I bought a brand new car on installment basis from a dealer in Taguig on January 15, 2015. When I drove the car going to Tagaytay, it suddenly stopped running and can no longer be restarted, thus causing tremendous traffic in the area. I immediately contacted the car dealer, and informed them about the problem. After several mechanical checks and tests conducted by the mechanic, the car was released to me after two days.
The same thing happened when I drove the car going to Isabela. I complained again with the car dealer, and had the car subjected to several check-ups. The dealer said that the car is safe and it has no problem.
I am now afraid to use the car because it might cause an accident if it suddenly breaks down while on the road. Can I avail of the remedy under the Lemon Law?
Dear Ms. Khan
Republic Act (R.A.) No. 10642 or An Act Strengthening Consumer Protection in the Purchase of Brand New Motor Vehicles (Philippine Lemon Law) is essentially for the full protection of consumers in the sale of motor vehicles against business and trade practices which are deceptive, unfair or otherwise inimical to the consumers and the public interest (Section 2).
Section 4 of the said law provides that it covers brand new motor vehicles purchased in the Philippines reported by a consumer to be in nonconformity with the vehicle’s manufacturer or distributor’s standards or specifications within 12 months from the date of original delivery to the consumer or up to 20,000 kilometers of operation after such delivery, whichever comes first. The following causes of non-conformity shall be excluded: a) noncompliance by the consumer of the obligations under the warranty; b) modifications not authorized by the manufacturer, distributor or authorized dealer or retailer; c) abuse or neglect of the brand new motor vehicle; d) damage to the vehicle due to accident or force majeure.
You may invoke your rights under the abovementioned law at anytime within the Lemon Law rights period and at least four separate attempts by the same manufacturer, authorized dealer or retailer for the same complaint and the nonconformity issue remains unresolved. (Section 5, Ibid.) The consumer shall notify in writing the manufacturer, distributor or retailer of the unresolved complaint and his intention to invoke his rights under the Lemon Law. (Section 6, Id.)
The consumer shall bring the vehicle to the manufacturer, distributor or retailer for the final attempt to address the complaint of the consumer to his or her satisfaction. In case the nonconformity issues remains unresolved despite the manufacturer’s effort to repair the vehicle, the consumer may file a complaint before the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). The repair shall be deemed successful if the vehicle is not returned for repair within 30 days from release of the motor vehicle to the consumer. However, if the nonconformity issue still exists or persists within the 30-day period but within the Lemon Law rights period, the consumer may again avail of the remedies provided in Sections 5 and 6. There is also a compensation for non-usage of the vehicle while under repair and during the period of availment of the Lemon Law rights which shall be a reasonable transportation allowance equivalent to air-conditioned taxi fare from his/her residence to his/her regular workplace or destination and vice versa. (Section 7, Id.)
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts that you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org