I bought a brand-new car after my retirement. The car had a problem in its engine, so I brought it to the repair shop. The mechanic/repair shop owner promised that he could repair the car within three days. After the car was repaired, I found out that it was still having the same engine problem, so I returned the car to the repair shop. The mechanic/repair shop owner promised again that the problem will be remedied. But the same engine problem continued when I retrieved it. I am really disgusted by the kind of service that the car repair shop had extended, so now I am planning to file a case against the owner. Please help me on what case to file.
There are two remedies available for you, which are subject to certain requirements. First, you can file for violation of Republic Act (RA) 7394 or the Consumer Act of the Philippines against the owner of the repair shop, if you cannot run after the seller or manufacturer, because the car problem occurred beyond the Lemon Law Rights period. Article 99 of this law provides:
“Art. 99. Liability for Defective Services. – The service supplier is liable for redress, independently of fault, for damages caused to consumers by defects relating to the rendering of the services, as well as for insufficient or inadequate information on the fruition and hazards thereof.
The service is defective when it does not provide the safety the consumer may rightfully expect of it, taking the relevant circumstances into consideration, including but not limited to:
a) manner in which it is provided.
b) the result of hazards which may reasonably be expected of it;
c) the time when it was provided.
A service is not considered defective because of the use or introduction of new techniques. The supplier of the services shall not be held liable when it is proven:
a) that there is no defect in the service rendered;
b) that the consumer or third party is solely at fault.”
Correlative to the above-mentioned provision is Article 102 of the same law which states:
“Art. 102. Liability for Service Quality Imperfection. – The service supplier is liable for any quality imperfection that renders the services improper for consumption or decrease their value, and for those resulting from inconsistency with the information contained in the offer or advertisement, the consumer being entitled to demand alternatively at his option:
a) the performance of the services, without any additional cost and when applicable;
b) the immediate reimbursement of the amount paid, with monetary updating without prejudice to losses and damages, if any;
c) a proportionate price reduction.
Reperformance of services may be entrusted to duly qualified third parties, at the supplier’s risk and cost. Improper services are those which prove to be inadequate for purposes reasonably expected of them and those that fail to meet the provisions of this Act regulating service rendering”.
When services are provided for the repair of any product, the supplier shall be considered implicitly bound to use adequate, new, original replacement parts, or those that maintain the manufacturer’s technical specifications unless otherwise authorized as regards to the latter by the consumer (Article 103, Ibid.)
Second, you can avail of the Lemon Law Rights under Section 7 of RA 10642 as against the car seller, provided that “the car’s problem is non-conformity with the vehicle’s manufacturer standards or specification and the defect arises within 12 months from the date of delivery to the consumer or up to 20,000 kilometers of operation after such delivery, whichever comes first (Section 4, RA 10642).”
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
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