Thursday, March 15, 2012

Lemon Lor? Lemon Law!

 We swear Zooropa is not a Lemon. Pop too!

Seller - Fuck you, you buy lemon lor!
Buyer - FUCK YOU, I Lemon Law you!

One of the best changes to the laws since blowjobs was made legal (as foreplay only, so if you CIM with your girlfriend or boyfriend it is still illegal fucking and fucking illegal), coming this September 2012, it is the LEMON LAW! Gone is the rule of "buyer beware", now it is "seller beware" as well. The Lemon Law to merchants is like the Women's Charter to husbands. Sure lose, regardless if your fault or not...

Shopkeepers at Sim Lim Square are probably trembling and plotting on what to do when the day of reckoning comes. However, I wouldn't be too worried if I were them. They won't be affected much as the Sim Lim practice is just change the shop name and receipts, while the staff and shop front can remain the same after selling you a lemon PSP, PC or iPat (sic). This is the true test of the power of the Lemon Law, against the notorious Sim Lim Square bandits. OK not all of them are crooks but you get the impression that some of them are the modern versions of the thieves market across at Sungei Road.

Back to the anticipated Lemon Law. Did you know that it applies to pets even as bizarre as it sounds? Yes.  What next? Mail-order brides from China some would pray. Buy a bride, try her, don't like, replace her with another or refund all within 6 months! Nobody knows the true extent of the Lemon Law, like whether it applies to HDB BTO flats. Would it apply to ministers too since we paid for them as taxpayers? Politicians would counter that they provide a service and therefore would not qualify as a lemon. So you know who benefits most from the Lemon Laws besides honest and dishonest consumers because of the legal mumbo jumbo? HONEST AND DISHONEST LAWYERS! It used to be corporate, IP or conveyance. Lemon Law litigation is the new frontier. Really? Really.

Seriously would it boost the retail industry and encourage consumerism? Yes, it would as people would be persuaded to buy as there is a solid refund and replace institution in place. However, consumers have to understand the trade-off. While there are honest consumers who honestly bought with the intention of keeping the item but then had to return it for their own reasons, there would be dishonest customers who bought the item with the intention of returning it after use I'm not talking about panties, but electronic items particularly as used items returned can be the next lemon. e.g. they need a solid sound system for a weekend party, thus buy before and return after. Retailers are now worried about consumers abusing the Lemom Law, especially the SMEs who don't have the deep pockets for an army of lawyers to bully back unscrupulous consumers.

Nevertheless, overall, the net effect is positive as not every consumer is a dishonest crook and the Lemon Law is finally here to protect consumers. CASE finally has bite, or at least a bigger bark.


  1. funny post!

    singapore finally gets a refund-return policy in shops. that's why i prefer shop at ikea, carrefour and other bigger retailers. i just buy, don't like and can return. yes, i think sure many chaokuans would abuse the lemon law. imagine the horde of foreigners here, those from china. you think they won't abuse it?

  2. I agree with most of what you have said. I don't however agree with the part about lawyers benefitting. Actually lawyers won't touch this area much because the cost of most consumer goods is just too little for customers to even bother to get any legal assistance, dare I say even goods like expensive sound systems.

    I think in the long term consumers are likely to benefit more than retailers as the law will, at least to a good extent, ensure a higher level of customer service. You are right about the possible abuses and that will lead to increase in business costs to some extent. I have seen that in England where I used to live. However, overall, if you asked consumers in the developed world where such legislation is commonplace whether they rather have or not have such laws, they are likely to tell you they want such laws. I think it is part of development, warts and all. In many developed countries, established retailers may even offer you a return or refund within x days with no questions asked and that is not necessarily because of requirements of law; what they offer may exceed what the law requires. It becomes a measure of quality of their retail services as well as an implied assurance of quality. If one sells dodgy stuff which the seller is not confident of its quality, the seller will always be afraid of lemon laws. I am a business owner and wearing my hat as that, I still think it is the right direction to go; long overdue actually.

  3. It is part of development and the next stage of the retail industry in Singapore, warts and all - bullseye comment.

    Good point that most retailers would just absorb the losses from unscrupulous customers returning used and then unsellable goods. However, furniture, contractor and house renovation, workshop and used car industries might be new niche markets for lemon law lawyers where it might be worthwhile for both sellers and buyers to have a go.

  4. Thanks for the information. I've been researching lemon laws and looking into hiring one of the lemon law lawyers in the area. Long story, but I recently bought a car from a used car dealer and it was not offered with a warranty. Things just kept needing to be replaced and the dealer refused to cover it because he sold it to me as is.