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Six things to know about buying a used car in Denmark

Six things to know about buying a used car in Denmark
There are several things worth knowing your way around when you but a used car in Denmark. File photo: Signe Goldmann/Ritzau Scanpix

Are you dipping into Denmark’s second-hand motor market for the first time? Here are six things worth keeping in mind.

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Check the vehicle’s history 

You can learn a lot about the car you are considering buying by looking up its history on websites such as nummerplade.net, where you can find information from past synsrapporter or roadworthiness inspections, which are required biannually under Danish law.

In addition to the dates of past road checks, you will be able to check the total kilometres the car had driven at each check – which can help to ensure its mileage counter has not been tampered with. You can also see whether it has been reported missing or has unpaid loans tied to it. As such, you can make sure it is mechanically and legally sound.

Other information provide includes the type, make, model and year of the car, and fuel economy and road tax (grøn ejerafgift) which must be paid on that model.

Ask to see the service book

Cars with well filled-out service books, servicebog in Danish, give you peace of mind as a buyer because they can give a good idea of the vehicle’s condition and maintenance history.

Stamps from authorised workshops show that the car has been regularly checked and serviced, and given regular maintenance with things like oil changes.

You can also see whether the car has been given rust protection treatment if it is an older model, which supplements visual checks of the condition of its paint work and chassis.

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Buy from dealership or private seller?

There are several factors to consider when weighing up whether to buy a used car from a private or commercial seller, and these can include your budget and the amount of time you can devote to finding the right motor for you.

If you buy a used car from a commercial seller, existing faults are covered by warranty for two years under the Danish consumer law reklamationsretten. Faults that occur after you buy the car are not covered by this, but commercial sellers sometimes offer guarantees to this end which can be purchased.

Cars bought from dealerships are also likely to have been thoroughly inspected at the company’s mechanical department before being put back on the market, while buying privately is more likely to involve a ‘sold as seen’ type agreement, meaning you have less recourse if there is a mechanical failure following the purchase.

Buying a second hand car privately is likely to be cheaper than buying the equivalent vehicle from a dealer, however, and you are more likely to be able to negotiate the price.

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New rule in 2022

A new rule in 2022 relates to whether you are covered by warranty if an issue with your used car shows up after purchase. The formodningsregel, loosely ‘rule of likelihood’ relates to whether a mechanical issue with a used car is caused by a defect that was probably present at the time of its purchase. If this is deemed probable, the buyer is covered by warranty under the consumer law (as detailed above).

Under this likelihood rule, faults that appear on used cars are considered to have been ‘original’ or present at the time of purchase for 12 months after the car changed hands. This applies to all used cars bought after January 1st this year. Previously, the rule only applied for six months.

It should be noted the rule may not apply if the seller (commercial dealer) can demonstrate that it was not present when the car was purchased, even for recent sales.

Fill out a receipt with the seller

It’s common practice in Denmark to fill out a so-called slutseddel or receipt detailing your purchase once everything is agreed with the seller. Both parties agree to and sign the receipt.

You can’t reverse your purchase once you’ve signed the slutseddel. As such, it’s important it this point to make sure you’ve checked everything you want to with the car and are happy with it and all the arrangements relating to its purchase. This does not just mean its working order -- it can include things such as financing schemes and the part exchange price of your old car if you are selling to a dealership or commercial seller.

Commercial car dealerships often have their own receipts – although you can check them against your own template if you want to make sure you’re happy with everything that’s included.

If buying privately, you can bring a template of your own, and it’s also likely the seller will have one prepared. Template slutsedler can be downloaded online, like these ones from motorists’ interest organisation FDM.

Sometimes a receipt, particularly when buying from a private seller, might state that the car is ‘sold as seen’ or købt som beset or en gros in Danish. This can be used if there is a known issue with the car that the seller has made you aware of, which may not mean the car isn’t roadworthy but perhaps devalues it (for example superficial rust or older, but not illegal tyres). This should of course be reflected in the price you pay.

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Re-register and insure the car

Re-registration of the car in your name is done via the Skat.dk website. You’ll need to login using NemID or MitID. It’s best to do this while you’re with the seller.

When the car is re-registered, the seller’s insurance company is automatically informed by Skat (the tax authority), and their insurance will expire.

When you re-register the car, you can select an insurance company from a drop-down list and choose the anmod om forsikring (request insurance) option, which will give you the obligatory cover (even though you won’t have received a policy yet).

You can contact the company (it may be a company you already have other insurance policies with) and make further arrangements with regard to the policy you have. You can also speak to your insurance company and agree on an insurance policy prior to buying and re-registering the car. The company will then send you your policy once they receive notification from Skat that the car has been registered in your name.

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