Report: China to regulate handset vendors

The Chinese government is taking steps to safeguard consumer rights by imposing rules to prevent mobile phone vendors from cheating customers, a China Daily newspaper report said.

From Nov. 15, customers who face quality problems with their mobile phones have the right to demand that their handsets be repaired or replaced within a stipulated time period. They will be allowed to return them within seven days of purchase, exchange them within 14 days and have them repaired if they are faulty within the first year.

Currently, China’s millions of mobile phone users are not protected from fraudulent phone vendors, the report said. Eight per cent of all complaints to the State Administration for Industry and Commerce are mobile phone related.

The new rule, issued by China’s Ministry of Information Industry (MII), the State General Administration for Supervision and Inspection, and the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, forms a legal umbrella that protects all mobile phone users – expected to number over 300 million by 2005, according to Ma Min, an MII official in charge of quality supervision.

Under the new rule, handset retailers are obliged to carry out repairs and exchange or refund low-quality mobile phones, China Daily said. If they violate the rules or do not carry out the obligations they guarantee in their advertisements, customers can file a complaint to the China Consumers’ Association and even take the retailers to court, the MII official said.

With the implementation of the new law, the Chinese government hopes to improve service levels provided by mobile-phone vendors as well as to eradicate dishonest behaviour among retailers, the report said.