European Consumer Centre Bulgaria

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12 tips for buying a car


Whether searching for a particular model, for better value for money, or simply for more choice, many EU consumers looking to buy a car decide to go bargain-hunting in another EU Member State. What may seem like a simple transaction at first sight can leave consumers feeling as if they are running an obstacle course.
Attached documents

In 2015 29 ECCs, coordinated by ECC, France carried out an extensive study into the hurdles faced by consumers when buying a car across borders. The ECCs have now produced a series of guidance documents in order to give practical advice on every step of the process to consumers buying a car in another EU Member State or Norway, from the initial transaction to the completion of the registration procedure.

  • Before you buy: How can you know if the seller is legitimate? Does the car really exist? What steps can you take to make payment more secure?
  • When buying: Does VAT need to be paid at the place of purchase or back home? Does the seller need to provide certification that the car has undergone a technical inspection? If so, will it be recognised in my home country? Which documents should I ask the seller for? How can I make sure the car is in good condition? What should I look out for in the sales contract? Do I need specific plates or insurance to drive home?
  • After purchase: Can I cancel the contract? What steps need to be taken to register the car? Who can I contact to make a complaint against the seller or the registering administration? 

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