Published on September 1st, 2022 | by Subhash Nair0
M’sian Government Looking Into Lemon Law For Car Buyers
Will Malaysians finally get a Lemon Law? Let’s hope so.
Malaysian car buyers are some of the most vulnerable in the world. We frequently take longer, riskier loans on cars that are taxed more heavily than many other markets. Yet, Malaysian car buyers are also afforded relatively little protection from defective products. Just this week, the Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi, indicated that this may change soon.
That’s because the government is looking into introducing Lemon Law, which would target automotive suppliers who repeatedly fail to meet a certain standard of quality and performance. He said that so far in 2022, the Malaysian Tribunal for Consumer Claims has already received 1,126 claims involving new and used cars. That means an average of 4-5 Malaysians lodge official complaints about defective vehicles EVERY DAY.
By the minister’s estimation, the claims that were made so far this year amount to RM3.68 million. That’s quite a big burden that Malaysian car buyers are faced with. It makes sense that the government is finally looking into this.
We’re completely on the side of the government with regards to this issue, but only if they are serious about this Lemon Law proposal. The Malaysian market has been plagued by subpar products being knowingly pushed to consumers for decades. For years, Daniel has been helping readers find some justice or at least some solution if they bought a ‘lemon’.
Currently, Malaysian customers have rather minimal protection. The dealers are left to handle after sales issues and often they lack the resources to properly fix the issue. Often, the principle that represents the brand itself will not step in to solve the issue as it has no legal obligation to incur such huge costs. It’s high time the government offer some level of protection given how necessary and expensive new cars are.
On the used car side of things, today there are many new digital platforms that offer warranties and guarantees that the cars they sell are accident and flood-free. They sell cars that have undergone 100+ point inspections, but who knows how thorough these inspections are, especially when hundreds of transactions are going on daily. Let’s hope the government’s measures also cover used cars sold by dealerships as the ongoing supply shortage of chips has forced many owners to buy used.
In most countries, a “Lemon Car” is defined as a car that has returned to the workshop at least 3 times for the same problems (safety or otherwise) and cannot be fixed at the dealership (by manufacturer) despite repeated attempts. The OEM via the dealer is obliged by law to buy back the defective car, reimburse the buyer on his monetary loss (usage, depreciation, even legal fees if it goes to court) because a clear “Lemon Law” exist in the USA and Europe.
This is the ultimate legal tool in customer protection against product liability especially for an expensive item such as a car. In some countries (eg Europe), they even have a Used Car “Lemon Law” which accords protection to used car buyers. These laws are decades old in such countries and big brands are already used to such customer protection legal rights.