Steve August 18, 2020

Tesla is clashing with an online retailer in China after they attempted to resell its electric cars in a group buy and now the automaker is blocking customer orders.

Last month, we reported on Yiauto, a Chinese car dealer group, announcing a group buy of discounted Tesla Model 3 vehicles on online platform Pinduoduo, which is the second largest online retailer in China after Alibaba.

The company claimed that they could sell Tesla’s China-made Model 3 vehicles at 251,800 yuan ($36,017), which is 19,750 yuan below the price listed on Tesla’s official website in China.

Tesla China has denied any involvement in this deal and therefore, it was unclear how they were providing a discount.

Nonetheless, the group buy went through and people committed to buy the Model 3 through it.

Now some buyers are apparently having issues taking delivery of their vehicles through Tesla (via South China Morning Post):

“The promotion, nonetheless, went live on July 26 and appeared to have hit its target number of sign-ups. However, last week, a screengrab reportedly showing a Tesla sales representative refusing to deliver a Model 3 vehicle to one Wuhan-based buyer who bought the discounted vehicle through Pinduoduo’s promotion started circulating online. Local media outlets reported that another buyer from Shanghai had received the vehicle after taking part in the same flash sale.”

Apparently, the buyers are still purchasing the vehicles at full price through Tesla and then they receive a rebate through Pinduoduo afterward.

Tesla commented on the issue:

“Tesla China has publicly stated on multiple channels that the official Tesla website is the only formal purchase channel for new cars, and it has never commissioned other platforms or merchants to conduct sales activities,”

And they justified not going through with the sale by saying:

“We found that the customer’s car purchase order on the official website was not operated by himself/herself, but by Pinduoduo which used the customer’s personal information to place the order,”

Pinduoduo responded in a statement on Monday:

“We are disappointed that Tesla has made it difficult for some of their fans to get their dream car. We appreciate the trust that our users put in our platform and will do everything we can do protect their rights. We put our consumers’ interests first and stand by them.”

The customer who was refused delivery is reportedly considering suing Tesla over the matter.

Electrek’s Take

Sounds like a whole bunch of nonesense to me.

It looks like Pinduoduo is just using the hype around Tesla to bring more people to its platform with this promotion and Tesla doesn’t like it because they don’t control the process, which they are not used to.

I feel like if the buyer wants a Model 3, he should be able to get it – so I get the frustration.

Pinduoduo should just offer the rebate after the fact and not be involved in the buying process with Tesla, which seems to be the problem based on Tesla’s comment.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

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