4 facts of lemon law on used car purchases

Car Advice    Motorist.sg

Lemon law was implemented on 1st September 2012 to protect the consumers against defective goods. The 4 facts of lemon law that we feel that you should know on your used car purchase.

1: 6-month timeframe

The buyer can make a claim under the lemon law:

  • Within 6 months period - A defect proven to exist within 6 months of delivery is presumed to have existed at the time of delivery, unless the dealer can prove otherwise.
  • Beyond the 6 months period; if the buyer can show that the defect existed at the time of delivery.

2: Lemon law does not apply in the event of:

  • When defects were caused by the buyer through misuse and unauthorized repair.
  • The fault was caused by wear and tear, and not an inherent defect.
  • Buyer knew about the fault before he or she bought the car.
  • The car is not defective, but the buyer simply changed his or her mind.
  • When the transaction is done between direct buyer and seller.

3: Pros and cons of an evaluation report

Buyer can add a clause to the Sales Agreement to have the car evaluated by a third party such as STA or VICOM before committing to the sale. Such an expense is usually borne by the buyer, unless the dealer promises that the car is accident/problem free(less wear and tear), but turns out to be otherwise. With the evaluation report, the buyer can request the dealer to fix all existing problems(less wear and tear). On the other hand, if the car has any new problems within 6 months of delivery, the buyer will not be able to make a claim under lemon law.

4: Seeking remedies

Stage 1
The dealer may first offer to repair or replace the defective car within a reasonable period of time and without causing significant inconvenience to the buyer.

Stage 2
The buyer may keep the defective car and request a reduction in price, or return the defective car for a refund if:

  • Repair or replacement is not possible or reasonable to the dealer.
  • The dealer did not provide repair or replacement within a reasonable period and without significant inconvenience to the buyer.


Guinn Cheong

If we deal with direct seller, are we protected by lemon law? I bought a car less than 2week and I hear funny noise. What can I do?

Like Reply about 2 months ago

Hi Guinn, if you bought the car from a direct seller, you will not be protect by lemon law, as referred from Point 2 in the article. You might want to check with the seller if he has kept any receipts/records of the car's servicing/maintenance/history, or might want to visit a workshop to get it checked on your own accord, because if the vehicle ownership has been transferred, the new owner would be the one liable for any defects. Hope this clears your doubt!

Like about 2 months ago
Benjy Tan

Hi, I recently bought a Citroen from a second hand shop and after driving for 2 weeks there is a gear box problem and vehicle can’t move. When purchased, there is a STA report saying that the car is fine. In such scenario is it still covered by the lemon law? Am I able to claim from the dealer for the repair charges or refund the vehicle?

Like Reply 1 day ago

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