Press Release
February 9, 2007


Senator Mar Roxas, chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade and Commerce, yesterday presented for debate his proposed measure that would provide protection for buyers of, and enforce sales warranties on, motor vehicles.

The senator from Capiz sponsored Senate Bill 2464 on the floor and quickly called on his colleagues to favorably consider and pass the measure. A counterpart bill, authored by Rep. Monico Puentebella, has been passed in the House.

This bill will ensure that car buyers get full-value for their money. If a consumer happens to buy a defective car or any other product, he or she is entitled to get his or her money back, or to at least get a prompt replacement, Roxas said after sponsoring the measure.

Senate Bill No. 2464, which has undergone extensive scrutiny and discussion in several public hearings by the Roxas committee, seeks to promote full protection to the rights of consumers in the sale of motor vehicles against sales and trade practices which are deceptive, unfair, or otherwise inimical to consumers and the public interest. It recognizes that a motor vehicle is a major consumer investment, defines the rights of the buyer (it provides for an 18-month Lemon Law Rights period for brand new cars) and imposes penalties for violations thereof.

A motor vehicle is considered a lemon if it is unfit, unreliable, or unsafe for ordinary use. On the other hand, a Lemon Law Rights period prescribes the time within which a consumer can report any non-conformity or failure to conform to a warranty and a defect or a condition that significantly impairs the use, market value or safety of a motor vehicle. Within the said period, if the non-conformity was not repaired or corrected, a consumer has the right of 1) replacement or 2) return with refund of full purchase price.

Under the proposed measure, a car is a lemon if during the Lemon Law Rights period the said car: 1) has been subject to repair three or more times, yet the same non-conformity continues to exist; 2) the non-conformity is a serious safety defect and has been subject to repair one or more times; or 3) is out of service due to repair for a cumulative total of 30 calendar days.

On the part of car manufacturers, the bill provides that they can deny non-liability if the alleged non-conformity: 1) does not make the vehicle a lemon, which renders it unfit, unreliable, or unsafe for ordinary use or reasonable intended purposes; 2) is not a serious safety defect, or is not a life threatening malfunction; or is the result of (1) abuse, (2) neglect, or (3) unauthorized modification or alteration by the consumer.

As a protection to third parties, the bill requires car manufacturers and distributors to disclose to the dealer and the Land Transportation Office if the vehicle is a lemon prior to any sale, lease, or transfer.

When this bill becomes a law, it will provide an enduring solution to the predicament of the purchase of a lemon car, Roxas said, as he asked for his colleagues support to the measure.

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