The Civil Code provides a warranty against hidden defects. This warranty may be excluded from your coverage if your contract specifies it.
What is a hidden defect?
A hidden defect is a problem that, had you been aware of it before making the purchase, would have led you:
- to not purchase the vehicle;
- or to pay a lower price.
A hidden defect is present before the sale, but cannot be detected by a consumer who carefully examines the goods. This is the case, for example, when:
- you were not informed that the vehicle was damaged, which prevents it from operating properly;
- you were deceived about the vehicle's mileage.
What to do after discovering a hidden defect
If you discover a hidden defect, you can request compensation or, in certain cases, the cancellation of the sale. The vehicle vendor could be held liable and be required to compensate you.
If you believe you have discovered a hidden defect and did not purchase the vehicle at your own risk, you must denounce the defect in writing to the vendor. If you forego this step, your rights might be lost.
The Office de la protection du consommateur advises you to write to the vendor as soon as you discover signs of a hidden defect. You can do so before knowing all the details and starting the negotiation process with the vendor. This denunciation can be part of a formal notice, but this is not a requirement. You might need to write to the vendor more than once. For example, a first letter can denounce the defect and a second letter could give the vendor formal notice.
If this process does not provide results, you can resort to the courts.
The following pages provide the necessary information to do so:
Last update : May 3, 2021
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