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Auto firms unfair wordings lambasted
By Wu Gang (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-04-27 22:08

China Consumers' Association Tuesday named three car makers in China that have ignored association warnings about unfair information in auto manuals or service contracts.

The three makers -- Ford China, Nanjing Fiat and Qinchuan Automobile -- were blamed for not responding to association demands to"modify the unfair sale documents,"sources with the association said.

At the end of last year, the association publicized 10 different kinds of articles found in various car sale documents that "contradict regulations and laws and are apparently unfair.''

The articles, involving 47 models of 25 unnamed car makers, included words to the effect that "the producer has no obligation to accept returned goods,'' or "the producer has the ultimate right of interpretation,'' or "the producer is not responsible for changing quick-wearing parts.''

Most of the car makers responded positively and timely by modifying or deleting the improper information,according to the association.

Geely, FAW Toyota, Shanghai GM, Tianjin Xiali, Beiqi Foton and Zhongxing Automobile all sent people to Beijing for consultations with the association.

Shanghai Volkswagen even delivered new versions of its documents straight to the hands of its car consumers.

"The largest and most welcomed move comes from FAW Toyota, which guaranteed free repairs of fragile parts in six months or 10,000 kilometres,'' said Wang Qianhu, director of the complaints and legal affairs department at the association.

But the three companies on the black list have not given any response, although the association has repeatedly contacted them.

"We hope the three enterprises check into this and correct their faults so as to provide fair and responsible answers to consumers. They should respect consumers' rights,'' said Wang.

Ford China, which has a joint venture in Southwest China's Chongqing,stipulated in the manual that comes with its Mondeo model that the firm "will not take any responsibility for any words in the manual that is unclear or ambiguous.''

This violates consumers' rights, since China's products consumption operating instructions stipulate that producers must be responsible for the information they provide in their manuals, said Wang.

The Nanjing-based Nanjing Fiat and Xi'an-based Qinchuan Automobile were respectively found to be violating consumer laws or regulations in their manuals for their Palio and Flyer models.

The consumers' association Tuesday also revealed the results of last year's nationwide appraisal of all kinds of consumer goods.

Complaints about the unfair articles in contracts focused mostly on telecommunications, residential housing, agency services and laundry firms.

Articles often reduce the selling party's obligation and enlarge firms' rights, while at the same time depriving the consumers' of their right.

"Public appraisal of consumer goods has aroused the consumers' awareness to protect their own rights while standing up to say no to unfair contracts,'' said Teng Jiacai, secretary-general of the consumers' association.

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