Report Vehicle Defects
A technical defect or fault has occurred in your vehicle. You suppose that there is a serial defect which exposes a hazard. You would therefore like to inform the Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt (KBA) as the responsible Market Surveillance authority.
Please note the following advice on Market Surveillance and the information that is necessary for a processing of your submission:
KBA acts as Market Surveillance authority in the context of technical defects of vehicles on the basis of the Produktsicherheitsgesetz (ProdSG). The ProdSG regulates the responsibilities and powers of the market surveillance authorities, whose task it is to ascertain risks arising from the use of a product. It comprises measures, which can be taken towards a Manufacturer, in order to eliminate risks.
The responsibility for a product placed on the market lies firstly with the Manufacturer. The Manufacturer, responsible for the product, must ensure that the product does not put the health and safety of persons at risk in its intended or foreseeable use (Article 3(2) ProdSG). For this purpose, they must observe their products on the market and check possible complaints from their customers and messages about defects from its workshops.
If a Manufacturer receives notification about a serial defect in their products from which a risk for users and/or third parties is to be expected, they must take measures, to eliminate these risks (Article 6 ProdSG) and inform the responsible Market Surveillance authority about it, KBA in this case (Article 6 ProdSG). For vehicles, such a measure normally comprises the request to the vehicle owner to present the vehicle in question for reworking in an authorised workshop of the manufacturer.
The vehicle manufacturers normally receive notifications about possible serial defects in their vehicles very early, from production and the workshops, due to their product monitoring obligation, described above. The great majority of recall actions are therefore initiated by the product-responsible Manufacturers themselves. The recall actions are accompanied by KBA and the success of the measure is, if necessary, ensured with supplementary measures by the authority.
In addition to this, KBA checks concrete notifications for a possible serial defect, which it receives from another source (e.g. press, police or vehicle owners), in order to ascertain whether the requirements for the provision of products on the market according to Article 3 ProdSG are being adhered to.
For this purpose, KBA normally initiates an investigation against the Manufacturer respon-sible for the product, in order to receive the statements and information necessary for the performance of the tasks.
If KBA has the justified suspicion that a vehicle or a vehicle part does not fulfil the abovenamed requirements, it takes the necessary measures. These can for example include further distribution or the imposed recall of a product or even a warning of the public.
The movement of a vehicle in public road traffic always involves hazards – and these can sometimes lead to serious risks. These risks arise inevitably from the operation of a vehicle (operational risk) and are very strongly dependent on a very wide range of factors, such as traffic density, traffic situations, weather conditions and other circumstances, which cannot always be prevented by the individual driver or the product-responsible Manufacturer. A defect suddenly occurring in a vehicle can here without doubt lead to an increase in the existing danger.
Not every technical defect in a vehicle fulfils the conditions to initiate an investigation by KBA and to initiate a recall for example.
The decisive factor is a possible recognisability of the defect before a risk resulting from it can arise and whether this risk for the user is unavoidable, e.g. if the user has no possibility to avoid an accident or injury.
Such a risk could, for example, occur in connection with a breakage of the steering rod because the vehicle driver is then no longer able to steer the vehicle in a controlled manner.
Normally, defects that can be detected and corrected in the framework of the usual servicing, maintenance work and in the performance of the periodic roadworthiness test in accordance with Article 29 Road Traffic Licensing Regulation (StVZO). These include, for example, corrosion damage and wear.
KBA inspects defects in vehicles exclusively in the public interest to prevent possible risks due to a consumer product that does not fulfil the requirements in accordance with the conditions of the ProdSG.
KBA is not permitted to render support in the financial relief of the vehicle owner by goodwill arrangements of the manufacturer, and in the enforcement of claims from the guarantee and warranty conditions.
In order for KBA to be able to sufficiently assess the defect or flaw reported by you on your vehicle, some important information and documents regarding the fault and the vehicle in question are required. Without this information, KBA normally has no way of deciding whether and what further measures are to be initiated, if necessary, on the basis of the ProdSG.
Please therefore make sure that your report answers the questions named below and contains the listed documents:
1. About the fault:
- Under what circumstances did the fault occur?
- How did you notice the fault?
- What results occurred?
- Photos of the parts in question (insofar as pictures can be made)
- Correspondence with the Manufacturer (if this exists)
2. About the vehicle:
Copy of the certificate of registration part 1 (registration document)
This is required to ascertain without doubt the vehicle type in your case.
- Information on the mileage
- Information on the maintenance status (please enclose copies of the last servicing proofs/proofs of inspection, if these exist)
- Information on preceding accident damage and repairs
- Information on the number of previous vehicle owners
- Deviations from the original state (e.g.: lowered suspension, changed wheel/tyre combinations, other modifications
3. About yourself:
In many cases, KBA asks the vehicle manufacturer to issue a statement on a matter reported to the authority. In order to be able to look into a concrete investigated case, and to be able to announce detailed information on the specifications of the vehicle in question, the Manufacturer may require the statement of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of your vehicle.
For reasons of data protection, KBA is only permitted to pass on this information to the Manufacturer with the agreement of the current vehicle owner.
Please therefore give a declaration about whether you agree to the VIN being passed on to the vehicle manufacturer or not.
How can you inform KBA about a defect in your vehicle?
You can send your report to KBA electronically by e-mail or by post. Please use the following contact addresses for this:
By e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that the maximum size of an e-mail cannot exceed 5MB. If, due to extensive documentation, you send several e-mails about your concern, the subject line should indicate a clear connection between the individual messages and how many messages there are in total (e.g. by numbering).
After receipt of your message, the outlined matter will first be checked by the employees of the responsible division, in order to ascertain whether the information and documents you have sent are sufficient for an investigation by KBA or whether further information is necessary. In this case, you will be contacted and asked for appropriate additions.
If the existing information is enough for an investigation of the matter by KBA, you will also receive a corresponding response from KBA. KBA carries out inspections exclusively in the public interest. Generally, this letter will be the end of the process for you.
Please note that you will not receive immediate confirmation of the receipt of your message. KBA will, however, react promptly to your message as shown above.