Buying a second-hand car always carries the risks of hidden faults, hidden accidents, and tampering with the tachometer. Even an experienced motorist usually doesn't have a chance to check everything thoroughly before buying, so real trouble often only comes to light afterward. Complaints handling varies depending on where you bought the car, and by law, it is most advantageous where you probably don't expect it - when buying online.
The sale of private vehicles is governed by the so-called new Civil Code, ie correctly by Act No. 89/2012 Coll. It provides important support to buyers on several important points. First, § 2095 et seq. Provides that a thing is defective if it does not have the declared or generally expected properties.
In the event of a serious breach of contract, a legal right to an adequate discount or withdrawal from the contract arises. For example, when a service database of a branded repair shop can achieve a higher mileage, or when a plumber discovers a repair on the supporting parts of the body after a major car accident that you bought as undamaged. Please note that this must also be explicitly stated in the contract.
Secondly, the law in § 2100 states that the right of the buyer from defective performance is also established by a defect, which will manifest itself later. The seller is therefore also responsible for hidden defects. You can also complain if you do so without undue delay.
Exceptions are defects that the seller expressly notifies you in advance, as well as consumables such as brake and clutch friction elements or a 12-volt battery. Normal wear and tear are also not considered a hidden defect. What's the difference? When the car has all the shock absorbers at 70% efficiency, there is adequate wear. However, if one of the dampers does not seal and leaks oil, it is a malfunction.
In general, the buyer is entitled to claim the defect for a period of 24 months from receipt, for used goods is allowed to contractually reduce this period to one year. But the important difference stems from where you buy the car. In the case of goods from a shop - ie from a company which is the subject of business - the provisions of § 2161 apply: if the defect becomes apparent within six months of purchase, it is considered that the item was defective upon receipt.
Therefore, we do not have to prove the origin of the defect to the car bazaar, on the contrary, the bazaar would have to prove to us that the vehicle was not damaged during the handover. However, if we buy a car for an advertisement from a private person, we must prove the hidden defect ourselves, with an expert opinion.
This difference seems illogical at first glance, but we can easily understand it when we step on the other side of the store and want to sell our own car. A lay user such as a high school biology cantor can hardly warn the buyer of a particulate filter failure if he often does not know that he has such a filter in his car. Stricter standards are set for the bazaar because expertise is assumed.
Even when buying from professionals, however, there are two important butes waiting for you. First of all, you must not have the car repaired yourself. This is a matter for the seller, who has 30 days to settle the complaint - and in addition, he does not have to tell you in detail how he rectified the defect. For example, it can use low-quality spare parts that you would not have installed yourself.
Above all, however, the seller does not have to acknowledge every complaint. A decent bazaar will probably not argue with you about obvious defects such as engine overheating, wiring outages or leaking into the trunk. Just because he would risk a lot of attention from the Czech Trade Inspection Authority.
But today's complex cars bring situations much more colorful. The typical pain of used diesel requires a significantly clogged, but not yet completely degraded particulate filter. It requires more frequent regeneration, which is a process where the engine runs in an unfavorable mode and tends to dilute the oil with diesel. The more often they have to do it, the worse it will last for the life of the engine.
However, there is no rule on the frequency of regenerations, and if you do not have time to completely "complete" the filter within six months, the bazaar will not replace it at your own expense. It costs around CZK 40,000 for most European brands, and over CZK 100,000 for Asian brands.
A similar delight is the high oil consumption, ie an internal and difficult to eliminate engine defect. You have to travel at least two thousand kilometers to find it, which is not a chance before buying. But even if you find it a week after you buy it, you run into a problem. Today, clever carmakers already prescribe such benevolent standards for new cars that they tolerate the consumption of up to a liter of oil per 1,000 kilometers, which is technically suicide. Even a very used car will meet such a standard with a finger in its nose, so what would you like from a bazaar?
In such cases, the advantage of buying a car online will come in handy - you can return it without giving a reason. Not a word needs to be said about specific defects, it is not fought with expensive expert opinions, no deadline is expected to expire. You just trade the car for the money and that's it. Since you are pulling for a longer end at that moment, in the end, the seller can handle complaints and repairs more accommodatingly.
Even buying on online marketplaces is not a walkthrough of social security. First of all, it takes a long time, because the e-shop is basically an intermediary, to whom you first have to pay for the car, and then you wait for it to bring it from abroad and register with the Czech authorities. Secondly, when you return, they will pay you back the price of the car, but no longer the price of transport, which can make up to ten thousand.
And thirdly, you can only return the vehicle within the time strictly necessary for testing. So after all the waiting, you have to start the wheel after repairs immediately, let everything be tried and be prepared that after the return you will be without a car again for a few weeks.
However, for most of us, this is less of an evil than going around a forensic expert, waiting for a complaint to be settled, threatening a bazaar with a court that can drag on for years, and finally paying our 200,000 crowns for an unrepairable engine that met the standard.