Saturday, December 17, 2011

Malaysians and cars

Malaysians paid through their noses for cars. Read here.

And then

Malaysians spend millions to repair defective vehicles

Read this

MALAYSIANS have been forking out an average of RM76 million over the past three years to tend to defective vehicles, the National Consumer Complaints Centre (NCCC) revealed.

What's worse is that the amount -- spent to repair defects, pay service charges and purchase spare parts -- keeps rising every year, based on the centre's statistics.

This year is no different, with an estimated RM80 million spent between January and July alone.

NCCC senior manager M. Matheevani said yesterday the centre had not ruled out the possibility of it going above RM100 million for the entire year.

The figure, like the potential losses recorded since 2009, is derived from the number of complaints the centre handles.

For the first half of this year, the centre received 2,023 complaints.

Last year, NCCC recorded 2,244 complaints and potential losses of up to RM90 million, while in 2009, the centre received 1,314 complaints which saw estimated losses of RM52 million.

Manufacturing defects are a major complaint, one which also topped the list last year.

Overheating engines, breakdowns and substandard accessories and spare parts in new cars fall under this category.

Consumers also bemoan the supply of faulty spare parts, the use of cloned ones, the unavailability of such parts and their exorbitant prices.

Matheevani said the increase in complaints against the automobile industry was due to an increase in the number of Malaysians owning vehicles.

This, she said, could be attributed to the poor public transport service, which had contributed to more people purchasing cars for convenience.

"The rise in complaints is also due to the fact that the country does not have a redress, or recall mechanism. Right now, only the automobile industry has the decision-making powers in handling disputes.

"The outcomes will tend to favour the industry.

"Most people don't know their rights, nor are they technically competent."

She said because of this, the centre was pushing for an independent body, made up of industry experts, regulators and consumer bodies, to hear cases so that consumers would be treated fairly.

Matheevani said this would also reduce the backlog of automobile complaints.

She added that more than 90 per cent of consumers could not afford to take legal action against the automobile industry as the process was costly.

"The consumer will have to live with the defects or sell his vehicle at a lower price to a used car dealer."

The automobile industry, said Matheevani, should not be worried about admitting defects. In the long run, it would strengthen trust between consumers and the brand name as the former would feel that the company was being responsible, she added.