Background car news

‘Car dealers refuse legal warranty on used cars’

October 11, 2022

Legal warranty occasion

When you bought a used car, you used to get a six-month legal warranty. At the end of April 2022, that was extended to 12 months. This means that a car must be able to drive from A to B reliably and safely for 12 months. However, car dealers refuse to give this legal warranty on used cars. Fortunately not all of them, but still quite a large number did.

Hidden camera

Consumer program Radar from AVROTROS investigated practices at several car companies. Using a hidden camera, the program visited ten car dealerships, seven of which were Bovag garages. The program makers inquired about cars a few years old that should fetch more than ten thousand euros.

When asked about the topic of “legal warranty,” they found that only one out of 10 car salespeople tells them by themselves that consumers are entitled to a 12-month legal warranty. At many car dealerships, warranty arrangements are a “gray area”; consumers receive no warranty or an abbreviated warranty on the engine block or transmission, for example. Sellers do this “because they can’t see into it in advance.

READ ALSO: Four helpful tips for buying a used car

Waiver of legal warranty

Things could be worse: at one of the Bovag garages, Radar even had to sign off on waiving the 12-month legal warranty. At a Bovag garage, the salesman praises additional warranty packages; when asked about the legal warranty, the salesman says it simply does not exist. At yet another dealer, affiliated with the Bovag, you are told: with a take-home price, the consumer is not entitled to anything.

This is bad, the Bovag agrees. They think there is a confusion of tongues, about warranty and nonconformity (legal warranty). You can never exclude legal warranty and that asked to waive these rights may be an ignorance or unfamiliarity with the regulations. They acknowledge that there is also a lack of knowledge among members; this month Bovag launched a refresher campaign on the subject.


The legal warranty is a gray area, according to Bovag, which can quickly become a subject of discussion. A seller may believe that you can expect different things from the car than the buyer. According to the trade association, the 12-month Bovag warranty provides clarity and certainty about just that. The Bovag also urges people to report complaints to them.

Bovag Warranty

According to attorney Nicolette Heijkant, legal warranty is all about the so-called non-conformity principle. Formally, this means: the car you purchase as a consumer must do what it is intended to do. However, expectations on this may differ: you should not expect the same from a cheap 20-year-old car as from a more modern car, which after only a few years has low mileage and a higher price tag. “From a car like this, you should expect to be able to drive safely for at least a year,” Heijkant said.

Warranty expectations

Did you buy a used car and it does not meet the expectations you may realistically have of the car? Then the burden of proof is not on the consumer, but on the seller. Who must prove that the defect did not already exist at the time of purchase. At the same time, the buyer can be expected to use the car normally.