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I'm a dealer and Tesla removed my car's FSD

Gu$ G

Member
May 7, 2018
157
64
Kaneohe, HI
There are other stories like this one but as a dealer I wanted to share a unique, negative experience I'm having.

My very small dealership purchased a 2018 Tesla Model 3 at Manheim auto auction recently. The vehicle was advertised showing FSD in the images included during the sale. I verified FSD was still enabled during the allotted vehicle preview time, which is the opportunity buyers are given to look over cars since most sales are basically "as is."

Background - Manheim is an auto auction similar to eBay for dealers. They connect wholesale buyers (me) with wholesale sellers (Tesla, in this case).

I bought the car during the auction and payment cleared the following day. When I went to pickup the vehicle, the car has somehow been downgraded already to simply "Autopilot." I didn't know this could be done over the air, or so quickly. I suspect I was targeted in the quick removal, but that's more to the story than I want to get into right now.

I am now trying to fight Tesla through Manheim's arbitration service where I can try to dispute the sale. Unfortunately, Manheim has very little incentive to help a small dealer like me instead of their huge client Tesla. So far, they have refused to void the sale or support my claim.

In my opinion, this practice is deceitful and greedy on Tesla's part. It was especially bad when it happens to retail customers, but I really see this example as clear cut. They advertised the car with the feature and then removed it immediately after sale.

Tesla should be forced to deliver the car in the same condition with the same options as when it Was "advertised" during preview. They should remove the feature before the vehicle is offered for sale to dealers if they intend to downgrade the car. I think they have that right, it just needs to be done in a way that is clearly disclosed to the buyer. It's as if I buy a used Tesla from their own website, it says the car includes FSD, but then they deliver a car without the feature.

The auction is enabling this whole loop hole by burying their head in the sand. They refuse to acknowledge FSD as a feature of the car and instead are viewing it as a subscription similar to Sirius XM. Tesla is exploiting this at the expense of dealers, and often those dealer's retail buyers.

I'm pretty sure the auction won't help me out. My only option is probably getting a lawyer, just in case anyone knows one that is working this issue for retail buyers already.

I love the cars, but what a terrible policy.
 
Last edited:

Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
8,933
7,722
Visalia, CA
There are other stories like this one but as a dealer I wanted to share a unique, negative experience I'm having.
I don't think your case is unique as Tesla has taken away software enabled features especially in auctions.
...basically "as is."...
If so, should that be the auction's liability for showing fsd during the sale but no longer true during the pick up?
In my opinion, this practice is deceitful and greedy on Tesla's part.
If I bought a red car as is and paid for it but when I come to pick it up, it's no longer red. Some neighborhood kids painted it white overnight. Now the car is white, not red as is when you paid for it. So who is liability? Did you pay the kids or did you pay the auction house?

You can scold the kids as deceiptful turning a red car into white one but you made the payment to the auction house so you have an as is contract with the auction house and not the kids.
 

jmaddr

Member
Mar 29, 2019
956
962
Florida
When you say it was “advertised” in the images, what exactly do you mean? Did just the images show a screen that indicated it had FSD? So maybe it had a image of the center screen turned to the driving settings that showed the FSD settings (like summon, Lange change, etc). Was it a stock photo or a photo of your exact car’s screen? Or did the text description of the vehicle specifically state FSD? The latter should be a slam dunk. If it’s the former, it’s less clear.

Sorry this happened to a small business owner like you. If it’s the latter, with text indication FSD, you should have a slam dunk case. If the image was of your specific car clearly showing the FSD screen, you have an ok case. If it’s a stock photo, I wouldn’t even bother. If Manheim is your goto location to obtain stock for your business, you’ll have to weigh potentially losing that procurement arm vs, maybe, $4k of extra profit from the sale. Not a good decision to make for sure.
 

BrianBigNFun

Giver of snark
Mar 31, 2021
253
434
North Wales PA
Tesla removes FSD in every car that has it it when traded in to them. It’s most likely it was already removed by auction day but wasn’t updated yet.
I think Mannheim has more culpability in this as it’s widely known by them that Tesla does this. That said, it’s a cruddy practice by Tesla to do it in order to get more money with new FSD subs
 
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PDX-Y

Member
May 24, 2021
89
100
Portland, OR
I gotta be the Tesla stan here. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this practice.

If Tesla (or any other car trader, really) bought back a car, swapped out the wheels, and resold it, no one would complain. If they removed an audio package and replaced it with a stock unit, that would be fine too. Swap tires? Yeah, that too. Remove trim package? Yup. But because it's a software feature people get all bent out of shape. It's Tesla's car once they buy it. They can part it out and reconfigure it however they want before they sell it.

The only question is if they claimed it was being sold with FSD. If they told you you were buying FSD, and it doesn't have it, then that's a straightforward contract violation and they need to fix that. But I'm guessing that the evidence here is that this VIN was merely "originally" sold with FSD and that the auction contract didn't specify it. Is that right?
 

linux-works

Active Member
Dec 23, 2019
1,852
3,446
mtn view, ca
its stuff like this that convinces me: tesla is not to be trusted any farther than you can throw them.

they have shown to be greedy, lately (last few years) and this will be communicated to every friend of mine that asks me 'should I buy a tesla?'.

the current answer is 'no' from me and has been for a while, now.

stuff like this just nails the coffin shut.

removing software features like a bandit. shameful! like, elon really needs to continue this cheating of customers? seriously??

hopefully the other vendors will learn from this and maybe take it as a competitive point. I cant wait to switch brands as soon as there are other options. (just a few years away, too, given rivian and lucid and the rest's great progress)

tesla: you can only jerk around customers so much longer; your window is NOT infinite in how you can screw customers over. think about it, tesla.
 

qdeathstar

Completely Serious
May 17, 2019
3,184
2,214
VB
what I will say is that anyone who really believes Tesla believes in the future of full self driving should question why they they are removing it from all the cars they have access to....

I agree it’s a crummy practice but I also agree they have a right to do it. I think you didn’t ready the description or just though that since you saw it had FSD big if wasn’t in the description you were hoping you lucked out. Nope.
 

Gu$ G

Member
May 7, 2018
157
64
Kaneohe, HI
I gotta be the Tesla stan here. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this practice.

If Tesla (or any other car trader, really) bought back a car, swapped out the wheels, and resold it, no one would complain. If they removed an audio package and replaced it with a stock unit, that would be fine too. Swap tires? Yeah, that too. Remove trim package? Yup. But because it's a software feature people get all bent out of shape. It's Tesla's car once they buy it. They can part it out and reconfigure it however they want before they sell it.

The only question is if they claimed it was being sold with FSD. If they told you you were buying FSD, and it doesn't have it, then that's a straightforward contract violation and they need to fix that. But I'm guessing that the evidence here is that this VIN was merely "originally" sold with FSD and that the auction contract didn't specify it. Is that right?
Incorrect. Reread my post.

While I agree with you on your entire first paragraph, that's not what Tesla is doing! They are presenting the car for sale with FSD enabled, then after the sale they disable it. I did not base this on a VIN search.

If Tesla wants to remove FSD and resell, yes they are entitled to do this. However, they can't advertise it one way and then bait and switch.

A few other posters have asked some good questions and I'll try to get to them all

With Manheim, they take pictures of the vehicle when a selling dealer drops it off in this car's case, they also did a "condition report" which is basically a detailed inspection by the auction house with even better photos. A photo of the software screen showing the car's VIN, and a list showing standard connectivity and FSD enabled, was included in that report.

Then, the day before the sale buyers get to preview the cars. I sat in the car, inspected it, and took a picture of that software screen showing FSD enabled.

Before COVID, these auctions were all live. The cars were driven through a lane and most people bid in person. That was your last chance to see the car's condition and know what you're buying. Unfortunately, with covid, that is no longer how it works. The sales are all virtual and online. The only way to get information is through the reports and preview period I described above.
 

Gu$ G

Member
May 7, 2018
157
64
Kaneohe, HI
Only private party sales keep FSD.

If the car is sold to a dealer, including a trade-in to Tesla, Tesla removes FSD.
This is not correct. The only way a vehicle "loses FSD" is if Tesla regains possession and decides to remove it.

If a vehicle is traded into any other dealer, FSD will transfer to the next buyer.

Maybe this whole policy backfires on Tesla. Now so many people are confused and think FSD is difficult to transfer and has very little resale value.
 

Gu$ G

Member
May 7, 2018
157
64
Kaneohe, HI
what I will say is that anyone who really believes Tesla believes in the future of full self driving should question why they they are removing it from all the cars they have access to....

I agree it’s a crummy practice but I also agree they have a right to do it. I think you didn’t ready the description or just though that since you saw it had FSD big if wasn’t in the description you were hoping you lucked out. Nope.
This vehicle had FSD enabled when I previewed the car. I sat in the car and verified it. After the sale, Tesla reverted it back to standard AP.
 

Tiger

Active Member
Oct 31, 2016
1,696
1,255
Estonia
Congratulations, you have been saved from the Tesla FSD scam. Otherwise you would have to suffer the equivalent shortcomings of the FSD.

My biggest gripe with Tesla Autopilot and the like is it seems they have been coded by someone who isn't a good driver. Basic assumptions about road shapes and maneuvers etc. are not those of an experienced driver. It lacks think ahead and consistency logic (a posteriori prioritization of upcoming scenarios consistent with the past).
 

PDX-Y

Member
May 24, 2021
89
100
Portland, OR
Then, the day before the sale buyers get to preview the cars. I sat in the car, inspected it, and took a picture of that software screen showing FSD enabled.

Then you need to get a lawyer and sue them. If this is correct, that's a clear contract violation and you have an obvious case. Complaining to sympathetic ears on the internet isn't going to get you your money back, but this will.

But again, I very strongly suspect that the truth is the contract you signed listed the car configuration correctly and you just missed it.
 

PDX-Y

Member
May 24, 2021
89
100
Portland, OR
It's possible that dealers will stop bidding on these cars because of Tesla doing this.
These are literally the hottest cars on the market right now, sold out for 3-6 months of production. Used vehicles have actually been appreciating over 2021. No way does that happen.
 
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Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
8,933
7,722
Visalia, CA
It's possible that dealers will stop bidding on these cars because of Tesla doing this.
That might be an effective way to change Tesla's behavior.

I am with the victim of this case in buying and seeing an "as is" transaction. If I see a red car "as is" and paid for it with the condition of "as is", I should not be forced to pick up a white car just because someone played an expensive prank and painted it to transform it from red to white. That's no longer "as is": It becomes what you see is not what you get.
 
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PDX-Y

Member
May 24, 2021
89
100
Portland, OR
I am with the victim of this case in buying and seeing an "as is" transaction. If I see a red car "as is" and paid for it with the condition of "as is", I should not be forced to pick up a white car just because someone played an expensive prank and painted it to transform it from red to white. That's no longer "as is": It becomes what you see is not what you get.
Right, and if someone did that it would be fraud, and you'd be within rights to refuse payment and delivery.

But if someone buys a trade-in car with red paint, but it's chipped or whatever and they repaint it white before selling (maybe the red paint is on backorder, whatever), that's 100% perfectly OK. The fact that the car was "originally" red doesn't matter, they told you they were selling you a white car and you got a white car, you don't get to cite some other source about the original configuration as fraud.

What Tesla is doing is the latter, not the former. Because if they were doing the former, people would be successfully suing them for $10k on every one of these transactions.
 
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khaliq

Member
Jan 2, 2019
48
37
Texas
Manheim might not cover that under arbitration. Under their policy, if they declare a feature on the vehicle details... you should expect that with the vehicle. Now if they didn't declare that as a feature, I think you're SOL. I'm guessing is that you saw the vehicle with it personally, but they didn't declare it with the vehicle. In that case, they are only liable for declared features and undisclosed major issues (such as drivetrain and transmission).

I have worked with them in the past when I was in the car business, went through maybe 100s of arbitrations in the short while I was in the industry.
I would see the run list and see if they mentioned it in writing somewhere, that's your best bet. Read the arbitration policy very carefully. It's posted online.
 

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