A new senate bill has recently been filed that seeks to put in major changes to the Philippine Lemon Law. Senate Bill 2356 (SB 2356) which substitutes Senate Bill 2064 seeks to make some major amendments to the Republic Act 10642: the Philippine Lemon Law.
This law is a protective measure for new car buyers in the event that they receive a problematic unit. It also outlines the specific consumer rights if there are problems after the buyer purchase a brand new vehicle from a reputable automotive company. The republic act simply states that after four attempts to fix the same problem and if the problem still persists, then the customer is entitled to either a replacement vehicle or a buyback from the company with collateral damages.
The new bill was filed on August 23, 2021, by Sen Koko Pimentel II. One of the amendments of the new bill seeks to reduce the individual repair attempts on a vehicle before the consumer can available of his or her rights under the law. The bill seeks to reduce this amount from four down to just two instead.
It’s important to note that these repair attempts must be done for the same issue/nonconformity on the vehicle. This means that the repairs done to the vehicle must be for exactly the same problem. An example of this would be if a certain part of a vehicle keeps on failing and the problem has not been resolved or replaced by the dealer/distributor/retailer after four attempts then the consumer can available of their rights. With the allot repairs lowered to just two, this gives the consumer a better shot at availing of their rights immediately.
Another amendment that Senate Bill 2356 seeks to fix is that the dealer/distributor/retailer should provide new parts for the vehicle under repair within 14 days. If they cannot do this, then the consumer can file a complaint with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to avail of their rights. It is important to note that the “days” mentioned are calendar days and not business days.
Aside from this, the bill also seeks to increase the time frame after the final repair attempt to better favor the customer. Under the current version of the Philippine Lemon Law, the customer has 30 days to file a complaint if the vehicle still has the same problem. Under the revisions of SB 2356, this has been doubled to 60 days instead. This gives the customer more time to find out if the issue has been resolved.
SB 2356 also streamlines the terminology in the Philippine Lemon Law and appears to place more responsibility on the dear/distributor/retailer. This means that the dear/distributor/retailer will have to properly compensate the customer while their vehicle is being repaired. If not compensation is given, the customer can then file a complaint with the DTI. if the dear/distributor/retailer fails to provide this then under SB2356, they will face a penalty of P50,000.
If these amendments do push through and make their way into becoming law then this will pose an interesting case for the Philippine automobile industry as car companies will now have to be more responsible when it comes to their products.