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Mobile Phone Complaints Continue Growing — The Standard

Mobile phone-related problems have remained among the fastest-growing categories of consumer complaints for a second successive year on the mainland.

The China Consumers’ Association found that mobile phone complaints, all 77,945 of them last year, represented 11 per cent of all complaints nationwide. The figure, which grew by 11.1 per cent against 2004 figures, meant that one in every 10 consumer complaints was related to mobile phones.

In 2004, mobile phone issues topped the list of gripes about consumer products, comprising 9.6 per cent of total complaints.

The association said such complaints had become “a persistent disease”, with some firms only interested in expanding market share and ignoring after-sales service for customers.

Criticism of quality took up 84 per cent of mobile phone complaints, while other problems ranged from the auto shut down function and screen problems to broken handsets and battery issues. Other complaints related to after-sales repair services, which usually involved illicit sellers.

China is the world’s biggest mobile phone market, with the largest number of subscribers. At the end of November, there were 388 million phones in use, up 53 million from the corresponding period in 2004. The penetration rate was 29.1 per cent, according to the Ministry of Information Industry.

Dave Carini, a Beijing-based telecoms analyst, said the rise in mobile phone complaints was expected given the growth in the market and increasing awareness of consumer rights.

“There are, of course, quality problems but they’re not limited to domestically produced handsets. You can’t blame all quality problems on domestically made handsets,” said Mr. Carini.

He said the market share of domestic handset manufacturers – which generally had worse technology – would shrink as 3G technology took off, but added the change would not reduce the number of mobile phone complaints as the industry would continue to increase in size.

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