• Vehicle testing

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    Dear DTI Consumer Power,
    I recently bought a new car but six days later, I started encountering a problem with the steering wheel. It vibrates aggressively whenever it reaches the speed of 150 kilometers per hour. I filed a complaint with the car dealer and asked for the vehicle to be replaced. However, they wanted me to surrender the car to them to undergo some tests to see if replacement is indeed necessary. I refused to comply with this because they may deliberately do some repairs on the car without my knowledge, and make it appear like as if it is in good condition in order to invalidate my complaint.

    I simply want a replacement and not these tests. What should I do?
    Jeff, Manila

    Dear Jeff,
    Buying a new car can definitely feel rewarding and stressful at the same time. The simple fact that it costs a lot of money is no joke. That is why car owners and buyers alike meticulously choose among the best car models available in the market, down to the tiniest details a car should have for it to be worth every penny. But the dreadful thing that can happen is to find out later on that the car you purchased has a defect.

    Filing a complaint with the car dealer as soon as you find out that something is wrong with your car is the best first step to take. This way, you will know earlier on the solutions they can give you and the necessary steps you need to take to address the problem. Avoid bringing your new car to unauthorized auto shops. Car dealers usually ask their customers to submit their vehicles for intricate testing upon receiving complaints in order to validate them. This helps them in identifying the causes of the problem, so they could draft solutions and determine whether a car really merits a replacement or not.

    To relieve and protect you from your worries that they may do something to your car without your knowledge and consent to manipulate the results, you may set conditions for the tests that they will conduct. Ask them to do it in your presence so you may witness everything that they will do to your car. This is your right as a consumer and as the owner of the vehicle. In this way, unnecessary actions can be avoided and honest results can be assured. Once a complaint has been validated, the car dealer should perform the necessary repairs and adjustments to the vehicle to resolve the problem.

    All products being sold in the market must have a warranty. If a product is deemed defective, the consumer has the right to seek for repair, refund or replacement as means of redress. Consumers must therefore remember to read and understand the terms and conditions of the warranty before entering into any purchase transaction. They should also understand that as stated in the Consumer Act of the Philippines (Republic Act 7394), if the fault of the product is caused by the consumer, the warranty is automatically voided.

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    The Department of Trade and Industry welcomes all inquiries, complaints, comments and suggestions from consumers. Call DTI Direct at 751-3330 from Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or visit the DTI website www.dti.gov.ph.

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