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Cautionary Tale - Buying a used Tesla from a used car Dealer

Discussion in 'Model S' started by m2140, Mar 30, 2016.

  1. m2140

    m2140 Member

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    First of all this did not happen to me. This is a a cautionary tale of what happened to a co worker of mine. He always wanted a Tesla, found a good deal at a used car lot and got burned.

    I heard about this guys because he reached out to me before he bought his model S because he knew that I had one and wanted more info. Before I could help him and and give him some advise, he had already pulled the trigger on a used Model S he found at a local BMW dealer. He had no idea what he bought, did not know all the features, if it had single or Dual chargers, could it supercharge? nothing. He did not even realize he needed a charger or 40 amp circuit to use the car. He was using a standard 110 port to charge and he could not figure out why he was not getting enough charge for his commute. The sad part is the dealer just told him they don't know anything about the car and could not really help him.

    So after we finally talked, I offered to help him with his car and get him started. Similar to the delivery of the Tesla I gave the guy a quick tutorial and hooked him up with a bunch of links and the 24 hr Tesla number. We found that he was missing a lot of features he wanted. For example, the car could not supercharge and initially he did not even have App access to the car.

    This past week, he got a bombshell. He was trying to use some of the newer features of the car like auto park and the Tesla would not work. So he took it into the Tesla service center. After a day or so, the service center called him up and gave him the bad news. His Tesla had damaged cabling caused by rodents that got in and chewed on some cables. It's at minimum $5000 repair not covered by warranty. The really devastating part is this issues was found with the previous owner. The previous owner was told it was not covered under warranty. The previous owner just off loaded the car to a used car dealer.

    The Car is currently at the Tesla dealer. Tesla will not release the car because the car is not safe to drive. He had been driving the car for over a month and had no clue the potential danger he was in.

    There is one saving grace here. The used car dealer sold the Tesla as a certified pre-owned car. The dealer has supposedly performed a full inspection of the car. don't know how they certified the car considering even big dealers have no clue how to properly work on their own EV's let alone a Tesla. The CPO contract should protect him since he will have proof the problem was on the car prior to his purchase. But I'm sure he has a long battle ahead.
     
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  2. gaswalla

    gaswalla P4201/85/airsusp/pano/19i

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    If only Tesla had an open database for the vehicle's history available. (I think Lexus does this). On the other hand, doing this would be great for transparency, but bad for the Tesla CPO business as well as fodder for TSLA bears to pick through
     
  3. MP3Mike

    MP3Mike Active Member

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    #3 MP3Mike, Mar 30, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2016
    This sounds very suspicious...

    So did the car not have any warnings about the failures? Given the number of reports of people having the car report that the Auto Pilot features are disabled with just too much sun on the camera I can't imagine that damaged cabling wouldn't cause an error code, if not more than one error code, to be displayed.

    If there really is damage and it is dangerous to drive the car, and there are no errors/warnings, Tesla really needs to work on the on-board diagnostics.
     
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  4. calisnow

    calisnow Active Member

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    As far as I know Tesla does not have the right to hold someone else's property hostage - so this story is sounding fishy to me - at least this part of it.

    I'm not a lawyer - somebody correct me if I'm wrong on this.
     
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  5. TexasEV

    TexasEV Active Member

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    It was a used car dealer, and he was a clueless customer. Why is he surprised?
     
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  6. postpast

    postpast Member

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    That sounds pretty fishy to me too. If he wanted to take it home and use it as a lawn ornament or part it out himself, I can't see Tesla being able to do anything to stop him. It is his property.
     
  7. m2140

    m2140 Member

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    I'm just relaying the information from the guy. If he tells me Tesla told him they are not confutable releasing the car because it's not safe then I would have to believe him. But yes, he is a completely clue less customer that really should have done more research before buying an EV in general.

    I'm sure if he pushed he could get his car out. Probably would have to sign a waiver. I'm sure the previous owner did something similar rather than face a $5000 repair.

    At this point he is just starting the fight to get his car fixed under the CPO warranty. considering this was pre-existing before he purchased he has a chance to get it fixed under the CPO warranty. but chances are that the dealer is going to play dumb here and not make it easy.
     
  8. kort677

    kort677 Active Member

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    used car dealers prey on the naive and foolish, it is a shame that the OPs friend did not do any sort of research or due diligence. the buyer will need to hire an attorney to in order to try and get relief by enforcing the contract/warranty that was offered by the dealership that sold him the car.
     
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  9. Maaz

    Maaz Member

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    LOL, i bought my P85 from a dealer and it was just fine. Your friend honestly is at complete fault for buying this car without ANY research. I wouldn't buy a toyota corolla with this little research, let alone a Tesla Model S.
     
  10. calisnow

    calisnow Active Member

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    Which Tesla dealer is it? Easy enough to call up service and see if they're trying to hold a car hostage which doesn't belong to them.
     
  11. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

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    Overly harsh, I think. Even if the guy knew everything about the vehicle, he STILL may have been burned by this. If there were no error messages produced it would have been practically impossible to discern underlying electrical issues, especially if the issues were in less-visible subsystems. I find it hard to blame the victim in this case.
     
  12. m2140

    m2140 Member

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    #12 m2140, Mar 30, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2016
    I always surprised by the negativity.
    Maybe I picked the wrong words in the original post. If I would have said that Tesla does not recommend driving the car because they see it as unsafe; would I have gotten a different reaction? Either way my friend agrees with Tesla and does not want to drive the car if Tesla feels the problem is serious enough.

    The guy is at the Tesla Service center now talking to them and getting paper work evidence of the previous findings.

    Now I do agree that this is not something that even an experienced Tesla owner would have caught. The car works correctly except for some parking features. He cannot be faulted for that. The impression i got is that some of the cables are damaged while other just don't have shielding.

    I have followed Tesla for a couple of years now and know better. Buy from Tesla directly to make sure everything on the car was properly checked. Your typical mechanics don't know how to maintain a Tesla let alone run a full inspection on one. My local tire shop cant even perform an alignment on my Tesla. But I could not prepare this guy for this because he bought one before we talked.



    I do believe that he has a hard road ahead to get the car fixed. I do think he will need a lawyer as other have stated.
     
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  13. lolachampcar

    lolachampcar Active Member

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    I often complain about Tesla's decision to purposely underbid the then existing wholesale market for Tesla trade ins when they announced the Ds and their CPO program. Although I disagree with the financial approach, I could not fault their desire to control the used car sales experience for exactly the above reasons (be they accurate or not, it is not important).

    As the secondary market grows the chances that more and more customers will get taken increases dramatically. By taken, I am talking about used car salesmen/women that will say absolutely anything to sell a car. I just went through a similar experience for an in-law that asked me to look at an off lease Leaf (very good value BTW with 21K mile cars going for $10K). The used car dealer that was moving the car told the wildest stories about range, charging and the ability of the car to use Tesla's SuperCharger network. Even if the above story is not 100% accurate, it is by no means out of the realm of possibility.

    Tesla has sold on word of mouth. Negative words travel sooooo much faster than kind words these days so I can understand why Tesla would want to control the secondary market sales experience even if they try in an anti-competitive Silly Valley way. The best we can do as owners and as those that care about Tesla's success is to help educate those around us trying to used the normal used car channel. The OP tried and I think we owe him our thanks for that and for posting the results.

    Thank You.
     
  14. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    The way you worded it makes it suspicious. It doesn't make sense for Tesla to hold the car hostage if the owner wants the car. After all, if they did, how did the previous owner get the car back to sell to the used car dealer?
     
  15. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    Looks like your friend fell for the bait of the "dealership" CPO instead of the "manufacturer" CPO. Here's an article about the differences:
    http://thegarage.jalopnik.com/what-is-a-certified-pre-owned-car-1595837186

    Basically for a dealership CPO all that means is that the dealer did an inspection to their own standards and offers a warranty to their own standards. So there is really no guarantee/consistency in terms of what you get (as opposed to a "manufacturer" CPO which is the same inspection/terms across the country). You have to clarify the terms yourself before buying (which I'm guessing your friend didn't do).
     
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  16. m2140

    m2140 Member

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    Very good point. Thanks for the article. I'm going to forward this on to him.
     
  17. calisnow

    calisnow Active Member

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    Yes. Sorry didn't mean to seem mad at you (the messenger) - I was getting pissed off at the unnamed Tesla dealer because the post made it sound like they were refusing to release a vehicle which isn't theirs. Now it's clarified - no issue.
     
  18. Zaphod

    Zaphod Galaxy President (former)

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    Since it could not supercharge, it must be a 60kWh battery? If so, I think very few of those even had the Autopilot hardware that would allow the autopark feature to work. Even then, I can't imagine the rodents only chewed on cables that would affect those systems. I would expect a whole slew of electrical issues. I'm sure crazier things have happened but does sound like an odd story.
     
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  19. mikeash

    mikeash Active Member

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    The 60 wasn't discontinued until April 2015, so that was a solid six months where it was sold with Autopilot hardware. The rare beasts are P85s and P85+s with Autopilot, since those were discontinued when Autopilot was announced, but existing orders were still honored.

    As for the event in question, it's definitely unfortunate, but the fact that it was a Tesla is almost irrelevant. The same story could (and frequently does) happen with any car. There's a reason "used car dealer" is often considered synonymous with "scumbag." This story does provide a good illustration of why Tesla is so reluctant to use the traditional dealer model that other car makers have.
     
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  20. pchilds

    pchilds Member

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    $5,000 won't get you much lawyer time, 10-15 hours. Get the car fixed and sue in small claims court.
     
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