Nokia cheats customers, legislator says

Joey Choo, Special to the China Post

An independent legislator yesterday accused Nokia of making illegal profits by cutting costs and defrauding local customers by writing exemptions into the warranty guarantee that worked against consumers.

According to independent lawmaker Chen Chin-ting, Nokia was trying to make fools out of Taiwan consumers by failing to guarantee their phones for damages resulting from dampness. “I found evidence of their dishonesty after I began to look into complaints made by a Nokia user in Taiwan,” Chen said. Antony Chiang contacted the lawmaker after he was charged NT$1,800 to repair his phone, even though the warranty period had not yet expired.

“My phone started to malfunction after just four months. Nokia charged me for the repairs, claiming that the damage resulted from dampness, which wasn’t covered under the warranty,” Chiang said. “But I am sure my mobile phone didn’t come in contact with water,” said Chiang.

Chiang said he was able to use his knowledge of mobile phones to find out that his handset’s waterproof casing was weak and that there wasn’t anything to keep water away from internal parts of the phone. “The design of the phone can’t even prevent water infiltration when the user perspires,” he said. The independent lawmaker appealed to Nokia to set things right. “I would like Nokia to apologize to Taiwan consumers, compensate unnecessary repair charges paid by consumers and remove the unfair regulation,” Lin said. Legislative aide Chung Lung-tseng pointed out that since Nokia is a international enterprise, it should not have neglected protection against water. “Nokia reduced production costs and also tried to get away with charging high repair fees (for moisture related damages) in a humid country like Taiwan,” Chung claimed. He also complained that Nokia’s warranty regulations were biased against local users, despite company claims that their warranty is the same throughout the world. “We discovered some unreasonable regulations in Nokia’s warranty that violate consumer protection laws,” said Chung. For example, while all phone accessories are guaranteed for twelve months in Canada, the warranty period for batteries in Taiwan was only six months, he said.