Learn essential tips for buying a used car in Norway. From the importance of written contracts to checking for bank liens and mandatory insurance, get a comprehensive guide to navigate the private car sales market in Norway.
Every year in Norway, private individuals engage in transactions involving the purchase and sale of used cars. Below, we'll provide a few pieces of advice and pointers regarding important aspects of the buying and selling process, as well as general information about the rights of buyers when sellers require confirmation of a vehicle's condition. The information below does not apply to situations where you're purchasing a car from a dealership. In such cases, buyers generally have more protection under consumer laws compared to buying from private sellers.
First and foremost, it's important to emphasise the significance of having a written contract. Having a written contract will help you avoid many potential issues in the future. It's important for both the buyer and the seller to sign the contract at the time of purchase, and each party should keep a copy of the agreement. The contract should include many crucial pieces of information about the purchase. The Norwegian Automobile Federation — NAF has developed a free template for a standard used car purchase agreement for private individuals.
What to Check Before Purchasing a Car?
Before buying a car, there are several things worth checking. If the car hasn't been tested or serviced in a while, it's worthwhile to carry out such tests through NAF. These tests will indicate the condition of the car. It's important to remember that you cannot later claim defects or issues with the car that you were aware of at the time of purchase.
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Additionally, it's wise to check if there are any existing bank liens on the car. This can be done on the Brønnøysund Register Centre — Brreg.no website by entering the car's registration number.
If the owner took out a loan with the car as collateral, a lien will be registered on it. In the event of non-repayment, the current owner (you) will be burdened. This means that you "inherit" the previous owner's loan if it hasn't been paid off and the lien hasn't been removed.
It's important for the previous car owner to remove any potential liens. Alternatively, in agreement with the seller, you should contact the bank to receive instructions on how to remove the lien. If, as a buyer, you allocate a portion of the purchase amount to remove the lien, you should deposit it directly into the bank. We recommend that the method of settlement is always documented in the agreement.
Change of Ownership and Re-registration of the Car
Transferring ownership of the car SALGSMELDING is a notification of the change of ownership of the vehicle. Both the buyer and the seller are obligated to inform the Norwegian Public Roads Administration Statens Vegvesen about the change in ownership from the day of the agreement. This can be done online or in person.
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Upon receiving the notification of the change of ownership from the the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, the new owner of the registered vehicle will receive information online about the steps required to re-register the car.
Simultaneously, a payment form for re-registration of the car is sent. When all the essential matters for re-registration are in order, the new owner will receive the new registration document (vehicle card or Vognkort) by mail. As this process may take some time, a temporary vehicle card is issued.
Salgsmelding — Initiating the Registering Process Car in Norway
Once you've finalised the contract and payment, you or the seller must send a Salgsmelding, which is essentially a sales message or notification of change of ownership. This digital document can be signed using BankID, Buypass, or Commfides. If you don't have access to these, you have to visit Ttraffikstasjon at Statens Vegvesen, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration.
Upon sending the Salgsmelding, the other party will receive a notification to approve it. It's crucial that both parties sign this document to proceed further. Once the Salgsmelding is confirmed by both parties, you'll be prompted to pay a re-registration fee, known as Omregistreringsavgift. This is an essential step in the change of ownership process. The fee can be paid digitally, making the process smoother and quicker. After you've paid the Omregistreringsavgift, congratulations! You are now the official owner of the car. You are free to use the vehicle as you see fit, under the stipulations of Norwegian law.
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Car Insurance serves as financial protection in case of loss or damage your property. The fundamental rule is that all car owners in Norway are obligated to insure vehicle. This is crucial, and failing to comply with this obligation can result in penalties.
Various types of car insurance are available, with prices often differing based on the coverage for damage or accidents. It's recommended to contact different insurance companies to determine which insurance suits you best. Prices may vary depending on the insurance company, so comparing offers from different firms can lead to savings.
"As It Is" Clause
Fundamentally, the purchase of a used car is subject to the provisions of the same law governing defective goods' purchase and sale. However, sellers often include a clause regarding the overall condition of the vehicle, specifically hidden defects. This type of clause is entirely legal and aims to shift the risk of hidden defects to the buyer. This might lead to difficulties in enforcing your rights if it turns out in the future that the car has defects.
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Although the seller can include a clause about the general condition of the vehicle at the time of sale, the buyer isn't entirely deprived of rights. Section 19 of the law states that a car has a defect when:
(a) It doesn't match the description provided by the seller concerning its features or possible uses, which could influence the decision to purchase.
The seller can be held accountable only when they provide specific and detailed information about the car. If the seller wrote in the advertisement that they are selling a "good car", this is not sufficient information to hold them accountable. However, if the seller claimed that the car is it could be a basis for identifying a defect if rust is discovered.
Ultimately, it must be assumed that the incorrect information provided by the seller influenced the decision to purchase the car. If it's evident that the purchase would have occurred under the same conditions regardless of the incorrect information provided by the seller, it cannot be deemed a defect.
(b) At the time of purchase, the seller did not provide essential information about the car's features or use, information they were aware of, and which the consumer should have been informed about, and the absence of which could influence the decision to purchase.
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Whether the information is sufficiently crucial is subject to individual assessment in each case. It must concern significant aspects of the vehicle, and the fact that the missing information influenced the purchase decision must be evident.
(c) The car is in significantly worse condition than what could be expected based on the price or other factors.
According to sub-point c, the seller is obligated to ensure that the item maintains a minimum standard under all conditions. It's not assumed that the seller must act maliciously, but it must be evident that there's a visible discrepancy between the car's condition and what the buyer could expect.
If the purchased car has a defect, it's important to file a claim with the seller as soon as possible via Norwegian Consumer Council — FORBRUKERRÅDET. If you delay the claim for too long, you may lose the right to submit it. Generally, the right to file a claim expires if more than two years have passed since taking over the car from a private individual and five years from a car dealer.