Local taxation authorities in Xi'an, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, weighed in a fermenting consumer rights protection case between a Mercedes Benz 4S dealership and a Chinese consumer by declaring that it is probing for any wrongdoing over a so-called "financial service fee."
The Beijing News reported on Monday that local taxation authority is "actively investigating any tax evasions or any wrongdoings during the case concerning Lizhixing, the Mercedes-Benz 4S dealership, citing an officer at the Shaanxi Provincial Tax Service under the State Taxation Administration.
The taxation officer said if Lizhixing provided taxable services then it is obliged by law to issue an invoice.
There is also exemption in which the dealership declared relevant income as non-invoice items, the officer said.
The move by the tax authority adds to a high-profile dispute stemming from a faulty new car that leaked oil. The dispute went viral in the form of a video clip on Thursday of the consumer complaining - sitting on the hood of the car - about her unpleasant experience buying a car that started leaking oil even before she drove it out of the dealership.
The consumer also required further explanation about whether 15,200 yuan ($2,267) charged by the dealership for a "Benz financial service fee" was fraud, as the dealer had not provided any receipt.
The woman's complaints about consumer rights received sympathy from the netizens. Many lamented that they felt helpless when seeing an educated person was forced to lose her temper.
The Shaanxi Province Consumer Association said charging a service fee without the knowledge of the consumer is illegal, the report said.
The German car manufacturer said on Saturday it deeply regrets the buyer's unpleasant experience. "Ensuring consumers' legal rights and interests is always our first priority and is a principle all our dealerships should adhere to," the company said.