The most important liability issues for dealers when selling to end customers

by Oguz Özgüler

Liability in the car trade can be complicated. At the same time, it can lead to big problems for the dealer. Therefore, we have briefly summarized the most important information for you.

In principle, as a dealer, unlike private individuals, you can not completely exempt yourself from liability for used cars. This means that you are always liable for damage to the car, which was not known to the buyer before the purchase. But if you know about it as a dealer, you can approach the sale quite relaxed. So what is important?

Reduce your liability before the sale and know your rights

You can also reduce liability as a dealer. So you are only liable for one year instead of two. This you can in the sales contract by the AGB's hold.

In addition, it is important to know that you are only liable for damage that already existed at the time of sale. If the damage is discovered within 6 months after purchase, it looks bad for the dealer. He must prove in the case that the damage was not yet present when the car was sold. This is generally quite difficult. However, if the damage is discovered more than 6 months after the purchase, the buyer must always prove that the damage was already present beforehand. This so-called reversal of the burden of proof therefore protects you as the seller.

Wear is not a defect, therefore no liability for the dealer

Another important information for dealers is that you do not have to be liable for wear. Basically, wear and tear can be explained like this: Some parts on the car need to be replaced regularly. If these are defective, it is likely that this is wear and tear, and not a defect. What exactly are defects, the ADAC has summarized in a list. This list can be found here

The dealer has a right to a second chance

If there is a defect in a car, this does not directly mean that the buyer can simply return the car. First, the dealer has the opportunity to repair the damage. If this repair does not remedy the defect either, the dealer has another chance to repair it. Only if it also fails the second time to eliminate the damage, the buyer can reduce the purchase price or, in the case of a significant defect, withdraw from the contract, that is, return the car and reclaim the purchase price. 

The dealer has in certain cases forfeited the right of a removal of the damage. A changed speedometer reading, for example, the dealer can not rectify. So if you as a dealer have "tinkered" with the speedometer, the buyer can return the car directly and demand a full refund. 

carefree B2B trade

The classic: Accidental damage

On accidental damage, the dealer must point out the buyer, unless this is minor damage. Bagatellschäden are accidents where it has come only to very small external paint damage. If the dealer has such paint damage professionally repaired, this is also not a defect, only if the dealer has offered the vehicle clearly with original paint.

The explanations are non-binding general information, for the completeness or accuracy of which CarOnSale assumes no liability. In particular, they do not replace the advice of a legal expert who will address your individual needs.