Buying a car in Poland
Can I pay for a car in cash?
Yes, for amounts up to EUR 15 000 (PLN 62 242). When entering or leaving Poland, in principle you must declare any sum of money of or equivalent to EUR 10 000 and above to customs using a specific form. This declaration does not apply to citizens of Schengen Area countries.
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.
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?
No, the seller is not obliged to provide a technical inspection of, or report on the car. If the car is placed for sale on the seller's premises, it should not have any defects. Under Polish regulations, passenger cars must be inspected once a year.
The price of a vehicle inspection in Poland is legally set at PLN 98 (approx. EUR 24) for cars carrying up to 15 passengers.
Is the Polish 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. Technical stations can perform such checks for an average price of EUR 50, or EUR 250 for a more detailed report.
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 purchase is financed by a loan and the contract includes a clause allowing you to withdraw if credit is declined or if you use your right of withdrawal from the credit contract).
- 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 (dowód rejestracyjny).
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 not available in Poland. You may 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. Ask your insurer or their representative in Poland if they can provide you with short-term insurance.
If I have a complaint about a cross-border purchase, whom do I contact?
Contact your local ECC: www.konsument.gov.pl
What out of court dispute resolution body is available in Poland?
The regional trade inspectorates, located across Poland, are the ADR body for disputes related to cars. They deal with numerous sectors and do not specialise in car purchase matters.
To whom do I report cases of fraud?
You should report them to the local police station or to the public prosecutor's office.
Information provided by ECC-Net in March 2016 - see our legal notice.