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A series of unfortunate events led to a negative playing experience buying a Tesla

Fourdoor

Member
May 31, 2016
863
693
North East Arkansas
One thing you should point out is that the reason many states (yours and mine included) don't allow direct sales by Tesla is horror stories like yours about direct sales to customers where the customer gets screwed over. You don't have a name or a location or anyone to complain to other than the corporate overlords at Tesla. If they ever want to be able to sell directly to customers in New Mexico, then they can not build a reputation of screwing over their customers in New Mexico.

Keith
 
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OCJeff

OD: 6/4 MYLR5 White/White/20” Sch. p/u 9/17
Feb 18, 2021
841
1,078
SoCal (RSM)
Thanks everyone for all the great feedback and support! I've read every post but I'm getting tired and I can't keep up with replies to them all. I take the criticism seriously and I intend to tighten and improve the email before sending it.

I'm amazed that anyone took the time to read it (all of it or some of it) and reply. Truly the best part of owning a Tesla is the great community of Tesla owners. I'm tired now but I'm feeling much better about the entire experience. Thank you all!

Also, may have been mentioned but there are a bunch if grammatical errors I saw in the first few paragraphs. Try to clean those up before you send if you really expect them to value your feedback. Just trying to help you make your point.

A couple of examples:

Buying a Tesla has been a dream of mine for years. I thought it was an unattainable dream until I got an unexpected inheritance and decided to splurge on my Tesla dream.

Things started out with a rough start and then, surprisingly, when downhill from there. The general impression I've got is that I am NOT a valued customer and you will try to nickel and dime me every chance you get, tripping me up with rules I didn't expect and didn't know existed. I have also been consistently told things that are simply not true and this seemed to be your normal operating procedure. I was held responsible for your mistakes after getting misled by you.
 
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Darblish

Member
May 19, 2021
165
346
Columbus, OH
To echo others, I agree with the sentiment, and the Tesla “experience” is a major reason I’ve considered cancelling my order a couple of times. I kept the order (for now; my EDD keeps pushing out a week or so at a time), because there’s not a lot of viable competition for an EV that can be driven on the same sort of trips as an ICE vehicle.

I saw Tesla described somewhere as “revolutionary vehicles, terrible company” and I’m tempted to agree. I hope they get their crap together on the business and manufacturing front or they’ll be eaten alive by average car-buyers when “legacy” automakers approach their battery and efficiency achievements. I can’t imagine my 70-year-old mom dealing with this order process.

I also agree with others that while you clearly wrote this letter passionately, the person reading it will share none of that emotion. They’ve probably got a minute or two at most to read the letter, decide on a general course of action, and get the process started with whatever department gets to handle the resolution. Lead with a quick assessment of the situation (“I am extremely disappointed in my delivery experience”) and then drop the emotion for facts. Rather than prose, put the sequence of events in a chronological list. They won’t care about you leaving your car at Wal-Mart. They won’t care about the wrong end of the shopping center. They won’t have the power to change their inability to sell to you in states where they can’t do direct sales. They may care about the missing key, but are likely to write that off as “solved.” Stick to things that still have an actionable resolution.

It’s tough to suppress the desire to do it, but don’t accuse them of scamming you, “nickel and diming” you, not caring, etc. They definitely don’t care, and they definitely intend to squeeze you for every cent they can, but remember that the person reading/answering the email is probably among the lowest-paid employees in the company. They might be paid just enough to care if you can hand-hold them to the resolution you want.

Best of luck!
 

BitJam

Member
May 30, 2021
211
671
Silver City, NM
Also, may have been mentioned but there are a bunch if grammatical errors I saw in the first few paragraphs. Try to clean those up before you send if you really expect them to value your feedback. Just trying to help you make your point.
Thanks @OCJeff! This is very useful. I'm prone to make such mistakes when I get tired and then my darn brain can't see them. I'll give it a few days then take a look with fresh eyes. Thank you again!

The amount I write is related to my caffeine level and the rate of mistakes is related to how tired I am.
 
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ScoobyDoo82

Member
Mar 22, 2021
282
218
Los Angeles (818)
One thing you should point out is that the reason many states (yours and mine included) don't allow direct sales by Tesla is horror stories like yours about direct sales to customers where the customer gets screwed over. You don't have a name or a location or anyone to complain to other than the corporate overlords at Tesla. If they ever want to be able to sell directly to customers in New Mexico, then they can not build a reputation of screwing over their customers in New Mexico.

Keith
When buying a brand new car, the consumer is ALWAYS the party being screwed over. Dealerships/showrooms or direct sales.. it’s still a new car sale. We all know the expression about a car and it’s value once it leaves the lot. Bad loans, over sticker (lol $10k extra for a Civic type R?), tons of documents.. same process regardless of the method of sale.
 

Fourdoor

Member
May 31, 2016
863
693
North East Arkansas
When buying a brand new car, the consumer is ALWAYS the party being screwed over. Dealerships/showrooms or direct sales.. it’s still a new car sale. We all know the expression about a car and it’s value once it leaves the lot. Bad loans, over sticker (lol $10k extra for a Civic type R?), tons of documents.. same process regardless of the method of sale.

I have never been to a traditional dealership that refused to let me open the door on the car I am purchasing until after I sign off on the purchase. This is an insane practice that seems to be common with Tesla purchasing. I have custom ordered cars before, and when the car finally arrived at the dealership I went over it with a fine tooth comb before we did any finalization paperwork.

Keith
 
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AquaY

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
May 30, 2021
291
768
Long Island NY
I have never been to a traditional dealership that refused to let me open the door on the car I am purchasing until after I sign off on the purchase. This is an insane practice that seems to be common with Tesla purchasing. I have custom ordered cars before, and when the car finally arrived at the dealership I went over it with a fine tooth comb before we did any finalization paperwork.

Keith
That wasn't my experience with my MY. I checked out the car before I did paperwork. Come to think of it, the last time I bought an ICE car, (a jeep) they had me do the paperwork first.

@BitJam sorry you had such a crappy experience and such awful customer service.
As others have said though, when writing a complaint letter you have to be more concise and clear on what you want.
 

Fourdoor

Member
May 31, 2016
863
693
North East Arkansas
That wasn't my experience with my MY. I checked out the car before I did paperwork. Come to think of it, the last time I bought an ICE car, (a jeep) they had me do the paperwork first.

@BitJam sorry you had such a crappy experience and such awful customer service.
As others have said though, when writing a complaint letter you have to be more concise and clear on what you want.

My experience was pretty good after I got past the delivery associate and was able to talk to her manager like a Karen at the supermarket :) But I have read several stories here where home delivery cars are dropped off with the key card locked inside and Tesla refuses to unlock the car remotely until you hit that you accept delivery, or if you pick up in person, they refuse to open the doors on the car until you accept delivery... the stories may be exaggerated, or they may be true... what ever the case, the reputation for poor delivery practices is well established.

Keith
 

JulesVerne

Model Y Owner - since Aug 14, 2021
Jun 6, 2021
104
85
Toronto
Read the whole "letter'. A sad commentary. I agree that the Tesla service (SA's) coming up to a delivery is poor.
I am still waiting for a VIN assignment for a May 24 order date.
You went through a lot to get that Tesla. I hope my delivery (to the Service Center about 10km from my home) goes smoother.
... Good luck..
 

dfwatt

Active Member
Sep 24, 2018
3,179
5,204
FL
Hi folks! I've been making a lot of calls to Tesla to try to get things fixed with my car. In my last call when they again said they couldn't help me they asked me to send a long email to their CentralUS_ordersupport listing all the problems. I spent several hours making the list. I decided to post it here first in case anyone was crazy enough to read all or part of it and offer suggestions before I send it on to Tesla. Here is the first draft:


Buying a Tesla has been a dream of mine for years. I thought it was an unattainable dream until I got on unexpected inheritance and decided to splurge on my Tesla dream.

Things started out with a rough start and then, surprisingly, when downhill from there. The general impression I've got is that I am NOT a valued customer and you will try to nickel and dime me every chance you get, tripping me up with rules I didn't expected and didn't know existed. I have also been consistently told things that are simply not true and this seemed to be your normal operating procedure. I was held responsible for your mistakes after getting misled by you.

I live in Silver City, New Mexico which is in the southwest corner of New Mexico. This may have led to some of the problems but I will write more about this later.


1) The first problem happened when I ordered the car via the Web. I had already been in touch with Sales Advisers at the closest Service Center in El Paso, Texas. They told me I could pick up the car in El Paso which is about 150 miles from my house. But when I placed my order I only had a choice of picking it up from Colorado Springs or Littleton in Colorado. Both are over 600 miles away.

I was able to get in touch with someone the next day. They told me I was misinformed and my only choices were to either pick up the car in Colorado or pay $750 to have it delivered to my home. I asked if I could get my $100 deposit back since I paid it under false pretenses. I was told "no". This was a bad sign of things to come. IMO this was also a bad business decision because it shows a lack of faith in your cars and you are forcing *me* to take responsibility for *your* mistake.

In addition, there was no mention "home delivery" option on your web site when I was trying to complete my order. I had seen mention of it elsewhere but the only official notification I got was from the SA I talked with to help me complete the order. Unfortunately, when using the home delivery option over the phone there is a major flaw in the process. They told me I had to choose a Service SC. I said "fine, I want to use the El Paso SC". They told me no, I have to choose a service center in Colorado! I got angry. I told them I'm not driving 1200 miles every time I need the car serviced.

Turns out this question was extremely poorly worded almost as if it was designed to mislead customers. For some reason I don't understand the SA wanted my to pick the location where my car would be shipped from. I don't care! Ship it from Fremont, ship it from Mars, I don't care. But this unexpected question was not the question I was asked. I was asked to select a SC in Colorado. Since I wasn't expecting to be involved in the shipping location I naturally assumed the words had their clear meaning and I was being forced to use a SC over 600 miles away.

For health reasons, flying/driving up to Colorado Springs and then driving the car back home was not an option for me so I decided to pay $750 more to get the car delivered to my house.


2) I never got assigned a Sales Adviser (SA) and I was never given an estimated delivery date (EDD). I was told this is normal and I needed to remember the estimated delivery window that was only displayed *before* I ordered. This is ridiculous on its face. In addition, I'm an active member at the Tesla Motors Club (TMC). Everyone else or almost everyone else who was waiting for a Model Y immediately got an SA and a EDD assigned to them after they ordered. Either there was a vast conspiracy of 100s of people at TMC or I once again told things that were not true by people at Tesla. It seemed that in almost every interaction with Tesla I was given the wrong information.


3) Since the glib reassurance from Tesla were mostly wrong and since it was already demonstrated that you take no responsibility for your own mistakes I decided to order an inventory vehicle instead of wait for months or worse for the car I ordered. Since I was never given an SA or an EDD (while almost everyone else had them) I was not certain I was actually in the queue to get a car or if I was in the queue, where I was in it.

An SA wanted to help me transfer my order to an inventory vehicle but this plan had a fatal flaw due to the extremely slow response time from the SAs. Batches of inventory cars would show up in the Denver area around midnight. They would usually be snatched up in an hour or two. If I text the SAs, I don't get a response until the next morning, sometimes late in the morning. It seemed unlikely or impossible for the SAs to respond fast enough for me to get an inventory car before someone else buys it.

The SA also give me more incorrect information. They said that for them to transfer my order to the demo car they would need the vin of the new car. I told them over and over that the vins are not displayed publicly and the only way I can get a vin for an inventory car is to use the "Buy it now option". Their response was "we need the vin".

These SAs seemed confused about the process. When I say a demo car close to my specs I used the "Buy it now" option to get the vin and then I immediately texted the vin to the SA. Of course I was once again misinformed by the SAs and they were unable to transfer my order after I game them the vin. Oh well. I expected the SAs were wrong and I expected to lose the $100 deposit on the first car so I was willing to eat that loss.


4) Turns out the car I ordered from inventory in Colorado Springs was actually in Utah and it would take a day or two before it got to Colorado Springs. This was needlessly surprising and delayed the delivery by a few days. Once again I felt I was misinformed. I ordered a car that was in inventory in Colorado Springs when the car was actually in another state. Not a big deal overall but it further erodes my confidence in what you tell me and it would be very easy for you to fix to be more clear what people are actually buying. I know it caused a lot of consternation over on TMC.


5) Finally the car arrived in Colorado Springs, got prepped the next day and was ready for 3rd party shipping. I was informed a few days later to expect the car delivered to my home Wednesday of the following week on June 30th. This was great! Like Charlie Brown and the football I didn't realize that everything I was told was wrong. The car would not be delivered on June 30th and it would not be delivered to my house.


6) If my health was better then I would have saved money by flying up to Colorado Springs to pick up the car in person and have a grand adventure driving it 600+ miles home. But I was exposed to toxic chemicals at work in a totally freak accident that damaged my immune system and left me with little energy. I deal with it by spreading things out and doing a lot of resting in between. My plan was to do nothing but rest on Monday or Tuesday in order to have energy to inspect the car when it was delivered to my house on Wednesday.

Then on Monday morning I got a call from the shipper. I had great difficult understanding anything they said. Even with native speakers I can have trouble distinguishing when one word stops and the next word begins. It is a much more difficult problem when a person has a thick accent and they don't leave spaces between their words.

I finally figured out they wanted to deliver the car today but instead of delivering to my house or near my house they wanted to drop it off on the other side of town! This is something they could have figured out the previous week but they choose to move up the delivery date and surprise me with this significant change in plans.

Before I got sick I used to be good at dealing with emergencies and I enjoyed the adrenal rush. Now I have to be careful with adrenal rushes because they are like energy loans with a high interest rate that can take weeks to pay back. Anyway, my adrenals kicked in to deal with this totally unnecessary emergency. Even if they couldn't bring their truck directly to my house I'm sure there are plenty of places nearby they could get the truck that would be close enough for me to easily walk to. But since I had just woken up and since it was so difficult for me to communicate with the shipper I decided to accept their original proposal of dropping off the car at Walmart which is on the opposite side of town from where I live. They told me to expect the truck between 2 and 3 in the afternoon.

I figured that if I couldn't get a ride to Walmart from a neighbor then I could drive my own car there and leave it overnight then get a ride the following day to pick it up. I then made arrangements with Walmart to make sure this was okay.

The driver was supposed to call me when they were one hour away. Since they were supposed to arrive between 2 and 3pm, I expected the call between 1 and 2pm. This was just a few hours away so I decided to stay awake and not squeeze in some much needed sleep.

Turns out the driver was 4 hours late. I got a call at 6 saying they would arrive at Walmart at 7. If I had known they would be this late then I would have taken a nice long nap and be refreshed for picking up the car. Instead I was already pretty exhausted.

Not only did they keep telling me Walmart Walmart Walmart, they texted me the address 1501 Silver Heights Boulevard which shows up on Google Maps smack dab in the middle of the Walmart store.

I got to Walmart a little early and according to instructions from the store I parked near the store near the Garden Center. I walked through the parking lot to near the street because I figured this was the best place for the driver to park. Imagine my surprise when I saw a car hauler truck with a cute little blue Model Y zip right past Walmart and into town!

I called the driver back and asked him if he just drove past Walmart. He said "yes". I said "see you soon" since I thought he would turn around and come back to Walmart. I was wrong. He did turn around but then he parked his truck about a quarter mile away and unloaded my car at a different shopping center! He was in a heck of a hurry. His only priority was to get the car unloaded and handed off as fast as possible and then get back on the road.

By this time it was raining and I was standing out in the rain with my old car on the exact opposite end of the Walmart parking lot and my new car a quarter mile away at a different shopping center. They driver was adamant he was not going to do the right thing and bring my car to Walmart as promised.

It would probably take just as long to walk back to my old car and drive it to the new shopping center than it would to just directly walk there. Either way I had a bit of a walk in the rain. Further, I don't know if I was allowed to leave my old car at the other shopping center overnight so the only option I had was to walk a quarter mile in the rain to get my new car.

This was not the end of my problems. The driver was in my car staying out of the rain. When I showed up he didn't ask for an ID or for the insurance papers I had spend about an hour scrambling to change earlier in the day after I was informed the delivery date was changed. He would have given my car to anyone who asked for it. He handed over one key card in a small ziplock bag. I asked him where the other one was. He said "this is all I've got. Take it or leave it". Perhaps I should have left it but I was already beyond exhausted and leaving it would have meant another long walk in the rain to Walmart and then through the Walmart parking lot to get my old car. Also I was forced to pay for the new car in full before Tesla would ship it and there are horror stories of it taking Telsa weeks or months to return money to people. If I refused the car now, who knows how long it would take for me to get another one?

I checked to make sure the charger was their so I wouldn't be completely stranded but I neglected to check for the license plate. I didn't realize it was "do it yourself license plate day" at Tesla. When I got home an SA told me the license plate was probably in the glove box and I would need to attach it myself. Such quality service!

By this time I was exhausted and I knew I would have very little time or energy to inspect the car before the 24 hour inspection window expired.


7) The next day I was shocked to discover that the car had 311 miles left on it after my drive home. This meant it spent a week with a full or nearly full battery as it was being shipped to me! This seemed messed up so I added it to the list of things to deal with when I next talked with an SA.

Unfortunately the SA implied that Elon Musk and all the EV car experts are wrong. The SA said that is is perfectly fine to leave an EV at a 100% state of charge indefinitely. I got angry and told them to stop lying to me. If that SA is right and Elon Musk and all the EV experts are wrong then please let me know! It will be so much easier for everyone to keep their cars topped up to 100% when they are home.


8) When I told the SA on Monday that I was given only one key card they said they would have one sent out right away and also send out the binder or folder (or whatever it is) that is supposed to come with the key cards. They key card arrived yesterday (the 30th) but of course there was no binder or folder or whatever that was supposed to come with it.

I called about this today and was not helped. I was told that I need to send an email to this address listing my complaints. Hence this email.


9) Despite having my hands full with all of these mostly unnecessary problems I check my loot box to see if my referral miles were there. Of course they were not. Now this brings us to another wonderful Tesla Catch-22. When I originally ordered my first car I think the loot box was available but during the wait it disappeared. I had assumed that when the SAs transferred my order over to the demo car, the referral miles would transfer over too.

But since I was misled by the SAs and they couldn't transfer the order even after I gave them the vin which they said I needed, I guess the referral miles didn't transfer over.

The loot box is only available after you take delivery of the vehicle. I called up today to get the referral miles re-instated and I was told that I they were unable to do this since I had already accepted deliver of the vehicle. So by the time I am able to see that the miles are missing, I'm no longer able to get them re-instated.



It feels like I was needless misled through almost every stop of the process. Towards the end it felt like was being flimflammed and nickel and dimed like I was a rube at a carnival sideshow. This is particularly frustrating because these seem to be a series of bad business decisions which will hurt Tesla. I want to see Tesla succeed and I want to see people land on Mars.

As you probably already know, Tesla is not allowed to sell cars in New Mexico. They are not even allowed to have SCs here. So a person has to be really dedicated (and/or foolish) to buy a Tesla in New Mexico. It costs more to buy the car, it's more of a hassle, and it is more difficult to get the car serviced since all the SCs are out of state.

Once the laws change, Tesla sales in New Mexico should skyrocket. The people leading the charge for that change will be happy Tesla customers who live in New Mexico. So at this point, one happy customer in New Mexico is probably worth more to you than 3 or 4 happy customers in Colorado or California.

The smart business move is to do the right things. Don't mislead or lie to your customers. When you do mislead them then take responsibility for your mistakes. Don't foist the responsibility for your mistakes onto your customers. If a 3rd party agent screws up then man/woman up and take responsibility. Don't just say you're not responsible. Assure your customer that this was a fluke but using your action to show they are a valued customer. Don't give empty meaningless apologies and then continue to exploit the already bad situation by trying to bilk them out of ever nickel and dime possible.

Yes, I want to see Tesla succeed. Yes, I want to see humans land on Mars. But if the price for this is that you need to stop treating your fellow human beings with decency and respect then the cost is too high.
Several thoughts come to mind, In no particular order

1) never assume that something is due to true malfeasance or lack of caring when flagrant disorganization and total incompetence will fully suffice as an explanation. Tesla is profoundly disorganized, and we speak from lots of experience owning two of their cars and two of their solar systems. Sometimes they're spot on, incredibly responsive, competent, and on top of all kinds of things. Other times the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing, they talk and communicate nonsense, and it's impossible to know how they ended up with the ideas that they have. It's truly mystifying how a company can manage to combine ecological responsibility, technological brilliance, innovative design, and total f--king incompetence in equal measure. I still can't explain it. But it just is what it is.

2) I know this sounds glib but don't take it quite so personally. When in a jam up with Tesla, I always try to see if I can find somebody who is a supervisor who can sort some of the issues out. Sometimes this works and other times it proves to be just another Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole you jumped into. In one particularly bad jam up where they blamed a failing Powerwall on a lightning strike that probably had nothing to do with it, I had to threaten lawsuit to get a successful result, but I still don't know whether that had anything to do with the good outcome, or whether one of their highly competent technicians just came forward to explain the technical facts to the idiot executives/service writer. I still have no idea, and probably never will.

3) if you want malfeasance and corporate arrogance, lots of car companies have Tesla beat. Take GM for example – as they are forcing people whose cars self incinerated to pay off their loans without replacing the now totally fried car. As for real malfeasance, see the VW group and the dieselgate Scandal. For mind-boggling levels of incompetence, there's always BMW CEO who says that ice cars are going to be viable for another three decades. This raises the question, what is he smoking? Perhaps he's just been standing too close to those VW diesels?

4) Deep breathing/Relaxation training, daily massage, hi potency CBD oil and having a PTSD psychotherapist on speed dial are also invaluable when dealing with Tesla and any number of other big corporations. See #2.
 
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