The customer had claimed that faulty brakes in her family’s Model 3 sedan led to a serious crash.
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Facing criticism over its customer service in China, Tesla issued a rare apology to a customer who had alleged that faulty brakes in her family’s car had led to a dangerous crash that left her parents hospitalized.
On Tuesday, the electric vehicle manufacturer took to Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, to address the incident, saying, “We apologize for failing to resolve the problem of the car owner in time. We will try our best to learn the lessons of this experience.”
On Monday, the customer went viral after climbing on top of a Tesla at an auto show in Shanghai to draw attention to the company’s handling of her complaint. She was seen wearing a T-shirt with a message that read, “The brakes don’t work.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, Tesla had responded to the woman’s accusations a month earlier, claiming that her father had, in fact, sped at the time of the crash. Tesla Vice President Grace Tao appeared to dismiss the woman’s allegations again in a local interview on Monday, suggesting that someone had put the woman up to the protest.
The company’s handling of the woman’s complaint sparked backlash from Chinese social media users, government agencies and state newspapers.
In the hours before Tesla issued an apology, China’s Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, which oversees the government’s legal arm, posted a statement of its own on Weibo, saying, “Tesla has to face up to the torment of its Chinese customers” and stop “pretending to be oblivious to hidden dangers of which it’s well aware,” according to a translation from the Wall Street Journal.
Similarly, China’s Global Times slammed the company’s stance, commenting, “The arrogant and overbearing stance the company exhibited in front of the public is repugnant and unacceptable, which could inflict serious damage on its reputation and customer base in the Chinese market.
Tesla has also faced issues at home. On Tuesday, Texas police served search warrants on Tesla after the company suggested that a car’s Autopilot feature was not responsible for a deadly crash.