Thirsting for Singapore's lemon law

Singapore is about to introduce lemon laws with public consultation closing today. A lemon law allows consumers to seek redress for goods which are not up to the mark. Suggested forms of action would be repair, replacement, refund or reduction in price.

While some businesses would quake at this law, most businesses should welcome it as it encourages consumer confidence. Nevertheless, all businesses should relook their terms of business to ensure they conform with the law.

For instance, most companies would exclude from their warranties fair wear and tear. That would generally be fair as equipment is not built to last indefinitely. However, this should not be applied across the board.

In my office, we buy original toner cartridges for our laser printers even though they cost a lot more. These come in sealed bags and with what is claimed to be a lifetime warranty. Each cartridge is rated to last a certain number of pages. We recently unwrapped one such cartridge for use and quickly noticed that it produced a line on the printouts.

Happily we took it to the service center. The report from the service center was that when the cartridge was opened (you had to use a screw driver to do so), they identified the fault as being due to wear and tear. That baffles me–we did not and would not have opened the cartridge, and the cartridge was still full of toner, let alone wear and tear.

If there was a lifetime warranty, surely it would last until the the toner (or most of it) would run out?

One might argue that this product did not achieve the satisfactory quality and a consumer would not be aware of the intricacies involved in such warranty claim policies. Therefore, a lemon law would be very much welcomed.