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Mixed feelings...My very long and detailed experience purchasing an inventory car.

Discussion in 'Model S: Ordering, Production, Delivery' started by Moparposterchild, Apr 14, 2014.

  1. Moparposterchild

    Joined:
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    Let me preface this all by saying I have been lurking around here and the other Tesla forum for over a year, bought stock in the company, and believe in Elons vision for this company and his endeavors. Buying this car was not an impulse decision. I thought long and hard about this and decided I want to experience what Tesla is all about, which is creating the new "norm". I am also an avid auto enthusiast, car collector, customizer, and business person. My only reasons for posting this is to help other people know what to expect of the process and because I read that Tesla watches these forums and they are proactive about trying to improve the customer experience. I believe they may be able to fine tune a few things based on my experience and hopefully make them better for future customers. I want to stress that this post is not to slam Tesla in any way. Just a form of constructive criticism based on my singular experience.


    I like many others am attracted to the idea of purchasing an inventory car based on several factors. The discount, the lack of having to wait for the car to be built and also still qualifying for the incentives.

    I must say that I can't remember being this excited about a purchase in a very long time.



    Below outlines my detailed experience thus far buying an inventory car. The names of the employees have been changed to protect their identity as I am not here to slam anyone or make their lives difficult in any way. Just sharing my experience.


    March 23: I call Tesla in Santa Monica to inquire about inventory cars and how the buying process works. I get a sales associate on the phone (we will call him “Andy”). Andy is friendly and he explains to me the process of buying an inventory car and asks me when I could take delivery. I tell him April 10th. He says that once we find a car I like I should to put down a $2500 deposit to take the car off the market so no one else can buy it, but he does mention that the deposit will be non-refundable because of expenses related to shipping the car if necessary and other expenses incurred refurbishing it for purchase. After speaking to him for a bit and researching P85 inventory cars he found two cars closely meeting my criteria and emailed me their build sheets. One was local and had basically all I wanted but the interior color wasn’t my favorite and it had the silver 21” wheels instead of the grey . I wanted to think about it and get my finances in order, so I slept on it.


    March 24: I email “Andy" and ask if there are any P85+ cars available with the options I want. He emails and says there are two cars, red and black, but they weren't colors I wanted so he didn’t mention them. We exchange a few emails with him answering a couple of general questions I have.


    March 25: I email “Andy" to verify the local blue P85 is still available. I have decided I want to put a deposit down on that car. He emails me back and says the local blue P85 sold! Bummer!! (these cars are going fast) I email him back to let him know my finances are in order and I’m ready to buy if we find the right car. “Andy" looks up more inventory cars for me to consider and emails me three different cars. I’m not sure why they weren’t mentioned when we first looked before but here they are, and there are two I’m interested in, a Black P85+ with a steep discount and another Blue P85 but with the 19” wheels (I want 21’s). All of the cars we are now looking at are out of state and must be shipped for $1500. I email him and ask where the Black P85+ is located. No response from him for the rest of the day.


    March 26th: “Andy” responds to my previous email and says both cars are in Florida and mentions that there is a Black one that is now available in San Diego. In the mean time, I have a friend who is shopping around along with my dad for inventory cars and they’re sharing their info with me. For some reason they get completely different list of cars available through the Topanga location. Why the people at Santa Monica never mentioned these cars is a mystery to me. I would assume they’re all searching the same inventory across the country. In the list of cars from Topanga is a Blue P85 with grey 21” wheels which is one of the combos I would like, but by this time I have decided to go for the deeply discounted Black P85+ since its such a good deal. I have called Tesla in Santa Monica many times to get “Andy” on the phone to put the deposit down but he never returns my call. Finally I call again and by chance the manager answers the phone. I explain I’ve called several times for “Andy" to put a deposit down on a car that we discussed and I’m not getting a response, and because one car I wanted had already sold I’d like to get this done ASAP. He jokingly remarks of how strange it must be for me to have such a hard time trying to get someone to take my money. I agree with him. He tells me that “Andy" has left the office for the rest of the day, but he will call “Andy" and ask him to call me back and help me secure a car today and if I don’t hear back from “Andy" soon, the manager himself will take over my account personally and help me out. I feel optimistic now and wait until the evening for a call. No call comes in from either “Andy” or the manager. Wow. I email “Andy” one last time to tell him I have been trying to reach him all day. I wait an hour but he doesn't respond. That is the last contact I ever had with “Andy".
    I call the store again and get a new sales associate on the phone. We will call him “Ralph". I explain my situation to him and tell him I want to put down a deposit on the Black P85+ “Andy" sent to me. “Ralph” tells me that the Black car has now also sold. I am bummed again. I ask him to search for what cars are now currently available. “Ralph" emails me back with five options for cars again, none of which included the cars that were found by the Topanga store. I ask about the Blue P85 found by the Topanga store and “Ralph" says he doesn’t see it in his computer, but I give him the VIN number and somehow now he is able to see it. I just don’t understand why or how this is possible, but I tell him that I want to put the deposit on that Blue P85 right now. I give him my CC# and he stresses to me that the deposit is non-refundable because they take it off the market and now have to ship it from Florida to California for me. I tell him I understand and assure him I will be buying the car. He asks for a delivery date to enter and I tell him April 10th. All is good. He emails me the intent to purchase agreement to sign, scan and return.


    March 27: I send the documents back to him and inform him that though my funds are already in place I’m now shopping around and looking at loans because of reading about the low rates you guys are getting here on the forums. He recommends that I apply through Tesla to qualify for the buy back guarantee. I have read about how difficult the "approved" banks can be with some people, but I figure I have nothing to lose and apply.


    March 28: I’ve never taken a loan out on a car before and that didn’t go over well with the Tesla approved banks. No big deal. I already had everything in order to buy the car anyways but I thought I would try for the buy back just to see. “Ralph” and I exchange a few emails about the titanium shield and my delivery date. I ask him to move it up a day to April 9th so I can pick it up on my way home from the airport. He responds and says he put in a request for the shield to be installed and informed their delivery department about the April 9th date for delivery.


    March 29: Nothing to note.


    March 30: I’m in D.C. with my dad on a day off and we decide to stop by Tesla’s location there. I call “Ralph" to check on the shipping status of my car and he offers to call Tesla in D.C. and arranges a test drive of a 60kw for my dad. He says he will “ping” my car to see where it’s at and call me back.


    March 31: Nothing.


    April 1: I get a text from “Ralph" saying final paperwork is done and will go out to me today. He says he will touch base with me the next morning to finalize everything. Six hours later he texts me saying there are “transportation issues with your car” and he will know more in the morning. WHAT??? I keep calm and decide to wait and see what he says the next day intend of blow his phone up with questions.


    April 2: I text him and ask for an update and he says he’s waiting to hear back from someone and that he had called about it that morning. After some thinking I text him and say “if I were making assumptions, I would assume the car has not yet shipped because for some reason no one knew for sure that I was really going to buy the car, so if I’m correct then the question would be how soon can they get it on a truck and when will it actually arrive. Does that sound about right” to which he replied “yup”. I express my disappointment to him and point out to him that from day one I told them i had the money to buy the car and we also discussed the timing of delivery from the very beginning and it was never said to be an issue. I also reminded him of the many times that both he and the first sales associate stressed to me that my deposit was non-refundable because the car is taken off the market and shipped and that seems to be their justification for not refunding deposits, but none of this has appeared to have happened… So why didn’t the car ship??? And why are we having to wait for an update?? Why does it appear that no one knows anything about the status of my car? At one point we talk on the phone and he says it’s looking like delivery will be the 15th or 16th. He implies they are waiting for a spot to open up on one of their trucks that is heading back to the west coast. I’m baffled. I figure for the $1500 they’re charging me to ship the car they can hire a company (or I could for that matter) to ship it so it could get there in time to make the original delivery date. I also point out to him that I’m also being charged the original shipping fee they charged to deliver the car to Florida on top of the $1500 fee to deliver it back to California, so for all that expense I don’t see how there is no way to resolve this and make the date. He’s waiting for a firm date from someone and doesn’t get an answer that day.


    April 3: I text him to confirm receipt of the final documents and I request to be notified of exactly when my car is leaving Florida. No response. Later I call him and he very vaguely said in so many words that someone in Florida messed up something and thats why the car is delayed. No real answer as to what is actually going on or how things were messed up. Later the Santa Monica manager calls me to apologize for the problems and he wants to make sure my expectations are met from this point forward. I ask him directly what happened and caused the delay. I mention that “Ralph" said it was someone in Florida’s mistake. The manager never addresses my question about what exactly happened to cause this delay but takes responsibility and says that it was their mistake, not anyone in Florida. He texts me later and tells me that “Ralph" is backed by the entire team at Tesla trying to make sure I’m happy. I tell him if they really want to make me happy they can refund me some of the shipping expense since I’m paying for the original delivery to FL and also back to CA and it’s going to be late. No response.


    April 4: “Ralph” texts me and tells me my car will definitely be ready after the 14th and that it will all be worth the wait and thanks for my patience. He still didn’t answer my question about exactly when the car is leaving Florida and didn’t give me a firm date. I ask him to make sure the titanium shield will be installed, alignment will be checked, and 5.9 installed prior to delivery. I also ask if there will be an additional deduction if any additional mileage is put on the car. He says “yes".


    April 5: I text him and ask if we are on track for delivery on the 15th, to which he replies that the manager will be taking over from here and he will call me tomorrow with the latest info. That is the last contact I have with “Ralph". I text the manager and ask him to confirm the delivery date and he says they are finalizing it and I will get a call from the Service Center. I get a call from the SC and the appointment is set for the 15th.


    I would like to say that every person I spoke to was very polite and courteous when we were on the phone. Again, I want to stress that this post is not to slam Tesla in any way. Just a for of constructive criticism.


    In a nut shell my concerns are the following:



    1. I was passed around to three different people to finally get this deal done.
    2. There were moments of prompt communication and sometimes there was a serious lack of communication, sometimes with no responses at all.
    3. One guy blames Tesla in Florida for the shipping delay and another guy said it was their own fault here in CA, but no one will tell me exactly what happened and why my car couldn't be delivered on the original date we set. I don’t like the vibe of secrecy and dishonesty this represents. I prefer a direct and honest answer, even if it’s not the one I would like to hear.
    4. The delivery date has been pushed back by a week which is disappointing because I only have a short amount if time to enjoy the car before I leave for work again for over a month. The timing of the deal was important to me so I could have at least a couple of weeks getting to know the car and enjoy it.
    5. I received conflicting information from three different people at Tesla regarding my deposit and the shipping process. I have an issue with them charging me for the original delivery fees to Florida and then also charging me $1500 to ship it to CA and now it’s going to be late. For $1,500 I could have hired my own company to ship it from Florida and could have gotten it here by the 9th. They wouldn’t let me do that. Also, the original shipping expense to FL had been covered by the deposit of the person who originally ordered the car, or if it was originally built to be a loaner car and not a customer’s order I would imagine shipping the car to a showroom is a cost of doing business. I'm not sure why I should have to pay for both.
    6. I received conflicting information regarding what cars were actually available for sale. There was one list from the Santa Monica location and I was sent a completely different list of cars that were found through the Topanga store by someone else, and one of those cars I am actually now buying. If someone didn’t get me that info from Topanga I may not be buying a car right now at all. My advise to you is to call multiple locations and ask what they see for inventory across the country so you know you’re getting the full story. It seems they prefer you deal with the first person you speak with, but if you don’t call around you may miss out on some potential cars you may prefer to buy.
    7. An additional 100 miles was put on my car after I put the deposit down. I’m glad they deducted an additional $100 for the miles, but it’s contrary to what they told me about the car coming off the market once the deposit is applied.
    8. After getting passed around and several conflicting stories from different employees, no one wanting to own up to their mistake, and literally having to track someone down to get them to take my money for the deposit, the experience hasn't been an exceptional one I expected and is somewhat reminiscent of the typical dealership type of experience they are trying so hard to avoid.




    In the end I am very happy to have the opportunity to buy an inventory car and I'm certainly looking forward to being a Tesla owner. I hope the company continues to improve it's customer's experience. They certainly seem to be striving to be the best at everything.
     
  2. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    1. Getting shuffled between people sucks.
    2. Inconsistant communication is kind of a standard with Tesla.
    3. No one should ever blame anyone else. I'd suggest that this happened because a long term Tesla employee has been around for a year due to the rapid growth.
    4. Internal Tesla communications is no better than external. Sometimes trying hard just isn't enough. Everyone is hoping they improve.
    5. That's worth an email to someone higher up. It used to be George Blankenship but I'm not sure who's taken his place after he retired.
    6. Internal communications again.
    7. My guess here is that the car was actually out on loan and the miles were when the car went out.
    8. FWIW, my purchase experience was better, but I didn't get an inventory car.

    Most folks find that once they get the car, they forget about the pain of purchasing (assuming they had any).
     
  3. AmpedRealtor

    AmpedRealtor Active Member

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    I hear a lot about the lack of communication from Tesla. What is it about Tesla's organizational structure that makes for bad communication?
     
  4. Krugerrand

    Krugerrand Active Member

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    Staff shortages.
    Not enough hours in the day/week/month to train new staff.
    Not enough experienced people to do the training.
    Trying to do almost everything differently than the rest of the industry, which means everybody ever hired from the industry is as inexperienced as everyone who've never been in the industry before.
    Rapid changes (and expansion) within the company and across the globe, seemingly sometimes from one day to the next.
    Regular new hires at the top of the food chain - the people who carry out the orders and are to make sure things are done right.

    I can go on.
     
  5. apvbguy

    apvbguy Banned

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    poor training and lack of professionalism.
    to me it seems as if many people at tesla, especially in the delivery services, are young and probably working their 1st real jobs
     
  6. JayNT

    JayNT Member

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    It's been a year since I've been following this and other forums and the lack of decent, on target communication continues unabated. I know they're trying and I know they're sorry but with my situation a few months back I asked pointedly, "At what point do you guys stop apologizing and actually do something?"
    I hope your car brings you many years of joy and that this aggravation is just a blip on what should be a most enjoyable experience.
     
  7. Ssssly

    Ssssly Member

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    Tesla certainly can improve the process and you've provided clear points in the process for them.

    That noted, my personal experiences with the traditional buying process is way worse than you experienced.

    Enjoy your pickup tomorrow and I hope it overrides your procurement experience.
     
  8. AlMc

    AlMc 'Senior Moments' member

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    The basic problems have been delineated: Rapid growth with the best entry people being pushed up the corporate ladder quickly leaving many entry level people (who may be good, but hit or miss) being the most likely ones to get on the phone.

    I had a good experience (standard order/not a loaner purchase) and developed a nice business relationship with my inside DS. She was great, even trouble shooting some questions that were not in her job description. I call back two months later about a second order I will be placing and she has been moved into a higher level job...no longer a DS.
     
  9. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    #9 dsm363, Apr 14, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2014
    Mixed feelings...My very long and detailed experience purchasing an inventory...

    They all seem motivated though regardless of their inexperience. I have yet to run across anyone who gives off an 'I don't care' vibe or attitude. That doesn't mean there aren't examples or people who fall short of the ideal but certainly a better experience than a traditional dealership.
     
  10. Shumdit

    Shumdit Member

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    Not to take Tesla's side here, but if it would not bore you to death I could tell you stories about other car buying experiences that would make this seem utopian by comparison. Tesla should strive to improve the process for inventory car purchases admittedly, but I think I cut them slack because they are still an infant in the scheme of things and they make a damn amazing product.
     
  11. RiverBrick

    RiverBrick Active Member

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    Early in a fiscal quarter there's probably less choice of inventory cars, and less hurrying by Tesla to get them delivered.
     
  12. Pate

    Pate Member

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    Same here. Usually it is unbelievably difficult to get a car dealer to accept my money. They basically never call/email back.

    My two good experiences are:
    1. The purchase of my Hyundai Coupe (Tiburon in USA) back in 2004. I had seen the same sales person working in a computer shop just 6 months prior, so he was obviously new to the car dealer business. He did everything the way one would wish all car dealers operated.

    2. My current Tesla purchase experience (from a local dealer, not from Tesla itself) has so far been very good, no complaints.
     
  13. DaveT

    DaveT Searcher of green pastures

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    @moparposterchild

    I've had extensive experience shopping for an inventory car and have sat down with sales reps to view the software they're using to pull up inventory cars on multiple occasions. The software makes it really difficult to pull up the best deals for inventory cars and it appears buggy as well. A sales rep can filter using some conditions but it doesn't work that well, is slow, and the sales rep still needs to go into each car's details to figure out the list of options and colors. And the car detail page is really difficult to read as well.

    To say the least, searching for inventory cars takes a sales rep a lot of time and it's a hit-or-miss process. This is why you got a different list of cars from different locations. Also, you were shopping near the end of Q1 which is a very busy time for the entire company.

    Anyway, I know this doesn't explain everything but hopefully it sheds light on the differing list of inventory cars you received.
     
  14. mkjayakumar

    mkjayakumar Active Member

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    They use SalesForce.com cloud service.
     
  15. DavidM

    DavidM P2624, Delivered

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    Why don't you just order the exact car you want and wait 2 to 3 months for delivery? Many of us placed a deposit and waited 2 years or more. So 2 to 3 months seems like "next week". The "inventory" cars, as I understand them are loaners and demos, which might only be a couple of months old, but they may have been driven hard in that short amount of time. Apparently there are a LOT of people who don't want to wait 2 - 3 months, and are making deals on the loaners and demos, so it doesn't surprise me if the status changes multiple times a day.
     
  16. Al Sherman

    Al Sherman It's about THIS car.

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    Yes. The thread of nightmare car buying experiences would be so long it would set a record. No excuses. However, the comparison for me is NO comparison. I had never had a car buying experience that wasn't horrible at the least. Until Tesla.
     
  17. Moparposterchild

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    My work schedule doesn't allow for something like that. It's very likely that if I ordered a car it would be ready for delivery on a date where I am on the other side of the planet. Also, after buying lots of luxury cars over the years and watching them depreciate rapidly in the first two to three years of ownership, I decided that the smart thing for me to do would be to buy cars that have a minimal amount of miles on them but have already taken some of that depreciation hit. This car has 1,500 miles on it. The inventory car program seems like a no brainer to me. It's the only way to get any kind of discount on a car that's still coming direct from Tesla and not the after market, I'm the first registered owner, and I still qualify for the tax incentives, and I get to take delivery of it today while I'm home and not traveling. There was a Black P85+ that had 6,600 miles and was discounted almost $17k!! My discount was much less than that but still a nice discount that helps to overlook some small issues if there are any. Wheres the down side? People driving it hard? I don't baby my cars when I drive them. I bought the P so I can enjoy the performance!
     
  18. zwede

    zwede 2013 P85+

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    I bought an inventory car back in January. My experience was just about flawless, luck of the draw I guess. I only dealt with one sales rep and the process was very smooth. Some slight lack of communication at times and a couple of emails that disappeared, but still minor stuff.

    Once you have the car these bumps in the road will be forgotten. It's the first car I've had in a long time that I look forward to driving everyday. And I've always had cars that would be considered "special", '12 Boss 302, '05 BMW M3 etc. None of them gave the satisfaction my P85+ gives.
     
  19. strider

    strider Active Member

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    I think this is out of date - They have used SFDC for inventory but I was told a few weeks ago that there were limitations in using SFDC for inventory and build tracking and so they were building their own software (or maybe a custom front-end to SFDC data?). So like Dave T said it's quite likely they are still building the software and are working the kinks out as they go.
     
  20. DaveT

    DaveT Searcher of green pastures

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    A few weeks ago I sat down with a sales rep to search through inventory and he pulled up what looked like a salesforce.con client. Very clunky and buggy.

    They really just need to write a slick front-end to the data, make it easily searchable, and show the exact options and discount clearly.
     

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