Tesla in­volved in pur­chase tax re­fund row, risks los­ing trust

Global Times US Edition - - BIZUPDATE - By Wang Yi Page Ed­i­tor: zhanghong­[email protected]­s.com.cn

Tesla Inc is mired in a tax re­fund row that may make it lose Chi­nese con­sumers’ trust, and its at­tempt to de­tach it­self from the row doesn’t ap­pear to be well ac­cepted.

Many com­plaints have bro­ken out among Chi­nese Tesla own­ers since Fri­day, when the US elec­tric car­maker an­nounced that its cars are ex­empt from the pur­chase tax in China.

The an­nounce­ment, which means lower prices for Tesla in China, might help open its mar­ket in the coun­try but for its own­ers, they think they have paid the tax that they should have not paid.

The max­i­mum tax re­fund can reach 90,000 yuan ($13,791).

A let­ter writ­ten by Tesla own­ers cir­cu­lat­ing on the in­ter­net on Tues­day showed that some of the buy­ers have started seek­ing tax re­funds. The let­ter read that those who bought tax-ex­empt mod­els be­tween Jan­uary 1, 2018 and Fri­day should de­mand tax re­funds.

Some Tesla own­ers com­plained that Tesla might have hid­den the in­for­ma­tion on pur­chase tax re­funds since a cer­tain process is re­quired.

A Tesla Model 3 owner sur­named Zhang who bought her car in March told the Global Times on Tues­day that many Tesla own­ers are dis­cussing re­funds in Wechat groups, and those who tried got dif­fer­ent replies.

A doc­u­ment seen by the Global Times shows that a re­fund ap­pli­ca­tion by a con­sumer in Shen­zhen, South China’s Guang­dong Province was re­jected by the lo­cal tax­a­tion au­thor­ity.

An­other owner sur­named Li on Tues­day said in a Wechat group with more than 200 Tesla own­ers that Bei­jing has not is­sued a spe­cific pol­icy on tax re­funds. But con­sumers should not wait, and those who still can re­fund their cars should do it first, Li said.

Re­spond­ing to the com­plaint, Tesla on Tues­day said that it had not de­lib­er­ately hid­den in­for­ma­tion from con­sumers.

Tesla’s China head Zhu Xiao­tong said that Tesla had ap­plied for the tax ex­emp­tion sev­eral times, but the com­pany didn’t have the right to make pub­lic the in­for­ma­tion at the time, and it didn’t have the power to de­cide if the ap­pli­ca­tion could be approved.

But a lawyer said the com­pany could have han­dled the mat­ter bet­ter. Tesla could have made pub­lic the news of its ap­pli­ca­tion, Wang Zhengzhi, se­nior part­ner at Bei­jing-based Globe-law, told the Global Times on Tues­day, adding that the com­pany is sus­pected of vi­o­lat­ing con­sumers’ rights to know.

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