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Hidden defects car - What are your rights in the Netherlands?

You have bought a car in the Netherlands and are confronted with a (serious) defect. Very annoying. You feel cheated and do not want to pay for the costs yourself. You wonder whether the seller is liable. Below we describe your legal options and you can order a model letter to hold the seller liable.

The information below can also be used when buying a motorcycle, caravan, camper or boat.

hidden defects car netherlands

What does the law say about hidden defects?

According to the law (Section 7:17 of the Dutch Civil Code), the purchased item must meet the reasonable expectations that you may set for the purchased item. For example, you may expect that a car is safe enough to participate in traffic and that the stated mileage is correct.
What you can expect from a car depends in particular on the following:

- the year of construction of the car;
-the price paid;
-the mileage 
- seller's notices
- the maintenance status

It will be clear that you can expect less from an older car than from a new one. You can expect a new car to be in tip-top condition. However, a second hand car has already been used and will show signs of use and wear and possible minor defects. This means that the seller is not liable for every defect, especially if the purchase price was low and the car is already quite old.

Conditions for seller's liability?

What minimum conditions must be met for the seller to be liable for hidden defects in a car?

1. The defect must have been present when the car was delivered.
The buyer of a defective car will have to make it plausible that the defect was already present upon delivery. A defect that only arises after delivery is usually for the account of the buyer.
Please note: in the case of a consumer purchase (a consumer buys from a professional car salesman), the law meets the consumer's needs by stipulating that if an item breaks down within six months of purchase, the seller must prove that the delivered product is was 'good' on delivery (met reasonable expectations, given mileage, age, etc).

2. The defect must have been 'hidden'.
If the buyer has noticed the defect before entering into the purchase agreement, it can be assumed that the defect has already been incorporated into a lower purchase price.

3. The buyer must have fulfilled his obligation to investigate.

The buyer of a used car can be expected to take a good look at the car before purchasing it. This 'obligation to investigate' is stronger the older the car is. This obligation to investigate also applies if the seller has recommended the car in general terms, for example 'fine car'.

Please note: if the seller was aware of the defect, he has an 'obligation to speak', also referred to as 'obligation to communicate'. Because the obligation to notify takes precedence over the obligation to investigate, a seller who was aware of the defect cannot ward off his liability by pointing out the buyer's obligation to investigate.

4. The car does not meet reasonable expectations (see above under the heading 'What does the law say')

5. If a purchase contract has been concluded, it must be examined what has been agreed in this contract regarding the risks of any defects and any guarantees.

Please note: the purchase contract may state that defects are at the buyer's risk. But if the seller was aware of the defect before concluding the purchase agreement, he may (usually) not invoke that contract clause.

Used car warranty
In some second-hand car purchase agreements, a warranty is provided to the buyer. The guarantee clause will state how long the guarantee is valid and to which defects the guarantee applies. The advantage of a guarantee is that as a buyer you do not have to prove that the defect was already present when the car was delivered. Defects that arise after delivery during the warranty period will also be borne by the seller (unless the car has been used incorrectly). In general, no warranty is given on cheap used cars. Sometimes it is for more expensive cars, for example by dealers affiliated with BOVAG.

Please note: even after the warranty period has expired, the injured car buyer may still be able to claim repair of the defect or dissolution of the purchase agreement. After all, the Bovag guarantee conditions do not exclude an appeal to the normal rules of the Civil Code, such as the legal guarantee. For example, the law assumes that if the defect manifests itself within 12 months after delivery, the defect was already present at the time of delivery, so that the seller will be liable sooner.

It should also be borne in mind that a seller who sells a cheap old car without warranty can also be liable.

legal actions hidden defects car

Legal actions by hidden defects car

What legal actions can you take if the car is no good?

Report the defect to the seller as soon as possible and ask him to repair the defect at his expense.
If the seller refuses to solve the problem, send a registered letter as soon as possible in which you list the defects in the car and request/order the seller to repair the defects within a reasonable period of time at his expense (you can use the model letter below for this).
If the seller continues to refuse to repair the defects, you have the following options:

- You dissolve the purchase agreement in writing and demand a refund of the purchase price paid (this is only possible in the event of serious defects);
-You have the defects repaired by a garage and claim the repair costs from the seller. In that case, have the garage make a clear report about the defects and keep the replaced parts so that the defects can be proven.

Our lawyers can help you with above mentioned actions.

Juridical procedure

If, despite the above actions, the seller is not prepared to comply with your rights, our lawyers can assist you legally in obtaining your rights, if necessary by starting legal proceedings. Of course we can also write to the seller to achieve a solution without procedure.

Need legal assistance for hidden defects car?

Our lawyers and lawyers are specialists in hidden defect issues with cars. For legal assistance you can call us ( 020 - 6890 863 ) or email us.
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