A car is one of the biggest financial commitments we will have in our lives. After all, you could get tied up with a monthly loan of several thousand ringgit depending on the car you choose. But just like every other product, cars can break down even if they’re new. And sometimes, the manufacturer’s warranty can’t help you fix it.
This is where a lemon law can help consumers like you. So what exactly is a lemon law? Let’s find out.
So, What Is a Lemon Law?
The first lemon law was enacted in the USA in 1975 as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. It was first enacted to protect consumers whose car warranties had loopholes that allowed manufacturers to worm their way out of honoring their customers’ warranty claims.
The “lemon” refers to a product that is defective, has bad performance, or low durability. A lemon law applies to any product that has a lifespan of more than six months and can include cars, electronics, and more.
Read More: What to Do If Your Car Loan Gets Rejected
But What about the Malaysian Consumer Protection Act?
Malaysia already has a Consumer Protection Act (CPA) which came into effect in 1999. This act aims to provide greater protection to consumers and allows us to go to the Consumer Redressal Tribunal for any dispute or claim of less than RM10,000. Under the CPA, you as a consumer, have these rights.
- The right to all the products and services of daily basic needs including food, clothes, health, education, and housing.
- Protection from products, services, and manufacturing processes that may expose you to danger.
- The right to obtain accurate information about a product and service.
- Freedom in buying and being assured that a product or service you need comes through the right channels, based on the right price.
- Right to claim damages from unfair practices from the supplier or manufacturer.
While the CPA does provide protection to consumers, a lemon law can strengthen the CPA and provide additional protection, especially to car buyers.
Are Warranties Not Enough to Cover Defects in Cars?
All new cars and even some pre-owned cars, such as from CARSOME are covered under a warranty. While it’s active, the warranty takes care of all the costs of repairing any defects in a car, thus protecting the consumer.
However, sometimes you might just be unlucky enough to get a car that has a defect that can’t be fixed or has new defects popping up. These might be caused by manufacturing faults from the factory or by mishandling of your car during the warranty repair process.
In these cases, when a warranty just can’t do enough for you, a lemon law can help by compelling the manufacturer to replace your car with a new, equivalent unit.
Other Asian Countries That Have a Lemon Law
Besides the USA, there are several countries closer to home that have enacted their version of a lemon law. These include Japan, South Korea, Singapore, China, and the Philippines. Singapore incorporates its lemon law into its Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act (CPFTA) 2004 and provides protection to consumers by allowing them to:
- Make a claim on a defective product (also known as lemons) within six months of purchase.
- Have the seller of the defective product repair, replace, refund, or reduce the price of the defective product (subject to conditions).
- Have the defective product repaired within a reasonable time at the seller’s cost.
- Have the defective product replaced within a reasonable time at the seller’s cost.
- Ask for a price reduction while keeping the product or return the product for a refund if the seller fails to repair it.
While Malaysia’s CPA already provides good protection to consumers, it’s more general in nature. On the other hand, a lemon law can cover issues unique to products with long lifespans such as cars.
Will We See a Lemon Law in Malaysia?
The domestic trade and consumer affairs (KPDNHEP) minister, Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi recently said they were considering a lemon law to protect consumers from fraud or having to bear losses when buying a defective used vehicle.
The ministry is currently studying the improvement of current laws when it comes to protecting buyers of used vehicles. It has also discussed the matter at the ministerial level and received input from industry players.
That being said, we are still in the very early stages and it’s unclear when we’ll have a lemon law in Malaysia. After all, a consumer group has called for a lemon law to be enacted in the past with little effect. Let’s hope the new interest from the ministry can expedite the enactment of this law to better protect us as consumers.
Choose CARSOME Certified for Peace of Mind
We may not have a lemon law just yet but you can rest assured that any car you buy from CARSOME has our seal of quality. We put all cars through a strict 175-point inspection process before professionally refurbishing them to ensure safety beyond standard, complete comfort, and refurbished aesthetics.
For extra peace of mind, we provide a one-year warranty on all CARSOME Certified cars so you don’t have to worry about defects down the road. Additionally, our cars come with a five-day money-back guarantee in case you change your mind.
Devan is a long-time writer who has dabbled in different fields from media to marketing. He enjoys some virtual driving on Forza Horizon and likes reading about various topics including cars.