The word lemon in the Lemon Law began with cars. In the 1960s, brand new and secondhand cars that were revealed to have manufacturing defects were called lemons. Since then, the term has endured over the decades and is now taken to refer to products that turn out to be defective after purchase.
For that reason in 2012, the Singaporean government amended its Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act (CPFTA) to include the Lemon Law. The CPFTA was designed to protect consumers from retailers who sell defective goods. For example, when you buy a car in Singapore and a defect appears within six months of your purchase, it is assumed that the defect existed at the time of sale unless the retailer can prove otherwise.
This is an all too common experience and it also happens with the secondhand car buying process. Especially when you consider the cost of car ownership in Singapore, the Lemon Law protects you from bogus secondhand cars. It is a great reassurance to know that the law protects you should your second-hand car purchase end up being a lemon. However, you also need to understand what the Lemon Law does and does not cover in order to your right better.
What the Lemon Law covers
- Physical goods purchased either online or offline
- Second-hand goods and vehicles
- Goods purchased under conditional sale agreements, provided that they are not rented or leased
- Display sets, discounted items with minor defects, and sale items, even if they are marked as non-refundable or non-exchangeable
What the Lemon Law does not cover
- Goods that are rented or leased
- Real estate property
- Consumer-to-consumer transactions
- Business-to-business transactions
That means your purchase is not covered if you buy a used vehicle from an individual seller instead of a trusted used car dealer in Singapore. On the other hand, a purchase of a secondhand vehicle from a dealer is covered by the Lemon Law, whether you buy it at a brick-and-mortar shop or from an online used-vehicle marketplace. The law still holds even if the seller has a non-refundable policy or has a sign on the shop saying that the goods are sold as it is.
So how exactly does the Lemon Law work?
The Lemon Law kicks in if a purchased good is found unsatisfactory or non-conforming to the sales contract at the time of delivery. It also applies when they are found defective within six months of their purchase.
In the latter case, you can ask your used car dealer to repair or replace the vehicle, and give them a reasonable amount of time to do so. If they fail to do so, you can ask either for a reduction of the selling price or to return the vehicle in exchange for a full refund. Most of the time though, the car dealer tends to agree to shoulder some of the repair costs.
Minimise the Risk
Purchasing a secondhand car always comes with the risk of surprises. The longer the car has been in use and the farther the distance it has travelled, the higher the chances of defects and failure. In addition to that, the car’s condition and history will also affect the price of your car insurance, so you would have to factor that into your budget. Even with the Lemon Law protecting you, you should conduct thorough research and inspection so you would have a clearer picture of the car’s condition.
The Lemon Law Is Only Able Protect You To A Certain Extent
It is only beneficial when the law covers the goods you purchase, so when you buy a brand new car in Singapore or if you are opting for a secondhand one, our advice is to go with a reliable dealer as all accredited and credible entities are bound to follow the Lemon Law that protects consumer’s rights.
For recommended car dealers in Singapore, visit our website and let our team of experts find you a car that would last.