Buying a car in Sweden
Can I pay for a car in cash?
There are no restrictions on this under Swedish legislation. However, the means of payment may be restricted by the contract. A trader is not obliged to accept cash as payment if this is stated clearly before the sale. 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 proof of payment of VAT.
All other cars are considered second hand (more than 6 months since the date of first registration and with a mileage of more than 6 000 km). They are generally sold inclusive of VAT (25 %) 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?
Not by law, but it is seen as good practice. The first periodic inspection has to take place 3 years after the vehicle is first registered, the next one after an additional 2 years, and then every year (3-2-1 rule). The average price is approximately EUR 43 (SEK 400).
Is the Swedish 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, on agreement with the seller. The check can be performed by a mechanic of your choice, or an inspector from a list compiled by the Swedish Chamber of Commerce. Inspection bodies may also offer this kind of check. Prices vary depending on the nature of the inspection. The price for car diagnostic tests is approximately EUR 170 (SEK 1 600).
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.
What documents should the seller provide?
- The contract of sale or an invoice
- The registration certificate (Registreringsbevis). This needs to be the original. If several parts are issued, all need to be sent
- The seller is not legally obliged to provide the European Certificate of Conformity (COC). 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 Sweden 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?
Full information on temporary plates can be found on the Swedish Transport Agency website.
Competent authority: Swedish Transport Agency, Tunnlandsgatan 5, 701 97 Örebro, tel: +46 771 503 503, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Timeframe for delivery: 3 working days
Validity: 3, 6 or 12 months for new cars, 1 month for used cars.
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?
The car owner is obliged to send the plates back to the Swedish Transport Agency (STA) when a car is sold to a buyer in another country. If the plates are missing, the registered car owner needs to inform the STA.
A temporary registration is valid for three months. During this period, the vehicle should undergo a registration inspection. The temporary registration period ends two weeks after the vehicle has passed its registration inspection, unless the original period of validity ends within this time. The period of validity cannot be extended. The special number plates must be destroyed when the period of validity ends. The temporary registration also ends when ownership changes. The owner should notify the STA of this in writing, preferably on the registration certificate. The special plates should be returned to the STA at the same time.
If the vehicle passes a registration inspection, it can be driven for up to two weeks on the basis of the temporary registration. During this time, the Swedish Motor Vehicle Inspection Company or the Swedish Machinery Testing Institute will report the vehicle for final registration and a new registration certificate and ordinary white plates will be issued. To continue to use the vehicle, the white plates must be fitted and an application submitted to license the vehicle for use. You do not have to check whether the car has been deregistered; the vehicle undergoes a registration inspection at the Swedish Motor Vehicle Inspection Company or the Swedish Machinery Testing Institute.
The application fee for verification of origin must always be deposited into the Swedish Transport Agency's special verification of origin account.
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 Sweden if they can provide you with short-term insurance. 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.konsumenteuropa.se
What out of court dispute resolution body is available in Sweden?
The National Board for Consumer Disputes (Allmänna Reklamationsnämnden)
To whom do I report cases of fraud?
To the police by telephone, e-mail, online or in person at a police station.
Information provided by ECC-Net in March 2016 - see our legal notice