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Bad experience of buying carbon fiber front lip spoiler at RPM Tesla

Mitch0105

Member
Nov 23, 2019
7
4
NJ
I got Carbon Fiber front lip spoiler, mirror covers, and side turn markers (all Matte for Model 3) from RPM Tesla purchased online, but I found some issues:
  1. Front Lip spoiler: had distortion on the driver side, which looks like a scar or scratch and noticeable even from 6 feet away.
  2. Front Lip spoiler: also had uneven weave patterns comparing driver side and passenger side. Weave patterns gets odd and carbon line become thin towards to the end of passenger side.
  3. Side mirror cover: Driver side mirror cover had a crack.

I tried to reach the customer service for an exchange, but it was hard to contact. The call went to voice mail, and did not receive replies even I sent email, text message, and chat system on the web-site with sending photos.


I had an appointment for the paint protection film in the following week, (I just got a brand new M3, and I planned to have a clear bra after installing all exterior carbon fiber products), and I really wanted to get exchange asap. After waiting for a couple days without hearing their response back, I returned the products (costed over $120 due to large item), hoping they send me the new item as soon as they confirm my return.


A couple of days later, Mark, the owner of RPM Tesla finally reach out to me, but he did not admit the front lip spoiler is defective by saying that these are hand maid and normal, you can find these even in Ferrari or Lamborghini. He even blamed me for returning items without authorization.


I explained that their return policy does not mention about the return authorization, and told that I am not going to ask for the return shipping cost. I said I just want clean looking spoiler or otherwise just get me a full refund.


Results:

  1. After the items were returned, they refunded but deducted $125 shipping I paid the return shipping, costed over $120. Basically, I am losing over $245 for nothing. Their return policy says “full refund period” not “full refund after shipping”. This is contracts their policy of “free return and free exchange”. I asked not to deduct the original shipping cost, but they declined.
  2. Mark nicely gave me a follow up message, says the returned front lip spoiler looks perfect, and he already sold to other customer. He also sent me a picture that the product picture on web-site also has distortion, trying to justify himself.
  3. I paid over $245 for original and return shipping costs , and only received very bad feeling for dealing with a stingy businessman. I know some people have good experiences shopping at this shop, but unfortunately not in my case. I tried to behave fairly following their shopping and return policy, but I didn’t see their attitude trying to establish good relationship with customer at all.

Question:

I really wonder if you guys have any scar-like distortion (according to Mark, this is seam, which is normal) on your carbon fiber products? Is this normal?

To me, this seems like misalignment of consolidation at the manufacturing process, leading to cosmetic error. These are after-market parts, but I still look for close to OEM quality. Also, I am not buying at Ebay.

1. Scar-like distortion.jpg 2. Scar-like distortion.jpg 3. Scar-like distortion.jpg 4. weave deformatoin towards the passenger side end.jpg 5. weave pattern towards to driver side end.jpg 6. weave patterns of passenger side.jpg 7. weave patterns of driver side.jpg 8. RPM photo.jpg
 
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Matsayz

Active Member
Jul 6, 2019
1,200
985
Las Vegas
Welcome to the world of aftermarket spoilers! This is normal operations for ALL cars. Spoilers are never perfect and you got screwed. Feel free to leave all the reviews on all the sites. You could also look at doing a charge back with your credit card company. Usually you’ve got 6 months. Good luck
 
Last edited:
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afadeev

Member
Feb 28, 2019
883
1,082
NYC
I got Carbon Fiber front lip spoiler, mirror covers, and side turn markers (all Matte for Model 3) from RPM Tesla purchased online, but I found some issues[...]
After waiting for a couple days without hearing their response back, I returned the products [...]
A couple of days later, Mark, the owner of RPM Tesla finally reach out to me, but he did not admit the front lip spoiler is defective by saying that these are hand maid and normal, you can find these even in Ferrari or Lamborghini. He even blamed me for returning items without authorization.

  1. Yes, the CF quality pictures is crap. I would also have returned the items for defective workmanship.
  2. No, you should know better than return them without return authorization number (RAN). Everyone does it that way, even if this vendor's web site does not explicitly call for it.
  3. Yes, you got screwed. But there is some recourse.
  4. Call your credit card company, and file dispute and ask for your money back. They will return your payment in full.
  5. You will still be out of $120 for shipping. You could have avoided that had you waited for the RAN and got the vendor to pay for return shipping.
 

Mitch0105

Member
Nov 23, 2019
7
4
NJ
I assumed their products are made in low cost foreign countries before I placed an order.
But I expected some quality controls management through inspections and respectful aftercare services as being the middleman locates in the US. I just can"t believe the owner said it is hand-made and the returned item looks perfect...
 
Last edited:

KenC

Active Member
Sep 4, 2018
3,949
3,643
Maine
I got Carbon Fiber front lip spoiler, mirror covers, and side turn markers (all Matte for Model 3) from RPM Tesla purchased online, but I found some issues:
  1. Front Lip spoiler: had distortion on the driver side, which looks like a scar or scratch and noticeable even from 6 feet away.
  2. Front Lip spoiler: also had uneven weave patterns comparing driver side and passenger side. Weave patterns gets odd and carbon line become thin towards to the end of passenger side.
  3. Side mirror cover: Driver side mirror cover had a crack.

I tried to reach the customer service for an exchange, but it was hard to contact. The call went to voice mail, and did not receive replies even I sent email, text message, and chat system on the web-site with sending photos.


I had an appointment for the paint protection film in the following week, (I just got a brand new M3, and I planned to have a clear bra after installing all exterior carbon fiber products), and I really wanted to get exchange asap. After waiting for a couple days without hearing their response back, I returned the products (costed over $120 due to large item), hoping they send me the new item as soon as they confirm my return.


A couple of days later, Mark, the owner of RPM Tesla finally reach out to me, but he did not admit the front lip spoiler is defective by saying that these are hand maid and normal, you can find these even in Ferrari or Lamborghini. He even blamed me for returning items without authorization.


I explained that their return policy does not mention about the return authorization, and told that I am not going to ask for the return shipping cost. I said I just want clean looking spoiler or otherwise just get me a full refund.


Results:

  1. After the items were returned, they refunded but deducted $125 shipping I paid the return shipping, costed over $120. Basically, I am losing over $245 for nothing. Their return policy says “full refund period” not “full refund after shipping”. This is contracts their policy of “free return and free exchange”. I asked not to deduct the original shipping cost, but they declined.
  2. Mark nicely gave me a follow up message, says the returned front lip spoiler looks perfect, and he already sold to other customer. He also sent me a picture that the product picture on web-site also has distortion, trying to justify himself.
  3. I paid over $245 for original and return shipping costs , and only received very bad feeling for dealing with a stingy businessman. I know some people have good experiences shopping at this shop, but unfortunately not in my case. I tried to behave fairly following their shopping and return policy, but I didn’t see their attitude trying to establish good relationship with customer at all.

Question:

I really wonder if you guys have any scar-like distortion (according to Mark, this is seam, which is normal) on your carbon fiber products? Is this normal?

To me, this seems like misalignment of consolidation at the manufacturing process, leading to cosmetic error. These are after-market parts, but I still look for close to OEM quality. Also, I am not buying at Ebay.

View attachment 516688 View attachment 516689 View attachment 516690 View attachment 516691 View attachment 516692 View attachment 516693 View attachment 516694 View attachment 516794
Carbon fiber is woven like a fabric, so there may be seams. There are natural distortions and imperfections in anything woven. If it were faux carbon, then it could be perfect. You do understand how CF products are made, right? They may be hand laid into a mold, then put in a vacuum bag, then baked in an autoclave, so the way the weave lays can differ, depending upon how the technician laid it in the mold.

Shipping for bulky items is often not included in refunds. While RPM Tesla seems to have a poor record, I would say, you should avoid buying carbon fiber accessories if you expect it to be perfect. Woven materials are rarely perfect.
 

zhu-

custom title
Oct 24, 2018
954
833
NJ
I've had fairly good experience with RPMTesla. Bought their underdoor LEDs, glass seal, and replica matte spoiler. I returned the seal 60+ days after because it wouldn't fit between the glass somehow and they took it back for refund minus my shipping cost without any hassles. Spoiler was 3-4 months late but eventually arrived with good build quality. The shape and density of the weaves did warp/distort from the center to the sides but wasn't very noticeable considering it was much more gradual than in your example. I personally also wouldn't accept any 'scars' like what you've shown in your pictures though.
 

TLLMRRJ

Active Member
Dec 19, 2019
2,073
2,487
Houston
  1. You will still be out of $120 for shipping. You could have avoided that had you waited for the RAN and got the vendor to pay for return shipping.

You are clearly not even a tiny bit familiar with RPM Tesla's return policy despite having a very pretentious attitude and telling this guy he screwed up because he's not as smart as you to get a RAN in advance.

RPM Tesla makes you pay for return shipping even if they screw up. It's a huge rub in their policy and one that should make you think twice about ordering anything from them.

And they flat out tell you don't need to have a RAN.

Please be more careful not to spread bad information on the internet, and if you are not sure about something, just note on your post that there is a good change you may be talking out of your *&^.

"Simply put, if you don't like something you've bought from us you have 30 days to return it for a full refund. You do have to pay to ship it back to us*. "

"If the item is UNUSED there is no need to email us for a return authorization, just include a copy of your order and mail it back"
 
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jkdman123

Member
Jul 15, 2019
352
281
San Diego
Thank you for advises. I had to wait for their response before I returns, but I really do not think they would issue RAN based on their attitude after. I will call credit card company for a dispute.
You said they already refunded your money for the items. The credit card company won’t do anything. RPM’s stated policy is that they don’t pay for shipping.

And while the credit card company MAY help you out, bear in mind that they will only go so far in getting your money back. They’re a Godsend with an unresponsive company. If the CC company can’t get anyone on the phone, they’ll get your money back pretty quickly with a minimum of fuss. Especially, if you can show a concerted effort to contact the company in question with no luck.

But if the bad company actively disputes your version of events that may leave you hanging and the CC company won’t do anything.

In summary, filing a CC dispute is not always a slam dunk.
 
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Ludalicious

Active Member
Feb 22, 2018
1,105
1,433
Vancouver
Carbon fiber is woven like a fabric, so there may be seams. There are natural distortions and imperfections in anything woven. If it were faux carbon, then it could be perfect. You do understand how CF products are made, right? They may be hand laid into a mold, then put in a vacuum bag, then baked in an autoclave, so the way the weave lays can differ, depending upon how the technician laid it in the mold.

Shipping for bulky items is often not included in refunds. While RPM Tesla seems to have a poor record, I would say, you should avoid buying carbon fiber accessories if you expect it to be perfect. Woven materials are rarely perfect.

Exactly.... If you have a perfect piece with no imperfections... Chances are you probably have a cool set of stickers
 
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JimCarbon

New Member
Mar 2, 2020
1
3
Boston
I own an carbon fiber design & fabrication shop making parts & products for motorsports, defense, UAS (drones), and sports, registered at this site just to post this reply. While I'm not usually in a hurry to defend a quasi-competitor, some of your criticisms are a bit off.

1) Front Lip spoiler: had distortion scar or scratch
I can't quite tell from the pics, and it is noticeable, but it looks more like the fabric got pulled in the cutting process, sort of like a sweater getting snagged. While this would be a definite flaw in a cosmetic piece, it makes zero practical structural difference.

2) uneven weave patterns
This is totally to be expected - this is what the fabric is SUPPOSED TO DO -- it is called "draping". When laid up with care on a perfectly flat planar mold, the fabric can have straight lines and diagonals. However, any complex curve (where the surface curves in more than one direction) will REQUIRE the fabric to distort and bend to follow the curve -- just look at the lines on any globe. If you are looking for the bends to be exactly symmetrical on both sides, that is a very high standard that can be met, but you should be specifying it up front, as it requires either more cost in custom labor or a highly-designed-&-refined volume fabrication process.

Your #8 pic "how can customers assume there will be distortion form this pic on their website?" is absurd. The answer is: JUST LOOK AT IT - the fabric distortion is greater in the website example pic than in the pics of your part.

3) Side mirror cover had a crack
This is of course unacceptable and should be replaced, but could have happened in shipping.


In general (and I haven't visited the vendor's site), this looks like a massive mismatch of expectations. You are expecting a high-end art piece, and they seem to be selling functional parts (of course, if they're marketing as cosmetically perfect art, that's different). My overall sense is that you have some possible reason to be disappointed, but it may be because you had unreasonable expectations, and you are being more of a jerk about it than necessary.
 
Like @JimCarbon, I also own a carbon fiber-related business and have been in the industry (carbon fiber and aftermarket automotive) for about 20 years. My business works with many brands, factories, individuals from all over the world that make carbon fiber and work with other composite materials.

I discovered this thread and thought I'd also chime in to mostly agree with what Jim is saying in terms of product and expectations from an outsider perspective that isn't the end-user.

I'll start by saying that making carbon fiber look perfect, especially on these larger pieces with complex curves, is absolutely a black art. Each piece is handmade, as RPM states, there will commonly be blemishes and imperfections such as weave distortions, etc. For a true carbon fiber enthusiast, it's sometimes nice to see, as it shows that it's the real deal material.

With that said, it can be made to be perfect, but it's a balance of price and quality. I looked at RPM's website and I believe this sells for $300-500 or so. Compared to the products we sell (relative to the type of item), that is super inexpensive and I imagine the only way this is possible is by overseas manufacturing and being able to sell a lot of them. My initial impression is that the imperfections shown in the picture look reasonable to me when you factor in the price. I would think a visually perfect piece like this should cost over $1,000.

A prime example I like to give people to better understand how hard it is to make a visually perfect product...A new Ford GT costs $500,000. If you opt for it to NOT be painted and rather show the exposed carbon fiber, you may think the price goes down because they don't have to paint, right? Wrong, it ADDS $250,000...50%....to the price of the car. That's because of what has to happen to make everything perfect. Ford is not alone. If you buy a Pagani, as an example, it's the same situation.

This is not all your fault @Mitch0105 and RPM shouldn't only be saying that their pictures show imperfections so you should have known. In my opinion, they should have a blurb about it on the product page as well. I see they have a note saying that each part is handmade from a mold, but to the consumer, that wouldn't necessarily imply that means there will be visual imperfections.

As far as shipping back without getting some sort of confirmation from the vendor first...as a consumer, I would always wait to hear back from the vendor before doing anything. We expect our customers to do the same, and our normal return policy states that it's necessary in order to qualify for a return. We do this for a lot of reasons, some examples would be that a return needs to go to a different facility or that we can correct the issue without the need for a return, etc. We're not talking about something as simple as needing a large shirt instead of a medium - these are large, expensive items that are expensive to ship, and require that extra step of complexity to properly handle returns and exchanges.

For those purchasing something similar in the future, I would reach out to the vendor first and see if there is any way for them to pre-inspect a few and ship you the best of what they have. Each piece will be different, so at least you'll have some eyes on it first.

I hope my insight is helpful and am happy to answer any related questions you or somebody else has.
 

Mitch0105

Member
Nov 23, 2019
7
4
NJ
Like @JimCarbon, I also own a carbon fiber-related business and have been in the industry (carbon fiber and aftermarket automotive) for about 20 years. My business works with many brands, factories, individuals from all over the world that make carbon fiber and work with other composite materials.

I discovered this thread and thought I'd also chime in to mostly agree with what Jim is saying in terms of product and expectations from an outsider perspective that isn't the end-user.

I'll start by saying that making carbon fiber look perfect, especially on these larger pieces with complex curves, is absolutely a black art. Each piece is handmade, as RPM states, there will commonly be blemishes and imperfections such as weave distortions, etc. For a true carbon fiber enthusiast, it's sometimes nice to see, as it shows that it's the real deal material.

With that said, it can be made to be perfect, but it's a balance of price and quality. I looked at RPM's website and I believe this sells for $300-500 or so. Compared to the products we sell (relative to the type of item), that is super inexpensive and I imagine the only way this is possible is by overseas manufacturing and being able to sell a lot of them. My initial impression is that the imperfections shown in the picture look reasonable to me when you factor in the price. I would think a visually perfect piece like this should cost over $1,000.

A prime example I like to give people to better understand how hard it is to make a visually perfect product...A new Ford GT costs $500,000. If you opt for it to NOT be painted and rather show the exposed carbon fiber, you may think the price goes down because they don't have to paint, right? Wrong, it ADDS $250,000...50%....to the price of the car. That's because of what has to happen to make everything perfect. Ford is not alone. If you buy a Pagani, as an example, it's the same situation.

This is not all your fault @Mitch0105 and RPM shouldn't only be saying that their pictures show imperfections so you should have known. In my opinion, they should have a blurb about it on the product page as well. I see they have a note saying that each part is handmade from a mold, but to the consumer, that wouldn't necessarily imply that means there will be visual imperfections.

As far as shipping back without getting some sort of confirmation from the vendor first...as a consumer, I would always wait to hear back from the vendor before doing anything. We expect our customers to do the same, and our normal return policy states that it's necessary in order to qualify for a return. We do this for a lot of reasons, some examples would be that a return needs to go to a different facility or that we can correct the issue without the need for a return, etc. We're not talking about something as simple as needing a large shirt instead of a medium - these are large, expensive items that are expensive to ship, and require that extra step of complexity to properly handle returns and exchanges.

For those purchasing something similar in the future, I would reach out to the vendor first and see if there is any way for them to pre-inspect a few and ship you the best of what they have. Each piece will be different, so at least you'll have some eyes on it first.

I hope my insight is helpful and am happy to answer any related questions you or somebody else has.


I don’t know who brought you here, but I appreciate your time for sharing the seller/manufacturer side opinion while trying to balance out by also seeing from the customers perspective instead of just calling me a jerk.

These carbon fiber accessories are marketed for dress-up more than functional purpose (no expectation on speed increase or energy efficiency for wearing these parts), and I think many customers will take visuality as one of considerations.

From what I felt, about visual perfection, I did not expect the product to be that perfect. Personally, I could accept non-symmetry weave patters, but still I could not let this noticeable scar-like seam or snags spoiler install on my car. I would’ve accepted this if the scar was smaller or located on less noticeable part. This was my acceptance level of product quality (taking cosmetic part as one of considerations given the product being marketed for dress-up parts). One of my mistakes was that I overestimated their brand quality after reading through the product description on web-site saying “Most of our products, come with a lifetime warranty. Cheap imports found on Ebay or Amazon only have a 30 day warranty, and after that you have nobody to turn to. Buy American, and buy from a company that stands behind their products! “

Your explanation for price factors is really appreciated. I never thought about the seller’s “this is only $500, what do you expect?” mind. From that sense, I would choose $1,000 with better visuality not even perfect over $500 spoiler with a such scar if there is an option to choose. I cannot match up my Tesla with product that has noticeable cosmetic flaw. Because as you say there is a room to improve the visuality or quality on carbon fiber products, it is natural for customers to demand higher quality products, and seller continues to put effort to improve quality while managing the customer expectation. Also, I am just curious about pricing point of sellers perspective, will it be reasonable for you to accept this as defect if the item costs $1,000?

thank you for opinion and advice. Going forward, I will be more cautious on buying products and who do I purchase from. I think this would be different story if the seller was like you.
 
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