With the impending approval by President Benigno Aquino III of the Philippine Lemon Law, Senate President Franklin Drilon on Friday encouraged the automobile industry to maintain a very high quality control of their products to avoid faulty motor vehicles getting into the hands of consumers.
Drilon said under the proposed Philippine Lemon Law, which the Congress passed shortly before it went on sine die break, legal remedies and protection are made available to consumers who are sold defective motor vehicles.
“All manufacturers, dealers, distributors and retailers of motor vehicles in the country should now carefully audit and assess the quality of their products,” said Drilon.
Drilon said under the proposed law, the car manufacturers will be liable to pay a minimum amount of Php100,000 as damages and they can be civilly and criminally liable once a defective motor vehicle, or a lemon vehicle, is sold.
”Violators shall be liable to pay a minimum amount of Php100,000 as damages to the aggrieved party without prejudice to any civil or criminal liability they and/or the responsible officer may incur under existing laws, according to the proposed measure,” Drilon said.
Drilon considered the Lemon Law as among the landmark legislation passed during the First Regular Session of the 16th Congress.
“This is the kind of legislation that our consumers really need these days considering the influx of motor vehicles in the country,” said Drilon.
“We have been hearing complaints about defective vehicles and the Congress, despite the pork barrel scam controversy, was able to listen and act immediately on their concerns. We hope to enact more measures that would enhance consumer protection,” he added.
Once enacted, Drilon explained that buyers of brand new vehicles which do not conform to the manufacturer or distributor’s standards can report any nonconformity within 12 months from the date of the original delivery or up to 20,000 kilometers of operation after delivery, whichever comes first.
The proposed measure also protects the buyer of returned motor vehicles. The manufacturer or dealer is mandated to disclose in writing to the next purchaser of the same vehicles the nature of nonconformity which caused the return.
According to the measure, the consumer shall, in writing, notify the manufacturer or dealer the unresolved complaint, and the consumer’s intention to invoke his or her rights under the proposed Act.
The consumer shall bring the vehicle to the manufacturer for a final attempt to address the complaint of the consumer to his or her satisfaction.
Upon receipt of the motor vehicle, the manufacturer or dealer shall attend to the complaints of the consumer including as may be necessary, making the repairs and undertaking such actions to make the vehicle conform to the standards or specifications of the manufacturer, distributor, authorized dealer or retailer for such vehicle. (PNA)