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Guarantees and how they apply 

With virtually anything that you buy you get a guarantee of some sort or another. In the purchase of a car these are sold with a guarantee too, of course, but there are different types of guarantees that are given. In this issue we will cover briefly the guarantees that are given on used cars

What are the types of guarantee?

The type and length of guarantee is governed by various factors.

1-A legal guarantee is defined as the obligatory guarantee that is regulated by the royal legislative decree 1/2007 which is offered by a seller who is dedicated to the sale-purchase of vehicles be it new or second hand to an end user/consumer. The legal guarantee is a combination of rights that the law grants the consumer and they are inalienable, both parties cannot agree to renounce the guarantee.

2-A commercial guarantee is defined as the combination of additional benefits that the seller gives to the buyer and they are additional to the legal guarantee. This is the type of guarantee that is given at the seller’s discretion and covers what they deem appropriate, notwithstanding the legal obligations

3-A hidden defects guarantee is defined as the warranty offered by the seller against habits or defects that the seller, be it a company or an individual knew were present on the vehicle at the time of sale and that were not clearly explained and accepted at the time of sale. This type of guarantee is important when a third party is selling on behalf of someone as often they are aware of the defects the vehicle has and do not inform the prospective buyers and subsequently claim “they were not aware” when the buyer returns, often causing a problem for the purchaser.

Is the legal guarantee law applicable in cases of a commission-based sale or a broker sale?

On the basis of a broker sale, i.e. a consumer asks a seller to obtain on their behalf a specific vehicle. Said “broker” then sells the vehicle to the consumer, in that case the law considers it to be a sale between a seller and a consumer so the legal guarantee is applied. This does not happen too often here in Tenerife.

On the basis of a commission-based sale, this is far more common and the majority, although of course not all, of the car dealers work on this basis i.e. a consumer hands their personal vehicle to a car sales company for them to sell it on their behalf. The sale is considered a sale between individuals so the legal guarantee is not applicable as the seller is only collecting a commission. The seller however has to be very clear with the purchaser at the time of sale that the vehicle is being sold on a commission basis. However, a hidden defect guarantee still applies between both consumers.

How long is the guarantee for?

When the buyer is a business and the seller is a car sales company then no legal guarantee is offered however the hidden defects guarantee is applicable and a claim must be made within 6 months.

When the buyer is a car sales company then again, a legal guarantee is not offered however the hidden defects guarantee is applicable once again, however the claim must be made within 30 days.

When the buyer and seller are both individuals then the only applicable guarantee is the hidden defects guarantee and the claim must be made within 6 months.

When the buyer is a consumer and the seller is a car sales company then a legal guarantee is obligatory. The validity is two years on new vehicles and one year on second hand vehicles.

Can a guarantee be limited to a number of kilometres?

In the case of the legal guarantee, the answer is no the kilometres cannot be limited however the kilometres play a vital role in the items that are covered during the guarantee period. In the case of the commercial guarantee, the answer is yes. The guarantee is an additional extra offered by the seller so they have the right to limit the kilometres as they do with the time the cover is provided for.

This is only a brief outline of some of the conditions and circumstances relating to guarantees and the consumer should make sure that they ask any relevant questions at the time of purchase.