Many used car dealers agree with buyers that the statutory warranty should be void when buying a vehicle. But how far does such a warranty exclusion go or is it even possible to terminate the statutory warranty? The Supreme Court also addressed this issue in its decision on 8 Ob 111 / 19k and came to an astonishing result.
The facts were based on a (plaintiff) buyer who acquired a roughly 10-year-old VW minibus with over 300,000 km. In the purchase contract itself it was agreed that the condition of the vehicle was known to the buyer and that any further warranty would be excluded. Although the defendant dealer drew attention to the broken engine mount and servo pump, various signs of wear and tear occurred immediately after the purchase, before a complete gearbox damage occurred a week later.
In this context, the buyer sought reimbursement of the repair costs he had incurred, which the dealer did not want to know about, arguing that a waiver of warranty had been agreed. The first court followed the dealer’s point of view and dismissed the lawsuit.
The buyer was not satisfied with the decision and took legal action and the court of appeal partially granted the dealer, as it was of the opinion that certain defects could be expected when buying a used car, but at least of a readiness to drive and a traffic and Operational safety of the vehicle must be assumed. Therefore, the gearbox damage is damage that excludes operational safety and is therefore not covered by the contractually agreed exclusion of warranty.
The facts finally came before the Supreme Court. This now allowed the dealer’s appeal and ultimately restored the decision of the first court. In the opinion of the Supreme Court, traffic and operational safety must be ensured, but these are no longer given simply because of the defects expressly accepted by the buyer (engine bearings, servo pump). Therefore, it cannot be assumed that the vehicle is ready to drive. The Supreme Court also justified its decision by stating that the agreed exclusion of warranty does not include defects that have been expressly or conclusively warranted or that have been cunningly concealed.