High-tech headaches drive complaints, anger buyers

09:20, March 15, 2010      

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Network products, items purchased online and communication products were major focuses of consumer criticism and complaints last year.

The Beijing Administration for Industry and Commerce released a report over the weekend listing the top 10 types of complaints it received, and communication and online products were the top two, totaling 2,818 and 2,200 cases respectively.

The website 315ts.net, sponsored by the China Electronic Chamber of Commerce, which is affiliated with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, received 223,493 effective complaint cases last year, up 109.64 percent over the previous year around the country. More than 94 percent of the cases have been dealt with, according to the report posted on the site over the weekend.

The number of complaint cases about network products including anti-virus software and online games reached 105,438, accounting for nearly half of all cases, the report said.

Online and TV shopping also were the target of consumer complaints, as shoddy products and fake and exaggerated information were rampant. Complaints surrounding such cases increased the most in 2009, up 271.41 percent over the previous year.

Problems within the communication sector were more complicated. Copy-cat mobile phones were criticized, according to the report, as were warranty services provided after phones were sold.

Other software charged consumers without telling them in advance.

A consumer surnamed Wang submitted a complaint on www.315ts.net last September that Beijing Mobile had charged him extra fees of 23,000 yuan ($3,369.5) in two and a half years. Beijing Mobile has still not resolved the problems, Wang Fushan, the CEO of www.315ts.net, told the Global Times Sunday.

"Generally speaking, the after-sales services systems of some traditional household electric appliances are much more improved than the newly developed industries like online purchases," Wang said.

But issues still exist for household electronic appliances sold in the countryside, as repair shops do not exist in some outlying areas, and instruction books are always too complicated for farmers to understand, Wang said.

Group complaints were also filed over laptops, with the number of cases increasing 143.31 percent over the previ-ous year, the report said. More than 100 Chinese consumers have filed an official complaint against Hewlett-Packard (HP) over faulty laptops, making up just one of the cases.

Source: Global Times
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