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2018 Model 3 "stealth performance" ... that actually isn't

For a brief period, a P3D- was orderable on the website. When I ordered my Performance (Oct ‘19), the + parts was a separate line item; $7k option.

For a brief period, a P3D- was orderable on the website. When I ordered my Performance (Oct ‘19), the + parts was a separate line item; $7k option.
So if the bill of sale does not include tires you can go get them 2 years latter ?/
 
I think we can all probably agree that the real solution here is for Tesla to configure and deliver vehicles matching the MVPA out of the gate. My situation might have been due to "growing pains" and could be something that no longer is a problem at Tesla. No idea about that.

I think we can also agree that, regardless of whatever my car currently says it has, if I was to ever try to sell it to anyone (dealer or private party) ... that my ethical obligation would be to describe the vehicle that I paid for, regardless of what it currently thinks it is.

For me, the controversial bit is that, with software-centric cars (like Tesla), there is a new challenge that hasn't been sufficiently addressed, in my opinion, in comparison to legacy automobiles. And that is that the vehicle's capabilities (and therefore its intrinsic "market value"), are harder for your average shopper to independently verify. I doubt many prospective used-Tesla owners, prior to this thread, would walk up to a for-sale Tesla ... see that it has some software-enabled add-on (e.g., stealth performance, EAP, FSD, Boost, etc.) and think to ask "Ahhh cool ... but was that add-on paid for?" I contend that most would likely presume that what they see is what they get ... and what they will indeed retain for as long as they choose to own the vehicle.

Maybe that will change (by stories/situations like this) ... and used-car purchasers WILL indeed begin to inspect, not only what the car currently has, but also find some way to confirm with the manufacturer that the car's current software configuration is actually correct (and so shouldn't be expected to be subject to arbitrary removal at some future date). But my uninformed suspicion is that not many would think to do that ... today.

A point that seems to be somewhat more controversial is, when things don't go perfectly (e.g., a misconfigured car is delivered, purchased, signed-for, and titled) ... whose responsibility is that? And in light of whose responsibility that is ... what would be a "good way" to go about rectifying the situation ... 5 days after purchase?, 5 weeks after purchase?, 5 months after purchase? ... and in my case 2.5 years after purchase?

In my specific case, I believe that ultimately it was Tesla's responsibility to deliver to me the properly-configured vehicle. And therefore, I believe it would have been a far better approach for Tesla to at least have had some kind of conversation with me before removing features I drove off the lot with, in an automated manner ... after 2.5 years. In my obviously-biased perspective, given that the misconfiguration was simply software (i.e., the mistake didn't actually cost anything to Tesla's bottom-line) ... I think one could easily argue that the best way to retain customer goodwill might be to leave it alone.

As @jjrandorin basically said earlier in this thread. I too believe this series of events was most likely due to human input errors and back-end automation that was allowed to run indiscriminately ... and so no actual malice was intended. I never accused Tesla of any malice in this thread. The thing I have done is tried to raise awareness of this potential situation ... as a cautionary tale to others ... and as, I guess, a way to comiserate a bit about the carelessness with which the situation was handled to a group of people who I presumed I might share some camaraderie & fraternity with ... around Tesla products.


I have a mobile service appointment scheduled to correct my exterior badging for my de-spec'd M3 ... at least now I am doing what I can to prevent confusion about this specific vehicle in the future.
 
A point that seems to be somewhat more controversial is, when things don't go perfectly (e.g., a misconfigured car is delivered, purchased, signed-for, and titled) ... whose responsibility is that? And in light of whose responsibility that is ... what would be a "good way" to go about rectifying the situation ... 5 days after purchase?, 5 weeks after purchase?, 5 months after purchase? ... and in my case 2.5 years after purchase?
If this becomes an industry-wide problem, laws will either have to provide for independent verification, or we'll have to have some sort of time limit after which there are no "take backs" allowed. Swooping in months or years after the fact is simply ridiculous. Does anyone know what consumer protections exist if a dealer delivers physical options that weren't supposed to be included, like a Homelink, or upgraded wheels or tires?
 
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afadeev

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Feb 28, 2019
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I think we can also agree that, regardless of whatever my car currently says it has, if I was to ever try to sell it to anyone (dealer or private party) ... that my ethical obligation would be to describe the vehicle that I paid for, regardless of what it currently thinks it is.

And legal one as well.
If you sold the car to anyone claiming the features you didn't pay were part of sale and guaranteed to stay that way, you would have been committing fraud,

vehicle's capabilities (and therefore its intrinsic "market value"), are harder for your average shopper to independently verify. I doubt many prospective used-Tesla owners, prior to this thread, would walk up to a for-sale Tesla ... see that it has some software-enabled add-on (e.g., stealth performance, EAP, FSD, Boost, etc.) and think to ask "Ahhh cool ... but was that add-on paid for?" I contend that most would likely presume that what they see is what they get ... and what they will indeed retain for as long as they choose to own the vehicle.

Virtually all cars have some software defined features these days: backseat WiFi (multiple packages), front-seat infotainment/SXM streaming, remote control and tracking (HondaLink, OnStar, Mbrace, ConnectedDrive, ToyotaCare, free EV charging, etc, etc). Some of these are packaged as "trial" offerings that are given away for the initial 1-12 months. Some are packaged as "included" services for the first 12-36 months of ownership. After that, you pay, or they go away.

I'm sorry if the above is news to you. This has been a pretty standard service packaging from all automakers for about a decade now.

So you lucked into an unscheduled "trial" that you didn't pay for. Congrats.
So it ended. Oh well.
No reasonable person will conclude that just because a WiFi service, or SXM streaming or Mbrace are turned on during the time of a test drive or the sale, that they will be retained with the vehicle forever. Unless those services were explicitly included in the new vehicle's bill of sale for an indefinite period.

A point that seems to be somewhat more controversial is, when things don't go perfectly (e.g., a misconfigured car is delivered, purchased, signed-for, and titled) ... whose responsibility is that? And in light of whose responsibility that is ... what would be a "good way" to go about rectifying the situation ... 5 days after purchase?, 5 weeks after purchase?, 5 months after purchase? ... and in my case 2.5 years after purchase?
... I think one could easily argue that the best way to retain customer goodwill might be to leave it alone.

Nothing controversial here at all.
There was a software misconfiguration when your Tesla was delivered to you. It got fixed when they got around to it. You've admitted that your driving experienced is in no way diminished after the fix was applied.
Unless you were planning to misrepresent the state of features that you paid for with your car, there has been zero change in the value of your car.

Goodwill?
Your ongoing demands that misconfigured features be returned to your car for free are starting to border on ... blackmail!

If this becomes an industry-wide problem, laws will either have to provide for independent verification, or we'll have to have some sort of time limit after which there are no "take backs" allowed. Swooping in months or years after the fact is simply ridiculous.
I really don't see any problem here, at all. Whatsoever.

Someone got a "free trial" of some software features for which they did not pay.
Trial ran longer than usual, and was un-announced. At some point it expired.

Now that someone is demanding that the trail should have been extended into infinity, as a reward for "loyalty"?

Really?
1656788548264.png
 

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
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I happen to find this particular OPs statements fairly reasonable and non controversial, actually. I dont see a lot of demands, etc, like normally occurs in these type of threads. I see a pretty well written discussion.

I dont agree with every point the OP is making, but can appreciate and understand where they are coming from, and happen to agree with a lot of it.

I also dont find it out of bounds to wonder at what point do options and features stay or not, like @SoundMixer and @davewill are talking about. It is definitely true that software versions have existed for a long time, like @afadeev says, but by the same token, except for tesla they dont tend to be options that change the actual performance / handling / acceleration of the vehicle.

These discussions normally have a bunch of demands from the OPs of the thread, but in this case I dont see / feel that, I just see a reasonable discussion, with various opinions.
 
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Even if the OP had sold the car with honest disclosure, a savvy buyer may have been inclined to pay a little more for it. What if that savvy buyer was the OP's co-worker? Or boss? How should that get resolved? I disagree with those who claim this is a non-issue and OP just got a free trial with no potential harm.

Tesla did need to fix it, however. The "Performance" is a different model for insurance and tax purposes and a mislabeled car is eventually going to cause problems for someone somewhere. Tesla should have sent a letter to the current owner apologizing for the mistake and providing a free (and documented) acceleration boost in exchange.
 
I think the worst thing Tesla did in this specific case was take away the upgrade after such a long time without any communication at all. It might have even been advantageous to them to reach out and ask if the poster wanted to pay to keep the upgrade.

If this had happened exactly the way it did but a few weeks after the sale, I would say no harm no foul.
 

dmurphy

Active Member
Supporting Member
FWIW Performance 3s going back a few years now do have a different VIN to indicate that.

The only reason the 2018 and early 2019 ones don't is they are physically the same car as the non-Ps.

… mostly true, but not entirely. My early 2019 LR has the same VIN as a Performance, but it’s got the -990 motor in the rear. So it’s VIN’d the same but not the same car.

Real ball of mud Tesla made in those days.
 
I think the worst thing Tesla did in this specific case was take away the upgrade after such a long time without any communication at all. It might have even been advantageous to them to reach out and ask if the poster wanted to pay to keep the upgrade.

If this had happened exactly the way it did but a few weeks after the sale, I would say no harm no foul.
I would agree with this wholeheartedly. The thing I don't understand is those who seem to justify this as a "free trial" (along with an implication that I am somehow not behaving/thinking about this situation reasonably) ... is: when, in their minds, should I be able to reasonably think that whatever I ended up receiving is well-and-truly mine ... not to ever be downgraded, at whim, by the manufacturer at some future date.

Should I read "free trial" as meaning that Tesla is free to de-spec the vehicle in perpetuity? Even in cases such as mine where it was never advertised as such ... or as something that would eventually expire (because in reality, Tesla made a mistake)? I am thinking that it is standard practice for vehicles that come with "trial subscriptions" (e.g., Sirius FM), to have pretty clear language explaining, at time of purchase, that this is what they are getting.

If the thinking is that Tesla is free to downgrade purchased vehicles in perpetuity, due to their own error ... then I am interested somewhat to hear if we also think it would be just as fair for a dealer to choose to, lets say, remove a factory-installed turbo charger from a vehicle at 2.5 year service appointment, without talking to the owner, simply because it took the dealer that long to discover a clerical error? Would we consider that a good business practice? Would we fault the owner for feeling somewhat less-than-positive about this series of events?

Academic question: at what point should it become irrelevant how the owner got the car they did ... and have it treated solely as their property/possession that shall not be tampered with (i.e., specifically meaning functionality-reduced) by the manufacturer without communication? I know that this gets muddy due to "connected devices". That "muddiness" is something that I think could stand a bit of increased clarity ... for the benefit of all.
 
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I would agree with this wholeheartedly. The thing I don't understand is those who seem to justify this as a "free trial" (along with an implication that I am somehow not behaving/thinking about this situation reasonably) ... is: when, in their minds, should I be able to reasonably think that whatever I ended up receiving is well-and-truly mine ... not to ever be downgraded, at whim, by the manufacturer at some future date.

Should I read "free trial" as meaning that Tesla is free to de-spec the vehicle in perpetuity? Even in cases such as mine where it was never advertised as such ... or as something that would eventually expire (because in reality, Tesla made a mistake)? I am thinking that it is standard practice for vehicles that come with "trial subscriptions" (e.g., Sirius FM), to have pretty clear language explaining, at time of purchase, that this is what they are getting.

If the thinking is that Tesla is free to downgrade purchased vehicles in perpetuity, due to their own error ... then I am interested somewhat to hear if we also think it would be just as fair for a dealer to choose to, lets say, remove a factory-installed turbo charger from a vehicle at 2.5 year service appointment, without talking to the owner, simply because it took the dealer that long to discover a clerical error? Would we consider that a good business practice? Would we fault the owner for feeling somewhat less-than-positive about this series of events?

Academic question: at what point should it become irrelevant how the owner got the car they did ... and have it treated solely as their property/possession that shall not be tampered with (i.e., specifically meaning functionality-reduced) by the manufacturer without communication? I know that this gets muddy due to "connected devices". That "muddiness" is something that I think could stand a bit of increased clarity ... for the benefit of all.
Great question and I don't have a good general answer! I think if the vehicle is sold or changes hands and say...8 months or so pass then Tesla shouldn't mess around with the configuration at all. Especially if that person was coming from another Tesla of the same year and color.
 
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I realize some people are having more of a philosophical discussion (getting something that wasn't bought and being taken away), but the OP even admitted that he wasn't even aware of any performance difference when his 3 was "downgraded". He says he can't tell because he isn't a performance driver. Many of us would have definitely been able to tell the difference between the pull of a stock LR and the P. So, is it not entirely possible that even though the car and the app showed the underline, his 3 was never a Stealth to begin with? Or was there a detail I missed? In this instance, nothing was ever given or taken away, Tesla was only correcting an error.
 
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jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
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I realize some people are having more of a philosophical discussion (getting something that wasn't bought and being taken away), but the OP even admitted that he wasn't even aware of any performance difference when his 3 was "downgraded". He says he can't tell because he isn't a performance driver. Many of us would have definitely been able to tell the difference between the pull of a stock LR and the P. So, is it not entirely possible that even though the car and the app showed the underline, his 3 was never a Stealth to begin with? Or was there a detail I missed?

Anything is possible, but that would be the first instance I would have ever seen reported anywhere of the software saying its a performance, but it not being a performance vehicle. I think that is unlikely. If you dont "floor it" from a stop, its entirely possible that a person might not be able to tell the difference. Both are "fast" compared to most other cars, unless one is used to performance vehicles to begin with.
 
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Anything is possible, but that would be the first instance I would have ever seen reported anywhere of the software saying its a performance, but it not being a performance vehicle. I think that is unlikely. If you dont "floor it" from a stop, its entirely possible that a person might not be able to tell the difference. Both are "fast" compared to most other cars, unless one is used to performance vehicles to begin with.
I've not seen that reported either but the OP even says that Tesla told him it was never a Performance. And yeah, both are extremely fast so if you haven't driven them both, then you may not know. I guess I was putting myself into his shoes so to speak. Had I noticed the LR that I did buy had a red underline, I personally would have verified the performance. I realize that doesn't mean everyone would do that.
 
I've not seen that reported either but the OP even says that Tesla told him it was never a Performance. And yeah, both are extremely fast so if you haven't driven them both, then you may not know. I guess I was putting myself into his shoes so to speak. Had I noticed the LR that I did buy had a red underline, I personally would have verified the performance. I realize that doesn't mean everyone would do that.
What Tesla told me in June 2022 is "it isn't a performance and never was". When I took delivery, it definitely had the red underline in the screen (I have a screenshot to that effect from a few days after delivery). I noticed it then ... but made the (apparently bad) assumption that this was a concession / intentional oversight / whatever that Tesla made in order to get more cars into hands by the end of Q3 2018.

My mobile tech's affirmation in 2020 that it was indeed a stealth performance ... did me no favors in terms of leading me to believe that this vehicle, which was now mine and had been for some time, was NOT going to be further config-corrected a year later. If that was the deliberate intent, then surely Tesla wouldn't have proactively sent a tech out on a call to install its performance badge on it. This all leads me to conclude that Tesla simply didn't have its house in order, at that time.

So you are absolutely correct, in terms of "my experience" ... nothing was really "taken away" from my experience. So I am not aggrieved in that sense. I bring this situation to the larger audience's attention because people are different ... and this could have happened to someone else who WAS a performance-oriented driver. And that would be far worse for them than it was for me.

For me it remained "concerning" because it meant that, after 2.5 years, my vehicle actually suddenly has a degree less value in the used market than it might have had otherwise had Tesla decided to leave the long-standing configuration oversight alone, for the sake of goodwill (and the fact that it cost them nothing to do so).

But I would really encourage us to not spend too much time focusing on my specific scenario here. Really the point of the original post, which maybe I failed to clearly articulate ... was more to elevate understanding of this potential config-mismatch-and-surprise-rectification-VERY-long-after-I-had-falsely-assumed-it-was-in-the-distant-past scenario. I wanted to highlight this for the benefit of Tesla owners/buyers at-large ... and in a much smaller sense, also to foolishly garner a modicum of empathy from folks who might agree with the sentiment that it was a bit of an unfortunate and disappointing string of events.

My intent wasn't really to pursue a "remedy". I had no expectation that anything along those lines would occur in my situation. Whether or not this de-spec'ing negatively impacted my daily usage is almost beside the point, as far as I am concerned. It could have happened to others, or for other software-only features where a 1st-hand negative impact was indeed experienced by the owner ... and, in my opinion, that is wrong and something Tesla should work to improve and avoid.
 
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My mobile tech's affirmation in 2020 that it was indeed a stealth performance ... did me no favors in terms of leading me to believe that this vehicle, which was now mine and had been for some time, was NOT going to be further config-corrected a year later. If that was the deliberate intent, then surely Tesla wouldn't have proactively sent a tech out on a call to install its performance badge on it. This all leads me to conclude that Tesla simply didn't have its house in order, at that time.
Ah, ok. Just to be clear, I never doubted that you had the red line showing in the app and in the vehicle information. Tesla obviously did not have their &h!t together delivering your ordered LR as a Stealth, the mobile tech confirming and badging as such, telling you it would not be changed and then it is changed and Tesla saying you never had a Stealth. Definitely a poor experience and communication indeed and it would have been very goodwill for Tesla to leave it as a Stealth since it was their error, to begin with.
 
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tm1v2

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Oct 18, 2021
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The more I think about this case, the more firmly I believe it was wrong for Tesla to pull the Performance software config from this car post-sale.

This is a really slippery slope and I've already felt deeply wronged by Tesla changing how my 2021 M3P drives with a software update that gave no warning or notice of the change, and no way to opt out or revert. (The overboosted power steering assist that arrived a few months ago.)

I am strongly in favor of consumer protection laws being expanded to not allow these sorts of changes without the vehicle owner's consent. We are absolutely paying for software in addition to hardware, and it's no more okay for a carmaker to quietly swap around software functionality without my consent than it is for them to come downgrade my brakes or change out my steering rack without my consent.

The fact that the OP's purchase documents didn't describe the Performance software config is irrelevant. You can't fully describe all of a modern car's software behavior in purchase documents. Performance software is what Tesla sold to the OP. It's not okay to steal it back without consent.

I still want back the M3P I purchased.
 
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