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San Diego Man's $58,000 Nightmare with a (Salvage Title) Tesla Model S

Discussion in 'Model S' started by RobStark, Sep 24, 2014.

  1. RobStark

    RobStark Active Member

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    SAN DIEGO -- A San Diego man bought a high-end Tesla at auction for nearly half price, but now he can't get the company to activate the car.
    Peter Rutman purchased the 2012 Model S Signature at auction in March for $50,000 then spent another $8,000 fixing it.

    He says repairing the car has been easy; dealing with Tesla has been the challenge.


    "I'm blacklisted all across the country," he said. "Nobody's allowed to help us. They're not allowed to sell us parts. They're not allowed to service the car. Nothing."


    Rutman's Model S is a salvage title car, meaning an insurance company determined the vehicle was a total loss. Salvage titles are a notoriously risky proposition, but Rutman's case appears to illustrate something unusual: no alternatives.


    "Tesla has created a situation where there is nowhere to go. They've blocked every avenue," he said.


    Unlike other automakers, Tesla has a direct-sales model. That means car buyers must deal directly with the company, not independent dealers.

    And in the case of a dispute, the buyer has virtually no alternatives, according to industry experts.


    Rutman says he needs a Tesla-certified mechanic to switch on the car's brain so it will accept a charge. But Tesla won't do it unless he signs a liability release form. The form also gives Tesla the final say on whether the car is roadworthy.


    "The document they wanted me to sign didn't indicate they were going to do any repairs to the car, or get it up and running," he said. "They can take the car. They can keep it. They can do whatever they want with it."

    http://www.sandiego6.com/news/local/San-Diego-mans-58000-nightmare-with-a-Tesla-Model-S-277017201.html
     
  2. Cosmacelf

    Cosmacelf Active Member

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    Tough. Tesla is offering to help him if he signs a document and he won't sign? Go jump in lake. I mean really...
     
  3. hcsharp

    hcsharp Active Member

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    Tesla's position sounds perfectly reasonable to me. What does he have against signing it?
     
  4. loganss

    loganss Spaceman

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    Wow. That's a lot of money to drop on a salvage car without doing the research first to make sure it can be put back on the road.

    It'd be nice if we could see a copy of the liability form. I'll refrain from jumping to conclusions about why the guy isn't signing until something like that is released.
     
  5. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

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    Based on the newspaper's and owner's comments about the terms of the form, I can't say I agree. He'd be a fool to sign something that allowed Tesla to declare the car non-roadworthy and confiscate the vehicle. And given what I heard at TMC Connect about a couple other owners dealing with similar issues, I wouldn't be surprised if the terms of that form were onerous.

    If it were a straight release of liability and that's all it was, I'd agree, but it doesn't sound like that is the case at all.
     
  6. RobStark

    RobStark Active Member

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    Tesla might crush his $58k investment without guaranteed compensation and that is kosher?

    This might be the poster boy for NADA.

    Tesla should treat him fairly.

    They gave that hustler that filed the lemon lawsuit in Wisconsin ~$30k on top of what he paid to go away.
     
  7. markb1

    markb1 Active Member

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    I'd like to see what the liability release says. Seems rather important to the story. It totally makes sense that Tesla wants to cover its butt. But does the release have any unreasonable conditions? Who knows?
     
  8. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    He bought a salvaged card, not road worthy. Not the same as a lemon lawsuit. When you consider the media's propensity for Tesla headlines just to get readership, I can't really fault Tesla for only selling parts for a road worthy vehicle & disclaiming liability.

    How many headlines have we seen where there is a two car accident, one of the vehicles is a Tesla, the other one is not ... and the other one starts on fire, but the headline reads, "Tesla accident ends in Flames!!!".
     
  9. hcsharp

    hcsharp Active Member

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    Only Tesla is qualified to determine if the car is roadworthy. The owner certainly isn't. Driving the car if it isn't safe would be a liability and create bad publicity if something happened. They're not going to confiscate it. He took a risk buying a salvaged car. Most likely Tesla will inspect it and let him know what else he needs to do to make it roadworthy.
     
  10. RobStark

    RobStark Active Member

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    He bought a salvage title car not a car with a non-repairable title.

    Dealers sell parts for salvaged cars all the time.

    Insurance companies insure salvaged cars for liability if not full coverage.

    If all totaled Teslas are deemed non-repairable then this will lower their salvage value for insurance companies which in turn will raise our insurance rates.

    Instead of people paying $50k at auction for a Tesla junk yards will pay $1500 to sell for parts or to crush and sell for scrap.

    Tesla owners have skin in this game.
     
  11. hcsharp

    hcsharp Active Member

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    Who said it was non-repairable? Tesla is asking to determine if the car is roadworthy, which seems reasonable considering nobody else is qualified to do it. In the process of making that determination, they've asked to sign a release of liability. What's unfair about that? There are other salvaged Teslas on the road. Nobody said all of them are or will be deemed non-repairable.
     
  12. RobStark

    RobStark Active Member

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    They are not guaranteeing to return the car or compensation. That is the problem.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Journalist report the one plane that crashes not the 20k that land safely.

    It will sound hollow to the buying public to respond "FUD" to every single issue that comes up.
     
  13. RobStark

    RobStark Active Member

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    And I'm simply making the observation that the tendency of the majority of Tesla fans is to call every article or news segment that is not pro-Tesla FUD. Take it or leave it.


    BTW I consider myself a huge Tesla fan.
     
  14. ggr

    ggr Roadster R80 537, SigS P85 29

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    Actually, the insurance company pretty much said that it was non-repairable. At least, not economically. Otherwise they'd have repaired it! My daughter's car, bought new for about $28k, had about $21k of repairs done to it rather than being totalled. Maybe it looks sort of repairable but the battery is damaged; that's $30-$40k right there (for an 85kW). I (obviously) don't know all the facts, but it sounds to me like the guy got taken for a ride, and not by Tesla.
     
  15. RobStark

    RobStark Active Member

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    Good grief man, I did not say you personally. I said "tesla fans."

    I did not tell others what to say or how to say it.

    I simply stated what I think is obvious: if Tesla fans(not you or anyone in particular) just respond with a generic FUD to every issue than this will turn off potential Tesla buyers. Not telling anyone what to say or how to say it.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Apparently, the guy fixed it for $8k. He just needs Tesla to turn on charging capability. Or I guess pay a hacker to do it.

    Insurance companies,many times, are simply afraid to fix a high end car particularly one with technology the adjusters don't understand.

    I used to be an adjuster back in the day. People would just total anything with an adjustable suspension for fear owners would say after repairs it was not just right and keep coming back with continuous repair bills.

    Again, car sold in CA with "salvage title" as opposed to "non-repairable" title.
     
  16. birdsaresmarter

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    #16 birdsaresmarter, Sep 24, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2014

    Actually, I apologize. I understand what you were trying to say. I usually don't post too much because I do understand that most people don't really want to hear what others think, they want to be heard. It's not like a real conversation and I know most people are just waiting to pounce on whatever anybody else says. It is really inconsequential what I think or say here anyway. I gave in to temporary boredom and I knew what was coming before it came so I was just a little irritated temporarily - at myself for posting anything. No sweat.
     
  17. EarlyAdopter

    EarlyAdopter Active Member

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    Hey Rob. You left off the rest of the article, which contains an important counter-point and justification of Tesla's actions, interestingly enough from someone in the traditional car industry:

     
  18. RobStark

    RobStark Active Member

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    I did not forget. I can't post entire articles. I posted the first few paragraphs then the link.

    All salvage cars are required to undergo inspection at the California Highway Patrol.

    And all salvage cars must have liability insurance before being driven on the road.

    It is legal in CA and I imagine most states to repair a salvage title car and put it back on the road.

    Again, this is not an issue with Mercedes, BMW, or Chevrolet.

    The owner assumed it would not be a problem with Tesla. Tesla is supposed to be superior in customer relations.

    I guess he might just have to eat it.

    But that really sucks IMO for Tesla's reputation at least in my view.

    And I am willing to wager I am not alone.
     
  19. EarlyAdopter

    EarlyAdopter Active Member

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    Help me connect the dots. How does this situation affect me, as an owner of a Tesla?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Sure it is. There's always tremendous risk in buying a salvage vehicle. The common advice on bimmerfest is to stay far, far away from salvage titled BMWs. A few examples:
    http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=524450
    http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=530254
    http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=606082
     
  20. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    This guy took a big risk to save 25% on the car and didn't do his research. I don't see the issue for buyers of new or used non-accident cars.
     

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