What is Lemon Law?Insights
What is Lemon Law? How does it protect you from automakers who won't own up to bad vehicles?
As far as buyers are concerned, when they buy a new car, the vehicle should be in top-notch condition without any problems because it is brand new. Because it is a new car, new vehicle owners should not be worried about the car having any impurities, mechanical and software problems, or even flaws.
What if a new car isn't perfect?
Now, as much as we think that when you buy a new car and it rolls off the showroom floor it should be perfect, automakers are not perfect, they are human and sometimes and as humans, they can make mistakes and oversee things.
Everybody makes mistakes, but the problem with automakers sometimes is that they don't own up to their mistakes and just continue selling a car/ model even when there is a known problem.
What is Lemon Law?
For this reason, consumers need something to protect themselves from big and powerful corporations - and thankfully, in some countries, they have the Lemon Law.
Originally referred to as defective automobiles that were called lemons, Lemon Law is an American state law that provides solutions for buyers of cars and other consumer goods to compensate for repeatedly defective products to meet quality and performance standards.
While there are many types of defective products, from small electrical appliances to large machinery, the term "lemon" is most often used to describe defective motor vehicles such as cars, trucks, SUVs, and motorcycles.
Currently, only Europe and six other countries, including Singapore, have some form of Lemon Law, but the strongest one still is in the United States.
Has a buyer won a Lemon Law case?
Two of the largest Lemon Law payouts ever witnessed happened in the United States.
In 2005, Marco Marquez purchased a Mercedes-Benz E320 sedan and started to experience problems almost immediately after buying it. Unfortunately, the dealer did not repair the vehicle, and Marquez filed a claim. After a long and arduous court case, he was eventually awarded $482,000 (RM2.1 mil) for damages and legal fees, ten times the worth of the car.
The other big payout involved a Tesla, where Robert Montgomery claimed that his Elon Musk machine had spent most of its time in a workshop rather than on the road. Initially, Tesla ignored requests by Robert to give him a refund, but when Robert took it up with the Lemon law, Tesla agreed to settle for a $126,836 (RM553k) payout, which is around $29k (RM126k) more than the original price of the car.
So as you can see, a Lemon Law imposes upon a vehicle the surety that the product should work as it claims to be and is fit for its intended purpose.
Do countries in Asia have Lemon Law?
Although it might not be called Lemon Law, Singapore, the Philippines, China, Japan and South Korea have similar laws to protect their consumers, including vehicle purchasers. Malaysia does not have one, but we do have a generic form of consumer protection called, Consumer Protection Act 1999.
Under this act, it says that companies should provide consumers with products that are fit for the purpose of use. The Protection Act does not directly address cars, but a car is a product, right?