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Is there a way to track down the previous owner of a CPO car

mrjedistud

Member
Aug 3, 2015
241
46
New York
I am looking at a specific CPO car and wanted to see if I could find the previous owner to get some insight into the car. Just want to make sure everything is ok with it. I figure that since they already sold it, an honest assessment of the car shouldn't be a problem.

Is there a way to do this without being creepy or stalkerish. I know that the Tesla community is pretty tight so I was hoping someone could help.
The car that I am looking at seems to have had a repair. If its just cosmetic, I can probably live with it, but want to make sure it wasn't anything more serious.

Thanks for any help you can give.
 

Cyclone

Cyclonic Member ((.oO))
Jan 12, 2015
5,057
1,141
Charlotte, NC
To my knowledge, the only option would be to search the forums (both here and at TM) for the VIN number and PM the person. Otherwise, Tesla won't disclose any of the car's history, even after you purchase the car (and they won't help you track down the prior owner to ask them, as Tesla shouldn't).
 
Last edited:

BoerumHill

not great not terrible
Apr 23, 2015
736
211
New York, NY
To my knowledge, the only option would be to search the forums (both here and at TM) for the VIN number and PM the person. Otherwise, Tesla won't disclose any of that, even after you purchase the car.

Nor should they. I'm a pretty friendly guy, make friends easily, have a wide network - but I'd be a little skeeved out about somebody contacting me about a car that I traded in. Most folks who trade in do so because it's a hassle free. You accept the discount and move forward. It's worth it to some because it saves you from having to deal with the general population.

Not sure the Tesla Community is "tight". The Roadster community, for sure. But TMC is a pretty small segment - 5K active members. How many active Tesla owners are there, 80-90K?
 

Khatsalano

Member
Mar 21, 2015
669
116
San Mateo, CA
Hey JediStud, I'm going to do you a huge favor. Do not contact the previous owner or try to Google it and find out.

If some random person calls me to find out about my previous car that I no longer even own, I would not be happy. I would also take steps to make sure you are not very happy after making such a call. :)
 

Cyclone

Cyclonic Member ((.oO))
Jan 12, 2015
5,057
1,141
Charlotte, NC
Nor should they. I'm a pretty friendly guy, make friends easily, have a wide network - but I'd be a little skeeved out about somebody contacting me about a car that I traded in. Most folks who trade in do so because it's a hassle free. You accept the discount and move forward. It's worth it to some because it saves you from having to deal with the general population.

Not sure the Tesla Community is "tight". The Roadster community, for sure. But TMC is a pretty small segment - 5K active members. How many active Tesla owners are there, 80-90K?

Sorry, I should have worded my post better. I meant that since the Op is looking for service history notes, that Tesla won't share that even once you are the owner. I didn't mean to imply that the prior customer info would be revealed.
 

sorka

Well-Known Member
Feb 28, 2015
7,694
5,716
Merced, CA
Have you asked for a complete vehicle service history report from Tesla? On every car I've ever bought used, once I owned it, I've had no problem getting dealers to print me out a complete history. It only covers what any of the manufacturer dealers did. Lexus doesn't even require that you own the car. You can get a full and complete list of everything ever done including any complaint ever made even if it wasn't reproduced and fixed. I got a complete printout on my current Infiniti from the dealer before I bought and the dealer blacked out the personal information. After I actually bought it, they printed it out again without hiding anything so I know who owned before.
 

Electricfan

Active Member
Aug 24, 2013
1,250
283
Houston
A gentleman in Hawaii bought my old Model S and found me by this forum since I had posted the VIN in my signature. I sent him pictures of the car - he said the ones Tesla provided him were very fuzzy. I sent him a picture of the Tesla window sticker, and answered a bunch of questions about it. He's still waiting - it takes a long time to ship from LA to Hawaii, but he said he'll send me a picture when he gets it. I feel good knowing my car has retired from the hustle and bustle of the Houston freeways and rush hour traffic to the beautiful tropical island state - wish I could have gone too!

Not sure why anyone would be troubled by a friendly question from a new owner. To each his own.
 

BoerumHill

not great not terrible
Apr 23, 2015
736
211
New York, NY
Electric

Great story. that's what I was hoping for wit the cop car I am looking at, but I can also understand why some would feel bothered.

Agreed, I'm glad Electricfan shared his story. When I read this during my lunch I think the title gave me the connotation of stalking. But upon reflection, if someone contacted through TMC - even though it'd still be essentially 'random internet guy I don't know' LOL - I think would tend to give them the benefit of the doubt and be helpful.

I've traded in cars and sold them privately, and found the former to be the lesser of two evils.
 

CSFTN

Member
Aug 24, 2014
918
506
Memphis, TN
My initial instinct is to say "hell no!" Then my memory slowly cranked on...

3 years ago I traded in a 2008 BMW 535 xiT for another brand. I had posted about it online, no VINs but it was a unique car, in this part of the world (for those unfamiliar with BMWs, thats a 4 wheel drive 5 series BMW station wagon). Guy was smart enough to see it on the lot, look it up, and PM me thru Bimmerf*t.com It really didn't bother me to discuss the car with him, at all. I have since seen it on the local roads, several times ... woman driving it. Can only guess if its his wife, but I'm happy to see it on the roads, being well-cared for.

I say go look for previous owner, but no interrogations, no blame, no stalking.
 

ev-now

Member
Jul 30, 2015
556
274
Denver, CO
What could be wrong with it that wouldn't be covered by a 4 year/50K warranty? If this were the Chevy dealer's "Sold As Is" lot, I could understand.
Well as Cyclone found out, if the vehicle was damage prior to Tesla putting it in the CPO program, apparently you warranty on that damage is absolutely nothing. So I'd be real sure it's very minor - is Carfax clean?
 

SeminoleFSU

Voluntaryist
Apr 5, 2013
1,448
358
Atlanta, GA
Hey JediStud, I'm going to do you a huge favor. Do not contact the previous owner or try to Google it and find out.

If some random person calls me to find out about my previous car that I no longer even own, I would not be happy. I would also take steps to make sure you are not very happy after making such a call. :)

Weird. I wouldn't mind answering questions about my old car at all if the person was able to find me through their own research, say on here thru a VIN in my sig, etc. To each their own I suppose

I also wouldn't mind if Tesla played the liaison between the two of us. If a potential buyer wanted to ask me questions and they called me on his/her behalf to get my permission before sharing my phone/email, that would be fine with me...
 

Gizmotoy

Active Member
Sep 16, 2013
3,657
859
Bay Area, CA
Well as Cyclone found out, if the vehicle was damage prior to Tesla putting it in the CPO program, apparently you warranty on that damage is absolutely nothing. So I'd be real sure it's very minor - is Carfax clean?
This is really a critical thing Tesla needs to address. They won't share what they know about the history of the vehicle, but they will use that history against you if you try to get warranty service on a part they know was damaged even though they intentionally withheld that information from you when you purchased. Not cool.
 

Electricfan

Active Member
Aug 24, 2013
1,250
283
Houston
I don't think former owner would mind friendly questions. It's the whining, accusatory, threatening emails that they probably would want to avoid.

Absolutely agree. The smart thing would probably be to avoid contact, but I've never been known for doing the smart thing! And in my case it worked out - the new owner is very nice, so I have somebody I can email and ask dumb questions about Hawaii if I need to! I might want to go there someday (would love to actually).
 

StaceyS

Member
Jul 10, 2015
210
49
Bend, OR United States
My wife and I bought a CPO car 2 months ago. 2013 P85. So far, its been great, up until the latest firmware, which has left the car feeling somewhat sick. We've got an appointment scheduled, and Tesla says its a hardware issue so they're going to replace the center display.

Going through the issues with them on the phone, they clearly have all of the service records of the car right there in their system. The service guy I was speaking to said things like "Yeah, strange, the car has accepted and installed every update since new." suggesting he was looking at a computer screen that showed him the whole service history. Obviously, they weren't going to give me any of that information, nor do I really need it. As long as Tesla Service is a "walled garden" and the car is under warranty, I'll just let them deal with it (as much as I'd like to get in there and explore!).

My wife and I have been creatively coming up with a profile of the previous owner. Based on the car, the options and some of the slight wear the car shows, we picture the previous owner as a wealthy woman (50s or 60s) who wore gaudy jewelry (particularly on her left arm) and wore makeup. She wanted a fully optioned car, but didn't understand any of the options she paid for. She probably parked it outside wherever she worked (or hung out during the day), and paid others to wash it for her. For her, it was more about the perception statement than an interest in a high performance electric car.

The first week we had it, we took it tent camping at a state park...
 

tga

Supporting Member
Apr 8, 2014
3,873
2,678
New Hampshire
To my knowledge, the only option would be to search the forums (both here and at TM) for the VIN number and PM the person. Otherwise, Tesla won't disclose any of the car's history, even after you purchase the car (and they won't help you track down the prior owner to ask them, as Tesla shouldn't).

My wife and I bought a CPO car 2 months ago.
You both bought CPO's. I'm assuming Tesla handled both of your registrations, so you never saw the previous title? I bought a Porsche CPO from an out of state dealer (so they couldn't do the registration for me). They sent me the prior owner's title, which she had signed over to the dealer, and the dealer signed over to me. It wasn't hard to research her on Google (just curiosity; I ever used the info).

If Tesla doesn't register the vehicle for you, I'd expect you'd get the prior owner's title. I can't image them going to go through the hassle (or time delay) of re-titling in Tesla's name.

I would also take steps to make sure you are not very happy after making such a call. :)
Anger issues much? :rolleyes:
 

Cyclone

Cyclonic Member ((.oO))
Jan 12, 2015
5,057
1,141
Charlotte, NC
You both bought CPO's. I'm assuming Tesla handled both of your registrations, so you never saw the previous title? I bought a Porsche CPO from an out of state dealer (so they couldn't do the registration for me). They sent me the prior owner's title, which she had signed over to the dealer, and the dealer signed over to me. It wasn't hard to research her on Google (just curiosity; I ever used the info).

If Tesla doesn't register the vehicle for you, I'd expect you'd get the prior owner's title. I can't image them going to go through the hassle (or time delay) of re-titling in Tesla's name.

Yes, Tesla handled my NC registration (I bought the car in VA).
 

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