How to buy a used car from a private individual?

Every year, twice as many used vehicles are sold as new ones. More than 5.5 million used cars were sold last year. Of these sales, nearly 60% were made between private individuals.

Your rights as a private buyer

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

The seller must give you all important information about the vehicle

When you buy a used vehicle from a private individual, the latter has a duty to tell you everything about the vehicle, its quality and operation. In other words, if an item does not work properly, the seller must inform you. Ditto, if there are any additional costs necessary to be able to travel with the vehicle, the seller must also inform you.

The legal guarantee of the hidden defect

A hidden defect is defined as a defect in a used car that was not declared at the time of sale but was unknown to the seller. It must be a defect that prevents the car from operating properly. The buyer has a period of 2 years to prove that the defect was present at the time of purchase and thus obtain a total or partial refund.

The crime of deception: protecting you from liars

If the seller has lied to you about certain characteristics of the vehicle and/or concealed certain defects from you, it is an offence to deceive. In this case, your first reflex is to send the seller a complaint by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt. If the settlement does not succeed, you can file a complaint.

Choosing the right car and the right salesperson

To avoid unpleasant surprises, you must be very careful when looking for a car.

Choose a realistic ad and within your budget

First, you must define a maximum budget that you will not exceed. Then 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 search, do not hesitate to use all the available media: newspaper, internet, specialized magazines. Sort ads according to your budget and the type of vehicle you are looking for, but also according to other criteria: mileage, vehicle age, engine, etc.

Beware of overly attractive ads that promise you a vehicle with exemplary features at an unbeatable price. Instead, look for consistent ads.

Sift through the ad and compare it

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

Ask the seller

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

Request the Histovec report of the vehicle

Recently, the government has launched a new Histovec website. The latter allows individual sellers to share information about the vehicle they want to sell:

  • Technical characteristics (brand, colour, displacement, CV, noise level, pollution criteria, etc.)
  • Administrative situation (pledge, theft, opposition…)
  • History of operations (sales, repairs…)

It is the seller who edits the report and sends it to his potential buyers. You should therefore ask your potential sellers.

Contact your insurer

Don’t forget to contact your insurer as soon as possible to update the insurance so that you can drive your new car.

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