Car-sharing companies fleece clients, says agency

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Car-sharing companies fleece clients, says agency

In September 2015, Mr. Kim was using a car-sharing service when the bumper of the vehicle he was driving got a minor scratch.

Kim reported the scratch and returned the car, but after three weeks, he received a bill of roughly 500,000 won ($430) for the repair of the entire bumper.

Kim felt a complete bumper replacement was excessive. Furthermore, given the time that had passed since, he suspected the bumper may have sustained additional damage after he returned the car.

The Korea Consumer Agency on Wednesday instructed the car-sharing company to reduce its bill by 30 percent, explaining that while repairs were needed, it was unfair for the agency to bill its client after the fact.

“The car-sharing company should have discussed with the client the details of the repair, as well as the time such repairs would require, before they put the vehicle in the repair shop,” a consumer agency official said.

“It’s hard to tell whether there was a need to replace the entire bumper since it had already undergone repair, but the fact that the repair took place three weeks after Mr. Kim returned further shows that the company failed to properly handle the situation.”

As more Koreans now use car-sharing services, the number of cases similar to Kim’s is beginning to go up, the consumer agency official said.

According to the agency, there were 64 complaints filed last year, an 18.5 percent increase from the year before.

Of the complaints made last year, 31 percent concerned excessive repair bills while 27.8 percent concerned a lack of service. Overcharging on services came in third at 23 percent.

BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]

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