A COMPLAINT has been filed before the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) that it seen to serve as a test case for the newly signed Philippine Lemon law, which intends to protect consumers in the purchase of brand-new motor vehicles.
The complaint was filed by businessman Ricardo Nolasco Jr. of Muntinlupa City against Audi Motorcars Inc. and/or PGA Cars Inc.
The Philippine Lemon law, or Republic Act (RA) 10642, was signed into law by President Aquino on July 15.
Nolasco alleged in his complaint that he purchased a brand-new A6 3.0 TDI car from Audi and PGA on May 30, 2014.
However, since its purchase, the vehicle had to be returned to Audi and PGA for multiple repairs.
It said that the brand-new car “showed signs of defects as erratic and/or random error messages kept on appearing on the dashboard, which are very alarming and misleading.”
According to the complaint “Nolasco had to return the subject A6 3.0 TDI for four times to the respondents Audi and/or PGA to fix the said problem.”
“On the third instance that the A6 3.0 TDI was brought to Audi and/or PGA for repairs, complainant Nolasco was made to believe that the computer display was replaced,” the complaint said.
It pointed out that, despite the assurances that “everything has been corrected and that the defect will not be repeated anymore…the said erratic and/or random error messages started to display again.”
“This time, the said erratic and/or random error messages did not only cause an alarm, but also actually impaired and/or affected the performance of the subject A6 3.0 TDI,” as “the electronic suspension and steering wheel…became so hard and became very difficult to handle,” the complaint added.
“At this point, complainant Nolasco already lost trust and confidence in the brand new A6 3.0 TDI that he bought since he became very much concerned as to its safety and performance, not only for himself, but also for his family and any other person who will ride the said vehicle,” it also said.
The complainant said on August 27 that he sent a demand letter to Benedicto T. Coyiuto, the Audi Philippines head of respondent Audi and respondent PGA, invoking his rights under RA 10642, or the Philippine Lemon law and the Consumer Act of the Philippines under RA 7394.
He said he wanted a refund or a replacement of defective car with a brand-new unit.
When Audi and/or PGA did not heed his demands, he said he filed a case before the DTI, which, under the law, has jurisdiction over cases involving disputes under the Philippine Lemon law.
He asked the DTI to compel Audi and/or PGA “to replace the motor vehicle with a similar or comparable motor vehicle in terms of specifications and values, subject to availability; or accept the return of the motor vehicle and pay the complainant the purchase price plus the collateral charges; and, in both instances, pay the complainant a reasonable daily transportation allowance to compensate for the non-usage of A6 3.0 TDI during the period of the availment of the Philippine Lemon law rights.”
A check with the DTI showed that, on September 29, the department issued a notice of mediation to the parties in the case.
Under the Philippine Lemon law, a DTI ruling in favor of the complaining consumer will compel “the manufacturer, distributor, authorized dealer or retailer of the brand-new vehicle to either replace the motor vehicle with a similar or comparable motor vehicle in terms of specifications and values, subject to availability, or accept the return of the motor vehicle and pay the consumer the purchase price plus the collateral charges.”
On the other hand, RA 7394 mandates that, “if the imperfection is not corrected within 30 days, the consumer may alternatively demand at his/her option: a) the replacement of the product by another of the same kind, in a perfect state of use; or b) the immediate reimbursement of the amount paid, with monetary updating, without prejudice to any losses and damages; or c) a proportion price reduction.”