Briefing: Mercedes-Benz dealer fined RMB 1 million following viral video protest

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Chinese Mercedes-Benz dealer in customer viral video protest fined US$145,000 — South China Morning Post

What happened: A Mercedes-Benz dealer in the northwestern Chinese city of Xi’an has been fined RMB 1 million (around $145,000) for misleading consumers and selling faulty vehicles, after a disgruntled customer last month posted a video online of her staging a protest in the company’s showroom. Lizhixing Co, the Shanxi-based authorized dealer, apologized on Monday in a WeChat post immediately after receiving a warning notice from local market regulators. Last month, the dealer reportedly refused to refund a customer whose RMB 660,000 car leaked oil the first time she drove it.

Why its important: The penalty is the latest result of a government investigation by the market supervision bureau of Xi’an High-Tech District. Apart from the quality issue confirmed in the case, the dealership was also punished for misleading customers about car financing options to earn “financial service fees.” Mercedes-Benz China later apologized, saying it always followed the law and never charged dealers or buyers for financial services. State-owned Xinhua News Agency in a commentary called for a deeper investigation of the incident, as Chinese customers being forced to pay surprise fees for low-interest loans have become a code of silence in the country.