Tesla files lawsuit against vehicle owner for infringing reputation allegation
Published: Sep 28, 2021 11:54 AM
A Tesla EV model seen in Shanghai in November 2020 Photos: cnsphoto

A Tesla EV model seen in Shanghai File Photo: cnsphoto

Tesla has filed a lawsuit against a vehicle owner for allegedly damaging the company's brand in the latest move by the US car maker just less than a year after the company lost a fraud case which involved selling a second-hand car to the customer.

The car owner named Han Chao said on his personal Sina Weibo account, China's Twitter-like social media platform, over the weekend that Tesla has recently took himself to court for allegedly damaging the company's brand, asking him for a public apology and claiming a total of 5.05 million yuan ($782,200) compensation, an allegation which was later confirmed by Tesla.

After Tesla initiated a lawsuit against Han, he discovered that his personal bank card had been frozen.

Responding the case, Tesla's legal department said in a statement on Monday evening that they noticed that Han has repeatedly stated unfounded views and opinions in litigation cases related to Tesla on the social media platform, and "some of the content may cause some misunderstandings to netizens."

Han claimed that he has no problem with his remarks on Tesla, saying the company's case has already been established and ruled by the court to lose. 

While Tesla directly requested the court to freeze his property as reported by local media, Han said that it stands to reason that he has not received any money from the company even though the deadline for the refund has already drawn.

Han told media on Monday that he had received compensation from Tesla, totaling 1.518 million yuan, which was not consistent with the 1.525 million yuan stated during the previous court case.

In June 2019, the Tianjin-based car owner bought an officially certified second-hand Model S P85 sedan on Tesla's official website and the salesperson informed before the purchase that there were no major accidents, blisters, fire, or structural damage to the Tesla certified car, media reports.

However, following the purchase of the vehicle, this certified second-hand car has frequently experienced problems, according to the report.

Han believes that Tesla used "fraudulent means" to sell defective vehicles in a clear example of false marketing and sued Tesla in the People's Court of Daxing District, Beijing.

In December 2020, the court's initial judgment required Tesla to return 379,700 yuan to Han for the purchase of the vehicle within 10 days of the effective date of the judgment, and to compensate him 1.139 million yuan in accordance with the provisions of the consumer protection law.

On September 17, Han revealed on his Weibo that the second instance of the lawsuit and also the final judgement between himself and Tesla had been issued, with the Beijing Second Intermediate People's Court announced that it upheld the original verdict which found that Tesla had acted in a fraudulent manner.

This is not the first time that the embattled carmaker has face high-profile allegations.

At the 2021 Auto Shanghai, a Tesla owner climbed on top of a Tesla display vehicle, in a public protest against brake failure problems. The incident quickly went viral on social media platform and sparked nationwide discussion. Tesla later agreed to share vehicle data with the consumers under regulators' orders.