Introduce ‘lemon law’ to protect car buyers, consumer group urges Putrajaya

CAP president SM Mohamed Idris said a ‘lemon law’ is a remedy for vehicle buyers who buy defective vehicles without an avenue for redress. — AFP pic
CAP president SM Mohamed Idris said a ‘lemon law’ is a remedy for vehicle buyers who buy defective vehicles without an avenue for redress. — AFP pic

GEORGE TOWN, Feb 14 — The Penang Consumers’ Association (CAP) has called on Putrajaya to implement a “lemon law” to hold car manufacturers responsible for defective projects and compel them to repair vehicles in accordance with the law.

CAP president SM Mohamed Idris said a “lemon law” is a remedy for vehicle buyers who buy defective vehicles without an avenue for redress.

“Lemon law strengthens the Consumer Protection Act. It should be introduced to provide consumers holding onto lemons — nice to see but sour and tart to taste — an avenue of legal redress,” he said in a statement today.

He said a lemon law would require defective cars to be repaired or replaced and a consumer may request for a reduction in price or get a refund.

“CAP suggests that it is reasonable that a seriously defective car be repaired in a maximum of a month, and three attempts is reasonable for the service centre to repair the same defect before the lemon law applies,” he said.

He referred to Singapore’s lemon law which was incorporated into Singapore’s Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act 2004.

Similarly, he said Malaysia can do the same with its Consumer Protection Act 1999.

He said CAP has been receiving complaints from consumers about various car defects for years.

“Many letters and reminders had been written to car dealers and relevant government agencies but we either received denials, evasive replies or slow response,” he said.

He stressed that defective cars are not road-worthy and a danger to other road users.

Singapore’s lemon law allows consumers to make a claim for defective products purchased within six months, sellers of defective product have to repair, replace, refund or reduce the price of the defective product, the defective product must be repaired or replaced within a reasonable time and consumers can ask for a price reduction or return the product for a refund if seller fails to repair.

“We need the lemon law to ensure that car manufacturers repair their defective products satisfactorily as required by law,” he said.

The number of defective new cars that Malaysians are holding on with no avenue for legal redress is worrying, he added.

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