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Cheyipai.com hit by CCTV

Senior managers of automotive OEMs were able to sleep tight at night on March 15 because none of them was blacklisted on CCTV-2’s March 15 Gala Evening program.

Internet-based service company cheyipai.com suddenly became the culprit. The e-commerce portal dedicated to B2B auction of used cars was exposed of featuring two different pricing schemes for the buyer and the seller, allegedly violating its own commitment of pricing transparency for customers.

But the online company has not pocketed the difference in pricing, which went to partner 4S dealer stores.

The crux of the matter is the meaning of transparency, which had not been well defined. Does transparency mean letting both sellers and buyers know of the difference in the selling and buying price of a used car? If the answer is positive, does that mean that all service providers in China would be required to publicize such price differences including the amount of commission and profit? Since there are no laws and regulations that clearly define such “transparencies,” it should be up to the service provider or business intermediary to determine what to do. Cheyipai.com would most unlikely change its business practice because of CCTV’s March 15 exposure.

Cheyipai.com has not violated any laws and regulations and is not suspected of any business deception. If being singled out by CCTV on March 15 means a guilty verdict for selling a used car at a higher price than what it paid for, then China’s two oil giants, Sinopec and China Petroleum, are also guilty of not being transparent, because none of them has told consumers how much extra money it is charging at the pump beyond what it pays oil refineries!

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