Property sector tops consumer complaints list

The most number of complaints received by the Office of the Consumer Protection Board (OCPB) are against Thailand’s property sector, the office revealed yesterday.

In the first nine months of this fiscal year beginning October 2009, a record 2,900 complaints were filed against property firms, or 48.3 per cent of a total of 6,000 complaints.

OCPB secretary-general Niroth Charoenprakob said all complaints against property firms were about their failure to honour contracts.

Some of the complaints were about property firms not delivering the residence to the customer; firms unable to proceed with construction of the project when they face financial problems; not building infrastructure as promised in the advertising; not returning the down payment when the bank rejects a customer’s loan application.

However, OCPB has succeeded in dealing with 80 per cent of the complaints through negotiations, while the other 20 per cent have taken their cases to the civil court.

Niroth said that in all the cases filed in court, the customers will win and get pay back their money though it could take one to two years.

To help customers select the best property firms, OCPB has launched a campaign to find the best property firms by awarding stars to companies under the ‘The Star Property firm’ plan.

This scheme looks at five areas to find the best property firms. They are: financial structure, experience in property sector, design and construction standards, social and community responsibility, and customers’ application.

The 10 property firms who received ‘Star Property Firm’ rankings this year are: Pruksa Real Estate, Supalai, LPN Development, NC Housing, Charoem Nakorn Co, Home Place Development, Green Asset Co, Kanda Decor, Success Property, and Big 3 Asset. They were selected from 18 property firms who applied for the classification.

Niroth said that although there have been some complaints against property firms with the star classification, they are very few.

However, OCPB can withdraw the star if property firms fail to keep their commitments to their customers and the customers takes their cases to the court, he said.

Auto sector is behind property as the one with the most complaints, followed by the service sector, and consumer products.

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