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Editorial

Singapore's Newly Passed 'Lemon Law'

β€œLemon Laws” refer to consumer protection laws that provide remedies against goods with latent defects. These type of goods usually fail to meet satisfactory qualify or performance standards at the time of purchase, or fail to conform to applicable contracts. The lemon laws thus obligate sellers to repair, replace, or refund the price of defective goods.

Singapore's "Lemon Law" was passed in Parliament on 9th March 2012, and is expected to take effect from 1st September 2012. Amendments have been made to the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act ("CPFTA") to give consumers additional rights with respect to contracts of sale of goods, contracts for transfer of goods and hire-purchase agreements. Related amendments have also been made to both the Hire-Purchase Act ("HPA") and Road Traffic Act.

Presently, when consumers are faced with goods that breach an express term of an applicable contract or any implied terms of satisfactory quality, fitness for purpose or correspondence with description or sample under the Sale of Goods Act, the Supply of Goods Act or the HPA, retailers are not obligated to repair, refund or replace the defective product.

The proposed amendments, however, give consumers the right to require retailers to repair or replace the goods within a reasonable time and without causing significant inconvenience to the consumer. If repair or replacement is impossible, or if the retailer fails to repair or replace the goods within a reasonable time and without significant inconvenience to the consumer, the consumer may require the retailer to reduce the price paid for the goods or rescind the contract.

Unless the seller is able to prove otherwise, it is presumed that a good's defect existed at the time of delivery if the good does not conform to contract specifications within six months of the date of delivery. However, this "rebuttable presumption" will only apply up to the usual shelf life of consumables or perishables. Also, consumers would not be entitled to any repair or replacement if they were the ones who caused the damage to the goods.

With the enactment of the new laws, sellers would have to ensure that their goods match their description as marketed and promoted. The onus would also be on sellers to point out defects to consumers before consumers purchase the good.

The new "Lemon Laws" will cover a wide range of general consumer products such as consumers and perishables, electronics and clothing, motorcycles and cars, and even pets.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact our Mr. Samuel Seow at samuelseow@sslawcorp.com


For more information please visit www.sslawcorp.com

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