Vehicle purchased in Germany and hidden defect
It is recognized that vehicles registered in Germany are worth less than identical vehicles sold in France. Hence the temptation to buy in Germany.
But beware !
This choice has consequences for the applicable law in the event of discovery of a hidden defect (tampered with speedometer, defective gearbox motor, badly repaired accident, corrosion, etc.)
If, according to a principle arising directly from Article 16 of Community Regulation 44/2011, you can initiate an action in warranty against hidden defects against the German seller before the French courts, the court seised will apply German law or French law according to very specific criteria.
But the laws are different …
And French law is more favorable to consumers
For example, the action for hidden defect is prescribed within two years from the discovery of the defect, the whole being locked up within 5 years after the sale, that is to say that you cannot not initiate proceedings once this period has expired.
Whereas, if German law is applicable, you will only have two years from the sale to act in court, regardless of the date of discovery of the defects!
Another example :
If French law is applicable, you can take action against your seller but also against the previous seller or the manufacturer, which will be essential if your own seller is insolvent.
While German law will not allow you this recourse action.
Another difference is that German law will grant you smaller amounts.
Therefore, before buying a vehicle in Germany, or in the event of a problem with a vehicle that you have already purchased, it is important to know the legal criteria for choosing.
In principle, the dispute concerning the vehicle purchased from a German seller is subject to German law.
As an exception, and for the greater benefit of the consumer:
• Purchasing from a professional, French law will apply if the acts necessary for the conclusion of the contract have been performed in France, or if France has the closest links to the sale. This could in particular be the case if the sale was made from a French site linking to a seller’s site, or if the seller operates in France and therefore directs his activity there.
• Buying from a private individual, French law will be retained if France has the closest links with the sale.
In summary, it is important to remember:
• Buying in Germany presents less guarantee than buying in France.
• In the event of a problem with a vehicle purchased in Germany, it is necessary to act very quickly, and with the assistance of a lawyer experienced in this issue.
SIRET ET ASSOCIES will provide you with its expertise to help you manage the situation effectively.
The firm SIRET ET ASSOCIES, practicing the Highway Code and the Courts for more than 40 years, will be able to advise you.
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