Law News

Lemon Law only applies to brand-new cars

Dear PAO,

I recently bought a new car from a reputable bank-partnered dealer. I know that the cars from this dealer were bank foreclosed properties. Nonetheless, it is worth noting that the cars were being advertised as “good as brand new.” A week ago, I felt some problems with my newly bought car. Since a year has yet to pass from the time of my purchase, I wonder if I could avail of the so-called rights under the Lemon Law? I heard that this law entitles me for some replacement and repairs within a year from purchase.

Dear Edrick
The answer to your query is no. Section 4 of Republic Act 10642, otherwise known as the “Philippine Lemon Law,” provides that the Lemon law only applies to brand new motor vehicles, viz:

“Section 4. Coverage. — This Act shall cover brand new motor vehicles purchased in the Philippines reported by a consumer to be in nonconformity with the vehicle’s manufacturer or distributor’s standards or specifications within twelve (12) months from the date of original delivery to the consumer, or up to twenty thousand (20,000) kilometers of operation after such delivery, whichever comes first.”

You mentioned that the dealer was advertising the cars as “good as brand new.” However, against these claims and representations, is the fact that said cars remained second hand vehicles since these were bank foreclosed properties. Moreover, it is worth mentioning that a “brand-new” motor vehicle is defined by law and does not depend with how it was advertised as such, to wit:

“Section 3. Definition of Terms. — As used in this Act:

“(a) Brand new motor vehicle refers to a vehicle constructed entirely from new parts and covered by a manufacturer’s express warranty at the time of purchase that it has never been sold or registered with the Department of Transportation and Communications or an appropriate agency or authority, and has never been operated on any highway of the Philippines, or in any foreign state or country; xxx.”

Thus, since the Lemon Law only covers brand new motor vehicles, your recourse must not be anchored on such law, but instead must be based on your other rights under your contract of sale with the dealer.

We hope that we were able to answer your queries. This advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to

By: Chief Public Attorney Persida Acosta