Customers protest outside an HP service store in Hangzhou about faulty laptops on Sunday. [Provided to China Daily]
BEIJING: American computer giant Hewlett-Packard has apologized for any inconvenience caused to its consumers due to the quality of its products and services, and pledged to extend the warranty period for certain types of laptops.
The company's apology comes just a day after a lawyer representing 60 consumers sent a complaint to the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine regarding the quality of some HP laptops.
HP, one of the world's largest information technology companies, is under fire from hundreds of consumers in China over faulty graphic chips and display screens in its laptops. Some of the cases date back three years.
"We will listen to what our clients have to say and take immediate action. We will provide them with the best service," Zhang Yongli, vice-president of HP China, said in a statement on the company's website.
HP China has launched an additional customer care plan for its consumers in China who own faulty laptops, with a two-year extension in the warranty period.
The company said it is also in the process of creating compensation packages for clients who had paid for repairing their laptops, which were found to have manufacturing defects.
An unnamed spokesman for the administration told Xinhua News Agency on Monday that an investigation into the complaint was under way.
Beside those who filed the complaint on Sunday, several other buyers contacted 148365.com, an online law consulting community, over similar problems with their HP laptops.
As of Monday, International Consumer Rights Day, 500 consumers had provided evidence and signed an agreement that they wished to file a complaint with the group, the firm said.
"We've made great progress, as Chinese consumers traditionally do not complain. Now by using this joint effort approach, more consumers are aware of their rights," Wang Yufeng, a lawyer in the group told Xinhua.
Ruan Xiao, an undergraduate at East China's Zhejiang University, said: "My HP laptop began overheating and having screen problems on August 30, 2009. The problems were not solved after it was repaired three times within half a year. So I sued them and got all of my money back."
"But I didn't know other people had the same problem as me. I would have joined the rights protection activity, as I really don't like HP's attitude toward the problem," he said.
Zheng Yumin, director of Zhejiang administration for industry and commerce, said China's consumer market is growing fast.
"More multinational corporations are attracted to China's huge market, and they seem to be taking advantage of people's lack of awareness about consumer rights," he said.
However, Zheng said consumer rights awareness is increasing, which is good because it will make international companies ensure quality and customer services are up to standard.
China Daily - Xinhua