Car agencies face ministry crackdown

August 25, 2014 - 1:53:15 am

DOHA: Amid mounting complaints against poor after-sale services by certain companies and shops, mainly car dealers, the Ministry of Economy and Commerce made surprise inspections at the service centres of car agencies and registered seven cases against the erring firms.

The Consumer Protection Department (CPD), under the ministry, slapped charges against the agencies for undue delay in providing after-sale service to their customers. The ministry’s decision follows complaints against car agencies from customers.

CPD has been under pressure with complaints pouring in from consumers against car agencies, for not providing after-sale service or carrying out repairs in time.

Tired of hearing complaints,  the department had set up monitoring cells at some service centres of leading automobile dealers early this year. 

Fed up with poor service offered by shops and business establishments, a section of Qatari customers has called for amending the law to ensure their rights are protected. They demanded strict action against those who fail to adhere to the law, the Arabic daily Al Arab said yesterday.

The biggest criticism is against car agencies and dealers, who according to customers, are at the forefront in flouting the law. Most have a tendency to violate the purchase agreement in terms of warranty and quality after-sale service. Customers’ complaints include undue delay in after-sale service, using counterfeit spare parts, arbitrary prices and limited number of service centres.

Customers also complained that in addition to charging ‘arbitrary service charge’, agencies have a tendency to keep customers waiting for several weeks before delivering the vehicle after service. Shortage of service centres is another problem. Even big companies do not have sufficient number of service stations, which are located in the far-away Industrial Area, customers complained.

“Very few after-sale service centres are providing services as per the law, Al Arab quoted an aggrieved Qatari citizen as saying.

Mohammed Al Ansari, a lawyer said, “Existing rules regarding after-sale service should be amended to facilitate a better bonding between customers and companies. The new rule must ensure interests of customers and companies are protected.”

Said Fahad Al Marri, a citizen, said, “After-sale service is the right of consumer. It should be protected. The problem with Qatar’s automobile market is that it is monopolised. We do not have more than one dealer who sells the same brand. The monopoly must be broken and there should be open competition to protect customers’ rights. 

THE PENINSULA

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