Private car sale: sales contract& disclaimer

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In price negotiations, it is often forgotten that a few basic things should be taken into account to ensure that a car sale from private to private is handled correctly. It is important for the seller to secure the transaction with a watertight car purchase contract.

Standard contracts are available on the Internet in the form of printed forms. Often it is also worthwhile to include individual agreements in the car purchase contract. As a rule, it is a matter of vehicles that already have a few years on the hump. Often the car has already covered thousands of kilometers, often it has been involved in an accident in the past. There are a number of things to bear in mind here, because the sale of private cars in particular has shown in the past that difficulties can arise with the buyer after the sale.

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Before the test drive: check the identity of the buyer

The first impression of a potential buyer is important – but what lies behind it is much more decisive. Many car salesmen are already positively impressed by the customer if he shows great enthusiasm for the vehicle for sale or is prepared to pay immediately in cash. In no case, however, should the seller of the car refrain from asking for a passport or travel documents. For one thing, it is easy to check whether the buyer is of legal age and therefore also entitled to purchase the vehicle. If the customer requests a test drive, the ID should be given to the seller beforehand. Otherwise, in the event of a theft or an accident, the latter will quickly lose out.

When must be pointed out defects in the vehicle?

Car sales are always about vehicle defects, whether they are obvious or hidden. as a general guideline for the seller, he does not have to point out defects of his own accord, especially if they are visible, for example scratches in the paint or minor dents. The situation is different if the buyer notices something during a test drive that could indicate a defect. Then the seller should also inform him about it, if it is a defect.

Disclaimer& description of condition

The condition description in the car purchase contract includes, above all, honestly stating whether the car has accident damage or known defects. You should mark which damages are already repaired or unrepaired. the description of all damages and defects should be as complete as possible.

Especially in the case of vehicles with significant defects or old vehicles, sellers want to protect themselves and exclude liability for any undetected defects. But here is where caution is needed when it comes to the wording of the disclaimer!

What happens if the buyer discovers an alleged defect after he has purchased the vehicle??

The courts in germany have already dealt with the exclusion of liability in private car sales in countless cases. So, as a private seller of a vehicle, there are some important things to keep in mind regarding potential defects.

The legal basis for the sale of a vehicle from private to private is the normal law of sale, so the buyer and seller are consumers in the sense of § 13 BGB – in contrast to the sale of consumer goods, which is given when a private person buys a vehicle from a business (§ 474 BGB). According to general case law, a vehicle is considered to be defective if it deviates from the contractually agreed quality.Known defects should therefore be recorded in the purchase contract.

What the sales contract for private sellers should contain in any case is an exclusion of liability for defects unknown to the seller. It will then be very difficult for the buyer of the vehicle to subsequently prove to the seller that he knew about the defect. Because then he would have to prove that he acted fraudulently. In any case, defects resulting from wear and tear of parts of the vehicle due to age are excluded from all liability.

Warranty cannot be completely excluded

The German Federal Court of Justice (BGH) recently ruled that clauses in which the warranty is completely excluded are invalid. This is justified by the fact that this complete exclusion also excludes liability for bodily injury and damage to health, which represents an unreasonable disadvantage to the buyer.

forms and models for car sales contracts that include such a provision are therefore not legally valid!

The consequence is that when they are used, the entire disclaimer becomes invalid. This means that the seller is again liable for all damages and practically achieves the exact opposite of what was intended.

With the smartlaw car purchase contract, such a fundamental exclusion is not possible. And even older car sales contracts drawn up with smartlaw are not affected by this ruling. For sellers who actively use our contract, there is no reason to worry.

The car sales contract contains the exclusion and limitation of warranty in each case the sentence that there is no exclusion for injury to life, limb and health. This effectively excludes liability to the extent legally possible.

Inform your motor vehicle liability insurance

Immediately after the sale of the vehicle, the insurance company must be informed. sales contracts usually have a special section for this purpose, which you can send to the insurance company with the required information. the registration office should also be informed that the vehicle has changed ownership. This is important for the tax deregistration.

The notification that the vehicle has been sold must include the following information:

  • Name and address of the seller and the buyer,
  • The vehicle’s registration number,
  • A confirmation of the handing over of the registration certificates,
  • The signatures of the buyer and the seller, including the date.

Immediately re-register the vehicle

As a private seller, you should also insist that the buyer immediately re-registers the vehicle. you are also on the safe side if you get an assurance that the buyer is liable for any damage until the vehicle is re-registered. The buyer should be asked to briefly state the date on which he reregistered the car. If you do not hear from the buyer for a longer period than agreed, you should contact him or her.

Clarify payment terms

Especially for smaller sums, sellers should insist on cash payment. Checks or accounts may not be covered for a variety of reasons.

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