Sales-related auto complaints soar, says consumer council

Among the 9,382 complaints, nearly 40 percent pertained to sales, a significant jump from 2017, the Shanghai Consumer Council said without revealing actual figures of the rise.

The Shanghai Consumer Council received more than 9,300 complaints related to automobiles and relevant products and services last year, it said on Sunday, when it also revealed the top 10 errant automobile sales companies in Shanghai with the largest number of complaints.

These include Shanghai Yixin Automobile Sales Co Ltd in suburban Songjiang District, Shanghai Shenxie Automobile Trade Co Ltd in suburban Minhang District and Shanghai Huaxing Yate Automobile Sales Co Ltd.

Among the 9,382 complaints, nearly 40 percent pertained to sales, a significant jump from 2017, the council said without revealing actual figures of the rise.

The revelations come amid recent reports of Mercedes-Benz Automobile Financial Services illegally charging one of its customers a financial service fee.

The offending companies employed various tricks in promotion and sales, infringing consumer rights, the council explained. They used fake low prices to mislead consumers, leading to complaints over compulsory bundled service and unclear charges.

Some promised free maintenance, auto film and driving recorder installation but in reality these so-called “free gifts” were found to have a fake high price and were of low quality, it added.

Failure to return deposits or prepaid fees as promised also drew the ire of consumers, the council revealed.

Among the complaints, nearly 500 were related to failure to deliver cars within the promised time, according to the council.

Quality problems found within two months after delivery also triggered a lot of complaints as some firms skipped checks of autos in advance. Missing quality certificate was another bone of contention with some firms using the certificate for mortgage of loans, the council noted.

It has urged car sales businesses to be honest and rectify their mistakes.

Last month, a woman, who bought a Mercedes-Benz she claims was defective from a dealer in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, said she was cheated over a “financial service fee.”

The woman said she bought the Mercedes-Benz CLS300 from Xi’an Lizhixing Co for 660,000 yuan (US$98,000) but found the engine was leaking oil after she picked it up on March 27. She asked for a refund or a replacement but the dealer only agreed to change the engine.

The incident attracted wide attention after a video of the woman sitting on the bonnet of a Mercedes-Benz car while weeping and arguing with salesmen at the 4S dealer store on April 9 was posted online.

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