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Unfair commercial practices in the sale of used cars continue

In the year 2017, the Czech Trade Inspectorate also focused on adherence to obligations in the sale of used cars. In the period from 22 May to 31 October 2017, 65 inspections were carried out in car-shops throughout the Czech Republic. A violation of the law was detected in 37 of them, which is almost 60 percent of the total number of checks carried out.

The situation did not improve last year compared to 2016. Traders continue to use misleading or other illegal commercial practices that are detrimental to consumers.

From 22 May to 31 October 2017, the Czech Trade Inspection conducted a control action aimed at compliance with legislation on the supply and sale of used motor vehicles. The main objective was to verify how information on their properties, in particular mileage, is provided. It also focused on the correctness of providing information when entering into sales contracts, such as the number of previous owners or whether the vehicle was crashed.

A total of 65 controls were carried out by the CTI. Infringements were detected in 37 inspections, representing nearly 60.0%.

As part of the audit, the Czech Trade Inspection employees issued a total of 27 vehicles, which were subsequently assessed in conjunction with the forensic experts. Vehicle suspected that mileage information or other vehicle information was inconsistent with the facts have been developed.
According to expert reports, 9 of the vehicles examined were reported as having a lower mileage than the actual mileage. This included the Volkswagen Passat 1,9 TDi, where the state of the tachometer was 210,600 km. According to the pointer on the dashboard, it was 210,616 km. From the expert's opinion, this vehicle had already reached 276 135 km in September 2015. The mileage was reduced by at least 65,519 km.
Another vehicle with a higher mileage difference was the Škoda Octavia 1.8 combi 4x4. The message on the vehicle was 150,000 km. On the dashboard, the state was 146,545 km. According to the expert, the vehicle had already reached 200,594 km in April 2016. The difference in kilometers was at least 50,594 km.
In 8 cases, it was found that more extensive repairs were carried out (eg after a crash). Nor was this fact communicated to the consumer in advance.

Deficiencies identified

Infringement of some of the provisions of Act No. 634/1992 Coll. On Consumer Protection was found in 56 cases:
in 19 cases, the seller deceived the consumer and violated the prohibition on the use of unfair commercial practices (Section 4 (4) in connection with § 5)
in 11 cases the consumer was not informed about the scope, conditions and manner of claiming (§ 13)
in 9 cases, the seller did not inform about the properties of the products sold (Section 9, paragraph 1)
in 7 cases the consumer was not informed about the price of the products sold (Section 12)
in 6 cases the correct complaint handling procedure was not followed (§ 19)
in 2 cases, other unfair commercial practices were used (Section 4 (1) and (4)
in 1 case, the seller did not sell the products at prices negotiated in accordance with the price regulations and charged the prices when selling the products (Section 3 (1) (c)
in 1 case information on the product was not provided in the Czech language (Section 11)

The Czech Trade Inspection imposed 24 fines in the monitored period, totaling CZK 860,000.

The purpose of the CTI action was to control the provision of essential information that has an impact on consumer judgment when concluding a purchase contract when buying a used vehicle. Information about the age of the vehicle, its condition, mileage and number of owners can be considered as significant.

The inspections were carried out in cooperation with the forensic experts, when all the CTI regional inspectorates used their services. The results of expert assessments in most cases confirmed the serious shortcomings in the supply and sale of used motor vehicles.

Sale of used vehicles is still problematic and involves the use of unfair commercial practices where the consumer is not informed at all or is mistakenly informed of the essential information that is relevant to him when deciding whether to purchase a used vehicle.

Source: tz, edited editorially

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