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Frequently asked questions (FAQ) - Market surveillance

Here you will find questions of general interest on the themes

  1. Recalls
  2. Product safety

Questions and answers - recalls

Here you can find questions often asked about recalls

Do parts manufacturers receive owner addresses from the central vehicle register?

Addresses are not given to accessories and vehicle parts manufacturers. They must first contact the vehicle manufacturer concerned so that the latter carries out the recall action. In special cases, the KBA can determine the addresses and write to the vehicle owners.

My vehicle is concerned in the recall action. My local licensing office has informed me that further usage of my vehicle is prohibited. What should I do?

When the fault is a very dangerous one, all vehicles concerned must be repaired. At the end of such a recall action, the KBA informs the registration authorities on the vehicles that have not been repaired.

You can avoid the prohibition when you immediately have your vehicle repaired in a garage authorized by the manufacturer and prove this to the registration authorities. You can obtain further information from your registration authority.

My local licensing office has informed me that further usage of my vehicle is prohibited. Can I - because I have a season number plate – Have the vehicle repaired later?

A prohibition on usage is only announced after the manufacturer has informed the vehicle owner several times. As the vehicle has a dangerous fault, the registration authorities are hardly likely to make an exception

My vehicle is concerned in a recall action, but I have not been informed in writing. What should I do?

The manufacturer does not use the owner addresses of the KBA for all recall actions. Even in recall actions via the KBA, all of the necessary information is still available to the manufacturer. Please therefore direct yourself to the manufacturer or the German importer to receive information on the intended procedure.

I have been informed in writing of a recall. Must I take part in it?

Yes! Recall actions are only triggered when there is a considerable lack of traffic safety or danger to the environment. You are responsible for the roadworthiness of your vehicle and must participate in such actions for your own safety and the safety of other road-users.

I have heard of a recall action. Does it apply to my vehicle?

The manufacturer carries the responsibility for the recall action and knows which vehicles are concerned in it. Please direct your question to the vehicle manufacturer or the importer for Germany.

Can you send me the manufacturer’s letter covering the recall action?

The sending of additional recall action letters is unfortunately not possible.

I have received the recall letter but my garage has no replacement parts. What should I do?

The recall action of the manufacturer is first supported by the KBA when the supply of replacement parts is ensured. Please therefore contact the vehicle manufacturer or the importer for Germany.

I have received a recall letter but am no longer in possession of the vehicle. What should I do?

Inform the vehicle manufacturer or importer on the address of the new vehicle owner to whom you sold the vehicle. You should also inform the manufacturer when you have scrapped the vehicle.

Who is responsible for recall actions?

The manufacturer is responsible for the recall action. If you are written to by the Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt (KBA), this is simply a service performance of the KBA for the manufacturer.

How can I obtain recall owner addresses from the central vehicle register?

Such data cannot be given because of the data protection law. Only vehicle manufacturers and holders of approvals for vehicles (Allgemeine Betriebserlaubnis (§ 20-ABE), EC type-approvals) are informed on the addresses when there is considerable danger to road safety and the environment.

Further information on owner addresses is given in the “Codex for the implementation of the product safety law (ProdSG) on road vehicles”.

I have doubts about the roadworthiness of my vehicle and the recall letter does not contain any directions or recommendations for further use of it?

Please be sure to clarify this with the manufacturer or a garage authorized by the manufacturer prior to the next use of your vehicle.

Questions and answers - product safety law

Here you can find questions often asked about product safety:

What is a serious danger?

Not every danger is a serious danger. You can use the following criteria to orient yourself on whether a serious danger is probable or not:

  • Health and safety regulations of applicable statuary instruments are not maintained, or the health and safety of people are endangered in proper use or predicted faulty use and
  • the danger occurs suddenly and without prior notice and unpredictably and
  • the danger cannot be averted by people
I fear a serious danger from a production-related fault of my car. How can I inform the KBA?

The KBA requires the following information for effective handling:

  • Copies of the vehicle registration document and the proof of inspections
  • A brief description of the fault and the resulting danger
  • Copies of opinions of independent experts and written correspondence with the producer (if appropriate)
When does the KBA start to intervene as product safety authority?

The KBA comes into action when it is informed on a production-related vehicle fault or vehicle parts fault that could represent a serious danger to people. The information can come from various sources (media, private individuals, manufacturers, officials, for example).

Can the KBA order recalls?

The KBA can order recalls. This comes into question, however, when there is a serious danger (see the question “What is a serious danger”) and this cannot be effectively eliminated by means of the methods available to the producer.

What are practical examples of a serious danger?

A danger is serious, for example, when a properly maintained vehicle can no longer be steered. The complete failure of the steering system during driving without advance notice resulting from the breaking of a steering spindle, steering link or a wheel is an example of a serious danger. There is no serious danger, however, when the power assisted steering fails, as the vehicle can still be steered within legal limits.

Cases can mostly not be generalized. Individual cases are often observed.

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