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Kate Morley’s column - Daily Telegraph 3/8/20

Dear Katie,
I purchased a new Tesla Model 3 in May for £46,030. It was advertised in the company’s current inventory listing for fast contactless delivery, with 2,989 miles on the clock.
After paying in full for the car I was told that it was stuck in a compound in Cambridgeshire. I received a call apologising and offering a loan car as I was without one. However, I now believe this line about the compound was a lie. Because when my car finally arrived three weeks later, it had 850 extra miles on the clock.
I formally complained to Tesla and it offered me £360 in vouchers to spend on accessories at its online shop. I feel this is a paltry offer in the circumstances.
Aside from the depreciation of the vehicle, I have taken time off work and countless hours waiting on the phone to speak to Tesla to resolve this.
It has been slow to respond and I feel like I’m banging my head against a brick wall. It is immensely frustrating that the world’s most valuable car company can treat a customer like this. If you can help me achieve a better outcome than a couple of vouchers for its shop, I would be most grateful.
FK, Surrey”

“Dear FK
When you called Tesla on May 27, the day before your original delivery date, to inquire why it had changed, you were told that your car was stuck in a compound in Cambridge. It was therefore unable to be placed on a transporter for delivery, you were told. You asked why you were only being given 24 hours’ notice about this.
Tesla must have known for some time they were going to be unable to deliver if the car was stuck in a compound, you said. You were told that it would try to bring forward the delivery date, or even have the car sent directly to you. You reluctantly agreed to June 8 as the new collection date.

A few days later you called and were told that early delivery was not possible. On June 5 you then received a further message to say delivery had been pushed back again to June 15. At this point you were offered a loan car, and you finally received the car on June 18.
Already deeply unimpressed, as soon as you received the car, you smelled a rat. You could see on its satnav that it had been programmed with various locations in June, in Cambridgeshire and Leicestershire. This was when it was supposedly in the compound.

You noticed that at 11am on Sunday June 7, your electric car was charged at the Newport Pagnell supercharger. This was the day before you were expecting delivery on June 8, and the same weekend you were told it was still stuck in Cambridge.
You felt you had been lied to, but Tesla wouldn’t come clean.

Following a short investigation I have established that during the period in which you were told your car was in the compound, Tesla was in fact loaning it out to other potential customers as a test vehicle, to try to sell more cars. This is despite you having signed all the documents, handing over £46,030, and having insured it.

To my mind this is completely unacceptable, and grounds to reject the vehicle. However, you say you still want it as you have spent a long time choosing the spec, which is just to your taste.
Instead, you want to be compensated for the depreciation caused by the extra 850 miles, which I think is the very least you deserve. The vouchers weren’t going to cut it, so I asked Tesla to make a sensible cash offer.

As well as apologising to you, it came back and offered you £200 cash in addition to the £360 vouchers. This seemed on the stingy side to me, but to be sure if it was fair, I consulted the advice of a used car expert. My industry contact came back with a figure of £200 to £250, so I could see that actually, Tesla wasn’t far off.


However, for the upset you have been put through, I felt you should be offered additional compensation. You said the vouchers were useless, as you already had all the car accessories you needed. So I asked Tesla to convert the vouchers into cash, to make up for the inconvenience and distress caused by it loaning out your car to a bunch of strangers. But my dear reader, it refused.

Given the dreadful treatment you have received, I expected to see Tesla down on its knees grovelling for forgiveness. Yet it can’t even bring itself to convert £360 of vouchers into cash to keep you happy. Its actions throughout this episode emit a foul odour no customer of any company should ever catch whiff of: arrogance.

Despite being a relative baby compared to its much older rivals, Tesla is now the biggest carmaker in the world by market value. But letting its rapid success go to its head would be a perilous mistake.
Tesla would do well to remember that the companies that stand the test of time, are those that never lose sight of the fact that without their customers, they are nothing.”
 

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That was a horrible experience and I can see why someon would be extremely annoyed at how Tesla has treated them. I must be honest, had that been me I would have immediately asked for a refund. Not because I was angry but because it is a demonstration of how you are likely to be treated throughout your ownership period. I cannot fathom how someone would allow such arrogance and lies not put them off dealing with such a company.

I have only ever sat in a Tesla Model S and a model 3 for a brief period at a used car lot. I did so out of curiosity and I found both were seriously lacking in build quality and materials considering their price. I think at that point I was under the mistaken illusion that Tesla were a premium brand but they were clearly not even close. I would have at least hoped their support would be worth the high asking price for their cars. Though reading many opinions and this post, their support is nothing short of woeful.

Contrary to popular belief , Tesla are not the only viable EV manufacturer in town. So to speak.

I had a similar poor experience with various car dealerships and with Nissan as a brand and their customer support. I vote with my wallet in those cases and never give them my custom again.
 

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Pathetic Tesla. When I bought a leaf online, it was delivered in a covered trailer on the day and at the time agreed.
 

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Bought a second hand car that was clearly a demo model and then complained that it had been used for a few more miles as a demo car?

My heart bleeds.
 

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Still pathetic, stupid lies told to customer. Just think if they told you they were going to carry on using your car for a couple of weeks.
 

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I'm not sure how anyone can read that and think "so what", or "no big deal". If you put a payment down on a used car with a specific mileage recorded regardless how it was used, then that is exactly what you should get.

  • If I buy a used car from a car lot with lets say 6,000 miles on the clock and the dealer says come back in two days to collect. If I go back and it now has 6,800 miles do I say "no big deal"?
  • If you bring a car to a garage for a service and you get it back with hundreds of miles added. Do you think "suck it up".
  • If you order an item on-line from a used auction site and the seller advertised it as "perfect condition", but it arrives with clear damage. Do you suck it up?
I bet each of you condoning this practice as "normal" or even "deserved" have had plenty of occasions in your life where you had a good rant about similar behavior towards you.
 

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If everyone refused a car from a dealer on the basis of appalling service, there would be a hell of a lot less cars on the road!
How exactly do you arrive at that logic? If you refuse to purchase from that dealer you don't suddenly decide not to buy a car at all. You go somewhere else to buy your car and there is still one more car on the road.
 

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Bought a second hand car that was clearly a demo model and then complained that it had been used for a few more miles as a demo car?
I disagree; they had paid for the car, but Tesla continued to use it for the best part of a month, putting a fairly significant number of miles on it, while lying about why they were delaying handover of a car that was no longer their property.

That's a really crappy thing to do, and I can entirely sympathise with them being thoroughly hacked off.
 

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I'm not sure how anyone can read that and think "so what", or "no big deal". If you put a payment down on a used car with a specific mileage recorded regardless how it was used, then that is exactly what you should get.

  • If I buy a used car form a car lot with lets say 6,000 miles on the clock and the dealer says come back in two days to collect. If I go back and it now has 6,800 miles do I say "no big deal"?
  • If you bring a car to a garage for a service and you get it back with hundreds of miles added, do you think "suck it up".
  • If you order an item on-line form a used auction site and it arrives not as described, do you suck it up?
I bet each of you condoning this practice have had plenty of occassions in your life where you had a good rant about similar behavior towards you.
They didn’t say that - they offered compensation in line with the additional mileage.

If the buyer wasn’t happy they should have gone for a brand new car with delivery miles.
 

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It should stop being a demo car at the time you pay for it.. specially if paid for in full, and they have accepted the cash... what would they have done if it had been involved in a serious smash, just repaired it and handed it over to you with a category mark on the V5.
Personally if I went into a dealership and bought the demo car, at that point it's mine legally, and they have no right to do anything with it except prepare it for my collection.
If they had wanted to still use it as a demo they should have made that clear and offered a suitable remuneration if you had agreed to this. Say a car hire price for each day they use your car.
 

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They didn’t say that - they offered compensation in line with the additional mileage.

If the buyer wasn’t happy they should have gone for a brand new car with delivery miles.
That's not what your original response stated. You stated that because it was a clear demo car and the fact Tesla kept using at such after receiving payment for it meant the buyer should not be pitied.

Your "my heart bleeds" comment says it all really.
 

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That's not what your original response stated. You stated that because it was a clear demo car and the fact Tesla kept using at such after receiving payment for it meant the buyer should not be pitied.

Your "my heart bleeds" comment says it all really.
Another buyer who lacks communication skills and runs to a journalist?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Bought a second hand car that was clearly a demo model and then complained that it had been used for a few more miles as a demo car?

My heart bleeds.
I think it’s more about the fact he’d paid in full for the car on the premise it was delivered on a date, they cancelled the day before saying it was in a compound due to “the ‘rona sir”. But in fact, with all his money still in their bank, his car was galavanting around UK on demos.
That’d get up anyone’s nose.
 

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You keep digging that hole. It warms my heart to see such empathy and basic human decency.
Or just get a refund and walk away as the car is not as described?

There seems to be a lot of detail missed out. I’m sure the buyer didn’t have a gun held to their head.
 

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I think it’s more about the fact he’d paid in full for the car on the premise it was delivered on a date, they cancelled the day before saying it was in a compound due to “the ‘rona sir”. But in fact, with all his money still in their bank, his car was galavanting around UK on demos.
That’d get up anyone’s nose.
But they buyer took delivery of the car in the end?
 
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