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Replaced MCU, Tesla wants to keep part of my old MCU (need legal argument)

CuriousG

Active Member
Dec 1, 2015
1,532
1,561
Elk Grove, CA
So a few days ago my MCU goes dark due to the well known eMMC issue. At this point I am unable to charge at home or at the Supercharger so I'm at the mercy of Tesla and have my car towed from the Supercharger with 7 miles left on my battery. My warranty is over since I'm hovering around 59k miles but 1 month shy of 4yrs of ownership.

They won't cover it but when you purchase a replacement MCU they will warranty another 4yrs for that MCU. How come the initial 4yrs isn't covered then? I ask for my original MCU when I get my car back (they are currently working on it) as this will cost about $2300 total since I had to pay for towing also. They don't have a problem giving me my old part back with the exception of the "connectivity board" due to AT&T connectivity.

What good is an MCU without all the pieces? If I'm interpreting this right, they want the Tegra board that has the WiFi, Bluetooth and LTE in addition to the eMMC memory that contains the firmware albeit corrupted. My argument to them, if you don't want people to possibly use your AT&T connection, blacklist that LTE connection. I'm told they need it so that it will be destroyed. I mean it is my property, so wouldn't Tesla be stealing from me then? If they want to make the argument that someone can take advantage of free LTE, they should be able to disable it by software.

I'm already unhappy that a $15 chip can cost customers ~$2100 and I'm handcuffed to paying them at this point. First the advisor tried to make the argument the MCU can die at any time. Yeah so? Then says they've seen it go in 10yrs even at which point I corrected the advisor since Model S's have not been around that long. MCU is not a normal wear part like tires and brakes but because of how they do extensive logging, it dramatically decreases the life of the MCU.

They state it is their policy that they take the "communications board" just like they won't honor 4yr if you are out of warranty from mileage.
 
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Ostrichsak

Active Member
Sep 6, 2018
3,624
4,195
Colorado, USA
It's very simple: if they warranty it out, they can keep the replaced part. If you paid for the replacement part, however, you are now legal owner of BOTH parts... In their entirety. Tesla legally must give you the old defective parts that were replaced out-of-pocket with no exceptions. I know they want to disrupt the system but consumer laws exist for a reason & if they want to pull such shenanigans they need to get laws changed first.
 

Az_Rael

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Jan 26, 2016
5,653
8,940
Palmdale, CA
A Consumer's Guide to Automotive Repair in California

Return of Old Parts
When you sign the written estimate or work order, you can ask the shop to return to you any parts that were replaced. The shop is required by law to return the parts to you only if you ask for them before the work is done.

If the shop installs a rebuilt part, the old part is usually returned to the supplier as partial payment for the rebuilt part. This payment is called a "core" charge. If you want the old part back, you may have to pay the core charge.

If the shop must return the replaced parts to the supplier under a warranty, you will not be able to get those parts back, but you have a right to see them.
 

CuriousG

Active Member
Dec 1, 2015
1,532
1,561
Elk Grove, CA
Thanks. I just found this browsing the web.

A Consumer's Guide to Automotive Repair in California

Return of Old Parts
When you sign the written estimate or work order, you can ask the shop to return to you any parts that were replaced. The shop is required by law to return the parts to you only if you ask for them before the work is done.

If the shop installs a rebuilt part, the old part is usually returned to the supplier as partial payment for the rebuilt part. This payment is called a "core" charge. If you want the old part back, you may have to pay the core charge.

If the shop must return the replaced parts to the supplier under a warranty, you will not be able to get those parts back, but you have a right to see them.

If the shop charges for hazardous waste disposal, the technician or service writer must list the charge and its Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) number on the invoice.
 

CuriousG

Active Member
Dec 1, 2015
1,532
1,561
Elk Grove, CA
A Consumer's Guide to Automotive Repair in California

Return of Old Parts
When you sign the written estimate or work order, you can ask the shop to return to you any parts that were replaced. The shop is required by law to return the parts to you only if you ask for them before the work is done.

If the shop installs a rebuilt part, the old part is usually returned to the supplier as partial payment for the rebuilt part. This payment is called a "core" charge. If you want the old part back, you may have to pay the core charge.

If the shop must return the replaced parts to the supplier under a warranty, you will not be able to get those parts back, but you have a right to see them.
Wow I knew I should have posted first before sending that text to Tesla! :) I already had a response asking about the part so they can't deny that I didn't ask for the part.
 
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Reactions: Az_Rael

Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
9,423
8,601
Visalia, CA
...My warranty is over since I'm hovering around 59k miles but 1 month shy of 4yrs of ownership...

I wish the warranty is based on either mileage or age whichever last but It's unfortunate but that has been whichever first.

I feel bad for you but Tesla has the right to enforce this agreement as written (of course it can make a goodwill exception to make you happy if it wants to.)
 

CuriousG

Active Member
Dec 1, 2015
1,532
1,561
Elk Grove, CA
It seems they are still trying to argue this and if their text message to be believed now it appears they only want the SIM card and I don't have a problem with that. I was under the impression that they wanted the whole Tegra board.
 
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cypho

Member
Dec 20, 2018
799
987
USA
I feel bad for you but Tesla has the right to enforce this agreement as written (of course it can make a goodwill exception to make you happy if it wants to.)

I feel bad for Tesla, but the OP has the right to require that Tesla follow CA law as written. If the law says they have to give the parts back, then that is what they have to do even if it is inconvenient or contrary to Tesla's "needs" or "policy".
 

CuriousG

Active Member
Dec 1, 2015
1,532
1,561
Elk Grove, CA
I feel bad for Tesla, but the OP has the right to require that Tesla follow CA law as written. If the law says they have to give the parts back, then that is what they have to do even if it is inconvenient or contrary to Tesla's "needs" or "policy".
I'm thinking now it's a communication problem. The terminology she used was confusing so if she would have just said the SIM card, this issue would not have come up. Now they're mad that I never signed the estimate, I did one for the original troubleshooting but just browsed through the others. So they never even started working on it. In my defense, this is the first time I've brought in the car that required the signing. I looked through the e-mails and searched and none other than today I had accepted. Perhaps I was under warranty previously or if the dollar amount triggered a mandatory signature at that point. When I was finally reminded, I did it right away assuming it wasn't required previously.
 

MP3Mike

Well-Known Member
Feb 1, 2016
16,420
38,281
Oregon
I ask for my original MCU when I get my car back

In most states you have to ask them to return the parts before they start the repair to be covered by the law.
What good is an MCU without all the pieces? If I'm interpreting this right, they want the Tegra board that has the WiFi, Bluetooth and LTE in addition to the eMMC memory that contains the firmware albeit corrupted.

The communication board is separate from the Tegra module. (I think they sell it, complete with a SIM, board for ~$150. People buy the current 4G one to replace their 3G one themselves as it is plug-and-play.)

But I have never heard of them keeping the SIM before, but really you should get the whole unit back. Though they have started charging a ~$500-700 core fee for people wanting to keep them. (Of course not every service center has the same details and knows what they are doing.)
 
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CuriousG

Active Member
Dec 1, 2015
1,532
1,561
Elk Grove, CA
I am in the same boat! Learned today my MCU is bad and got the $2100 replacement quote. When I asked for my old MCU back I was told the core fee was $1000! That doesn’t seem reasonable or legal???? What are your thoughts??
Not sure what to tell you if they're charging $1k core fee now. You're basically at their mercy. And if the MCUv2 ever comes out for our cars, you would want that rather than the original MCU which is already refurbished. They made me buy another 12V battery too even though I explicitly told them my car was very low when I got my car towed there on my dime and they didn't do actual work until a few days later including letting the car sit there over the weekend. I wouldn't be so bitter if the upgrade to MCUv2 was available.
 

CuriousG

Active Member
Dec 1, 2015
1,532
1,561
Elk Grove, CA

In most states you have to ask them to return the parts before they start the repair to be covered by the law.


The communication board is separate from the Tegra module. (I think they sell it, complete with a SIM, board for ~$150. People buy the current 4G one to replace their 3G one themselves as it is plug-and-play.)

But I have never heard of them keeping the SIM before, but really you should get the whole unit back. Though they have started charging a ~$500-700 core fee for people wanting to keep them. (Of course not every service center has the same details and knows what they are doing.)
Makes me wonder if I can drop that 4G SIM card into a phone now and have it work.
 
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Michelle Bucur

New Member
Jun 1, 2017
2
0
33351
Makes me wonder if I can drop that 4G SIM card into a phone now and have it work.

OP in the end, did they give you your old part? Did you pay a core fee??

I'm on the same boat now. I signed to have a new MCU installed with a promise that I would receive my old part back as I am also out of warranty and paying for the replacement OOP. Upon pick up they wanted to charge me a $1000 core fee and I refused to pay. In the process my car was supposed to be ready at noon and at 7pm I was still waiting because my gyroscope was malfunctioning and my GPS would not recognize car was not in Palo Alto but actually it was in Florida.

Long story short, I was told I was not allowed to drive my own car away and that police were on their way to escort me out because I needed to leave in order for them to close shop.

I was able to escalate to corporate over the phone during my 8 hour wait and I received a call from a Regional manager right at 7PM "allowing" me access to my own car. I am now supposed to come back in to pay for the new part and "discuss my options" in regards to receiving my old part back.

Could I legally claim this return of old parts from CA if I am being serviced in another state??
 

Ostrichsak

Active Member
Sep 6, 2018
3,624
4,195
Colorado, USA
OP in the end, did they give you your old part? Did you pay a core fee??

I'm on the same boat now. I signed to have a new MCU installed with a promise that I would receive my old part back as I am also out of warranty and paying for the replacement OOP. Upon pick up they wanted to charge me a $1000 core fee and I refused to pay. In the process my car was supposed to be ready at noon and at 7pm I was still waiting because my gyroscope was malfunctioning and my GPS would not recognize car was not in Palo Alto but actually it was in Florida.

Long story short, I was told I was not allowed to drive my own car away and that police were on their way to escort me out because I needed to leave in order for them to close shop.

I was able to escalate to corporate over the phone during my 8 hour wait and I received a call from a Regional manager right at 7PM "allowing" me access to my own car. I am now supposed to come back in to pay for the new part and "discuss my options" in regards to receiving my old part back.

Could I legally claim this return of old parts from CA if I am being serviced in another state??
Wow... Tesla called the cops to "escort" you away?

Waiting for the Tesla apologists to come along to explain how it was for your personal safety and they went above and beyond to make sure your Tesla experience was as safe as possible.

Tesla "customer service" support is the worst.
 

Ostrichsak

Active Member
Sep 6, 2018
3,624
4,195
Colorado, USA
The law doesn't say you get the parts back for free. A core charge is very common for expensive parts.
When this conversation started there was no core charge which meant that Tesla would have been obligated to return the removed part if the customer requested it once the work was complete. Tesla has since got hip to the game and added a core charge if you want to keep your MCU.
 

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