Eric Tipan & Vince Pornelos / | May 07, 2015 15:30
Based on Consumer Act, not Lemon Law
It was supposed to be the case that puts the Lemon law to the test but in the end the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) used the 1992 Consumer Act of the Philippines to deal with the issue between Mr. Ricardo L. Nolasco Jr. and PGA Cars Incorporated (the distributor of Audi in the Philippines).
Nolasco, a retired Philippine Air Force Colonel, filed a complaint last year stating that the 2014 Audi A6 3.0 TDI he bought for Php 5.5 million on May 30, 2014 “showed signs of defects as erratic and/or random error messages kept appearing on the dashboard which were very alarming and misleading.” After repair efforts by the dealer and mediation attempts, the two sides came to a near-settlement but was rejected by Nolasco in the end, automatically sending the case to adjudication.
On March 2, 2015, DTI Adjudicating Division Officer Ronald Calderon released a decision favoring Nolasco and finding Audi Motorcars Incorporated and PGA Cars Incorporated ‘jointly liable for the imperfections’ of the vehicle. Nolasco initially invoked the newly signed Republic Act No. 10642 or the Philippine Lemon Law as legal basis for his complaint while also citing the 1992 Consumer Act of the Philippines. According to DTI Undersecretary Victorio Mario Dimagiba, the agency could only use the Consumer Act as legal basis due to the fact that the vehicle was sold before the law was enacted.
PGA Cars: The DTI has not yet inspected the car
AutoIndustriya.com contacted Mr. Amado del Rosario, Director of PGA Cars, so that they shed some light on the matter, only to find out that there was a serious problem regarding the manner in which the DTI issued their "decision".
"The DTI has not yet inspected the car here at PGA Cars," del Rosario told AutoIndustriya.com. "How can there be a decision without inspection?"
“We have filed a complaint with the Ombudsman against the adjudicating agency [DTI] over this matter,” continued del Rosario. "How can they issue a decision without so much as a visual examination or technical inspection of the said vehicle for any defects?"
Audi Motorcars and PGA Cars attended to the complaints of Nolasco in 2014 prior to the effectivity of the Philippine Lemon Law. It was found that the problem with the car was addressed by the dealer and distributor; the said problem stemmed from the use of a pirated CD in the audio unit.
“The car is here in our service center. We strongly urge the DTI to visit and examine the car for themselves. To date, the DTI still has not scheduled any inspection of the 2014 Audi A6," concluded the director of PGA Cars.