Purchase contract car: what must be in the contract?

The vehicle purchase contract offers buyers and sellers more security when buying a car privately. Because: Issued correctly, it leaves no room for renegotiation and ensures that both parties can go their own way with peace of mind after the money and keys have been handed over. Annoying renegotiations or lawsuits are almost impossible.


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This must be in the car sales contract

The vehicle sales contract must be in duplicate. The seller gets one and the buyer gets the other. Important: The buyer must be of legal age, otherwise the contract is invalid. The following data is entered in the vehicle purchase contract:

Data of the contractual partners: Full contact details and ID numbers of buyer and seller. For security, copies of the identity cards can not hurt either. If the seller is not the vehicle owner, a power of attorney from the owner is required.

No stress with the car purchase contract

Compare all the information about the vehicle in the vehicle purchase agreement with that in the vehicle registration document.

Vehicle data: Make, model, engine output, first registration, chassis and possibly engine number, vehicle registration number. (Registration certificate part II), registration number, next general inspection and the purchase price. The buyer should compare the information in the contract with that in the vehicle registration document.

Warranty: When selling a car privately, there is no guarantee or liability for material defects. However, the seller must then state in the contract that he excludes liability for material defects (see below).

No stress with the car purchase contract

Avoid someone else’s fines by handing over the car de-registered.

Buyer’s statement: If you want to be on the safe side, hand over the car de-registered. Then it no longer matters to the seller when the other side registers him again. Important: The buyer must be informed in advance so that he can obtain red license plates or a tag.

If the car is sold registered, the buyer should undertake to re-register the car within a pre-agreed period. The contractual partners should agree on a fixed date here. If the buyer does not register the car promptly after the purchase, fines etc. end up in the seller’s mailbox. A signed notification to the vehicle insurance company and the registration office is helpful. This enables the new owner to easily register the vehicle.

Vehicle documents and payment: Documents such as the vehicle registration document, both registration certificates or a decommissioning certificate and inspection reports (e.g. TÜV, DEKRA, ADAC) are enclosed. The number of keys for the vehicle must also be specified.

The payment agreements state how high the purchase price is and whether the seller has already received it. Sellers should not hand over the car and keys until they have received the full amount, preferably in cash.

Delivery Confirmation: Here, after exchanging money and keys, the contracting parties sign and thus seal the contract. Tip: Forms on the Internet e.g. B. from automobile clubs usually contain all the necessary information.

Special Rules, Warranty and Right of Withdrawal

Sellers are not just sellers. And even with the best car sales agreement, problems can still arise after the deal.

This is how the liability for defects works: The legislator prescribes a two-year liability for material defects in a purchase contract. When buying a used car, the liability for material defects is reduced to one year. If the buyer discovers within the first six months after purchase that the car has defects, it is assumed that the damage already existed or was foreseeable at the time of the deal. If the seller considers that this is not the case, the burden of proof is on him. The seller must therefore prove that the damage was caused by the buyer’s fault.

The burden of proof lies with the buyer only from the seventh month after purchase. In the case of sales contracts that have been concluded since January 1, 2022, this reversal of the burden of proof only applies after twelve months have elapsed. If you sell your car privately, you can exclude liability for material defects from the outset in the purchase contract – and thus avoid having to pay for any repairs at a later date.

Save money and nerves with a car contract

The more precise the sales contract, the better. Archive it – just to be safe.

Important: In order for the exclusion of liability for material defects to also apply to private car sales, the vehicle purchase contract must contain the following passage: “The exclusion does not apply to claims for damages resulting from grossly negligent or intentional breach of obligations by the seller or to any injury to life, limb and health .” If this passage is not mentioned, then the entire section on the exclusion of liability for material defects is ineffective. Deliberate breach of the seller’s obligations includes, for example, fraudulent misrepresentation.

Willful deception: A large number of behaviors can present themselves as fraudulent misrepresentation and can therefore be considered grounds for contesting the vehicle purchase contract. The reason for contesting the fraudulent misrepresentation is regulated in § 123 BGB. In order for the facts to be fulfilled, the seller must have acted intentionally. So he must have known about defects in the car or at least believed them to be possible and deliberately kept them secret. If there is fraudulent misrepresentation, the seller is obliged to reimburse the buyer for the entire purchase price in exchange for an exchange of the vehicle.

Sample purchase contract from AvD

The most common deceptions include:
• Incorrect vehicle information
• Salvage cars sold as accident-free
• Non-accident bodywork damage
• Vehicle preparation
• Information on age, year of construction, previous owner and previous use
• (EU) import/reimport
• Engine damage
• Total mileage and odometer reading
• Catalyst, pollutant emissions, vehicle tax (reduction)
• Violation of various disclosure obligations

Independent seller: Are you self-employed? Then you may have to give a guarantee when selling the car. Namely when not your private but a company car comes under the hammer. This can also apply if you use the car privately. Pay attention to who is entered as the vehicle owner. If the name of your company is there because you wanted to save taxes, then you must also grant a guarantee. For the sale of used cars, this means at least one year liability for material defects.

How to contest the car sales contract

In order to avoid the contract, the buyer must have given the seller clear and unconditional notice of the avoidance. He must therefore inform the contractual partner that he wishes to declare the contract invalid. Preferably in writing and by registered mail, so that the seller cannot later claim not to have known anything. If the seller objects to the complaint, you should definitely hire a lawyer. If the seller still does not give in, the buyer can file a lawsuit in court. However, he must do this within one year of complaining to the buyer or within the first ten years after the purchase.

car sales contract

If in doubt, you can save money and nerves with a safe and precise vehicle purchase contract.

However, the purchase of a car does not always have to be reversed. The buyer can also set a deadline for the other party to remedy the defect – if possible. The seller must be granted a deadline that gives him enough time to remedy the problem. If he cannot or does not want to comply with this, the seller can trigger the so-called return obligation. This terminates the sales contract, the car goes back to the seller and the buyer gets his money back in full.

That is why the contract is important for both parties

• Exclusion of warranty for private sales
• Buyer undertakes to quickly re-register the vehicle
• Clear listing of all payment details
• Usually no tiresome renegotiations with the buyer

• Representations about accessories, exact mileage, condition of the vehicle and its history
• Protection against fraudulent misrepresentation
• Clear identification of car and seller
• Easy re-registration or registration after purchase

In summary: The most important thing about the purchase contract

✔ The contract is only legally valid with complete information on the contractual partner and vehicle
✔ Arrange cash payment upon handover
✔ Exclude liability for material defects as a private seller
✔ Record assurances in the contract (equipment features, imported vehicle, etc.)
✔ Sell the vehicle de-registered or fill out the declaration for the registration office and vehicle insurance
✔ Hand over all documents and keys belonging to the vehicle

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