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Solar Roof, big price increase

jimm01

Member
Apr 29, 2021
145
108
Devonshire NJ
Not a lawyer, but in addition to the reliance damages, there is something called Expectation Damages which is based on the principle that once a contract is signed, if a party breaches, it needs to compensate the other party such that they are in the same place they were had the contract been completed. However, this would likely be cash. More directly to your question, Specific Performance exists as a remedy that could allow a court to force Tesla to complete the contract. It seems as if the attorney is suggesting this remedy given his reference to the "very unique product" and that they need to "perform as they promised and agreed." You raise a very valid point about why some may not want Tesla to complete the work, and that kind of concern is why specific performance is an unlikely remedy. The only other thing I could see would be the possibility of punitive damages if they "violated consumer protection acts" as the lawsuit claims.

I am not suggesting any of these arguments are necessarily likely to succeed, just that they exist, and I would assume the attorney will at this stage be putting forward all possible arguments with the hopes of improving their chances for a favorable settlement or judgement. And, as to the point raised above, some of these arguments may also be intended to help invalidate the arbitration clause, which will be necessary to allow most of these potential plaintiffs to proceed. Otherwise, the contract calls for binding, individual arbitration.
Not familiar with Expectation Damages in construction contracts, but I guess they are form of direct damages? However, I have heard of consequential damages, which could consist of lost opportunity or profits, or a damaged reputation. I don't know how these would apply to a homeowner, but what if a contractor was building a home and was hit with this price escalation? I know the burden of proof is high and must be proven to both proximal and foreseeable, (so most likely these damages my not be proven let alone pursued). By would the existence of being able to pursue indirect damages mean the law provides more protection for business to business relationships than business to homeowner? As it seems almost impossible for a homeowner to make such a claim unless work has already begun.

Finally, isn't there anything else that could apply here like: I promised to paint your fence but used incompetence or subterfuge to renege; is this where expectation damages would apply? If that’s the case what is the remedy and how would one be made whole?
 

rspray2000

Member
Apr 12, 2021
37
34
MA
Not familiar with Expectation Damages in construction contracts, but I guess they are form of direct damages? However, I have heard of consequential damages, which could consist of lost opportunity or profits, or a damaged reputation. I don't know how these would apply to a homeowner, but what if a contractor was building a home and was hit with this price escalation? I know the burden of proof is high and must be proven to both proximal and foreseeable, (so most likely these damages my not be proven let alone pursued). By would the existence of being able to pursue indirect damages mean the law provides more protection for business to business relationships than business to homeowner? As it seems almost impossible for a homeowner to make such a claim unless work has already begun.

Finally, isn't there anything else that could apply here like: I promised to paint your fence but used incompetence or subterfuge to renege; is this where expectation damages would apply? If that’s the case what is the remedy and how would one be made whole?
Not a lawyer here. In terms of lost opportunities/profits, I’ve missed out on a year of solar generation which for me would have been $2500+.
 

rspray2000

Member
Apr 12, 2021
37
34
MA
I just cancelled after giving the rep I spoke with one more chance. He said they aren’t allowed to escalate pricing disputes any more. Good riddance. I guess I’ll update my SEIA, FTC and state AG office complaints.
Tesla responded to the Massachusetts Attorney General's office (AGO) yesterday, after I'd cancelled last Tuesday. I learned this because I updated the AGO today and they forwarded me the letter. My recommendation is that for anyone can afford to wait it out and think it's worth the fight, it doesn't appear they have any 'trick up their sleeve' beyond the contract language we've been discussing. They claim that roof complexity changed and they cite section 2. about 'unforeseen conditions at the installation location'. Problem is they inspected mine a year ago before the agreement and nothing has changed since. They wrote the letter after I'd cancelled, so they could say it was closed on their end, but the 30-day response window the AGO typically gives had not closed. They did thank me (via the AGO, of course) for my understanding, so I guess that's something.
 

holeydonut

Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
1,487
873
East Bay NorCal
Tesla responded to the Massachusetts Attorney General's office (AGO) yesterday, after I'd cancelled last Tuesday. I learned this because I updated the AGO today and they forwarded me the letter. My recommendation is that for anyone can afford to wait it out and think it's worth the fight, it doesn't appear they have any 'trick up their sleeve' beyond the contract language we've been discussing. They claim that roof complexity changed and they cite section 2. about 'unforeseen conditions at the installation location'. Problem is they inspected mine a year ago before the agreement and nothing has changed since. They wrote the letter after I'd cancelled, so they could say it was closed on their end, but the 30-day response window the AGO typically gives had not closed. They did thank me (via the AGO, of course) for my understanding, so I guess that's something.


Keep in mind the AGO isn't really a contract resolution office. If you bring something to the AGO, they typically need to chase something that violates statute or had a negative impact to a broad swath of unsuspecting people where a fine or some other penalty can be applied.

And from a corporate standpoint, the fines imposed by an AGO are often so tiny, it's easier and cheaper to just pay the fine than it is to have done the right thing to begin with. I've only seen a handful of cases where the willful disregard for laws/rules actually resulted in personal fines or community service to the offenders. The unlucky defendants that actually get worked over usually just didn't have enough money for hi-po corporate lawyers. I doubt anyone at Tesla gives a flippin' care what an AGO thinks. It's just some paperwork and keeps lawyers employed.
 

rspray2000

Member
Apr 12, 2021
37
34
MA
I doubt anyone at Tesla gives a flippin' care what an AGO thinks.
Oh for sure - I didn't go down the AGO route expecting that it alone would solve my problem. That said, this state has a lot of emphasis on Consumer Protections (think Elizabeth Warren) and green energy. If the state wants to flex a bit, there is a chance they take this more serious.
 
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h2ofun

Active Member
Aug 11, 2020
2,429
415
auburn, ca
Keep in mind the AGO isn't really a contract resolution office. If you bring something to the AGO, they typically need to chase something that violates statute or had a negative impact to a broad swath of unsuspecting people where a fine or some other penalty can be applied.

And from a corporate standpoint, the fines imposed by an AGO are often so tiny, it's easier and cheaper to just pay the fine than it is to have done the right thing to begin with. I've only seen a handful of cases where the willful disregard for laws/rules actually resulted in personal fines or community service to the offenders. The unlucky defendants that actually get worked over usually just didn't have enough money for hi-po corporate lawyers. I doubt anyone at Tesla gives a flippin' care what an AGO thinks. It's just some paperwork and keeps lawyers employed.
I agree, Tesla worse case pays a fine. I see NO WAY they will ever do the roofs.
 

holeydonut

Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
1,487
873
East Bay NorCal
Oh for sure - I didn't go down the AGO route expecting that it alone would solve my problem. That said, this state has a lot of emphasis on Consumer Protections (think Elizabeth Warren) and green energy. If the state wants to flex a bit, there is a chance they take this more serious.


The courts like Tesla... the public likes Tesla... until that sentiment sours, Elon can take a dump on your roof and it would still be unpopular for the state to pursue anything against Tesla.

The states already fought Tesla on preserving their merchant laws around having auto sales go through an independent dealer network vs factory owned showrooms and service centers.


If someone at the States wants to flex for political purposes, they'd re-visit this ruling. Because there's a lot of notoriety to be had in asserting Tesla should comply with state merchant laws to "benefit consumers and MA businesses". Pricing trickery related to a solar shingle roof is probably much lower on a State AGO's list of priorities or political radar.
 

jimm01

Member
Apr 29, 2021
145
108
Devonshire NJ
Tesla responded to the Massachusetts Attorney General's office (AGO) yesterday, after I'd cancelled last Tuesday. I learned this because I updated the AGO today and they forwarded me the letter. My recommendation is that for anyone can afford to wait it out and think it's worth the fight, it doesn't appear they have any 'trick up their sleeve' beyond the contract language we've been discussing. They claim that roof complexity changed and they cite section 2. about 'unforeseen conditions at the installation location'. Problem is they inspected mine a year ago before the agreement and nothing has changed since. They wrote the letter after I'd cancelled, so they could say it was closed on their end, but the 30-day response window the AGO typically gives had not closed. They did thank me (via the AGO, of course) for my understanding, so I guess that's something.
I just think if this goes to court Tesla will have to provide specific details, more than just “we made significant mistakes.” This could not just prove embarrassing. GAF Energy is expected to announces a new solar roof by end of year, and this could leave Tesla with some respectable competition.
 

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
8,755
9,718
Riverside Co. CA
I just think if this goes to court Tesla will have to provide specific details, more than just “we made significant mistakes.” This could not just prove embarrassing. GAF Energy is expected to announces a new solar roof by end of year, and this could leave Tesla with some respectable competition.

Competition coming out would likely be exactly what Tesla wants, because its highly unlikely said competition would be able to deliver at Tesla's old pricing, thereby strengthening their case that "we had unforseen circumstances, look no one else can offer anything close to our old pricing either".

I certainly am not trying to say tesla did the correct thing here in the slightest, but I also dont think they are too worried about any other competition hurting them, but thats just a personal opinion.
 

willow_hiller

Active Member
Apr 3, 2019
3,151
15,015
Maryland
I certainly am not trying to say tesla did the correct thing here in the slightest, but I also dont think they are too worried about any other competition hurting them, but thats just a personal opinion.

Not to mention that the current GAF Solar Roof offering leaves a lot to be desired: GAF Energy Solar Roof

gaf_energy_me_shoot1_i62b0035_rgb-1920.jpg


It's more of a method of integrating traditional panels flush into shingles than creating panels that look like a tile roof.
 

holeydonut

Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
1,487
873
East Bay NorCal
Yeah , technically the solar is the "shingle" but it's nowhere near as complete/integrated as Tesla's.

1620777731016.png




Edit:

They say my solar panels are unattractive and cheap looking. I feel attacked.
 

SMAlset

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2017
9,049
9,777
SF Bay Area
LOL I was going to say something similar. How does GAF’s new “solar roof” look like anything other than Tesla solar panels with skirts applied?

That is not a solar roof in my opinion. Get real with your advertising GAF.
 

SMAlset

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2017
9,049
9,777
SF Bay Area
Have to wonder if with a reduced air gap on the GAF solar panels if the heat from the sun on the panels and electricity generated from them will cause overheating problems for lack of ventilation. I can still see small roof rats etc possibly still getting under there. Have to say that DecoTech web page takes on a snotty attitude to sell the product.
 

wjgjr

Active Member
May 11, 2020
1,209
947
Silver Spring, MD
Competition coming out would likely be exactly what Tesla wants, because its highly unlikely said competition would be able to deliver at Tesla's old pricing, thereby strengthening their case that "we had unforseen circumstances, look no one else can offer anything close to our old pricing either".

I certainly am not trying to say tesla did the correct thing here in the slightest, but I also dont think they are too worried about any other competition hurting them, but thats just a personal opinion.
I don't think they are particularly worried about the competition, but I do not see it affecting the litigation in any way. A competitor (who is not even on the market yet) with their own price structure isn't going to be useful to any claims Tesla or a customer might be making.

As a consumer, I do hope to see more competition - I just don't see that as really impacting the question of whether or not Tesla breached its contracts with solar roof customers.
 
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jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
8,755
9,718
Riverside Co. CA
I don't think they are particularly worried about the competition, but I do not see it affecting the litigation in any way. A competitor (who is not even on the market yet) with their own price structure isn't going to be useful to any claims Tesla or a customer might be making.

As a consumer, I do hope to see more competition - I just don't see that as really impacting the question of whether or not Tesla breached its contracts with solar roof customers.

When I said "strengthen their case" I was talking about the "court of public opinion" not actual court, but realize I was not clear.
 
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h2ofun

Active Member
Aug 11, 2020
2,429
415
auburn, ca
Update: CA Contractor State License Board got back to me, saying they have notified Tesla and asked for them to resolve the matter with me within 7 days.
I have worked with them in the past with a contractor issue. Will be interesting to watch. When I worked with the board, they had a large list of things the contractor violated her his license. So, did they give a list of violations?
 

K1Special

Member
Nov 3, 2020
14
21
Ventura, CA
If you look up their license on the CA state license board you can already see prior violations. I imagine if they got their license suspended in the biggest solar market in the US that they might rethink their strategy.
 
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VaNick

Member
Apr 13, 2021
33
12
Nova
Update: CA Contractor State License Board got back to me, saying they have notified Tesla and asked for them to resolve the matter with me within 7 days.
Same happened to me in VA, they are just sending my e-mail and forwarding Tesla's response. Tesla toes the same line about "unforeseen conditions" which they wont tell me while their reps admit it was a management decision to increase prices per sqft.

This morning I sent them a list of preparation I took, in addition to lost generation amount, and difference between the agreed upon price and 3rd party alternative. We'll see what happens...
 

holeydonut

Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
1,487
873
East Bay NorCal
If you look up their license on the CA state license board you can already see prior violations. I imagine if they got their license suspended in the biggest solar market in the US that they might rethink their strategy.

The list doesn't look too bad... but yeah if they got a lot of "departed from trade standards" 7109.A complaints it'll be interesting to see how CA responds. I wonder how many people filed complaints to the licensing board or local agencies




1620854135437.png
 

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