Reported in the Straits Times Oct 8, the Consumers Association of Singapore hopes to introduce a law similar to those used in America, Canada and even China to provide recourse to buyers saddled with "lemons", the term for grossly defective vehicles.
What is a 'lemon law'? Well, if you type this 2 words in google search engine you'll find more than 6 million listing. In the US, each states have varying lemon laws but they share some basic traits. The lemon law basically allows a court to order a seller or manufacturer to exchange a brand new car that repeatedly breaks down for a new one or to give a suitable refund. A car is considered a lemon if numerous, unsuccessful, attempts are made to repair a defect which significantly impairs its use, value or safety.
Report says Case receives 2 complains a month from motorists related to "frequent repairs of new cars". A law firm also agrees that the provision in the Sale of Goods Act are very general and do not contain specific provisions relating to the sale and purchase of motor vehicles. An example was given from several years ago in which the distributor refused to take back a defective car, and argued that as long as it was under warranty, the owner could bring it back for repairs. But from the owner's point of view, this can be frustrating as he never intended for a car to spend its good years in the workshop.
Recently, I met this trainer who has this similar problem. Her new car from a "F" company gives her this engine sound problem. She has to send it to the workshop every month for servicing and they still cannot fix the problem. She went all the way to complain to the local MD and was told to lodge a complain to the head quarters if she is not happy. Well, she did not. Instead she told this MD from this "F" company that she will spread the news about the company and watch how they survive in the business. After few years she is still spreading the news.
Motor vehicle retailers fear the lemon law will lead to higher business costs and may be open to abuse. I think this is so untrue. The lemon law has been enforce in so many countries. Maybe we can learn from these countries and see how they managed it.
Personally, I think the biggest gainer from this new law is not the consumer but the law firms. A search on the search engine reveals that most of these sites have links for easy access to law firms. The top advertisers in overture is also from law firms. Presumably, there are alot of court cases. So, it is not surprising that the biggest gainer from this new law will be the law firms here.