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Questions on contract and install mishaps

Discussion in 'Tesla Energy' started by schrodarkian, Dec 12, 2019.

  1. schrodarkian

    schrodarkian Member

    Dec 8, 2018

    Just had my new 7.56 kW system with 2 Powerwalls installed in Central California. The process actually went pretty quickly all things considered. I intended to go with a certified installer but they were so disorganized they missed 2 home inspection meetings in a row... and this before I paid them a dime. Then Tesla offered the California power outage discount, and they had BY FAR the best fully-installed prices on 2 Powerwalls. I signed the contract right off the Website on 11/1 and they installed on 12/9 - 12/10. So far, I absolutely LOVE the technology. Already have a couple Teslas (older Model S and a 2018 Model 3), so familiar enough with the app, but the solar and battery aspect takes it to the next level.

    Two major hiccups though:

    1) As I mentioned, I signed the contract right off the Website. Everything seemed to move right along until my rep handling my project went on vacation. I then received a NEW contract in my Tesla account that was for over a thousand dollars more. A few schedulers called to arrange scheduling, and when I asked what the new contract was all about, since we already had both signed, no one could tell me why. When my rep came back, he wasn't sure either. They tried to initially push me to sign it, saying the pricing wasn't correct on the Website, or they forgot to include tax, etc. (even though the original contract clearly stated tax included). At that point I was so fed up with shopping for solar I started researching transfer switches and generators. Finally I just said, we signed a contract, so honor that, or see ya. At that point they agreed to honor the original contract. After that experience it made it a lot tougher to recommend them to, say, my grandmother, or anyone I actually care about. I expected that bait and switch nonsense from local Joe Schmoe Solar Co., but not Tesla.

    2) When the installers showed up, they realized that the site planner had mis-measured my roof and instead of accommodating all the panels, four of them would need to be moved to the north side of the roof as other locations were unsuitable due to shading. Per their own engineering team, this would reduce output by about 10%. This jibed with my own numbers. So essentially I went from a 7.56 kW system to about a 6.8 kW system. I could have sent them all packing, I suppose, but they'd already starting installing the Powerwalls in my garage and made other alterations to the house that would then have to be corrected.

    All in all, I would say I love Tesla's mission and technology, but their communication and internal organization seem to still need work. I've had hit and miss experiences with the cars as well, but they generally made things right. Sometimes it took awhile, but eventually they got it right. The only thing I've spent more money on in the last decade than Tesla junk is my house, after all, so I sure hope they get their disorganization and communication straightened out.

    So, question: have either of these issues happened to anyone else, and how did it get resolved? My inspection is scheduled for next week and the final payment will be due. I realize that I received the same number of solar panels, but on a price/watt basis, I got 10% less than I originally signed up for.

    Appreciate any shared experiences and/or advice.

  2. Az_Rael

    Az_Rael Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2016
    Palmdale, CA
    Not exact same issues, but similar. They came out and installed the wrong panels on my house. We bought the Panasonic black/black panels for looks and they showed up with the white lines ones (we had been "upgraded"). Complained to my sales rep and they scheduled another date to have all my panels pulled off and the correct panels installed. Good times.

    BTW, after the sale service is pretty terrible too. It took 4 months to get an install problem resolved for my system, the majority of that time with me arguing with the first line customer service that yes, I DO have a problem. Pro tip: they have an engineering review escalation option. Those folks are much more helpful. Once I made into their queue someone was at my house fixing my panels in a week.

    I would be concerned about your inspection if what they installed doesn't match the plans on the permit.
  3. charlesj

    charlesj Member

    Oct 22, 2019
    Monterey, CA
    Central Cal? Where? I signed purchase agreement on 28 Oct for 2 PWs and still waiting for the design team.

    What kind of butter did you use? ;) :D

    Mine is not working.
  4. JayClark

    JayClark Member

    Aug 6, 2019
    Roughly matches my experience. The price went up before final/final financing and contracts were all signed due to a larger whole house circuit breaker panel being needed, even though the one I had was clearly understood, documented, with photos submitted via numerous requests early on. But I wanted the system, so I paid for the larger very expensive (too expensive) upgraded breaker box.

    All the way through to the actual installation, work progressed well, but then about 3 weeks after my system PTO the inverter (solar edge) went out, and communication and resolution with Tesla support was absolutely horrible. I had zero solar at that point, and empty Powerwalls (since they can only charge from the solar). At one point I was told my 3 week operational system could be out for as many as several months, but Tesla support couldn't actually clarify for me any details of when or if they'd even fix it. Daily calls to Tesla, and emails, for weeks never resulted in any apparent progress or meaningful communication from Tesla. Half the time it's was as if I was calling for the first time. In the end it took 3 weeks before Tesla replaced the faulty inverter that only functioned for 3 weeks up until that point. When the resolution finally came it was kind of sudden and without any real warning. Glad to have it fixed, but communication was terrible right up until it was actually fixed.

    I have to say, given the size of my investment in this system (4.1k solar 4 PWs) I was thoroughly shocked at how careless Tesla support was with handling my situation. I'm a program/project manager in my day job and have worked with many, possibly hundreds of vendors over the last 25 years, and have been both the customer and the vendor, this is what I do every day and I've never seen anything run as badly as Tesla does literally everything related to customer support and service "Post Sale". I very pro-actively managed the situation like I would any other, but it was like actively managing a brick wall with this company - only resulting in bruises on my forehead.

    Now, having said all that, and with a couple months distance from that situation, I have to say I'd still do it all again even if I knew in advance I might have that inverter issue, just because there is no comparable overall solution for the price, or really even without considering price as just in terms of functionality, as far as I can tell. So I do have a little bit of an early adopter perspective assuming things will get better as more options appear and as all these companies begin to compete more (hopefully?!?) on the customer service side of the equation. And I did go into this already aware of Tesla's bad customer service and slow resolution/response reputation - so I went in with eyes wide open knowing I'd probably run into this type of bad service. But It doesn't mean we shouldn't actively "expect" Tesla to get better about this stuff.

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