Tesla and Pinduoduo's imbroglio continues

Ding Yining Hu Yumo
Shanghai-headquartered Pinduoduo and US electric carmaker Tesla are embroiled in a dispute over whether car buyers can order from the online discount platform. 
Ding Yining Hu Yumo
Tesla and Pinduoduos imbroglio continues

Shanghai-headquartered Pinduoduo and US electric carmaker Tesla are embroiled in a dispute over whether car buyers who ordered from the online discount platform are eligible for service from the latter.

Pinduoduo said it's working with relevant parties to make sure that discounted Tesla Model 3s are delivered to consumers who were promised a 20,000-yuan (US$2,882) discount on the vehicles via the group-buying website, where Chinese car dealership Yiauto had earlier announced a group-buying promotion.

"We want to make sure other Tesla buyers get a satisfactory result as well," said Pinduoduo staffer Le Fu, who is in charge of the flash sale event which attracted tens of thousands of potential Model 3 buyers. 

Tesla has already canceled a deal with one buyer from Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province, claiming that the contract breached regulations forbidding the car owner to resell the vehicle to other parties.

Tesla stood by its statement that it has not collaborated with Pinduoduo or Yiauto and has not authorized sales services through any third party.

US electric carmaker Tesla said on Monday that “if consumers are willing to reorder the Model 3 vehicle via Tesla’s formal sales channel, the company will compensate them for the loss of time and effort spent on this case.”

Tesla said on Monday that it will support consumers who were misled by the group-buying activity and did not receive Model 3s to defend their rights. The automaker said that it will do everything possible to provide consumers with the legal assistance.

Tesla added that it has always maintained a direct sales model, and its website is the only official purchasing platform for its new cars. Tesla insists that this model serves the best interests of consumers, as it offers both transparency and convenience.

On August 14, Tesla said that it has never entrusted other platforms or merchants to conduct sales on its behalf, and it reserves the right to pursue legal proceedings against resellers.

In a previous statement on July 21, Tesla denied involvement in the planned Pinduoduo promotion. 

The US electric carmaker said it received notice from Internet users that Yiauto was organizing a limited time group purchase promotion for 2019 Tesla Model 3 vehicles on Pinduoduo.

The company said it did not have any cooperation with Pinduoduo for the promotion and if customers had any disputes over their rights due to this group-buying activity, Tesla would not bear any responsibility.

The company said: “there is no cooperation between Tesla and Pinduoduo or Yiauto on this activity. Tesla does not have any form of entrusted sales service with Pinduoduo or Yiauto. Tesla did not sell any vehicles to Pinduoduo or Yiauto for this promotion.”

Industry watchers are divided over whether such promotions are a violation against brand owners' interests or if Tesla's sales terms contradict anti-monopoly rules.

Discount deals on Pinduoduo should not be considered resales as the consumer is still the owner of the car even if payment was made by a third party, said Zhang Yanlai, a lawyer at Kinding Law Firm.

Beijing Yingke Law Firm's Fang Chaoqiang said the sales should be legit and Tesla's claims are not well-grounded to cancel the contract merely on the basis that payment is made by a third party rather than the car owner.

Special Reports