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Comically poor delivery experience (still in progress...) [Tysons Corner, VA]

lightba6

Member
Sep 3, 2020
33
42
Washington, DC 20003
I hit the 'buy' button on my model S about 2.5 months ago now.

I still don't have a car.

['Note: I'm in DC and my local Tesla center is Tysons Corner.]

Let's start from the beginning...

I got a cold email from Johnny D at Tesla about looking at a new Tesla. His timing was good. It was time to upgrade from my 2014 MS to something new. So I start looking around online. Johnny was supposed to look for cars for me, but it's just so much easier to look for myself than to sit there on the phone and have him do it for me while I wait. So I tried the website, but that was a waste of time given how limited their search functionality is and how unhelpful the live chat is. I would find one, email Johnny about it, and he'd get back to me a couple of days later (after which, the car was sold.) After three rounds of 'just missing' a car, I gave up on Johnny and I tried calling the local dealer in DC. But I could only ever get voice mail. I did finally get a call back. 5 days after I asked for one. By then, I had discovered tesla-info.com, found a car, and pulled the trigger. It was a CPO inventory car in CA.

Johnny called and said that since this was a new car, someone from 'new car sales' would be in touch. No one did, so when I reached out, they told me this was a used car, so someone over there would be in touch. After a bunch of comical back and forth watching Tesla argue with itself over whether my car was new or used, I finally got a reservation number and was told my car would be delivered in 2-4 weeks.

A couple of emails around week two and three went unreturned. Finally at week five, a started to make a fuss. Turns out no one ever did get my delivery underway, and my car was still in CA. But right around then, Tesla changed its policy and refused to send pix of my car while also publishing a list of all the stuff that could be wrong with it and have it still be 'okay' by their standards. I wasn't interested in getting a car with big scratches and dents and lord knows what else, so I asked if I could pick a new one (since it's not like mine had made it off the lot yet.) So they agreed and offered to let me credit the $2K transport fee to another vehicle.

I found a new (not CPO) model S, also in CA. But Johnny said that since this was a new car, he could not apply the $2K credit they offered me for screwing up my first delivery. "Tesla doesn't discount cars." I argued it wasn't a discount--it was just the transport fee. What's the difference if it's a used or new car? Still costs the same to transport. For 2 weeks and over half a dozen emails, I asked to speak to managers. Johnny refused to respond most times, and when he did, he never addressed my request to speak with someone. Anyway, by this time, they had reduced the price of the models S considerably, so they simply offered me the new price on it. Which I probably couldn't have gotten anyway, but it was more than the $2K, so I said fine. I just wanted my car, as I had sold my current one by now.

Turns out that once again, Tesla's right hand didn't talk to the left, and two weeks after waiting for delivery (I had a confirmed delivery appointment), my car still didn't start it's journey East.

WTF? Does Tesla not know how to ship a car????

Matthew, from the local showroom in DC (the one shining light in my saga), had the unfortunately job of telling me that yet again Tesla dropped the ball and failed to start the transport of my car. I told him I was carless now, so he managed to get his managers to give me one of the showroom's demos. (Thanks Matt!) At least I've got wheels again, and Matt finally confirms he can see my car moving East.

At long last, two months after I pulled the trigger, Matt confirms my car has actually arrived, and the Tyco Road center sets up my appointment.

Ready to forgive and forget just because I'm so excited to get my car, I take half a day off work to take delivery. Apparently they have outgrown their digs and are doing deliveries out of a recently acquired warehouse. When I get to the front desk, I'm told to head back out, walk down the side of the building, past the dumpsters, and I'll see a sign for a copy shop on the right. It's pouring down rain. No loaner umbrella. But okay... whatever. It's just water.

I get down there, and it's a typical unfinished warehouse. Ok...I get growth and how it takes some time to turn a recent building into a nice delivery area. I can get over that. But this place is a dump, and zero efforts have been made to make it even a little bit nice. There's a cleaning cart that serves as the agent's podium. I was handed a stack of paperwork. No tables or chairs. I'm expected to fill it all out standing up against a cinder block wall (still soaking wet.) Seriously, this is how Tesla delivers cars? They can't even spring for a $5 clipboard so I have something to write on??

It gets much worse.

They go get my car "from detailing." (Ha!) They drive it in soaking wet. I have to ask for a towel to wipe it down to give it a look over. In the course of doing so, I find about a dozen issues, the most egregious is a gash in the bumper about 3" long and 1/8" deep. Another one in the side mirror well into the black plastic. There's a nick in the trunk paint down to bare metal. A few other paint imperfections, and of course, the obligatory misaligned panel. Inside, it's clear no one has even so much as looked inside. Significant dirt on both driver and passenger white seats. Granted, the agent is able to (mostly) wipe off that dirt, but still. The whole thing is pretty dusty. And there are two pretty significant scratches on the center console lid.

This car has 10 miles on it. It's not like it was a demo or something. So you can see what I scoff at the fact they claimed it was 'in detailing' prior to delivery. It was clear that not only wasn't it cleaned, let alone detailed, but no one so much as took a quick walk around the outside just to make sure things were in order.

Obviously, I couldn't take delivery. I'm fuming at this point.

I go home and send one of those "I'm passed being mad, and now I'm just disappointed that this is what the Tesla brand has become..." emails to the delivery email addresses. A 'customer experience' person of some sort reached out to ask when I could chat. I had all day open, but he didn't call after all. No one did. This was last Thursday. Today is monday, and aside from consoling words from Matt the sales guy, I have yet to hear anything about when I might get my car.

So that's where I stand. At least I have their showroom demo car (which I'm kinda holding hostage to help effect a speedy resolution since I know they want it back.) I just can't believe how poorly this company is handling itself. Some things I understand are a result of their growing pains. I get that. But growing quickly doesn't excuse some basic customer experience issues like communication, transparency, or at least a couple of folding chairs and a clipboard at delivery. This is just good ol' fashioned incompetence and disregard for its customers.

I hope that someone at Tesla who cares might see this post and light some fires under some people that clearly need to give a bit more attention to customers and detail in general. Or if nothing else, maybe try to find my car in the body shop and bump it to the top of the list. I've more than waited my turn at this point.

To Tesla's credit, it says a lot about what an incredible product they have that I (and many others who have had similarly poor experiences) will tolerate this abuse as a customer just for the privilege of driving one of their cars. But man, once there is some competition, this company is in for a rude awakening.
 

DaveG_NJ

Member
Oct 7, 2020
268
644
NJ

lightba6

Member
Sep 3, 2020
33
42
Washington, DC 20003
I love my Tesla and I want them to do well, but this is true. Have a problem? Need to speak with someone in Service? The answer is always the same - go the the app. If you want a good laugh, go to the careers site at Tesla.com and read the job descriptions for the people creating your "Customer Experience"...

Tesla Advisor | Tesla
Customer Experience Manager - Burlingame | Tesla

Forget service... you can't even get them to rally for sales! They clearly could not care less about whether or not I buy a car from them. (Have you ever heard of a car sales operation that can't return a phone call of a hot lead in less than several days???) Because they know that if I don't buy their car, someone else will happily take it. Again, a testament to their product. But, man, is it frustrating for us customers.
 

DaveG_NJ

Member
Oct 7, 2020
268
644
NJ
It is a bit arrogant, Elon's attitude that it's OK to deliver a car that 95%. Some people will be so thrilled with the tech, they'll forgive the build quality (you see that a lot here and on the Tesla forum). For the 5% who notice a problem, we'll fix it after delivery. Probably. Customers are the QA department - does that fly in any software dev shop? Six sigma much? Three Sigma?

I think the Cybertruck is Elon's response to the criticism. Its design, let's be candid, is a finger in the eye of anyone who values the aesthetic. It is complete function over form. It's like he said, "You want a perfect metal box with aligned body panels and flowing lines? Screw you, here's something my toddler drew - and you'll still buy it!"
 

COS Blue

Member
Oct 18, 2020
62
64
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Hopefully as they get more competition this attitude won't fly anymore. Either way, I'm pretty confident that within a few years, we as customers won't have to put up with it, because there will be many more options. Right now, there's simply nothing else you can buy that's in the same league.

@lightba6 are they giving you any grief about keeping the demo car? Keep us posted on what happens next!
 
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Reactions: 2101Guy
Sep 23, 2020
480
411
Sacramento CA
Hopefully as they get more competition this attitude won't fly anymore. Either way, I'm pretty confident that within a few years, we as customers won't have to put up with it, because there will be many more options. Right now, there's simply nothing else you can buy that's in the same league.

@lightba6 are they giving you any grief about keeping the demo car? Keep us posted on what happens next!
I say... drive that demo car to death. Drive it to Tucson. Drive it to New Brunswick. Return it to Tesla just as dirty and "unloved" as most cars coming out of the service centers.
 

hjzs2k

Member
Oct 26, 2017
33
8
New York
Oh the things we endure for Tesla. I'm waiting, no where as long as you and definitely nowhere near the experience. I can only pray and hope that I didn't just shell out a bunch of good money to replace a car that I don't need to, for an experience that should be better.
 

BigNick

Disaffected Member
Dec 3, 2017
1,068
1,299
Pennsylvania, USA
10 miles and the car was that bad?
I'd check for any signs of wear on touch surfaces. Steering wheel, accelerator/brake pedals, touchscreen for scratches.
The whole thing reeks of rollback.
You could drive "Dukes of Hazzard" style down 10 miles of country dirt roads and the car wouldn't have as much exterior damage/scratching as this had.

I second the "drive the hell" out of the demo. Take ten laps daily around the Capital Beltway.
 
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  • Funny
Reactions: AMPd and Ciaopec

lightba6

Member
Sep 3, 2020
33
42
Washington, DC 20003
Hopefully as they get more competition this attitude won't fly anymore. Either way, I'm pretty confident that within a few years, we as customers won't have to put up with it, because there will be many more options. Right now, there's simply nothing else you can buy that's in the same league.

@lightba6 are they giving you any grief about keeping the demo car? Keep us posted on what happens next!
No grief yet about keeping the loaner. The guy at the showroom did suggest he may try to arrange a loaner from the service center so that he can have his demo car back, as they're down to just one model 3. But I've not heard back since last week. Frankly, I've not heard a peep from anyone at Tesla after I lit them up in an email. No 'sorry.' No communication about when my car might be out of the body shop, etc. Nothing. Which has been my typical experience so far--just a total lack of communication until I blow up at them.
 
  • Informative
Reactions: COS Blue

lightba6

Member
Sep 3, 2020
33
42
Washington, DC 20003
10 miles and the car was that bad?
I'd check for any signs of wear on touch surfaces. Steering wheel, accelerator/brake pedals, touchscreen for scratches.
The whole thing reeks of rollback.
You could drive "Dukes of Hazzard" style down 10 miles of country dirt roads and the car wouldn't have as much exterior damage/scratching as this had.

I second the "drive the hell" out of the demo. Take ten laps daily around the Capital Beltway.
I agree that it seems almost impossible to have this much wear on a car with 10 miles on it. I'm assuming it was the shipping company. Which I understand can happen. (Though that doesn't justify the factory paint defects, misaligned panels, or ridiculous delivery experience.) What kills me is the fact that they didn't bother to do so much as a walk-around the car before handing me the keys (nor have they been in touch since I rejected to offer so much as an apology or information on next steps.) I understand growing pains. But as I've said above, this is more than that. There's just straight-up incompetence and lack of 'giving an F' going on here. And while any company can have a bad employee, this seems to be the case for most people I've encountered so far this time around. It's not a bad apple situation. It's a bad culture.
 

lightba6

Member
Sep 3, 2020
33
42
Washington, DC 20003
[Sigh...] Still no communication from Tesla about the status of my car or if/when I might ever expect delivery. Maybe I'll start CCing them on this thread to see if that gets their attention. ...Or... I happen to run a marketing/PR firm in DC. I'm *this close* to putting real company resources into this and lighting up Tesla in a very public way. That's a pretty nuclear (and expensive) option that I can't unwind though. I'd need to wait until after the election to get any traction anyway. Maybe I'll hold off and give them a few more days to get their act together before I go down that road.

(Yes, I already opted out of the arbitration clause and am prepared to pick a public fight with Goliath. Pretty confident I'm in the right here.)
 

P100D_Me

Member
Nov 12, 2018
993
933
Australia
Hopefully as they get more competition this attitude won't fly anymore.
We've all seen what happens to business that have a monopoly and treat customers like pests, once a better alternative comes along and gains traction people will leave in droves. It takes time but I've seen it happen so many times, Tesla is not too big to fail still.
 

COS Blue

Member
Oct 18, 2020
62
64
Colorado Springs, Colorado
I am curious about how/why one opts out of the arbitration clause..?

Why: Because otherwise you are agreeing never to sue for any reason (OK I'm not a lawyer so that might be a slight exaggeration). Arbitrators are notoriously friendly to the corporations who pay for them. See this article on Consumer Reports.

How: This is from my Order Agreement (formatting got messed up a little bit somehow):
You may opt out of arbitra/on within 30 days aHer signing this Agreement by sending a leNer to: Tesla, Inc.; P.O. Box 15430; Fremont, CA 94539- 7970, sta/ng your name, Vehicle Iden/fica/on Number, and intent to opt out of the arbitra/on provision. If you do not opt out, this agreement to arbitrate overrides any different arbitra/on agreement between us, including any arbitra/on agreement in a lease or finance contract.
 
Sep 23, 2020
480
411
Sacramento CA
[Sigh...] Still no communication from Tesla about the status of my car or if/when I might ever expect delivery. Maybe I'll start CCing them on this thread to see if that gets their attention. ...Or... I happen to run a marketing/PR firm in DC. I'm *this close* to putting real company resources into this and lighting up Tesla in a very public way. That's a pretty nuclear (and expensive) option that I can't unwind though. I'd need to wait until after the election to get any traction anyway. Maybe I'll hold off and give them a few more days to get their act together before I go down that road.

(Yes, I already opted out of the arbitration clause and am prepared to pick a public fight with Goliath. Pretty confident I'm in the right here.)
Here's how I'd play the hand...

Keep up your patient stance. Enjoy your free rental. Way better than the wheels from Hertz. In other words - no proactive efforts on your own behalf.

If it goes into a few weeks... you've got a great story to pitch. Automotive reporters / journalists will eat it up.
 

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