S. Korea to launch panel on auto safety, defects

November 21, 2018

SEOUL, Nov. 22 (Yonhap) — South Korea will launch a blue-ribbon panel next year to review whether customers are entitled to refunds or exchanges of defective vehicles, the transport ministry said Thursday.

Slated to set sail in January, the 30-member auto safety and defect review committee will be expanded from an existing task force, which is in charge of investigating car defects and issuing corrective orders.

The envisioned committee will be newly charged with deciding on whether a vehicle should be exchanged or refunded if it repeatedly underperforms or malfunctions due to the same problem.

The launch of the government-led committee comes as South Korea is set to implement an auto lemon law next year to help bolster consumer rights.

The law stipulates that if problems related to the safety of drivers and passengers occur twice, customers may exchange the vehicle or have their purchase refunded. In the case of general problems that do not affect safety, three failures will entitle the owner to seek an exchange or refund.

The ministry said it will try to ensure the professionalism, fairness and transparency of the committee to create a climate where people can drive their vehicles safely.

The currently 25-member task force, which was formed in 2003, has held a total of 108 sessions to review vehicle defects and order manufacturers to recall faulty products.