In France, every year twice as many second-hand vehicles are sold as new vehicles. It sold more than 5.5 million used cars last year. Of these sales, nearly 60% were made between individuals.

Buying a used car between individuals

Even if you buy your used car from a private individual, a certain number of legal provisions protect you.

The seller must give you all the important information about the vehicle

When you buy a used vehicle from a private individual, the latter has a duty to hide nothing from you concerning the vehicle, its quality and its operation. In other words, if an item is not working properly, the seller must inform you. Ditto, if there are additional costs necessary to be able to circulate with the vehicle, the seller must also notify you.

The legal guarantee against hidden defects

We speak of a hidden defect when the used car has a defect that was not declared at the time of the sale, but which was unknown to the seller. It must be a defect preventing the proper functioning of the car. The buyer has a period of 2 years to prove that the defect was indeed present at the time of purchase and thus obtain a total or partial refund.

The offense of deception: protecting yourself against liars

If the seller lied to you about certain characteristics of the vehicle and/or concealed certain defects from you, it is a crime of deception. In this case, your first instinct is to send the seller a complaint by registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt. If the amicable agreement does not succeed, you can file a complaint.

First, you must set a maximum budget that you are not going to exceed. Next, you need to determine the type of car , and possibly the make and model if you have a clear idea of ​​what you are looking for.

To carry out your research, do not hesitate to use all available media: newspapers, internet, specialized magazines. Sort the ads according to your budget and the type of vehicle you are looking for, but also according to other criteria: mileage, age of the vehicle, engine, etc.

Beware of overly enticing ads that promise you a vehicle with exemplary features at an unbeatable price. Look for consistent ads instead.

Before contacting the seller, you must take the time to study the ad carefully and check that it is consistent, that is to say that the characteristics advertised are realistic: price, year, mileage, condition… For example , if the car is 5 years old and the mileage is only 10,000 km, it is quite suspicious.

Ask the seller

Once you have targeted one or more ads, you need to phone the seller(s). The purpose of this first call is to ask him certain questions to verify that he is a real seller and to find out a little more about the vehicle. Then you can choose the most interesting offer and contact the seller to offer him your price. Be sure to offer a reasonable price that matches the characteristics of the vehicle.

Indeed, some sellers present themselves under a false identity in order to sell a stolen car. Of course, this situation is rare, but it should not be overlooked.

Make sure the vehicle is the right one

The VIN code that appears on the gray card corresponds to the unique serial number engraved on the vehicle. It usually appears on the chassis of the car.

Ask for the maintenance booklet . It logs all maintenance and repair operations. It should consolidate all garage and spare parts invoices. If the seller does not have such a book, he should still be able to provide you with the invoices.

Before buying the second-hand vehicle, remember to check all the documents essential to the sale  :You should take the time to check the condition of the vehicle and that it is working properly .

Do not hesitate to ask the seller if any major repairs have been carried out. If so, ask for the invoices. Also check how many people have owned the car so far.

Finish with a ten-minute test drive of the vehicle and check that it is working properly: noise, smell, controls, dashboard, braking, gear changes, among others. You have to be careful of everything.

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