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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi,

There are two different aspects to this topic:

1. The misleading advertisement aspect of Tesla's infinite mile battery warranty and whether it gives the impression that it covers degradation

2. Whether Tesla should offer battery degradation warranty like Nissan.

This thread is about the first aspect.

I think it is unacceptable for Tesla to brag about infinite miles warranty when they lag behind Nissan and BMW on battery degradation cover (link). The public should know about that. Tesla isn't always right and doesn't always do the right thing for the EV community.

The BBC radio program Kevin participated (link) and similar publicity seems to be good way to encourage Tesla to do the right thing after they have been so stubborn for long time. More media coverage will eventually bring up the issue to the attention of higher management at Tesla.

I want EVs to succeed and I was concerned about the degradation issue. On their website Tesla advertises "unlimited miles battery warranty" for the Model S but they don't mention on the sales page that degradation is not covered. I find that misleading.

At the end of April 2014 I contacted Advertising Standards Authority and received the response below after two weeks. They didn't agree with me. But I still think it is misleading to hide the fine print about degradation and advertise some misleading statement like unlimited miles battery warranty on the sales page when that doesn't mean anything. I explained to ASA that theoretically the battery could degrade to only 1 mile range but still wouldn't require replacement under the warranty however the statement on the order page doesn't give that impression at all. Tesla claims to do the right thing by the consumer but then hides the fine print in the warranty statement on a PDF file on the specs page of their US website. The PDF isn't available on their UK website.

The fact that degradation is not covered should be mentioned on the sales page right next to where unlimited mile warranty is mentioned. After all, they sell the cars on their UK version of their website with UK prices and VAT. They have a presence in the UK and therefore the advertising shouldn't be misleading according UK regulations. ASA didn't agree with me but I don't agree with their decision. Maybe if they receive more complaints they might change their mind.

ASA's response is below. Some of the arguments in their response which I underlined below are incorrect. There are many people who think Tesla's warranty includes degradation even after buying the Model S.


Your complaint: Tesla Motors Ltd

Thank you for contacting the Advertising Standards Authority. I’m sorry to learn this matter caused you concern.

You may already be aware that our role as an organisation is to assess the content of ads and consider whether they are likely to breach the UK Codes of Advertising on the basis suggested. We may consider there is likely to be a breach of Code if, for example, we deem the ad likely to materially mislead the majority of consumers, or cause serious or widespread offence or harm.

We have looked at the ad you refer to and considered it in terms of the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (CAP). However, we did not consider that we have reasonable grounds to propose any further action on this occasion. I realise this may be disappointing, so I would like to take the time to detail the reason for our decision below, for your information.

I want to start by saying that I can appreciate your reason for objecting to the ad. However, we have to consider how the majority of consumers are likely to interpret the ad and whether they are likely to be misled. Whilst we noted that text stated “8 year, unlimited mile battery warranty”, we considered that consumers would be likely to understand that the ‘unlimited’ claim referred to mileage accumulated over 8 years rather than the scope of the warranty cover; no matter how many miles the car had done over 8 years, the battery would be still be covered under the warranty. Whilst I can understand your concerns with regard to the exclusion of battery degradation in the warranty, we understood that this was a common practice, and considered that consumers would be likely to understand that general wear and tear would not be covered by the warranty. As such, we did not consider that this condition contradicted the claim, and concluded that the ad was unlikely to mislead consumers. In the absence of an apparent breach of Code, we do not propose any further action on this occasion.

I understand that this may not have been the outcome you were hoping for, but I would like to thank you nonetheless for taking the time and trouble to raise your concerns with us.

Yours sincerely,

Kate England
Complaints Executive

Direct line 020 7492 2146
Advertising Standards Authority
Mid City Place, 71 High Holborn
London WC1V 6QT
Telephone 020 7492 2222
www.asa.org.uk
Follow us on twitter: @ASA_UK
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
The fact that Tesla advertises unlimited mile battery warranty makes people think they don't have anything to worry about. When people look at details I highlighted below, what do they think? They might think something like "I won't drive 125.000 miles in 8 years. So that works for me". They might think, "Because I will get the 85, I don't have to worry about the battery".



I think a possible solution for Tesla would be to change the text in Design Studio to:
  • 8 year, unlimited battery defect and drive unit warranty
I used the term 'battery defect' because this is what it is. A big part of the misunderstanding is the incorrect wording. Their current warranty covers only defect but the wording doesn't reflect that.

I think their approach to battery degradation undermines their mission. People are already worried about electric car batteries. I wish Tesla would fix this issue before it is all over the media.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
In ASA's response (full text in message #1 above) there are a few incorrect arguments. I think more people should complain to ASA. It is very easy to do. It is done online and takes a few minutes. It might help if you address those incorrect arguments when you complain. Let's go over them.

1. "However, we have to consider how the majority of consumers are likely to interpret the ad and whether they are likely to be misled."

I don't think majority is a valid percentage of the population in a case like this. Does this mean the ad is fine if 50% misunderstand it but it is misleading if 51% misunderstand it. Obviously they don't mean majority. They mean a meaningful percentage or a big portion of the population but not necessarily the majority.

I think it would help to collect some links where people mention that they misunderstood Tesla's current warranty. We should make a list or have a poll. What percentage of visitors to Tesla's website think battery degradation is covered by their unlimited mile warranty? That's the question.

2. "Whilst we noted that text stated “8 year, unlimited mile battery warranty”, we considered that consumers would be likely to understand that the ‘unlimited’ claim referred to mileage accumulated over 8 years rather than the scope of the warranty cover; no matter how many miles the car had done over 8 years, the battery would be still be covered under the warranty."

The people at ASA seem not to get it. The problem here is not that "unlimited" refers to mileage and not the cover. The problem is on one hand Tesla says drive as much as you want and don't worry about the warranty, but on the other hand the fine print says the battery could degrade to the point where you can't make the trips anymore that you can do with the advertised range.

3. "Whilst I can understand your concerns with regard to the exclusion of battery degradation in the warranty, we understood that this was a common practice"

How is this common practice when the biggest EV car maker Nissan faced a class action lawsuit and changed their warranty policy to include battery degradation warranty. Maybe that is a detail to include in your compliant and even add a link. It looks like they are supposed to check what the rest of the industry is doing.

Here is a quote from Nissan Europe website that you can include in your complaint:
"Nissan warrants that the Lithium-ion battery will retain a capacity of at least 9 out of the 12 bars as displayed on the dashboard gauge for 5 years or 100,000 kms"
Source: http://newsroom.nissan-europe.com/EU/en-gb/media/media.aspx?mediaid=105380

4. "and considered that consumers would be likely to understand that general wear and tear would not be covered by the warranty."

Another incorrect assumption that battery degradation means general war and tear. It doesn't mean that. Degradation could happen suddenly. It could happen because a failed brick. It doesn't necessarily happen slowly and over time. I think it would help if Kevin could provide his range data over time. Then that should be converted to a graphical representation, possibly in an EV blog so you can link to it when you write to ASA.

After you complain to Advertising Standards Authority, it takes two weeks to hear back. I would like to read what they say in their response to other complaints.
This is ASA's website: http://www.asa.org.uk/
If you submit a complaint, remember to complain against Tesla's UK website and not their global site.
Tesla UK: http://www.teslamotors.com/en_GB/

Tesla doesn't have their warranty document in the UK website. Here is the specs page without a link to the warranty document: http://www.teslamotors.com/en_GB/models/specs

Maybe that is also something worth mentioning. Also as a reference you could quote the following text from warranty document on their global website. It is linked here:
http://www.teslamotors.com/models/specs

The direct link to warranty PDF file is here:
http://www.teslamotors.com/sites/de...ts/model_s_quick_guide_-_na_rev_d_for_web.pdf

The section of the warranty that specifically excludes battery degradation is here (page 36 of the PDF file or page number 34 in the document text):
"The Battery, like all lithium-ion batteries, will experience gradual energy or power loss with time and
use. Loss of Battery energy or power over time or due to or resulting from Battery usage, is NOT
covered under this Battery Limited Warranty. See your owner documentation for important
information on how to maximize the life and capacity of the Battery."

If somebody writes a complaint letter template from the information here, feel free to post it. I think it would make it easier for others to submit complaints to ASA. I would write it but English is not my native language my written English wouldn't be as good.

I also want to mention that I complained to ASA at the end of April 2014, long before I heard anything about Kevin's problem. I complaint because I think it is wrong to mislead customers with statements like "unlimited mile battery warranty". If the statement was "unlimited mile battery defect warranty" then that would be fine.

Honestly, I don't really care whether Tesla decides to offer battery degradation warranty. They might decide not to do that which is perfectly fine. But they should make that clear. I don't agree with the misleading advertising.
 

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*Moderator hat on*

Hello folks.

This topic is PURELY for discussion if/how Tesla's warranty claims may or may not be misleading or misconstrued.

For wider discussion of what, if anything, Tesla should do with regards their ACTUAL warranty (rather than what they may or may not claim it to offer vs reality) please use this bigger discussion, here: https://speakev.com/threads/tesla-warranties-and-battery-degradation-whats-the-answer.3835/

Please be careful not to make any claims that may get you in hot water, or jeopardise the site. Remember the views you post are your own and you will be held accountable for them.

Thank you, carry on!
 

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@Teo many thanks for your posts and I must say that I'm absolutely stunned to hear about an ASA complaint regarding Tesla. For someone who's been a staunch supporter for many years this is extraordinary news and not something the 'old' Tesla would have been involved in IMO :(
 
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