25.4 C
Doha
Thursday, October 28, 2021

Qatar authorities come down hard on car dealerships for service delays

-

Car 1 - Amy Claxton-Flickr

A number of car dealerships and service centers in Qatar have been visited and penalized by the Ministry of Economy and Commerce (MEC) following customer complaints about poor after-sales service and long delays for repairs.

Officials from the MEC’s Consumer Protection Department recently undertook spot checks on service centers and registered seven charges against firms for being in breach of their obligations under Qatar’s Consumer Protection Law, according to the Peninsula.

The dealerships have not been named and the MEC did not reveal the extent of the penalties imposed.

However, it urged customers to report complaints through its website, which can be accessed accessed here, adding that establishments found to be failing would be punished.

Consumer rights

The rights of consumers in Qatar are enshrined in Law No. 8 of 2008, provisions of which were updated in Law no. 14 of 2011.

Penalties for those who violate the law can include jail terms of up to two years and fines of as much as QR1 million, according to legal experts. Repeat offenders can face tougher sanctions, and their business premises can be closed for up to three months.

The Peninsula reports that Qatari customers have been complaining in Arabic daily Al Arab of the poor after-sales service they have received at some dealerships.

Some say they have to wait weeks for their cars to be repaired, while others complain of centers using fake spare parts and applying arbitrary pricing.

The current system of brand monopoly, where one dealership has the sole rights to sell an individual car make, has in part been blamed for the problem.

One resident, Said Fahad Al-Marri, was quoted calling for an end to this practice, saying:

“The monopoly must be broken and there should be open competition to protect customers’ rights.”

Earlier this year, the CPD reminded authorized car service centers that customers whose cars have been in for repair for more than 15 days are required to be supplied with a courtesy vehicle to use until their own car is ready to drive.

However, the Gulf Times reported that many dealerships do not follow this practice, leaving irate customers without a car for often weeks on end.

According to one official, customers can lodge a formal complaint with the CPD and penalties can be imposed on firms who are found to be infringing the law.

Customer service

The issue of customer service – or the lack thereof – is a hot topic in Qatar, as many residents feel they are short-changed when it comes to a customer-focused attitude by sales staff.

Two years ago, The Edge business magazine ran a campaign to improve customer service and asked residents to share their stories.

The discussion provoked considerable response from readers, with many saying the problem involved unhappy workers and a lack of accountability, fueled by a system where staff can’t switch employers.

Thoughts?

38 COMMENTS

Subscribe
Notify of
38 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Observant One
Observant One
7 years ago

Its simple really, disengaged, underpaid, lack of job satisfaction and exploited is not going to produce a healthy customer focused work culture. However saying that many countries western and otherwise suffer from ordinary customer service in the auto industry, it seems to be part of the worldwide culture in the industry for some reason. They are all over you like a cheap suit selling you the car, but afterwards no care. It’s not just a Qatar problem thats for sure. Anyway on the flip side, the more cars in the workshop the less on the road hey 😉

Airwolf
Airwolf
7 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

Sorry i disagree. In US i had freedom to go outside the one family Toyota, Nissan ford network. I negotiated, built relationships w mechanic of choice. Once trusted relationship is there and i know i got fair value i rarely had the kind of service issues as here. At Nissan the staff are courteous and Toyota they are ok, but go to the airport or industrial service center on weekdays or weekends and you can see the center was built to easily service 30-50 cars, when they have oversold and market has need to service 200 cars per day. There is no parking in the lots. Security is helping to triple park. You are in danger of bumping cars or being crushed by someone as you struggle to find parking and walk to service rep. It is awful awful for service because qatar is for the wealthy families not for the average citizen

desertCard
desertCard
7 years ago
Reply to  Airwolf

Totally agree. While there are some bad apples in the US, here it’s mostly bad apples.

Plus the illegality of the things they do here are mere words on paper to those here.

Toyota is maybe the best but with so many on the roads it took 4 days for my 20K KM checkup to have oil/filters changed. Ridiculous.

Observant One
Observant One
7 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

4 days? Bring it around to me I can do it for you in 25 minutes.

Deepak Babu
Deepak Babu
7 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

But then, that would be the end of his warranty. That is the catch. They run a monoply and the warranty isn’t valid if you do it out of their authorized service centers.

desertCard
desertCard
7 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

Me too, but it’s under warranty and HAVE to take it there.

Observant One
Observant One
7 years ago
Reply to  Airwolf

Fair point you make. However I had my Volvo serviced recently and it was very good, in and out in an hour. Maybe the popular status/nationality symbol vehicles are different.

Samuel
Samuel
7 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

Volvo is good in Qatar? I might need to buy one.

osamaalassiry
osamaalassiry
7 years ago
Reply to  Samuel

I’m sure it’s a great car, but it probably has negative resale value… you have to pay them to take it.

desertCard
desertCard
7 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

Western foreigners love them and hard to find used so they hold their price OK. Not like Toyota but still pretty good.

desertCard
desertCard
7 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

Not so many “Bricks” on the road here so not much competition for service bays I guess.

desertCard
desertCard
7 years ago

Al Fardan BMW HAS to be on that list. I’ve owned BMWs in Europe and America and this dealership here ranks 4th out of 3. I’d say for the most part that customer service in the auto industry in the States and Europe has been quite good. But maybe just my experience. With competition comes customer service or you’ll go where they treat you right. If you’re the only show in town like here and give terrible service they don’t have the alternatives to go to. Breeds incompetence and complacency. Both in spades here across the board.

I like Fahad’s comment but we know that will never happen. Too much protection from the government for these guys. Competition for the consumers rights? Like the abolishment of the Kafala system.. Fil mish mish.

Mikolai Napieralski
Mikolai Napieralski
7 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

Al Fardan BMW will charge you 2000 QR for simply opening the car bonnet 🙁

dubious
dubious
7 years ago

That’s not funny because it’s true…

Quality of the work and staff competence seem fine, but damn, you pay for it!
I assumed the high price was because Dr Norbert Reithofer was fitting the parts himself, but sadly, no it was just my reluctant contribution to the Al Farden family’s annual set of new cars, and for the fleet of 7ers to ship golfers and tennisers around in.

That 15 days and they must give you a car thing is quite interesting. My past two visits were 6 weeks and 3 weeks long (waiting for the gold plating on the parts to be melted off presumably). That might incentivize a solution to their stock shortage unless there’s small print that they can use to wriggle out of it.

MIMH
MIMH
7 years ago

How about breaking the monopoly on dealerships, the way Al Fardan and NBK have divided the market between them encourages poor service, expensive fees and dishonesty.
Encourage competition and you will soon see things change.

Chillaxxx
Chillaxxx
7 years ago

Over the past 15 years I’ve taken BMW, Benz, Toyota, Audi, Ford and Dodge cars to service (some belonging to family members etc) and I have to say that the worst service in Qatar and probably in the world (no joke) is Dodge/Ford/Chrysler in Qatar. I do not even know where to start when I speak about this sorry excuse of a service center. This comment has no constructive information/ criticism, only anger and frustration at poor staff, service, maintenance and scheduling.

With that being said, credit to the Abdulghani family for running Toyota brilliantly

Michael L
Michael L
7 years ago

I’ve had some really poor customer service in Qatar but the worst without doubt is the Hyundai service centres, particularly in the Industrial Area. Absolutely beyond belief. Well done for taking some action.

Samuel
Samuel
7 years ago
Reply to  Michael L

Trust me, everybody has a “worse” here, and in the end it proves all are “worse”, lol! You can’t win!

Airwolf
Airwolf
7 years ago

I used to get poor service for my Land Cruiser at Abdullah Abdulghani. It was so bad that staff would keep my car for days for break service or oil change. I d get the car back w 300-400 km extra on it and cigarette ash residue and smell in my car when I don’t smoke. I Complained to the GM Abdullah AlDurrani then. There was no response. Eventually I bought a patrol from Saleh Hamad Al Mana, now i have to wait weeks to schedule service. It never hits the 15 day mark but the lines are horrible at service centers with and without appointment same as Toyota are far and few in between and I have no choice in Qatar if I want to maintain my warranty. In the US i’d schedule my Nissan and my Toyota for service and oil changes took 30-45 minutes and break service took 60 minutes. It was within my city without having to drive to industrial zones, and near work plus Id get courtesy drop or pick up to from work. In Qatar i have to schedule a friend or taxi to take me to industrial area. the moneyed families have no icentive to provide good service as they have the monopoly and i have to go to them. It is so horrible that if you buy a brand new Toyota or Nissan from Oasis cars for slightly better price the family dealers will not service you or honor factory warranty because you did not pay their rip off price. System desgned to favor moneyed monopolists and fail the consumer. Heartbrakingly sad and little can be done till Qatar allows small businesses to open sell name brands and provide better service. Qtel is case in point, while oreedoo is still not as good in service as a 5 or 7 supplier market, its pricing and service have improved since Vodafon came along

Jason
Jason
7 years ago

The monopolies here are just staggering. I can only speak with my experience over the last ~6 years with Al Fardan. I have owned a few BMWs and one Land Rover. First off, the monopolistic pricing is just atrocious. After seeing the prices of the showroom vehicles, I have actually imported two brand new (X5 and X6) trucks at less than 3/4 of the showroom pricing from the US. That includes all shipping fees and the Qatar 5% import duty. The thing is here, if you dont like the local price most people are just shown the door.

Service at Al Fardan BMW has actually been fairly decent. Al Fardan Land Rover, however, leaves a lot to be desired. It’s a tiny service center and has long waits, for basic service. The last service at a mere 10k km, I was told I needed to replace rear brake pads. Absolute load of rubbish and they were not even a fraction through the wear limits. (Tested with my own caliper) Again, the monopolies on the service centers drive this.

The whole system here is a complete scam.

MIMH
MIMH
7 years ago
Reply to  Jason

Very true, I had a car to be serviced at Al Fardan and the Service Rep, (nationality unmaned but all those that use Al Fardan know who they are) told me that I needed to change all 5 tires as they were more than two years old. What decieving tatics, its the depth of tread not who old the tires are that counts. That is blatant out and out cheating of customers.

Samuel
Samuel
7 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Lebanese?

MIMH
MIMH
7 years ago
Reply to  Samuel

You may think that, but I could not possibly comment….

rory
rory
7 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Well yes age does have an impact. There don’t seem to be rules, just recommendations that six years is the limit. Could be less with the harsh conditions in Qatar. But certainly not two years!

desertCard
desertCard
7 years ago
Reply to  rory

They can’t, by law, sell tires anywhere here that are more than 2 years old. I got a full set of Michelins for 25% off because they were 14 mos old. It’s easy to know the date of manufacture and should always be checked when buying tires. It’s coded on the side wall. With the extreme heat here and fast deterioration of rubber from that heat here he could’ve had a point. when buying a car you should always checked anything rubber including tires, engine mounts, shock parts. 6 years on the engine/shock comp. seems max, much less for tires.

Deepak Babu
Deepak Babu
7 years ago

Customer Service? What is that?

Good on MEC for doing something. But, why aren’t these dealerships named and shamed? And are these fines anything more than a slap on the wrist?

Truth-Seeker
Truth-Seeker
7 years ago

Those measures tackle only the surface.
The root of the problem of poor customer care and overpriced products is MONOPOLY !
To change that, they have to separate government duties from private business ownership. The mixture has proved to be lethal to this country. It strangles entrepreneurship.
It has been the practice of the founding fathers, honored by the ruling generations all over the Gulf.
Mind you, the Brits turned a blind eye to the practice when they were in control as part of the:
Oil in exchange for protection of those regimes.

Bright Thomas
Bright Thomas
7 years ago

I had a Pathfinder which I sold almost a year ago due to Nissan’s scams.

1. The engine used in the Pathfinder and Xterra (4.0L) has two problems – Timing chain needs replacement after about 80,000/100,000 kms & the design of radiator lines flowing through the transmission is a faulty one as it can ruin both your radiator and gear box. Both are known problems at Nissan. (you can Google the same)

2. I had the timing chain issue and approached Nissan to fix it. I did my research and said it’s covered by warranty (subject to mileage mentioned in Nissan’s Technical Service Bulletin – TSB). I was shooed away saying that TSB is only for North America and doesn’t apply to Middle East. Why? Is it not the same car in all parts of the world?

3. I sent a letter to National Service Manager from Nissan service center and received no reply. I then sent one to Mr. Saleh Al Mana’s office and got a call from the NSM immediately. He promised me he will give me a BIG discount, and I was like it’s a faulty design – why should I be paying at all?

4. Got my car fixed for about QAR 4000 odd. No BIG discount came my way apart from the 25% on parts that they scam people into believing is amazing during every service. I just didn’t call up NSM because I was disgusted at whole incident.

5. Special appreciation to the MD’s office for getting on the case so quickly.

6. Had a rant at the service center guys when they called me asking for my experience with the last service.

Kahuna
Kahuna
7 years ago
Reply to  Bright Thomas

These two issues are causing problems all over the world, not just here. I heard it from AUS to US people had problems with getting this fixed and that different warranty strategies are applied in different location. These should have been addressed correctly from the manufacturer. Nonetheless, service here is bad.

The issue with the transmission cooler is something you can fix yourself in 3 minutes, you just need to swop two rubber hoses. I tried to explain it to the guys in the Nissan workshop but they didn’t understand, pretty bad for a mechanic…

bleh!!
bleh!!
7 years ago

DN my comment seems to have disappeared??? what happened?? what i said was true

Kahuna
Kahuna
7 years ago

My experience with Kia in the industrial area is good. Make an appointment a couple of days ahead in the early morning and you’re out in maximum two hours. They have wireless internet, only no fresh cappuccino and croissants.

Deepak Babu
Deepak Babu
7 years ago
Reply to  Kahuna

I had the same experience with Kia. Although, everytime I take my car thorugh the rough roads to the industrial area and back, I feel like it does more harm to the car than a service could ever rectify.

Yacine
Yacine
7 years ago

I have been reading all the comments and I must admit that I am quite shocked. I thought Q Auto (VW and Audi) was very bad but it turns out it is nothing compared to Nissan, Toyota and the others. At Q Auto, the customer service is good and the service department do the job relatively well. That said, they do also lie to the customer. If you go to the showroom in Salwa Road, you will read at the counter that they offer you a courtesy car when your car is being repaired (among other benefits offered to their clients), and that they drop you off when your car is serviced. Well, that is BS. The drop-off finishes at 1.30, so you take your car in the afternoon you are stuck in the industrial area. As for the courtesy car, everyone at Q Auto denied it. They said “speak to your insurer for that as we do not do it and if we do we will go bankrupt”. So yes, it is probably not as bad as the others, but it is not that great either.

Fearless Fawn
Fearless Fawn
7 years ago

I had an issue with one company when I took a vehicle (of German origin) for inspection prior to purchase. After checking the VIN the dealer told me the vehicle was covered for warranty and service. Two months after purchase they said the warranty was void. I was furious, but as other people have alluded to, there is very little you can do.

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
7 years ago

I think the industrial area roads cause more damage to cars than there are repairs!!! As for my Mitsubishi experience, a painful sales process, zero customer service, so very typical of the poor experiences of most car purchasers here in Doha, when it is a sellers market. The sad part is that the demand for cars is only going to increase and services will only further deteriorate unless the monopolies are broken.

Expat77
Expat77
7 years ago
Reply to  SokhnaFan2010

Visit to the Industrial Area makes u feel u left Qatar and is now in some remote Asian or African country..pathetic roads and traffic. Plus the wait amidst grime n dust..

Enceladus
Enceladus
7 years ago

The truth is, for once, I can’t complain. My Grand Cherokee is only 11.000 km but both times I had to visit the Jeep dealer everything was pretty quick and I must say…very affordable price compared to what I used to pay in Europe for my CLK and even for my Golf in the past. Furthermore, for 100 QR extra they come home and they do everything in 45 minutes downstairs. Any measures to improve quality will be more than welcome but as it was said before, monopoly seems to be the problem.

Kamlesh Somaiya
Kamlesh Somaiya
7 years ago

Recenty my Car Traverse just not even completed 50K kms is having problem of oil leak, Jaidah after back & forth r asking a whooping 5000 plus QR for having it done, Just imagine every 10Kms service we pay them not less than 1K n than they dont even ensure of covering up on such warranty – extended or orginal for car just being 3.5 yrs old but insist on beating drum of loyalty, moreover engine work was just handled 3 months back but their argument is at that time it was not leaking so its my fault, really dont follow either the car is having issue or their service center, Moreover believe it or not my car tyres are also not changed for being a smooth driver
I think as SEC has control to monitor school fees, Consumer Protection Unit also must set up model wise prices to service centers (SUV, Sedan, etc) kms wise so that each company follows it no matter how big their set up is, since Cars are one of the basic needs in Qatar. Whenever Government steps in things r regulated so its high time now to change the faceet of such monopoly being shown n to have some control.

Related Articles

- Advertisment -

Most Read

Subscribe to Doha News below!

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.