Published on June 7th, 2019 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


How Do We Solve Defective Car Issues? 

Bumps & Humps in Our Auto Sector

After years of communicating with new car buyers on their new car problems (defects from the factory) and trying our best to solve their problems by ‘pushing’ car manufacturers to rectify issues to the satisfaction of the disgruntled new car owner, we have decided that Malaysia needs to have an Automotive Commission run by legal experts, automotive engineers and us!

Think about it! – What happens when you have a niggling problem with your travel insurance claim? You bought travel insurance and your flight got delayed or your baggage got lost. You submit a legit claim and it’s rejected by the Insurance company due to some fine print interpretation.  Which agency or commission do you turn to for arbitration or relief?

Yes! Bank Negara.

And YES Insurance companies are afraid of Bank Negara Malaysia getting involved and just a cc of a complaint to them, gets immediate attention.  Issues are sorted out immediately without much hassle. All parties are happy.

Likewise, MAVCOM was set up to arbitrate between passengers and airlines where unfair practices by airline companies that burden passengers are deliberated upon and quick solutions are found.  Airlines fear the clout of MAVCOM. CC your complaints to them and your reply from the airlines CRM is suddenly faster and more accommodating.  There is suddenly this willingness by Airlines to treat passengers fairly.

What happens when your telco/astro service or charges are sloppy or outrageous? Complain to MCMC and telco companies run quickly to fix your problems.  The Minister in charge of this sector doesn’t tolerate complacency and this fear of the MCMC is what keeps them on their toes when it involves customer issues.

Get the drift of the above three examples?  When there is an independent government agency wielding enough authority via laws and regulatory guidelines, consumers are protected and their interest taken care of.  There is a channel for you to take your complaints to the next level.

All these agencies are online, in social media, have clear guidelines how to lodge complaints, have monitoring mechanisms, and with this presence, help embittered customers find relief in “fine print ” jargon that are not explained upon purchase. 

Does the Malaysian Automotive sector have any such agency/commission to help arbitrate customer issues.  NO!

Currently if you have bought a ” lemon car” (defective) or a car that gives you endless product problems, your fight is between the dealer who sold you the car and the OEM that made it.  This is the experience of many car buyers/owners as a long hard drawn battle starts with letters, follow up emails phone calls and finally lawyers getting  involved. Cost to the consumer is huge but OEMs just shrug this off and some even have the gall to tell you in your face ” Malaysia doesn’t have a lemon law” so why should I buy back your car?

“The car is OK. The dealer can’t fix it… ” So please deal with them. “Please take us to court – we have the staying power and best lawyers to fight you in court.”

Would these OEMs dare say this in USA or in Europe? No! Over there they sheepishly buy back their defective cars and reimburse buyers even on loss of usage, depreciation, etc.  So why the double standards for us Malaysian car buyers who pay super high prices for a new car?

Off course the car brands when caught in such serious issues, point their fingers at the dealers and will ask them to  fix the customer issues as it is their customer and not the brand’s.  Such short sightedness!! Product problems are not solely the dealer’s problems.  They are dual in nature.  Both sides are deeply involved and customers belong to the brand as well.

So shouldn’t there be a government independent Commission/Agency that customers can avail themselves to in case of being given the run around because our laws are not sufficiently protecting the buyer?

The car is far more expensive than the above 3 examples (travel insurance, telco bill and flight ticket) quoted above and it is time the authorities give the consumers in this segment their own relief channel.

If others can have it, why not the car buyer?

As to the structure, laws, under which ministry etc, that is a topic for another day. But it has to be clearly independent.

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