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China to have car warranty rules

By Lu Nengneng (Shanghai Daily)

08:22, January 16, 2013

AFTER eight years in the making, China's car warranty regulation will finally take effect on October 1, giving official backing to customers' rights to return faulty vehicles and ask for a replacement or a refund.

The regulation, the third draft of which was released in January last year, was approved by the General Administration of Quality Supervision last June. It announced its implementation date yesterday.

Under the new rules, buyers will have the right to ask for cars to be replaced in the first two years or 50,000 kilometers if serious faults could not be repaired.

The second draft of the regulation had specified two years or 40,000 kilometers.

The regulation has also adopted a previously proposed period of 60 days or 3,000 kilometers for buyers being eligible to return a vehicle if serious quality problems are detected such as cracks on the body, dysfunctional brakes or steering and oil leaks.

Additionally, consumers can enjoy free repairs in the first three years or 60,000 kilometers if their cars have quality problems.

A penalty clause added in the third draft, under which violators could face a fine of up to 30,000 yuan, will also come into force this October.

Car buyers welcomed the first national standards for car warranties as currently they often find themselves helpless when trying to hold someone responsible for their faulty vehicles, though in some cases carmakers provide warranties voluntarily according to their own standards.

"I heard carmakers and dealers often pass the problem back and forth. The warranty regulation gives me a sense of reassurance," said Vicky Ye, a Shanghai resident who is looking to buy a car.

Market watchers, however, doubt the feasibility of the regulation partly because the car industry still doesn't have a trustworthy third-party organization to resolve disputes about whether a car has a quality problem, and what are the prerequisites for free repairs, replacement or refunds.

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