Mercedes car buyer claims she was cheated

Video of a woman arguing with salesmen after she bought a Mercedes-Benz she says was defective went viral. She said she was "forced" to pay a financial service fee. 

A woman who bought a Mercedes-Benz she claimed was defective from a dealer in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, said she had been cheated over a "financial service fee," China Central Television reported.

She said she bought the Mercedes-Benz CLS300 from Xi'an Lizhixing Co for 660,000 yuan (US$98,445) but found the engine was leaking oil after she picked it up on March 27. She asked for a refund or a replacement but the dealer only agreed to change the engine. 

The incident attracted wide attention after a video of the woman sitting on the bonnet of a Mercedes-Benz while weeping and arguing with salesmen at the 4S store on April 9 was posted online. 

A video of a woman sitting on a Mercedes-Benz and arguing with salesmen has gone viral. 

The local market watchdog launched an investigation and asked the dealer to refund the buyer as soon as possible.

The regulator also arranged a face-to-face negotiation between the two sides on Saturday, during which the buyer said she had intended to purchase the car outright with no loan. However, the dealer persuaded her to use Mercedes-Benz finance as it’s said to feature low interest.

The dealer also "forced" her to pay a "financial service fee" of 15,200 yuan to a personal account without providing a receipt, she claimed. The woman said she thought this was fraud as the dealer hadn't provided any services.

CCTV interviewed several 4S dealers of different brands in Beijing and found that a "financial service fee" was common.

One salesman said that the fee was a service charge for loans. Different dealers may ask for different charges, he said. In general, they would charge buyers 3 to 5 percent of the loan as a service fee.

Mercedes-Benz issued a statement on April 14, saying it never asked for any financial service fee from dealers or customers and had repeatedly required its dealers to abide by the law and guarantee customers' rights.

The woman told The Beijing News that after the incident caught the public's attention, she kept being disturbed by intimidating messages.

She has rejected a refund and said she would be taking further action.

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