The regulations regarding defects were renewed at the beginning of 2022 with the national implementation of the directive on the sale of consumer goods and the directive on digital contracts in the EU countries. The content of this section applies to transactions made no later than December 31, 2021. Information on purchases made after January 1, 2022 will follow shortly.
When you are buying a used car in Sweden, you should remember that Swedish legislation will be applied to the sale. The legislative framework created by the directive is the same in each EU country, but in Sweden the vendor’s liability for defects is limited to three years.
Check the vendor’s information, website, contact details and business ID carefully before making a purchase. You can check the company’s registration information free of charge at www.allabolag.se. Make sure that the company’s name and business ID are the same as in the registration information. Its tax and VAT registrations must also be active.
Motorbranchens Riksförbund (MRF), the members of which comply with certain rules and decisions of the Swedish National Board for Consumer Disputes, operates in Sweden. According to the Swedish consumer authorities, you should not do business with professional dealers who are not members of this organisation. You can check the list of members at the MRF’s website. Under guidelines approved by the MRF, a trader should always create a so-called description of the goods, or ”varudeklaration”. It is essential for the consumer to ask for this description of the car and keep it carefully.
Always conclude the sale in writing and make sure that you receive contract documents with a description of the car you have purchased. Read the documents before you sign the contract and conclude the deal. Do not trust verbal agreements when buying a car. The larger the amount, the more careful you should be when concluding the sale. If you do not understand the language of the contract or the contract terms, do not go ahead with the deal. In general, it is a good idea to pay with a credit card or consumer credit. This means that you can request a refund from the credit card company or contact the financing company if the vendor cannot be reached or refuses to cooperate.
Even if the car has already been imported into Finland, this does not free a Swedish vendor from liability for defects. In Sweden, the liability for defects in used cars cannot be limited to a period shorter than three years, for example by contractual clauses. However, you should be aware of the fact that not all faults that occur in a car are defects for which the vendor is liable, as there are also many wearing parts in cars. The age, condition and other characteristics of the car affect the assessment of the vendor’s liability for the defect. If you discover a defect in a car purchased in Sweden within a year of the date of purchase, during this period the vendor must prove that the car was defect free at the time of sale if they wish to be exempted from liability. After this period, the burden of proof is transferred to the consumer.
If a fault occurs in the car, do not have it repaired yourself until you have contacted the vendor in writing. The vendor has a primary right to repair any faults in the car. However, you should ask a workshop for an estimate of the repair costs in English and Swedish and send it to the vendor when you contact them in writing. The estimate should specify the detected defects and estimated repair costs, rather than only contain a work order or price estimate.
In general, the consumer must prove that they have first filed the appropriate complaint with the vendor and thus show that the vendor has been given sufficient information and time to deal with the complaint. If you receive no response from the vendor to your complaint, contact the European Consumer Centre. In situations where the repairs would be lengthy or the consumer cannot cope without a car for a long time, you should find out if the European Consumer Centre can mediate in the case before the repairs are carried out. You should tell the vendor in writing (to obtain proof of having informed them) that you cannot wait too long for the vendor’s repairs.