STOCK car sale
The lawsuit should be filed within six months from the date the car is delivered. Picture used for illustrative purpose only. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Question: Three months ago, I bought a new car from an agent. After about a month, the car had a problem with the computer system of the car’s engine. More than once, the agency has tried to repair the car but in vain, and the agency also refused to admit that the car had a manufacturing defect – according to more than one garage. My question is: Am I legally entitled to oblige the agent to replace this car with a new one? What are the legal procedures that can be taken against the agent in order to replace the car? Please advise.

Answer: You have the right to ask for a replacement of the car as per Article 544 of the Civil Transaction law, if we take into consideration that the defect is occult (hidden), was not discovered by a normal look of the outward appearance of the item sold and was detected only by practice. You may notify the company requesting the car replacement and if they refuse, you must file a lawsuit against the company to replace the car even if the company or the garage refuses to admit this defect. In front of the court, you should request for an expert to check the car and prove the defect and the court will take the decision in consideration the documents, the situation and the expert’s report.

Filing of lawsuit

The lawsuit should be filed within six months from the date the car is delivered to you, as per Article 555 of the Civil Transactions Law which states that:

(1) The lawsuit in warrant of the defect is not receivable due to prescription occurring after the lapse of six months as of taking delivery of the item sold, unless the vendor binds himself for a longer period

(2) The vendor shall not adhere to this duration if it has been proved that hiding the defect was by fraud imputed to him.

Article 544 of the above law states that:

(1) If an old defect appears in the item sold, the purchaser shall be at option either to restitute it, or accept it at the nominated price, but he may not retain it and claim the amount of the decrease in price due to the defect.

(2) The defect is considered old if it was existing in the sold before sale or happened after sale while still under the control of the seller before delivery.

(3) The defect occurring upon purchase shall be considered as old if based on a previously existing cause in the thing sold while in the hands of the vendor.

(4) The old defect is conditioned upon being occult. A defect is occult when it cannot be discovered by normal look on the outward appearance of the thing sold, detected by an ordinary person, discovered only by an expert or does not show except by practice.

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There are some instances the vendor is not answerable for the old defect, as per Article 545 of the same law which are:

1. If, upon sale, the vendor indicates to the purchaser the defect.

2. If the purchaser accepts the defect after he has been aware of it, or after taking knowledge of it from someone else.

3. If the purchaser buys the thing sold with knowledge of the defect.

4. If the vendor sells to the things sold, on condition that he does not warrant any or a specific defect in it unless the vendor intentionally hides the defect or the purchaser was in a state that prevents him from discovering it.

5. If the sale was done by public auction by order of the judiciary or administrative authorities.