Philippine Lemon Law approved by both houses

July 24, 2014

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Both houses have already approved the Philippine Lemon Law which provides guidelines on how Philippine car consumers can be protected from "lemon" or defective brand new vehicles. 

The act outlines specific guidelines, definitions and proceedures in the event that a consumer or car owner purchases a vehicle that does not conform to manufacturer specifications after repeated attempts at repair by the manufacturer. The law mandates that if you have a car with a defect then you will automatically get the same car or the money back if a vehicle produced is found to be defective (as verified) by the DTI. The manufacturer must acknowledge the defect and take the appropriate steps to either compensate the owner or provide the purchaser of the defective vehicle with a suitable replacement.

The important provisions of the law are as follows:

  1. The law covers brand new 4-wheeled motor vehicles except large commercial trucks or motorcycles
  2. The Lemon Law Rights Period is 12 months or 20,000 kilometers since date of original purchase
  3. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is the implementing agency, arbiter and mediator.
  4. Non-conformity is "any defect or condition that substantially impairs the use, value or safety of a brand new motor vehicle". In short, it does not perform to the specifications outlined by the car company.
  5. A vehicle that is not performing to specifications must have undergone at least 4 repair attempts by the manufacturer/distributor before the consumer can avail of his/her lemon law rights.
  6. The DTI will independently investigate and verify the claims of the consumer.
  7. If the DTI finds a non-conformity, they will rule in favor of the consumer. The manufacturer/distributor will be ordered to replace or refund the vehicle as well as reimburse the consumer for costs incurred (i.e. taxi fares)
  8. If the DTI does not find a non-conformity, they will rule in favor of the manufacturer/distributor. The consumer will then have to reimburse the manufacturer/distributor for the costs incurred to verify and validate the claims.

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