You want to invest in a used vehicle but
you don’t know how to go about it?
Understand the differences between professionals and
That’s one of the first things you’re going to ask
yourself. Should you buy from a private individual or a professional?
The guarantee of a professional
First of all, it is important to know that when you buy
from a professional, he assures you a minimum mechanical warranty of three
months. The vehicle is therefore guaranteed to be serviced before sale.
Therefore, if there is an engine or gearshift breakage or if you discover
hidden defects, the seller will be held responsible. In addition, used vehicles
in stock with professionals can be delivered very quickly and often have
discount advantages. At Autobonplan, for example, some limited edition Fiat
500s have discounts of up to €4,800.
However, while the choice is often very wide, you may
not find exactly the model you are interested in among the dealers’ stocks. In
this case, the solution is still to contact the agents who offer Personal
Shopper services, they will find the gem for you, free of charge.
What does it mean to buy a car for private individuals?
If you buy from a private individual, there will be
fewer guarantees. This can be a financial advantage, since the guarantees of
professionals still have a price. Private cars are also more easily negotiable.
However, if there is a problem, a private seller may not take responsibility
for the damage. You will then have to initiate a complaint procedure. That’s
time and money.
In case of hidden defects
In the event of hidden defects, the appeals are to be
heard. Normally, the private individual must call in an expert to find out
whether the damage to the car dates from before or after its sale. If he refuses to do so, you have the
possibility to appeal to the courts. You will then have to advance the expert’s
fees of up to 2000€. If your case is successful, the individual seller will
reimburse your costs and must buy the vehicle back from you. The delays depend
on the seriousness of the defect. It must nevertheless be brought within a
short period of time.
Make your choice
In any case do not hesitate to compare prices, there
are good surprises everywhere. So, to sum up, to buy a used car without being
fooled, here are a few tips:
If you buy a used car from a professional, you benefit
from a guarantee, and stock vehicles, available quickly.
If you buy a car from a private individual, offers are
more easily negotiable, but beware, you have no guarantee.
What to ask the seller and check
Questions to ask
Have you made contact with a salesman? There are some
essential questions to avoid scams:
What is the mileage of the car?
What is its consumption?
Is it a first hand car?
What was its use?
Has it ever been in an accident?
Are all the vehicle’s equipment present?
Is the bodywork scratched or dented?
When were the last repairs made?
Why do you want to sell this car?
Is the price negotiable?
Is it possible to test drive the car? If so, when?
Checks not to be overlooked
Remember to check:
The exterior of the vehicle
Tires, their condition and spare wheel
The bumper and the proper functioning of the lights
The battery (white marks on the terminals are a sign of
The rocker panel
The interior of the vehicle
Seats, seat belts, floor, steering wheel and pedals
The proper functioning of the accessories according to
the vehicle’s equipment
The presence of moisture stains under carpets or covers
The seller must provide you with certain documents
The seller has an obligation to provide you with
certain documents. You have the right to demand them from him if he has not
provided them. These include:
The certificate of no lien, an important document since
it certifies that the car has not been stolen.
registration document, which must be crossed out and bear the words “sold
on …” followed by the date of sale, with the seller’s signature.
The certificate of transfer, it allows to declare the
car to the prefecture.
The certificate of technical inspection, it must be
less than 6 months old if the car is more than 4 years old.
The maintenance book and bills, for all repairs made to
All these documents must be sent to you before signing.
It is still recommended that you check that they correspond to your vehicle and
its registration number. You will then have to apply for a registration