Throughout the 1990s, Liu Chuanzhi, chairman of Lenovo, China’s largest computer maker, considered Hewlett-Packard “our earliest and best teacher.”
Liu may have changed his mind last week. That’s because 170 Chinese consumers filed a complaint against HP alleging that the US-based tech firm was discriminating against them. The dispute centres on a problem with faulty graphics components in some laptop PCs.
The complaint said HP was not offering them the same warranty extension given to customers in the US. They requested compensation, a public apology by HP and a recall of the affected computers.
The complaint was hailed by analysts as a sign that shoppers in the world’s most populous market are increasingly aware of their consumer rights and are willing to fight for them. It is also the first time HP has faced organised action from overseas consumers. “We don’t trust the HP brand anymore. The only thing I want is to return the laptop and get back my Rmb5,800 ($849),” says Luo Qian, one of the HP users who submitted the complaint.
This week HP issued an apology, saying it would extend the warranty period and improve technical support services.
“We sincerely apologise to Chinese consumers for inconvenience caused by our product and service problems,” says Isaiah Cheung, vice president and general manager of HP China.
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