Chinese online used car seller Uxin has accused its rival Guazi of data fraud, igniting a spat between the two companies that shows no signs of abating.
A customer surnamed Qin said a salesperson at Guazi offered to refund their RMB 4,500 (around $670) commission after they signed a contract to buy a second-hand Honda, according to a statement by Uxin on popular messaging platform WeChat.
Such activities could allow companies to attract more customers by removing their commissions, while potentially not recording the refunds in order to alter their financial results.
Uxin claims Qin showed it screenshots of the WeChat money transfer. The deal was allegedly made in the southern Chinese province of Guangxi in January. Uxin said it found “huge” numbers of similar cases in 30 cities around China and accused Guazi of cooking its books.
In a statement to TechNode, Guazi denied the claims, saying the move is part of a sales promotion to “accelerate the circulation of vehicles and encourage its salespeople.” The company added that its promotional strategy was created based on reasonable financial models. Guazi said Uxin should be more worried about its businesses, given that its market value has shrunk considerably.
Nasdaq-listed Uxin’s share price has fallen nearly 65% since late December.
“We hope Uxin will learn lessons from slandering other players,” Guazi said in a statement, adding that it has confidence in the new-retail market for second-hand cars.
This is not the first time Guazi has been accused of unfair competition and attempting to mislead Chinese internet users. In a 2017 ad, the Beijing-based company claimed to be the country’s largest online used-car market, being “way ahead of its rivals in terms of trading volume.”
Online car marketplace Renrenche then filed a lawsuit against the company for misleading marketing. Guazi was later fined RMB 12.5 million for trying to deceive the public.
Guazi, Uxin Group, and Renrenche are three major players in China’s online used vehicle market. According to research firm iiMedia Research, Renrenche controls more than 45% of the sector having surpassed rivals Guazi and Uxin in the first half of 2018.
Correction: This article has been corrected so as to attribute properly the source of market-share data. It was iiMedia Research and not iResearch as originally stated.