Former Model S owner says Tesla is suing him for negative social media posts

A former Tesla Model S owner who successfully sued the electric car maker for fraud will soon be on trial again. This time it is due to allegations that he damaged Tesla’s reputation by defamation.

According to South china morning post, Han Chao is now facing a defamation lawsuit for more than $ 775,000 from Tesla. These claims focus on posts shared on Chinese social media platform Weibo describing Tesla as “rogue”, “junk” and “croak” according to legal documents released by Chao.

That news comes just days after Chinese courts upheld their verdict against Tesla by denying appeal against Chao’s original lawsuit for alleged fraud.

In 2019, Chao bought a used Tesla Model S directly from Tesla that is said to be free from serious accidents or structural damage. The Model S eventually had to be brought in for repairs after it was shut down while driving, and when he had it appraised by an outside repair shop, cuts and sweat marks were found on the rear panels – an indication that it had been an accident.

Tesla argued in court that the accident was minor and said the car had no structural damage, which did not constitute a fraud in the sale. The courts disagreed, and after dismissing Tesla’s recent appeal, awarded Chao approximately four times the car’s original retail price of $ 58,898 (RMB 379,700). In total, this grossed Chao around $ 233,000 (1.5 million RMB).

Chao now says Tesla is taking him back to court, this time on defamation for his public criticism of the automaker. Tesla claims it damaged its image and is seeking more than $ 775,000 (RMB 5 million) in damages, which reportedly went as far as asking the courts to freeze its assets.

“Are you saying that even though you have to pay me more than 1 million yuan in compensation, even though I am the victim, I can’t say a bad word about you and have to pay 5 million as the price?” Han wrote in a post on Weibo.

Meanwhile, Chao is also suing Tesla for defamation. Bloomberg reports that Chao is seeking a $ 907,441 (RMB 5.85 million) verdict against the automaker for portraying it as the organizer of a protest held at the Shanghai Auto Show earlier this year.

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