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Posted On: 13 November 2011 05:41 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:11 pm

Consumers urge authorities to rein in car dealers

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There are chances that 2012 model cars, which have begun arriving in the market, might be two to five percent costlier, Al Sharq reported yesterday quoting unnamed sources. The price rise is expected due to major world currencies fluctuating against the dollar to which the Qatari riyal (QR) is pegged. Some consumers, fearing a price raise, have already begun lodging complaints with the Consumer Protection Department (CPD) of the Ministry of Business and Trade urging it to swing into action against car dealers. The consumers are asking the CPD to act and stop car dealers from resorting to ‘unjustifiable price rise’ in respect of the cars of 2012 model, which are coming on the market with newer options. The CPD had convened several meetings with car dealers after the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister H E Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor Al Thani, at his annual interface with businessmen in May 2010, had threatened automobile dealers to reduce car prices and bring them on a par with those prevailing in some neighboring states, or face the music. The Prime Minister had said that if car dealers did not fall in line the government would break their monopoly. In his meeting with businessmen last May as well, the PM referred to dealers’ reluctance to reduce car prices despite stern warnings issued in 2010 and said a law was on the anvil to end monopolistic practices. Barely five days before the PM spoke at his annual interface with businessmen in May this year the State Cabinet actually approved the draft of a law that seeks to end monopolistic practices in line with the state’s policy to have a free market economy. Car dealers have nevertheless been reluctant to reduce their rates despite the fact that the CPD held several meetings with their representatives to convince them to fall in line. And now what analysts view as an open defiance of the state’s diktat the dealers are even preparing to take consumers for a ride by raising the rates of new cars on the pretext of currency fluctuations. Some consumers told Al Sharq that not only car prices but after-sales service charges at dealerships are also going up and at least 25 percent more than the rates charged by private players. Consumers have also been complaining of high prices of auto spare parts and say some parts are not available locally making things worse for motorists. “We have been buying spare parts from neighboring countries since like the cars, they are quite cheaper there,” a consumer told the daily.