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Posted On: 9 August 2009 09:05 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:09 pm

Car owners complain of huge servicing costs

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Car users want the Consumer Protection Department at the Ministry of Business and Trade to have some ‘control’ over car dealers who, they allege, have begun charging exorbitantly for auto accessories and servicing. Motorists claim it’s a dent in their pockets taking vehicles to workshops of car dealers as the price tag for merely checking a vehicle begins from QR300. Garages, therefore, remain a better option but the problem, according to car owners, is that one cannot risk taking a vehicle to such places for regular maintenance especially if a car is new. According to Khalifa Nasser, who said he took his new car to the dealers, he was charged QR300 just for detecting what was wrong and he had to eventually foot a fat bill of QR5,000 to get it repaired and serviced. He said he contacted a garage later and after he explained the problem his car had, they told him the work was not worth more than QR2,000. Nasser said he wondered why the Consumer Protection Department was not monitoring car agencies and their workshops to regulate their tariff rates as they were literally ‘duping’ car owners. Another car user, Mohamed Ibrahim, said he went to Saudi Arabia for ‘Umrah’ recently and while coming back bought a number of auto spare parts for future use and discovered to his surprise that these accessories were no less than 30 percent cheaper than those in Qatar. He said even the waterless battery was now costing QR400 here instead of QR300. “They have raised the prices of almost every accessory and the authorities remain mute spectators,” said Ibrahim. A salesman from a car showroom confessed on grounds of anonymity that they were forced to jack up prices to maintain their operating costs in the absence of falling sales. “There are hardly any customers now,” admitted the salesman. He said dealers were quite keen to maintain relations with their regular customers but were helpless when it came to making spare parts and services available at previous rates due to rising costs worldwide. According to him, the rates of auto spare parts have gone up around 50 percent as compared to last year due to the ongoing global recession and Qatar is no exception to the trend.