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        Domestic News

        Customer in agreement with Benz dealership


        A WOMAN arrived at an agreement with the Lizhixing dealership of Mercedes-Benz in Xi’an, capital of Shaanxi Province, on Tuesday night, after a video clip showing her sitting on the hood of the car, crying and complaining about her recently bought car went viral online.

        She said that a new Mercedes-Benz car she had just bought started leaking oil even before she drove it out of the dealership.

        She alleged in later media interviews that she originally wanted to pay cash for the car but was pressured by the dealership into taking out a loan that came with high fees.

        She also said she was asked to pay a “financial service fee” of 15,000 yuan (US$2,242) to an employee without knowing what the money was for.

        The agreement includes a car replacement and full refund of the financial service fee.

        Mercedes-Benz also invited her to visit its factory and assembly line in Germany, offered her ten years of one-on-one, VIP service, and held a belated birthday party for her. (She bought the car as a gift for her approaching birthday.)

        Mercedes-Benz yesterday also apologized to the car owner.

        “We’re very sorry for whatever happened,” said Hubertus Troskas, a board member and head of China operations for Daimler, Mercedes’ parent group.

        Mercedes-Benz also said in a statement it has suspended the operation of the dealer store in Xi’an. The company will terminate cooperation with the dealer if irregularities are found, it said. Third-party auditing targeting dealers will be conducted.

        The China Consumers Association said yesterday that financial services in automobile sales should be clearly priced and forced transactions eliminated.

        The association held a discussion yesterday morning on the issues of financial service fees in automobile sales and car buyers’ difficulties defending their rights.

        The discussion concluded that car dealers fabricate required items to increase consumers’ payments and fail to provide receipts or other certificates.

        When disputes over quality arise, consumers often experience difficulties negotiating with dealers or lodging complaints.

        It is the duty of car dealers to deliver qualified automobile products, and those who refuse to bear responsibility or compensate consumers for unqualified automobiles violate the law and will be punished, said the China Consumers Association.