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Feedback regarding service at the Raleigh, NC Service Center in 2021

orion2001

Member
Apr 14, 2021
118
313
NC
I currently have an open model Y order, but am on the fence at the moment as I wait to see if anything happens with the Federal tax credits/rebate situation later this year. There is a chance I may just go ahead with the order anyways as my 11 year old sedan has been getting on my nerves with every passing day. But the one thing that really concerns me with taking the plunge with Tesla is being beholden to a single service center in my neck of the woods (I'm 20 minutes from the Raleigh SC). With more and more people buying Teslas, and the general sentiment about the lacking customer service at most SCs (partially because they are swamped and under-staffed), I am hesitant to drop $50K+ if I have to then jump through hoops to try and get service if/when I need it.

From browsing through the forums here, it seems like each SC can vary pretty drastically in the overall customer experience. So I was hoping to get some feedback from folks who already own Tesla's in the area and have had interactions with the Raleigh SC over the past year or two. Some general questions I had are:

1. Have they been very swamped or have you been able to get your car looked at and out the shop in a reasonable time-frame?
2. How is the general level of competence in terms of the quality of the work?
3. Anything notable about customer-service or lack thereof?
4. Have they been receptive to new car issues like panel gaps/misalignments, paint/trim issues, etc.? Have they resolved these promptly and satisfactorily or given you the runaround?
5. For those who purchased and picked up from here, how was your experience? The SA I interacted with was Debbie and she seemed nice enough during my test-drive. Not sure about how that translates over to the actual order, pickup and post-delivery customer service.
6. Are there any other local shops you trust with your Tesla for non-warranty related work?

And just as a bit of background to ground where I am coming from... I don't plan on going over my car with an electron microscope. I also won't be washing and waxing my car each week. I just want something functional, fun, eco-friendly and hassle-free. The Tesla is appealing on many fronts to me. It's just that the customer service + support, and being beholden to a single local SC that really concerns me. I'd love to get any inputs from my fellow NC residents. Thanks!
 

RTPEV

Active Member
Mar 21, 2016
1,013
1,150
Durham, NC
This is obviously a very local question. I would suggest you check out the various local Facebook groups to reach a wider audience of local owners (both new and old) and you will get a far better response rate there. In fact, this very question is brought up about once a week or so! Facebook Groups

In the interest of answering your query though, I will offer my experience.

I too am an owner that essentially wants a a car that gets me from point A to point B. As much as I love my Tesla, I don't worship it. I have never looked or cared about panel gaps in my life. Despite all the brouhaha about Teslas and panel gaps, as long as there is nothing blatant, I really don't care, although I will say that the whole "panel gaps" thing is probably blown out of proportion anyway. My early Model 3 looked absolutely fine to my eyes. I will say, however, that my car experienced "early onset" creaks and rattles. At the time, this was covered as a warranty issue, but I think technically it's not any more (that's Tesla policy). I had taken my car in for a few minor issues, including the creaks and rattles, and also a few trim pieces that weren't quite right. The service tech went for a ride with me and let me drive so he could climb around the car and explore where the sounds were coming from. He had a great road to test on (this was at their old location) and he was able to isolate and address most of those sounds. All they do is cram some foam insulation into those areas, so it wasn't a huge deal, but I was happy with that service.

As for your specific questions though--I have found that in general, being electric my car has required less overall service visits than other cars, so even if service is an issue, it won't be a common thing anyway. That is the first thing to remember.

As far as being able to get an appointment, my experience is that they prioritize pretty well. If you have a situation where you are unable to drive, they get you in right away. If your issue can wait, then they book you out a week or two. That's probably how it should be. I had a flat tire and they got me in first thing in the morning. I had a FSD HW3 computer upgrade and they scheduled me out a few weeks. I got a low 12V battery warning and they scheduled mobile service somewhere in the middle. Don't forget about the advantage of mobile service! If you are an instant gratification type of person who needs their car in NOW even if it's for something minor and not time critical, you may be disappointed. But I do know they prioritize based on whether the car is still drivable or not.

The quality level of the work seems adequate to me. I certainly haven't had any major work done to it, so how would I really know anyway! I mean they installed a new computer, they fixed some creaks and rattles, they got rid of a moldy AC smell, installed a new 12V battery, changed my tire and performed a wheel alignment. I suppose if I had had some body work or something more visible done, I could probably comment on the quality, but as far as I can tell, the work they did do was done satisfactorily.

The biggest complaints I have with respect to customer service is that everything is done via the app/messaging. It is a bit frustrating to not be able to talk to someone on the phone and ask questions. Sometimes you just want to ask if something is even worth bringing in. But the only choice you have is to actually schedule an appointment and then wait for them to message you so you can ask the question, and then you have to "text" it. I'm not a fan of this approach, but I know some people are.

I picked up my car in July 2018, so the experience is likely quite a bit different these days, but I would start by throwing out all your ideas of what picking up a car from a dealer is like. That's not the Tesla way. You order the car directly from Tesla and then you deal with the corporate logistics team practically 100%. It has very little to do with the local sales & delivery center. This has its plusses and minuses, but everyone is in the same boat, so it's not specific to Raleigh. Things like delivery dates getting moved out and issues getting VINs and arranging financing, etc. are all pretty much between you and corporate. I have no idea how smooth the process is these days, and everyone's situation and experience is different anyway. I certainly hear anecdotes of people being frustrated with the process, but those are the kinds of things you are going to hear because people take to social media and forums to vent, and less often to praise. I would say that probably on average there are going to be a few bumps in the process, but overall after you've had the car for a week you've forgotten all about those.

As far as the pick up process itself, it took me about 15 minutes. The only part that perturbed me was that my delivery person was outside on his phone and made me wait about 10 minutes. We then went inside, signed a paper or two, he helped me set up my phone (I actually think you do this beforehand now?) gave me a very brief tour of the car (it was the first time I had even sat in a Model 3). He did offer to answer any questions I had, but it was pretty clear he just wanted me to leave so they could get the next car ready for delivery! There really isn't a whole lot more to say. I think they expect you to have familiarized yourself with the car by watching videos that when it comes time to pick the car up it's a very mechanical process that shouldn't take more than a few minutes. Granted, I had arranged my own financing and I wasn't trading in, but I think even all that is typically handled by corporate as well. There is no haggling and upsells and crap like that that you'll find at a traditional dealer.

Non-Tesla shops? Like I said, you don't need to take your car in for work very often. But I have used Discount Tire for tire rotations (and new tires), Snappy Lube for annual inspections, and Safelite for a windshield repair. I'm not sure what other types of service I would need a third-party shop for, but I can say that I wouldn't hesitate to start with the Raleigh SC.
 
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orion2001

Member
Apr 14, 2021
118
313
NC
Wow, thanks so much for that very detailed reply! That helps a lot. I'll check out the local FB group you linked to as well. Appreciate all that feedback. Feels better to get some real world data especially because it is so hard to talk to anyone local at the SC and feel reassured in any way that they will have your back if things go sideways.
 
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RTPEV

Active Member
Mar 21, 2016
1,013
1,150
Durham, NC
Now, in the sense of providing a counter-example, I will share with you the experience that my wife and I are going through at this very moment as we are in the midst of purchasing a VW id.4 from a "traditional" dealership.

I'll start by saying that VW's ordering and shipping process appears to be designed to mimic Tesla's. You put down a deposit; when they are ready you are invited to put down some more deposit and "build" your car at which time they start making it. There is actually a nice "tracking" site, but it doesn't provide much in the way of real information, and everyone's order progresses at different speeds and makes unexplained jumps back and forth in progress. I would say that our experience with this is roughly the same as those anecdotes about the "horrible" Tesla delivery process I hear people complaining about, but of course once you have the car for a week or two, big picture-wise you don't really look back and think that that process ruined your whole car experience.

I do think (and this is just a theory) that the local dealership that she "selected" to take delivery is involved in the process, and in her case I think they dropped the ball. I suspect that what happens is that when she went online and "ordered" her car that really the dealer gets a message that a customer is interested in such and such a configuration and the dealer actually orders the car. Both deposits were fully refundable and she can always refuse the car once it gets to the dealer, so I really think that the dealership themselves "owns" the ordering process as it's technically going to be their inventory car if the deal falls through, and VW invoices the dealer for the cars they send. I mean if it wasn't this way, you could really mess with a VW dealer by putting down deposits for 50 cars and then just refusing them all. So I do think the dealer actually ends up giving the orders a sanity check and then they actually place the order.

In our case, I think the dealer totally dropped the ball. My wife put her final order in mid-March and on the Facebook groups she was on others who placed their orders well after her were getting their cars arriving in the US before hers even "left the factory". So in her case, unlike Tesla where everyone goes through corporate, the quality of the local dealership matters.

BTW, we went over to take a test drive before. In pandemic times we had to make an appointment, so they knew we were coming. We get there and some sales manager finally greets us and we tell him we are here for our test drive appointment. He looks a bit surprised, but does dig out my wife's order info, and then introduces us to a poor sales associate who is sitting there. He introduces her as the ID.4 specialist, something which by the look on her face seems quite a surprise to her. She doesn't even say a word until he leaves. Okay, maybe I'll chalk this up to the fact that VW in the US is mostly new to EVs, but it was a bit of a humorous moment for us.

Fast forward to last week, and the car arrived at the dealer on Thursday night. She got an e-mail from VW saying so. She finally got a call from her sales associate on Friday letting her know this (she already knew it though). He said we could come in and do the paperwork that day to get it out of the way so we could just pick the car up when it was done being prepped. Well, we both had work that day but she left him a message that we would like to come in on Saturday morning to do that, and we figured that that would even give them enough time to prep the car. Crickets. Saturday morning comes and we still haven't heard back. So we just drive over anyway.

Our sales associate (not the ID.4 specialist by the way!) apologizes for not getting back to us, but he's ready to do the paperwork, but first we go out to see the car. They got five in, but it appears that our car is actually being prepped already, so we didn't get to see it (I think we saw it drive by). Well, we did get to see one that was pretty much identical anyway.

So we go in to do the paperwork. Now keep in mind that my wife has already let our SA know that we want zero extras. He puts down the price sheet and there is a $500 line item for their "protection" package. He explains they put that on all their cars. She draws a line through that. Okay, no problem. Then there is a $699 "dealer doc" fee. She knows that is less negotiable but she asks to see that itemized, which they refuse and say they cannot negotiate that. All their customers pay that. She then says that's fine, but then they can knock that off of the MSRP, which they claim that VW will not allow them to do (which is likely BS). In the end we decide that the difference between what most people are paying for these dealer fees and what this dealer was charging was about $200, so we go ahead and agree to their extortion. But keep in mind you will get NONE of this from Tesla. There is the cost of the car and the delivery fee. That's it. No other hidden fees that you will need to negotiate down or away.

Then, we are of course led to the "finance" guy's office. We are paying cash for the car, so there is no financing, but that does not relieve us from having to sit through his sales pitch where he is trying to sell us very expensive extended warranties and what-not. Nope--we just want the car, thank you.

Finally after THREE HOURS of sitting around at the dealership (and this is a fairly short amount of time compared to other dealership experiences I've had) we finally had our "paperwork" done. But still no car. This was on Saturday. Mind you, they've had the car for 24+ hours already. Our SA tells us that maybe by Tuesday or Wednesday (he doesn't want to promise something he can't meet) we can pick up the car. What? I mean he said that he had put my wife's car at the top of the list for being "prepped", and in fact they had already started on it Saturday morning. What on earth do they have to do?

So they were closed on Sunday, but on Monday my wife is trying to get in touch with the SA to see if the car is possibly ready for us to pick up (we both had light schedules yesterday). Crickets again. By now they have had the car all day Friday, all day Saturday, and most of the day Monday. She is texting and trying to call. Finally he gets back to her at about 3:00pm yesterday and says he doesn't have an update from the service manager, but he will get one soon. We are still thinking that for sure the car will be ready by the end of day yesterday, but he is saying that they need Tuesday to prep the car and then charge it overnight so we can pick it up on Wednesday morning. My wife is furious at this point and in asks why they couldn't have been charging it at any point during the past 4 days! (Not only that, but we live a whole 15 miles from the dealer--it's not like we actually need it charged!) Finally at about 4:30 he messages her back and says that he finally got an update from the service manager that they "only" need to make sure the software is updated and then detail the car. They will charge it overnight. He will give us an update after lunch on Tuesday (today), but it should be available to pick up on Tuesday. I told her to respond that we will be there at 1:30 to pick up the car.

I mean seriously--I don't know EXACTLY what goes into prepping a car for delivery, but I imagine that it probably does not involve much more than removing wraps and protective coverings, detailing the car, yes, installing the latest firmware, sticking the stupid dealership stickers and license plate frames on the car, and okay, charging it up. Maybe there are some adjustments to fit and finish that need to be done as well. There is no way in hell that this can take more than a half day, much less 3.5 working days. The most likely explanation is that our SA was not on top of this and not advocating for us in the service department at all. Or, the service department is woefully understaffed.

As rough around the edges as the Tesla delivery experience is, you will not be subjected to hours on end sitting at the sales/service center negotiating, doing paperwork and being upsold on crap you don't want. You will probably not be delayed by an extended period of prep (unless there is a major issue upon delivery).

Now again, in fairness, this is probably one of the first electric vehicles this dealer has had to deal with, and they tend to segregate their service techs into people allowed to touch EVs and those that aren't, so you are at the mercy of when the EV tech is available to work on your car. But prepping an EV is probably 95% the same as prepping a non-EV. I had the same issue with my Nissan and having to wait on service for my vehicle because the sole LEAF tech's daughter was home sick from school so the tech took a sick day off to take care of her.
 
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manddarran

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
May 24, 2017
118
19
NC
My experiences with the Raleigh NC service center was positive. I had to have a windshield replaced from a rock and I had stress crack in the roof. I paid for the windshield as expected and Tesla covered to back glass no questions.
 
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orion2001

Member
Apr 14, 2021
118
313
NC
Now, in the sense of providing a counter-example, I will share with you the experience that my wife and I are going through at this very moment as we are in the midst of purchasing a VW id.4 from a "traditional" dealership.

<snip>
Thanks for that reply. Yeah, I personally much prefer the Tesla buying process over dealing with ICE salespeople. A long time ago when I bought my last ICE car, I used "The Fighting Chance" approach and that worked wonders, both in terms of saving me the time and hassle of visiting multiple dealerships, and also by letting me get a fantastic deal on a sedan. But I still hated every step of the process, and fundamentally just hated having to assume the worst in all the sales people and then unfortunately being proven right for having made those assumptions!

My concern with Tesla is less on the buying side of the equation and more on the longer term service and support side of things because at least with ICE dealers, there are a lot around, along with independent shops, so I can always find a place with good customer service that I am happy with (at least for non-warranty service). With Teslas, it seems you are mostly "stuck" with your SC for most warranty and non-warranty service which is the big X factor.

That being said, based both on responses here and asking around elsewhere, it does seem like the Raleigh SC is a pretty good one and most owners in the area seem to be fairly happy with it. I'm not a super particular guy who is going to be examining every paint imperfection (I didn't even know what swirl marks were up until I started researching Teslas! :D ), so I suspect I will be fine. Thanks again for all your inputs!

My experiences with the Raleigh NC service center was positive. I had to have a windshield replaced from a rock and I had stress crack in the roof. I paid for the windshield as expected and Tesla covered to back glass no questions.
Thanks for the feedback and that vote of confidence. Asking around, it does seem like most Tesla owners in the area are quite happy with the Raleigh SC, so that's been very reassuring for me.
 
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orion2001

Member
Apr 14, 2021
118
313
NC
Great service experience at Raleigh. Got an alert on my console, talked to the manager, scheduled service, and got a full drive unit replacement in one day, no charges. Love it.
Wow! That's fantastic to hear! If you don't mind my asking, how did you manage to talk to the manager? Aren't you limited to contacting the SC via the app?
 
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pipestem

post-newbie
Nov 29, 2018
253
230
Center of the Universe
Wow! That's fantastic to hear! If you don't mind my asking, how did you manage to talk to the manager? Aren't you limited to contacting the SC via the app?
NP -- He called me after I initiated contact through the schedule service function on the console. Pretty quickly also. Through the normal Tesla car monitoring, he already had all the details on what exactly was wrong. Very cool.

I freely admit that is just one data point.
 
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Mar 27, 2016
487
374
Melbourne fl
I currently have an open model Y order, but am on the fence at the moment as I wait to see if anything happens with the Federal tax credits/rebate situation later this year. There is a chance I may just go ahead with the order anyways as my 11 year old sedan has been getting on my nerves with every passing day. But the one thing that really concerns me with taking the plunge with Tesla is being beholden to a single service center in my neck of the woods (I'm 20 minutes from the Raleigh SC). With more and more people buying Teslas, and the general sentiment about the lacking customer service at most SCs (partially because they are swamped and under-staffed), I am hesitant to drop $50K+ if I have to then jump through hoops to try and get service if/when I need it.

From browsing through the forums here, it seems like each SC can vary pretty drastically in the overall customer experience. So I was hoping to get some feedback from folks who already own Tesla's in the area and have had interactions with the Raleigh SC over the past year or two. Some general questions I had are:

1. Have they been very swamped or have you been able to get your car looked at and out the shop in a reasonable time-frame?
2. How is the general level of competence in terms of the quality of the work?
3. Anything notable about customer-service or lack thereof?
4. Have they been receptive to new car issues like panel gaps/misalignments, paint/trim issues, etc.? Have they resolved these promptly and satisfactorily or given you the runaround?
5. For those who purchased and picked up from here, how was your experience? The SA I interacted with was Debbie and she seemed nice enough during my test-drive. Not sure about how that translates over to the actual order, pickup and post-delivery customer service.
6. Are there any other local shops you trust with your Tesla for non-warranty related work?

And just as a bit of background to ground where I am coming from... I don't plan on going over my car with an electron microscope. I also won't be washing and waxing my car each week. I just want something functional, fun, eco-friendly and hassle-free. The Tesla is appealing on many fronts to me. It's just that the customer service + support, and being beholden to a single local SC that really concerns me. I'd love to get any inputs from my fellow NC residents. Thanks!
I realize that I am not in NC, however I have nothing but praise for the timely, accurate service I get from the Orlando SC.
Telsa's largely don't need service. I went back to have them swap out a rear bumper (color match issue) and that has been it on the new Model Y (now 8k miles).
Having owned five different Teslas (S,3,X,(two),Y), I have only been to the service center about six times, total. Collectively, You will spend less time going to the SC (no matter how far it is,) than you now spend getting an oil change every quarter. Push the button. Why deprive yourself of the fun?
Get Nexen tires for half price when you need to replace the crappy fast wearing, blowout Continentals and set aside time to refill your windshield washer fluid.
That's about it!!!
And on two occasions they sent the road ranger to my office to change the cabin filter. How sweet it that?!
 
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ASUComputerGuy

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Sep 9, 2016
83
142
Raleigh, NC
I have to concur with what has been said above. The Raleigh SC has always been great and I am very appreciative of the staff there. I have been frustrated sometimes with having to use the app and that being the only method of communication, but they have always responded quickly enough through the app and it has almost always been the right answer when I have asked questions. I guess I'm old school and like to talk with people. I very strongly encourage you to go ahead with your purchase and not let the service aspect dissuade you from the Tesla vehicle. They are all worth it, in my opinion, even if you have to bring it in for some service at some point. Since they have moved their location to Glenwood Ave., you can actualy see that they have much more capacity to work on more cars at once.
 
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orion2001

Member
Apr 14, 2021
118
313
NC
Raleigh SC has done a great job servicing my 2 Model x’s and my sons’ 3s/Y.

I have to concur with what has been said above. The Raleigh SC has always been great and I am very appreciative of the staff there. I have been frustrated sometimes with having to use the app and that being the only method of communication, but they have always responded quickly enough through the app and it has almost always been the right answer when I have asked questions. I guess I'm old school and like to talk with people. I very strongly encourage you to go ahead with your purchase and not let the service aspect dissuade you from the Tesla vehicle. They are all worth it, in my opinion, even if you have to bring it in for some service at some point. Since they have moved their location to Glenwood Ave., you can actualy see that they have much more capacity to work on more cars at once.

Thanks so much for your feedback! I really appreciate it. It is so much harder to find positive feedback when online forums/reviews are always heavily skewed to be very negative. It is very reassuring to hear this from both of you and others here and on the FB group when it comes to the Raleigh SC. I'm definitely planning to get the Model Y (already put down my $100). At this point it's just a matter of holding off on my strong desire for instant gratification and waiting to see if anything comes off the infrastructure bill in terms of EV credits/rebates. I'm definitely going to be a Model Y owner within the next 6 months.
 
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Hexum

Member
Oct 31, 2019
36
20
NC
I have to say, so far I am less than pleased with the service. Car was dropped off last Thursday, was told it was be ready this past Wednesday. Wednesday came and was told it would be Friday (today). Now the time frame has been updated to 7/16. Over two weeks without my car is not good when I was told it would be just a couple of days. This all over very minimal bumper damage.
 
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Hexum

Member
Oct 31, 2019
36
20
NC
Got the car back and the bumper looks great, no complaints at all on that part. Overall a good experience just wish they would have given a better time frame in the beginning so that I could have been a little bit more prepared to not have the car for almost 2 weeks.
 
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