Buying a car in Greece
Can I pay for a car in cash?
Yes, for amounts of up to EUR 1 500. Beyond that limit, payments should be made by bank transfer, cheque or credit/debit card. If you travel within the EU, you must declare any sum of money or of equivalent. When entering or leaving the EU, you must declare any sum of money or of equivalent to EUR 10 000 and above to customs using ael. At the time of writing, specific limitations exist due to capital controls in Greece for the time being.
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 VAT payment 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 (23 %) 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?
Information on this point is not available. In Greece, the first periodic inspection has to take place 4 years after the vehicle is first registered and then every 2 years. (Average cost: EUR 55).
Is the Greek 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?
Subject to negotiation with the seller, car servicing centres and experts may perform checks. You will usually have to pay for this. (Average costs: 80 Euros)
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 regarding 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.
- If no exact date of car delivery specified in the contract, the trader is obliged to provide the car within 30 days of the contract. If the trader fails to do so, the consumer has the right to set anadditional deadline for car delivery, according to circumstances and in case of failure, to cancel the agreement.
What documents should the seller provide?
- The contract of sale or an invoice;
- The registration certificate ("Άδεια αυτοκινήτου - adia autokinitu");
- A European Certificate of Conformity (COC) for new cars only. If the seller can't provide this, contact the manufacturer in your country to obtain a duplicate for a fee. Check if other documents are needed in the country where you intend to register the car.
Should I apply for temporary plates to drive the car home?
Transit plates are available in Greece and you may use them to cross borders and reach your country of residence. You may also be able to apply for transit plates from your home country. Check with your relevant national authority.
Regular national plates
If you wish to drive home with the national plates still on the car, are you obliged to return them to the competent registration offices, either in the country of previous registration or in the registration country?
If you reside in Greece and purchase a car from another EU Member State, then you are required to register the car in Greece and acquire new number plates. Upon registration, you submit the number plates of the country of previous registration and get a certificate stating that the vehicle is now registered in Greece. You then have to communicate this to the EU Member State of previous registration. If you reside in another EU Member State and purchase a car from Greece, the same rules apply – you have to register the vehicle in your residence country and return the number plates to Greece.
Do I need temporary insurance?
When driving the car home, you must be covered by insurance allowing you to drive on public roads. You must show proof of insurance cover to obtain temporary plates. EU citizens can insure their car in another EU Member State through any insurance company that either has a base in that country or is licensed to sell insurance there. In most cases, the insurance policy will specifically cover the homeward journey.
If I have a complaint about a cross-border purchase, whom do I contact?
Contact yourel - email@example.com
What out of court dispute resolution body is available in Greece?
ADR can be accessed through the Hellenic Consumer Ombudsman. Tel. +30 210 6460862, +30 210 6460814, Fax +30 210 6460414, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
To whom do I report cases of fraud?
The competent authority for online scams is theel cyber crime unit. You can report fraud at the local police station, by phone (11188), fax (+30 210 6476462) or e-mail (email@example.com).
Information provided by ECC-Net in March 2016 - see our legal notice.