New lemon law put to the test
MANILA, Philippines–A test case invoking the Philippine Lemon Law, the new legal protection for Filipino consumers who purchase new motor vehicles that turn out to be defective, has been filed in the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
Named respondents in a complaint filed on Sept. 22 by businessman Ricardo Nolasco Jr. were Mandaluyong City-based Audi Motorcars Inc. as the manufacturer and PGA Cars Inc. as the dealer.
Nolasco, a retired Air Force colonel and resident of Muntinlupa City, sought the replacement of the brand-new Audi A6 3.0 TDI he had bought on May 30 due to defects that could not be repaired despite multiple returns to the dealership.
A check with the DTI showed that on Sept. 29, the agency issued a notice of mediation to the parties in the case.
The Philippine Lemon Law, or Republic Act No. 10642, was signed by President Aquino only on July 15.
In his 11-page complaint, Nolasco, through his lawyers Teodoro Jumamil and Stanley Gotohio, said the new car “showed signs of defects as erratic and/or random error messages kept appearing on the dashboard which were very alarming and misleading.”
Nolasco brought the car back to the dealership four times to fix the problem.
“On the third instance the A6 3.0 TDI was brought to Audi and/or PGA for repairs, complainant Nolasco was made to believe the computer display was replaced,” the complaint said.
It said that despite assurances that “everything has been corrected and the defect will not be repeated anymore… the said erratic and/or random error messages started to display again.”
“This time, the said messages did not only cause alarm but actually impaired and/or affected the performance of the subject” as “the electronic suspension and steering wheel… became so hard and very difficult to handle,” the complaint read.
On Aug. 27, Nolasco sent a demand letter to Benedicto Coyiuto, the Audi Philippines head, invoking his rights under the Philippine Lemon Law and the 1992 Consumer Act of the Philippines under RA 7394.
When Audi and/or PGA did not heed his demands, he filed the case in the DTI, which under the law has jurisdiction over cases involving disputes covered by the Philippine Lemon Law.–Jerome Aning
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