Buying a car in the Czech Republic
Can I pay for a car in cash?
The limit for cash payments is CZK 350 000 (about EUR 14 000) per day. If you travel within the EU, you don't need to declare money you take with you to customs. When entering or leaving the EU, you must declare any sum of money of or equivalent to EUR 10 000 and above to customs using a specific form.
What about payment of VAT?
Within an intra-EU transaction new cars should be sold without VAT. A car is considered new if no more than 6 months have passed since the date on which it was first registered or if its mileage does not exceed 6 000 km. In practice, some sellers may require payment of VAT as a deposit, to be refunded once the car is registered in the buyer's country. Check in advance with the seller how to claim the VAT refund, i.e. what documentation the seller needs from you. Be aware that you have no direct claim against the fiscal authorities, only against the seller, so you should claim any refund quickly. All other cars are considered second hand (more than 6 months since the date of first registration and mileage of more than 6 000 km). They are generally sold inclusive of VAT (21 %) if the supplier is a commercial seller (the supply is not liable to VAT if the supplier is a private person). You don't have to pay VAT in your country of residence.
Is the seller obliged to provide a vehicle inspection?
No. In the Czech Republic, a roadworthiness test has to be carried out 4 years after the date of first registration for new cars and subsequently every 2 years (average cost: about EUR 40).
Is the Czech vehicle inspection recognised in my home country?
Some countries recognise it. Check in advance with your national authority to avoid unnecessary costs.
Can I have an expert carry out a check on the car at the seller's premises?
Yes, but you will have to find your own expert (no specific list is available) and pay for it (average cost: EUR 20-40). Visiting a repair shop for a thorough check as part of the test drive can be more expensive.
What should I look out for in the contract of sale?
Read the contract carefully and only sign contracts you understand. Some traders try to exclude legal guarantee rights by claiming that the contract is a business-to-business contract or that the car is sold "without warranties" (only in business-to-consumer contracts would such a clause be considered null and void). Make sure that the name of the seller is the same as the name given in the registration document, or that the seller has power of attorney to sell the car in the registered owner's name. If you buy from a trader, make sure that the name of the company is mentioned in the contract and that there is an indication of VAT.
Can I cancel a signed contract?
- If the contract is signed on the seller's premises, you have no legal right to withdraw (unless the contract includes the possibility of withdrawal).
- If the contract is a distance sale contract and you have not yet collected the car from the seller's premises, you can withdraw from the contract before delivery. You can also withdraw up to 14 days from delivery of the car to your address. If you collect the car at the seller's premises, the contract is usually signed there and either will not foresee or will exclude the right to a cooling off period.
What documents should the seller provide?
- The contract of sale or an invoice;
- The registration certificate ("Osvědčení o registraci vozidla (Technický průkaz)");
- The seller is not obliged to provide the European Certificate of Conformity (COC) but you may need it to register the car in your country of residence. If no COC is available from the seller, you can contact the manufacturer to obtain a duplicate for a fee.
Should I apply for temporary plates to drive the car home?
Contact the competent authority for information. Competent authority: Municipal authorities, Price: CZK 800 (+/-EUR 32), Timeframe: issued immediately, Validity: 3 months maximum. You may also be able to apply for transit plates from your home country. Check with your relevant national authority.
Do I need temporary insurance?
When driving the car home, you must be covered by insurance allowing you to drive on public roads. You may use the car's standard insurance policy. In any case, when applying for transit plates, you need to show proof of (temporary) insurance cover.
If I have a complaint about a cross-border purchase, who do I contact?
Contact your local ECC
What out of court dispute resolution body is available in the Czech Republic?
No out-of-court body is available.
To whom do I report cases of fraud?
You should report them to the nearest police station.