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No guarantee but still "guarantee"?
14 December 2015
If you as a consumer buy something without a guarantee, for example a car, that does not mean that you have no rights at all if something goes wrong. If you have bought a car that does not comply with the agreement, there can be "non-conformity" and the agreement can still be dissolved and as a buyer you can still get your money back.

In its judgment of 17 November 2015, the court of 's-Hertogenbosch ruled that the buyer of a second-hand car should expect that the car possesses the properties required for normal use.

In this case the following was going on. The Buyer had bought a car from a car dealer. The invoice stated that the car was sold without a guarantee. After the purchase, the buyer had driven up and down with the car in a weekend to Paris. After returning to the Netherlands, the buyer complained to the dealer about a lack of the car. The gearbox did not function properly. The buyer stated that the dealer had sold him a car with a defect.

The subdistrict court ruled that the lack of the gearbox gets in the way of normal use of the car. The subdistrict court dissolved the purchase agreement and ordered the car dealer to reimburse the purchase price.

The car dealer appealed. He thought the car could be used normally, despite the lack of the gearbox. The buyer had, after all, gone "up and down" to Paris without problems. However, the court found that this does not mean that there is a "normal use". In addition, the car dealer could not prove that the buyer knew at the time of the conclusion of the purchase agreement that something was wrong with the gearbox. The car dealer also found that the buyer could have expected that something would be wrong with the car, due to the age of the car and the mileage.

The court, however, was of the opinion that the buyer, when purchasing an old car, can expect the car to have the properties that are required for normal use. Finally, the car dealer argued that dissolution of the purchase agreement is not justified, because it concerns a defect that is easy to remedy. The court rejects this argument because a gearbox is an essential part of a car and the defect is such that replacement is necessary, with the repair costs being high. The court therefore ratified the court's verdict.

In short, a consumer who concludes a purchase contract can expect the purchased product to have the properties needed for normal use. If this is not the case, there is "non-conformity" and dissolution of the agreement and also refund of the purchase price can be enforced. Do not be fooled by vendors who say you have no guarantee.