decision dated May 28, 2014 (Ref.: VIII ZR 94/13), the BGH indicated that a comprehensive weighing of interests is required based on the circumstances of the individual case. Even if the costs of remedying a defect are below the 5% limit in the case of a remediable defect, the defect may still be significant due to special circumstances (such as special difficulties or the time required to procure replacement parts).
Lawyer car purchase - We will help you
Car purchase lawyer: If you have any questions about car purchase law or are looking for an assertive lawyer, please contact us. Feel free to send us your information in the contact form below. We will get back to you as soon as possible. You can also use the form to send us documents. We can already check these in the context of a free initial examination and see how we can best help you. We look forward to hearing from you.