A lawmaker believes the lemon law is long overdue and has filed anew a bill that seeks to protect buyers of new but faulty motor vehicles.
"The passage of this measure is long overdue. The 13th and 14th Congress adopted but failed to pass the proposed Philippine Lemon Law," said Rep. Lucy Marie Torres-Gomez of the fourth district of Leyte.
Torres-Gomez recently filed House Bill 5017, which provides buyers with a more effective mechanism to protect their rights against defective motor vehicles within the so-called lemon-law-rights period or certain mileage provided under the law.
According to Torres-Gomez, though complaints before the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) are resolved through mediation, a grievance procedure is not enough to protect the consumer rights of car buyers.
"Most of the automobile buyers do not have enough economic surpluses for repairs and insurance participation fees, but are nonetheless constrained to allocate such unwarranted expenses for brand new vehicles," the lawmaker said. "There is a need to install a more effective sanction against these defects."
If the bill is passed into law, it shall cover all brand new but defective motor vehicles either within the first 12 months from the date of its original delivery to the consumers or the first 20,000 kilometers of operation after its delivery, whichever comes first. Once the vehicle has been purchased, it is then the responsibility of the manufacturer, distributor or dealer to attend to the complaint of the consumer upon the receipt of the defective motor vehicle to make the necessary repairs and undertake the necessary actions to make the vehicle conform to the standards or specifications of the manufacturer or distributor.
To compensate for the non-availability of the customer's vehicle while it is under repair, the manufacturer or distributor shall provide the consumer with a reasonable daily transportation allowance, which should cover the transportation of the consumer from his or her residence to his or her regular workplace and vice versa. If the consumer remains unsatisfied with the dealer or manufacturer's efforts to repair the vehicle, the consumer may then file a complaint before the DTI.
Under the measure to be known as the "Philippine Lemon Law of 2011," the DTI is mandated to exercise exclusive and original jurisdiction over disputes. In case a non-conformity of the vehicle is found by the DTI, it shall rule in favor of the consumer and direct the distributor or manufacturer to replace the motor vehicle with a similar or comparable motor vehicle in terms of specifications and value, subject to availability and accept the return of the motor vehicle, paying back the consumer the purchase price plus collateral charges.
A P100,000 fine shall also be imposed on car manufacturers, distributors or dealers who violate the disclosure agreement.
Photo from SXC.hu