With reporting from Riham Sheble and Chantelle D’mello
Qatar’s main Toyota/Lexus showroom on Airport Road has been closed for one month for violating consumer protection laws, the Ministry of Economy and Commerce has said.
The closure of the Abdullah Abdulghani & Bros. dealership, which took effect yesterday, May 28, also affects two Toyota dealers on Salwa Road.
الوزارة تغلق معرض سيارات بسبب الغش التجاري pic.twitter.com/Ottv0tu0kk
— الاقتصاد والتجارة (@MEC_QATAR) May 28, 2015
According to the MEC, which posted the closure on social media, Toyota had apparently been selling cars to consumers as brand-new, without telling them that they had been in accidents before and were repainted/repaired before sale.
In addition to the main showroom, two Toyota dealers – Altadamon Motors and Trading Co. and Al-Tariq Automobiles Trading Co. – have also been shut for a month.
This is the fourth company in Qatar to face such a closure in the past six months.
In January, Domasco Honda’s main showroom at TV Roundabout was shut for a month for the same offense.
And two weeks before that, the Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram dealership on Al Matar Street, near the old airport, as well as the Nissan dealership on Salwa Road, near Ramada Junction, were hit with the same penalty.
Each time, consumers expressed disappointment in the dealerships, saying their trust had been rattled when it came to buying cars in Qatar.
However, some in the auto industry have suggested that the transgressions may not be as serious as they sound.
Speaking to Doha News at February’s Qatar Motor Show, Declan McCluskey – the general manager at Saleh Al Hamad Al Mana Co., which operates the local Nissan dealership – said that the incident related to two Nissan Sunnys.
“One had a scratch on the front bumper, and the other on the rear. Damages like these occur all the time as cars are being transported from manufacturers to retailers, and as a distributor, we fix the cars before putting them in the showroom,” he said. “All prior damages are disclosed to any potential buyer. In this case, one member of the staff forgot to mention the damages, and when the (inspectors checked our books, it came to light.”
Companies that do not make consumer aware of prior repairs are apparently violating Article 7 of Law No. 8 of 2008.
This provision obligates suppliers to provide information on the type, nature and components of a product on its label. According to the law, suppliers are also prohibited from describing, advertising or displaying products using false or deceptive information.
Toyota’s service centers and other locations appear to be unaffected by the latest closures.
To file complaints about suspected breaches in the consumer protection law, residents can call the MEC at 8005000 or email [email protected]