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Buying a USED CAR in Poland, my personal experiences and TRAPS to avoid !!


Satyanam 3 | 6
20 Dec 2010  #1
Dear friends, buying a used car in Poland is full of traps and deceptions. It's not a straightforward process as in Australia or elsewhere. Since i come from Australia, i had the most harrowing experiences ever in my life, regarding buying a USED CAR !

PLEASE REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN, THERE IS NO CONSUMER PROTECTION AGAINST THE SHARKS SELLING YOU LEMONS FOR THE PRICE OF TRUFFLES ! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED ! ( In Australia, we have a mandatory 10 day cooling off period to any contract or purchase of this sort, which means that the customer is protected against fraud in case the car is not what is advertised !! can any used car dealer in Poland come up with something like this ?? NO WAY I SUPPOSE )

My ordeal with buying cars started 2 months ago ! and only yesterday after several visits to the used car yards called AUTO KOMIS i finally found something that i could spend my money on.

I was given several helpful hints by my Polish colleagues and the most important advice that came through was " TRUST NO ONE " not even the so called authorised car dealers selling used cars in their showrooms.

There are several used car web sites, and since i am not going to advertise for them, you just have to look around.
Here are some of my observations that you need to keep in mind when dealing with the used car salesmen when inquiring over the phone.

If the car you are looking for is advertised as ACCIDENT FREE< WITH ASO PAPERS OF REGULAR SERVICE> FIRST OWNER

Then ask before you go to the car yard the following hard questions, this will save you tremendous amount of frustration, time and money.

1. If the car has been resprayed for cosmetic purposes anywhere ?

2. If the car has been re-lacquered any where ?

3. Does the dealer have a paint thickness sensor ( called a Dczujnik) for testing the car panels, all over ? this is important, as some of these operators will not let you test the car, or will say that the sensor is not working, or the sensor has been misplaced, or the sensor is low on battery, or they simply act as if they dont anything about this device. If they make any of these excuses then simply walk away, as that car is nothing but a cut and paste job. My research shows that 60% of the cars at Gniezno (nest of liars) were damaged and patched up in Poland. These cars are often flogged off as new !

This is very important as i have been to several authorised car dealers( Heaven Sake who can you trust ?) who advertised the cars as accident free, but on closer inspection it came out that the cars had been resprayed for whatever reason. My verdict if you want a car worth your money then be THOROUGH ! and ask for the paint sensor. The range in microns for metallic paint should read between 90 -- 120 if the reading is anymore than this then the car is repainted.

4. If the car is advertised as having service papers ask them to take a picture of the service book and email it to you, if they are genuine sellers then they will comply. Be careful, very careful as some of the service books are stamped, but the stamps do not carry the name or telephone number of the servicing agent. Make sure all the stamps look similar. Tell them you will call the service station to check, take down the VIN number and give the service agents a call. Even if you are calling someone in Germany, it is still worth the call to find out whether the car is on their service database. Some dealers in Gniezno were furious that i was asking too many questions !! I too gave them a 2 finger salute and walked off ! If you are going to part with your hard earned cash then dont forget that CUSTOMER IS THE KING !

Used car dealers in Poland need special praise for their hoodwinking skills, in one particular case i travelled to Gniezno in freezing cold only to find that the car that was advertised was still in France !! Christ-sake ! they said that they were so sure that the car would be here today that they could not resist putting the ad on the web-site.

Ask any Pole, and they will tell that you winding the clock back on the odometer( a severely punishable illegal activity in Australia) is a common practice with used cars. On an average a car will not chock up any more than 22000 kms per year ! so if the mileage is somewhere near that mark then its fine. Take a trip to Gniezno( den of scammers) and you will find that most cars are very doubtful for their age. I did some further research into this and discovered that changing the kilometers on a digital odometer was easier than the old fashioned analog displays. Apparently there is special software that can do it in a matter of minutes !! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED !

In conclusion, do not buy the car on your very first date of inspection. There are CARS and many more CARS ! Take your time and decide. Most importantly take the car for a test drive, check the gear shift, press the clutch and check if there is any change in the engine noise, or feedback in the pedal, wear thin soled shoes to do this. If buying a diesel, check the whine for the turbine, if you hear a high pitched sound the turbine is on the way out ! It can cost upto 2000 zloty to get it fixed, and it can only be done properly from an authorised service station ( i have had 2 bad experiences with this problem)

The last word--- do not hesitate to knock back the price by at least 2K !! i have had encounters where the car was advertised for 35,000, and the dealers were keen to flog it off for 30,0000 after some negotiation.

I finally found a car after 2 grueling months, a rare occasion i must say. The car had all the papers, the service station was genuine, and everything checked out with the odometer reading as they are recorded in the service station each time the car goes in for service. Please wish me luck with the reliability of this car. Please do not hesitate to ask questions if you have any for i do not wish anyone to get their fingers burnt. I am 52 and have bought at least 6 cars in my life and i thought i knew a lot about the used car business, however the Polish market taught me many new things and scams to avoid. i certainly could write a book about it :-)

Good luck with your purchase and remember i am here to help. Cheers.
wildrover 98 | 4,452
20 Dec 2010  #2
Unless you have no other choice....don,t buy a car in Poland , and don,t try to sell one in Poland...If you are not Polish you will get ripped...
Richfilth 6 | 415
20 Dec 2010  #3
As sound as this advice is, I can't imagine how naive someone would have to be to think any differently. Modern cars in Poland are a VERY new thing; five years ago the streets were still filled with Polonezes and old 1970s Mercedes. If anyone thinks that a three-year-old used car started its life in Poland, they are beyond gullible.

I never spend more than 3000zl on a car, and they're always 20 years old, and from that I've always been amazed at the lengths Poles will go to to keep a car running, often well beyond what any tester would consider safe. And yet the car will have a przeglad stamp every year for the past five years...
Harry
20 Dec 2010  #4
If anyone thinks that a three-year-old used car started its life in Poland, they are beyond gullible.

That's not entirely true: new cars were most certainly being sold in Poland three years ago!
peter_olsztyn 6 | 1,098
20 Dec 2010  #5
Gniezno (nest of liars)

also called capital of metaloplastyka masters ;)

We don't take mileage or painting into consideration. I check rust marks, year stamped on windscreen and other windows, engine noise, overheating, bubles in reservoir, oil leaks, coolant leaks, power stering fluid leaks, clutch condition and count on my inborn fluke ;)

five years ago the streets were still filled with Polonezes

I think you are exaggerating a little :)
OP Satyanam 3 | 6
20 Dec 2010  #6
that is awesome, i had a belly full of laugh on that superb title good on ya mate !

also called capital of metaloplastyka masters ;)

Please note however some smart guys tell you that the windscreen had been changed due to stone damage ! all the other points of technicality you mentioned are worthwhile keeping in mind.

thanks peter
grubas 12 | 1,391
20 Dec 2010  #7
Modern cars in Poland are a VERY new thing;

It's more like you are VERY new to Poland.

I think you are exaggerating a little :)

Way more than a little.
Richfilth 6 | 415
20 Dec 2010  #8
It's more like you are VERY new to Poland.

I've been buying and selling cars in Poland for six years now. I've not made any money doing so, but that's the way of these things. I don't do it for money.

The way the market looked in 2004, pre-Schengen, pre-EU money, was vastly different to the way things look now. And of course, "new" cars are sold here, but almost always to businesses buying cars for their workers, which then pass on to their wives; a pathetic dribble of those three-year-old cars are now on the second-hand market, and that's what I'm referring to. Those not sold to businesses were mainly sold to Germans (nearly 20% of new car sales!). So my point still stands; a new (three-year-old) used car in Poland has a very VERY low likelihood of starting its life in Poland.
poland_
20 Dec 2010  #9
Unless you have no other choice....don,t buy a car in Poland , and don,t try to sell one in Poland...If you are not Polish you will get ripped...

Wildrover, I will agree with you on point 1, it is better to buy in Germany, Point 2 selling a car in PL, i have sold 3 cars here and never had a problem. Before selling a car I have always taken the car for an inspection to the authorized dealer and had the 26 point check done ( 150- 200 PLN). When someone came to look at the car, I showed them the papers and my last car was sold for the full asking price.
wildrover 98 | 4,452
20 Dec 2010  #10
and my last car was sold for the full asking price.

Really..? to a Pole..?

They usually want to sell you stuff at way over what its worth , but if you are selling anything its more or less worthless and they want you to fill it with petrol and put new tyres on it before giving it them as a gift...!
poland_
20 Dec 2010  #11
Really..? to a Pole..?

Yes, to a Polish company actually.
wildrover 98 | 4,452
21 Dec 2010  #12
If any of us on the forum want to sell a car , we will be bringing it to you...!

I remember DNZ placing an advert to get rid of his little Maluch , he did not want any money for it , it was free to anyone who wanted it...

A polish guy who rang up asked if it had winter tyres on it.. No replied DNZ , just normal ones...Oh , sez the guy , if you put winter tyres on it , i will take it..!

Needless to say ,DNZ did not go to the trouble and expense of putting winter tyres on the car before giving it free to this guy..its now in my garage...
poland_
21 Dec 2010  #13
If any of us on the forum want to sell a car , we will be bringing it to you...!

I should take that as a complement, but I will pass on the offer.

A polish guy who rang up asked if it had winter tyres on it.. No replied DNZ , just normal ones.

I am sure, expletives, were in order.
wildrover 98 | 4,452
21 Dec 2010  #14
I am sure, expletives, were in order.

Yep...he used up all the bad Polish words he knew...!
Polevault - | 2
21 Dec 2010  #15
To be honest, I don't think I'd ever buy a car in Poland because after seeing how they drive I wouldn't want to be out there in anything less than a Panzer tank
peter_olsztyn 6 | 1,098
21 Dec 2010  #16
however some smart guys tell you that the windscreen had been changed due to stone damage

Whatever they say I withdraw from transaction even it may be true. But we have developed a solution to avoid the risk. We buy from family members, workmates or friends. Some reach peple feel a pressure to sell a car even after minor bump. If only engine condition is good we do general refurbishment gaskets, simmerings, suspension and use car as long as possible to minimize frequency of buying and risk of being victim of fraud. One of my cars has 350ooo km and still compression isn't below 9 :)
Wroclaw 44 | 5,388
21 Dec 2010  #17
Modern cars in Poland are a VERY new thing.

not quite.

BTW the first jaguar showroom opened almost twenty years ago, in warsaw.
wildrover 98 | 4,452
21 Dec 2010  #18
I wouldn't want to be out there in anything less than a Panzer tank

A Panzer is a tank , Panzer is the German word for a tank well acually its short for Panzerkamphwagon...

But i am as guilty...i used to call it the Bolshoi ballet , untill i found out that Bolshoi means ballet..!

AND ..whats wrong with a Polish or Russian tank..they are cheap enough these days...bit expensive on fuel and parts tho....
convex 20 | 3,978
22 Dec 2010  #19
I bought my bike here in Poland, it was cheap, and everything was in order.

If you're buying a car, take a mechanic, preferably one with some bodywork experience. They're not that difficult to get a hold of. If that's too much, just have the contract amended to provide for a 10 period where you can check out the car. If anything fishy comes up, like bodywork or undisclosed repairs, enforce the contract. You don't have to have national lemon laws to draw up a contract. If they're telling the truth, they won't have a problem signing the contract. If you suspect body work, take a small fridge magnet with you and check the areas that are susceptible to rust. Bondo + magnet = magnet laying on the ground.
Polevault - | 2
22 Dec 2010  #20
A Panzer is a tank , Panzer is the German word for a tank well acually its short for Panzerkamphwagon...

I shall know for next time :-)

AND ..whats wrong with a Polish or Russian tank..they are cheap enough these days...bit expensive on fuel and parts tho....

Nothing at all apart from the fate they may have suffered in the hands of Polish car dealers!
wildrover 98 | 4,452
22 Dec 2010  #21
Ha...as it happens you are right about that...i have not bought any tanks yet , but a German friend bought a Russian military truck from a Polish dealer that was not quite what it was supposed to be....
convex 20 | 3,978
22 Dec 2010  #22
I was looking at an UAZ van a while back... the price would have been just right for a good example, but it was a complete POS. And I mean, most people don't just go and buy old military hardware without at least having a bit of a clue. Don't understand why they continue to push it..
wildrover 98 | 4,452
22 Dec 2010  #23
I was looking at an UAZ van a while back...

They can be fun machines , and being a 4 x 4 they don,t get stuck so often..

The best small Russian 4 x 4 i ever drove was an old Gaz 69 the Jeep they used before the Uaz came out , really good off road....

The only problem with Russian stuff is the poor quality of materials used , and the Gaz had an engine that was not very good...The one i drove had a Merc diesal engine in it , a common mod , and a friend in Poland has one with a Peugeot diesal motor in.....

If you look at russianmilitarytrucks.com you can find out a lot of info on Uaz machinery...
poland_
22 Dec 2010  #24
To be honest, I don't think I'd ever buy a car in Poland because after seeing how they drive I wouldn't want to be out there in anything less than a Panzer tank

It is not how they drive in PL, you would not want to buy a car that had done 10 years on PL roads because of the wear and tear.
tkeenan
24 Mar 2011  #25
I was looking to see what bureaucratic hoops I have to jump through when I buy a car in Poland this summer, but instead I came across this discussion that is full of clichés about business/car transactions in Poland. It sounds more like the poster just doesn't like people from Gniezno. Whatever... you can get screwed anywhere if you don't know what you're doing, or have a knowledgable person helping you.

It also sounds like the poster doesn't know anything about cars... a paint thickness tester??? Are you flippin kidding me? If I were from Gniezno and selling cars, he wouldn't like me either .... tire kicking, low-balling annoying "first-world" customer. What is this guy's angle anyway.... "nest of liars, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED, TRUST NO ONE..."? Sounds like some Nigerian trying to get you to wire money via King Nahibi's secret bank account.
grubas 12 | 1,391
24 Mar 2011  #26
in one particular case i travelled to Gniezno in freezing cold only to find that the car that was advertised was still in France !!

Did you say Gniezno?There was an article lately about car sellers from Gniezno on Interia.pl.What I learned from it is that they all scammers.
dnz 17 | 710
25 Mar 2011  #27
An Australian complaining about buying a car in Poland, Oh the irony!, Firstly in Europe you get what you pay for and secondly they get sold for Market value. I bought a Volvo XC70 from a dealer here in Sydney, Its 3 years old and done 60k KMS and its spent months in the garage being repaired at my expense as the garage refuse to honour the warranty and Volvo say its not their problem, I've had a catalogue of electrical faults which on a 30k AUD car isn't acceptable. The dealers here are just as unsrupulous even through they are licenced, I bought mine from a volvo main dealer and its turned out to be rubbish.

Personally I wouldn't buy a car in PL after seeing the rubbish they drag into the country to repair and much prefer driving somethig with the steering wheel on the wrong side which has been maintained from the UK and I know where its been/

I've only really bought used BMWs and you can call any BMW dealer, give them the vin and they will fax you a copy of every service the car has ever had and work thats been carried out. Also Its always worth doing a HPI (REVS check in Australia) but i'm not sure if this exists in Poland.
ChrisPoland 2 | 123
26 Mar 2011  #28
I have sent a new car from America to Poland, bought a new car in Poland from the dealer, bought a 2-year-old car from the original owner but through "komis", have sold a car through alegro and am now thinking about selling another car. I think I am lucky because I have not encountered any of the issues described by the author of this post.

I, too, follow the mantra of trust no one, but when we sold one car before, it had a stone-damaged windshield that we had filled in (it was a small spot) and had been thinking about changing the whole windshield. It really can happen.

And now the car I am thinking about selling, it has some dents and scratches (all acquired in parking situations - nobody left a note, of course) and we have considered a re-paint or partial repaint which would cause paint thickness differentials on the czujnik.

And our newest car acquired a scratch (ok, I did it) and we had it fixed and painted the whole panel and blended the color. That would also cause differentials but the structure of the car remained unharmed.

I have pictures of all stages of repairs on all my cars (mantra - don't trust the body shop) and anyhow, any potential buyer would know immediately that as an American I am inherently trustworthy ;)
tkeenan
26 Mar 2011  #29
I had an '98 awd volvo wagon and they are a real pita, always nagging repairs. The newer ones even more so since they have that crappy halidex awd system. They drive great, but pretty complex, expensive parts, etc. I don't know your situation, but if it doesn't say it in bold on the warranty, it won't be covered. You just have to constantly keep up on preventative issues with these cars, or you are going to get nailed. Might not matter if you're making the bucks though. Otherwise, get a honda and be done with it.

Did you say Gniezno?There was an article lately about car sellers from Gniezno on Interia.pl.What I learned from it is that they all scammers.

So they learned you about scammers, huh?
I've never been to Gniezno, but I wouldn't be worried about scammers as long as you know your ****. Again, if you don't know anything about cars, take it to get inspected by a mechanic.

A girlfriend of my wife's recently bought a Nissan Rogue with 100,000 miles. The CVT trannies are notorious failure points and sure enough it went out 3 months after she bought it. Since they can't rebuild it, they installed a new tranny for 5,500 dollars. This happened in the U.S. Seems like a royal scamming to me, but it was all done legally.
grubas 12 | 1,391
26 Mar 2011  #30
So they learned you about scammers, huh?

No I learned.

A girlfriend of my wife's recently bought a Nissan Rogue with 100,000 miles.

And I bet she bought it at the auction.Buying at the auction means taking a chance,that should be obvious to everyone. .As for the US,in contrary to what some Americans on this forum try to tell you not all sellers or dealers in the US are honest.There is a reason for used cars dealers in the US being the least trusted profession.And there is a reason for which the same model with the same mileage may have a different price depending on who you buy it from.I can only talk about the state of MD and over here every dealership is required by state law to sell you a car with MD inspection (which is a pain in the ass compared to say DE inspection).If the cost of repairs is too high for them to make the car pass MD insp they will not sell it to a MD resident.Private sellers are not required to sell the car with MD insp.therefore cars from private sellers are usually at least 30% cheaper but you have go to insp station and get it inspected.The good thing is that in MD the car has to pass inspection only every time it's sold and bought.That means you have to get the car inspected only once.


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