Buying a car in Romania
Can I pay for a car in cash?
Yes, but cash payments from individuals to traders are limited to RON 10 000 (approx. EUR 2 260) per person 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. In practice, the seller will require proof that the car has been registered in another EU Member State and sometimes proof of payment of VAT.
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 (24 %) 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, but it is usually provided. A roadworthiness test must be performed every 2 years (average cost: EUR 20-35).
Is the Romanian 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, these services can be provided by legally authorised experts, by specialist companies or through intermediary websites.
Tariffs are EUR 4-50 per hour or EUR 10-25 per car. ou can check the history of repaired cars at the website of the Financial Surveillance Authority which provides details of previous insurance policies. You can also check whether a vehicle has been stolen at the website of the Romanian Police.
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 the consumer to withdraw if credit is declined).
- 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 (Certificat de înmatriculare)
- The European Certificate of Conformity (COC) (mandatory for new cars, not for used cars). If no COC is available from the seller, you can contact the manufacturer in your country of residence. If the manufacturer cannot provide a COC, you can ask a technical service in Romania or in your home country
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?
You should be able to cross borders with Romanian transit plates, but check with the authorities of the countries in which you plan to drive.
Competent authority: The driving licence and vehicle registration services in the county headquarters (prefecture) located in each county seat.
Temporary registration certificates for export vehicles and transit plates can be obtained from the competent authority upon presentation of the following documents:
- Completed request form
- Completed car registration file
- Vehicle identity card (original and copy)
- Proof of ownership, i.e. contract (original and copy)
- Personal identity card
- Proof of valid insurance (original and copy)
- Registration documents and number plates
- Proof of payment of registration tax – RON 60 (approx. EUR 13.50), payable to the local tax authorities
- Proof of payment for the registration certificate – RON 37 (approx. EUR 8.40), payable at branches of CEC Bank
- Proof of payment for transit plates – RON 40 (approx. EUR 9), payable at the counter.
Issuing of the plates is usually authorised the same day and the plates have a validity of 30 days.
You may 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?
In order to obtain temporary number plates for export, the old number plates must be given to the services of the local prefecture, along with the other documents required.
If the car does not need temporary number plates (if it is transported on a trailer, for example), in theory, the plates do not need to be sent to the EU country from which they originated. The seller can deregister the car by providing proof of export or of registration in another country.
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 Romania if they can provide you with short-term insurance. In practice, Romanian insurance policies do not usually have durations of shorter than 6 months. 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, whom do I contact?
Contact your local ECC: www.eccromania.ro
What out of court dispute resolution body is available in Romania?
As of 1 January 2016, a general ADR body within the National Authority for Consumers is available.
To whom do I report cases of fraud?
You can report them online to the local offices of the National Consumer Protection Authority. Complaints must be made in Romanian and any documents in other languages must be translated into Romanian.
You can also report fraud to the police in writing or by phone, using the contact details on their website. Find the police station closest to where the trader is based on the online map. It is advisable to have any e-mails written in Romanian or to have someone who speaks Romanian to help.