By Salman Siddiqui
Car owners can lodge a complaint with the Consumer Protection Department (CPD) if authorised service centres do not give replacement vehicles even after 15 days of maintenance work, an official told Gulf Times.
A cross-section of Qatar residents, who own cars from many leading brands, had complained that none of the car companies were offering them with replacement vehicles for their use, when they leave their cars at service centres for extended periods of time.
According to a CPD official, if for example, a car owner leaves his/her car at a service centre and the maintenance work is not complete despite a lapse of 15 days, then the company should provide the customer with a replacement car until the maintenance work of his/her vehicle is finished.
If the car company fails in this regard, the customer can get in touch with the CPD and lodge a formal complaint. Once the CPD receives a formal complaint, either through the electronic form available on its website or in person by visiting their representatives at their office, a CPD inspector would be sent to the service centre to check the complaint. “The inspector has the power to impose penalties on the company if the complaint is found to be legitimate,” the official explained.
When a leading Japanese car brand was approached about the issue, it replied through its official Twitter account that the company does not give replacement cars to any of its customers when they come to their service centres, even if the car was damaged in an accident and required 20 days at least for maintenance work.
Another leading Japanese brand said that they used to provide replacement cars or tell customers to pick the demo cars from one of their showrooms if the maintenance required a lot of time. “But for the past one year at least, we have stopped doing that,” the car company official said.
The CPD operates under the Ministry of Business and Trade. It is responsible for implementing the legislations governing protection of consumer rights, combat commercial fraud, protect competitiveness and prevent monopoly practices. It also co-ordinates and co-operates with consumer protection associations, and civil society organisations involved with consumer protection and education.
The CPD can be contacted through its toll-free number 800500, Hot line 44945500 / 44945550, Ministry Tel 44945555, SMS 92665, fax 44932004, e-mail: [email protected] and website: www.mbt.gov.qa
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