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August 14, 2010

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Complaints soar over poor repairs

THE Shanghai Commission of Consumers' Rights and Interests said many illegal electric appliance repair companies cheat consumers.

The commission said these companies often intentionally damage appliances such as air conditioners so that the customer has to call them back, allowing them to make more money.

The commission said that they received more than 600 complaints about air conditioner repairs in July. Most complaints were due to these "tricks."

The Shanghai Household Electric Appliance Association said some repairmen cheat consumers by telling them they added several kilograms of freon into an air-conditioner, when they actually don't.

In one case, a repair company charged Liu Yu double the price for "fixing" an air conditioner that still didn't cool the room.

"Some workers may even place a small stone inside an air conditioner when cleaning the machine," said Zhu Qingyu, an official with the association's repair department. "Thus the air conditioner will break down again very soon, and the customer must call back for repairs."

Officials said that 90 percent of electric appliance repair companies do not hold the association's certificate.

"These tricks are old problems," said Lu Xueqin, an official with the commission. "We can only warn consumers to find a certified company."

The association said they have published the names of legal companies on the its website, (Chinese only). The website also gives out the recommended price of different repairs, officials said.


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