In an effort to stem the flow of complaints by the house-buying public, the China Consumers' Association (CCA) has launched a programme in the capital to improve standards in the market and boost public confidence.
Part of the watchdog's plan, announced on Wednesday, includes an appeal to real estate developers to be more accurate and honest in their sales literature.
Complaints relating to private homebuying have soared by at least 10 per cent over the past five years, making it the unenviable leader among all categories handled by the CCA.
Figures collected by the CCA revealed that complaints received last year concerning private housebuying by consumers' associations around the country were up 13.2 per cent on 2000, reaching 25,116 cases.
Disputes relating to house purchases are one of the major problems that troubled consumers, said Wang Qianhu, director of the association's complaints and legal affairs department. Many consumers found the homes they bought turned out to be smaller than advertised or promised by the developers.
"A property survey is a professional and complicated thing and one about which most consumers have little or no knowledge. What makes it worse is that real estate developers seldom give open access to survey details," said Wang.
The programme, initiated by the CAA, is designed to protect the rights of consumers and allow them to have honest and factual information upon which they can base their house purchase decisions.
Real estate developers are welcome to apply for an open survey conducted by professional surveyors accredited by the CAA. The results of those surveys will be made public in order to boost consumers' confidence.
(China Daily November 8, 2002)