Judgment: BGH improves guarantee for used car buyers

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BGH improves guarantee for used car buyers

Judgment: BGH improves guarantee for used car buyers-Citroën runs long time always

According to the judgment, unrestricted guarantee clauses are generally ineffective: Car buyers affected will therefore not be bound by such requirements in the future.

Source: AP

The Federal Supreme Court has strengthened the rights of buyers of used cars: The highest court declared a contractual clause invalid, according to which a warranty claim for defects in the vehicle should be void if the buyer does not observe certain inspection intervals.

KAccording to a ruling by the German Federal Supreme Court, buyers of used vehicles no longer have to automatically waive their guarantee if they have missed the required inspections. The court declared the corresponding clause in the general terms and conditions to be ineffective. However, if the failure to perform the inspection was the cause of damage, the repair cost guarantee may still be void.

So far, this guarantee is no longer applicable regardless of the cause of the damage. The consequence of the ruling is that the providers of used vehicle warranties in old contracts can no longer refer to the inspection intervals being exceeded.

In this specific case, a buyer bought a used Hyundai SUV in June 2003. He signed a guarantee contract that required him to have regular inspections. He was supposed to bring the car to the workshop every 15,000 kilometers.

When damage to the crankshaft occurred eight months later, the repair of which should cost around 4,000 euros, the insurance company refused to pay. The buyer had exceeded the due inspection by 827 kilometers. The insurer said that the guarantee was no longer applicable. The lower courts ruled differently: While the district court of Ansbach assumed that the car buyer had violated his duties and the insurer therefore did not have to pay, the district court of Ansbach considered the clause to be an unreasonable disadvantage for the consumer. This is because the guarantee is void regardless of whether the inspection that was not carried out was the cause of the damage or not.

The BGH now had to decide on the clause in the last instance. Like the regional court, he also judged the clause to be an unreasonable disadvantage. This means that the guarantor has to pay the repair costs even if the inspection is overdue.

According to the BGH judgment, however, the loss of the repair guarantee is permissible if the inspection obligation is exceeded as the cause of damage. The providers of used car guarantees can also impose the burden of proof on the car buyer. The buyer would then have to prove that the damage did not occur because of the late maintenance. However, this reversal of the burden of proof can only be agreed in new contracts.

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