Accident-Damaged Car as a Defect for a used Car

The VIIIth Senate of the BGH had to decide if a used car that had been significantly damaged in a previous accident and in the meantime had been repaired, is defective because it varies from the usual condition of comparable goods. (10, 2007 VIII ZR 330/06).

The plaintiff bought a car from the defendant using a written contract showing no special details. The plaintiff later challenged the contract to reverse all transactions. She argued that the car had damages on the left door and left back, that were not revealed to her in spite of her asking twice for previous damages. The defendant offered to repair the car free of cost but the plaintiff denied. The plaintiff sued for recovery of the sales price.

The Federal Court of Justice first of all noticed that the parties did not agree on any special condition of the car. Therefore, if and any defect exists depends exclusively on the usual condition of comparable things and which condition the buyer can usually expect (§434 I 2 no. 2 BGB). The Bundesgerichtshof decided that the buyer of a used can generally expect that the car has not suffered from an accident that would lead to more than just petty damage. The car in dispute had 5 mm deep dents and professional repairs would cost approx. € 1,800. this amount cannot be considered as petty damage.