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Tesla changed trade-in value from $6654 to $1500 with no major event or missing info: Bait and Switch

sp34

Member
Nov 14, 2021
7
1
USA
Hi all,

My dad was offered $6654 for a trade-in on October 24th and accepted online before any deadline. The quote, and he has it saved as a PDF, listed:

"Your saved trade-in credit: $6654, Valid until October 31st, 2021."

That same day, he made the decision to purchase a Model 3 LR largely on the basis of this offer, but then did not see any credit for the trade-in related to his order on the account page. He called Tesla, and they said he would not see a credit listed on the account until closer to the delivery date. He called Tesla again prior to October 31st, confirming his intent to accept and wondering why no Tesla credit was shown. Phone rep told him she could apply it manually, and it would show up in a couple days. Later on, he scheduled a test drive on November 11th and inquired why his credit did not show. Rep said she did something to the account and told him he later could upload odometer, and he did the next day November 12th.

He asked at basically every step along the way if trade value could be changed. And reps assured him no major changes could occur, unless the odometer was majorly wrong or their was a significant (undrivable) defect with the vehicle. When I've talked to Tesla in the past, I have asked about trade-in values, and again they assured that no major price changes occur, absent something major (e.g., an unreported collision or lying about the odometer). The language that my dad agreed to when accepting:

"
I certify that the details above are accurate and that my trade-in is in good condition, drivable, free of
major cosmetic and mechanical issues and has no history of any major accidents.

I acknowledge that this is an estimated value for my trade-in, and that it can change significantly based on
market conditions and the vehicle’s final odometer reading at the time of delivery
. Tesla will provide a final
offer approximately two weeks prior to the delivery date
"

Yesterday, after uploading his odometer, which is not significantly different than when the initial quote came, Tesla's updated offer came: $1500. The particular language is:

Your valuation is complete and expires on 12/13/2021.
Trade-In Credit$1,500.00

Long story short, a drop from $6654 to $1500 when the used market for his vehicle type has *increased* in price is not a difference with respect to market conditions. There are no new "major defects" or anything of that sort. They dropped his trade-in value 78% based on no major changes in the cars history only after he put down a $250 non-refundable deposit and made commitments to install a Level-2 charger at home. This cannot be reasonably construed as a change in "market conditions", when the market has strengthened for his vehicle type. In my view, this is an abusive and predatory practice and feels very much like bait and switch. Let me also say, I have long been a fan of Tesla, have an order for a Tesla myself, and have been a long-term investor in Tesla. I'm not some crazed anti-Tesla person. However, this behavior is not acceptable. If this not rectified, this will result in two cancelled orders (one from my dad and one from myself).

Tesla has tons of brand power and has distinguished themselves in performance and in a number of ways. They don't need to resort to tactics like this.

Tl;dr My dad's trade-in value was changed from $6654 to $1500, only after he placed his order and placed a $250 fee, with no major differences.
 

jboy210

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Dec 2, 2016
6,559
4,467
Northern California
Hi all,

My dad was offered $6654 for a trade-in on October 24th and accepted online before any deadline. The quote, and he has it saved as a PDF, listed:

"Your saved trade-in credit: $6654, Valid until October 31st, 2021."

That same day, he made the decision to purchase a Model 3 LR largely on the basis of this offer, but then did not see any credit for the trade-in related to his order on the account page. He called Tesla, and they said he would not see a credit listed on the account until closer to the delivery date. He called Tesla again prior to October 31st, confirming his intent to accept and wondering why no Tesla credit was shown. Phone rep told him she could apply it manually, and it would show up in a couple days. Later on, he scheduled a test drive on November 11th and inquired why his credit did not show. Rep said she did something to the account and told him he later could upload odometer, and he did the next day November 12th.

He asked at basically every step along the way if trade value could be changed. And reps assured him no major changes could occur, unless the odometer was majorly wrong or their was a significant (undrivable) defect with the vehicle. When I've talked to Tesla in the past, I have asked about trade-in values, and again they assured that no major price changes occur, absent something major (e.g., an unreported collision or lying about the odometer). The language that my dad agreed to when accepting:

"
I certify that the details above are accurate and that my trade-in is in good condition, drivable, free of
major cosmetic and mechanical issues and has no history of any major accidents.

I acknowledge that this is an estimated value for my trade-in, and that it can change significantly based on
market conditions and the vehicle’s final odometer reading at the time of delivery
. Tesla will provide a final
offer approximately two weeks prior to the delivery date
"

Yesterday, after uploading his odometer, which is not significantly different than when the initial quote came, Tesla's updated offer came: $1500. The particular language is:

Your valuation is complete and expires on 12/13/2021.
Trade-In Credit$1,500.00

Long story short, a drop from $6654 to $1500 when the used market for his vehicle type has *increased* in price is not a difference with respect to market conditions. There are no new "major defects" or anything of that sort. They dropped his trade-in value 78% based on no major changes in the cars history only after he put down a $250 non-refundable deposit and made commitments to install a Level-2 charger at home. This cannot be reasonably construed as a change in "market conditions", when the market has strengthened for his vehicle type. In my view, this is an abusive and predatory practice and feels very much like bait and switch. Let me also say, I have long been a fan of Tesla, have an order for a Tesla myself, and have been a long-term investor in Tesla. I'm not some crazed anti-Tesla person. However, this behavior is not acceptable. If this not rectified, this will result in two cancelled orders (one from my dad and one from myself).

Tesla has tons of brand power and has distinguished themselves in performance and in a number of ways. They don't need to resort to tactics like this.

Tl;dr My dad's trade-in value was changed from $6654 to $1500, only after he placed his order and placed a $250 fee, with no major differences.
If the open market for the vehicle is strong, he should sell it CarMax or other resellers for cash. Tesla does NOT have a used car sales operation. They historically given a low price for used cars since they have to then resell them to a 3rd party.
 
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sp34

Member
Nov 14, 2021
7
1
USA
He decided to buy a Tesla largely based on the total value proposition when they gave him an estimated trade-in value. Moreover, he expected it to be reasonably stable based on the myriad of comments Tesla employees told him. He already paid the non-refundable, $250 fee, made arrangements with an electrician to install of level 2 charger at home, spent seven hours to go to the nearest Tesla dealer for a test drive, and (I believe) already applied for a car loan.

Based on the new trade-in value, he no longer wants to purchase the Tesla as it's a very different financial proposition. He is stuck to swallow all of the above monetary, time, and credit score related costs. I realize that many Tesla owners are pretty well off financially, but the costs incurred here are not insignificant to my family.

I believe most of the other sites are offering around $3000. If Tesla low-balled him from the start at $1500, that's no problem. It's transparent and he can just reject the offer. If Tesla employees had not ensured him about the trade-in value, but instead cautioned strongly that these estimates can change very significantly with no clear reason, then fine. But the representation that this was a stable offer, which is cut by 78% only after costs are incurred in furtherance of buying a Tesla absolutely reeks of immoral (if not illegal under FTC Act) bait and switch.

Anyway, he's going to try his luck talking to Tesla. I hope they'll do the morally right thing without too much prodding. We will see how it goes.
 

jboy210

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Dec 2, 2016
6,559
4,467
Northern California
If the market for his car is $3000 then I doubt Tesla will get anywhere close to the original number. They have too many costs with dealing with a used car. Tesla will likely fire whoever screwed up the trade-in quote. But the reality is, especially these days of constrained supply, car sellers have the advantage, and customers have to take it or leave it. It is all supply and demand.

A neighbor was buying a new van from a local Ford dealer. It came in and they told them wanted $10,000 over the price his quote stated. They said they had 10 similar vans on order and his order was the only one that came in. They had offers from other buyers of $15,000 over his price. My neighbor got upset and said no way was he paying $10,000 over. They said fine and sold the van to someone else.

Telsa is in just as strong a position. with the Model Y production being sold out for the next 12 months and 3's starting to get scarce. I ordered my Model X in April 2021. The Estimated Delivery Date was September and then November 2021, and is now is January 2022. But I know this will likely slip until Spring. I just hope that is Spring 2022 and not 2023.

One reason I continue to hold onto my reservation is that due to Tesla's price increases my price is $10,000 less than the current price. If your Dad ordered a while back, as in earlier this month or before, I bet he is below the current price for a new order.
 
Last edited:

rjpjnk

Active Member
Mar 12, 2021
1,221
794
NJ
Sorry to hear that they decreased the trade in offer so much, but when they say the offer is good until Oct 31st that's exactly what they mean, and not one hour longer. Too bad you weren't able to accept the offer before it expired. Sounds like it was 2x market value. I would try Carvana. But be warned, Carvana does exactly the same thing. When your 2 week offer period is up, they start over and make another offer. No guarantees.
 
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There are several fairly negative posts here. My experience with Tesla has been fairly good. You didn't seem to mention if he's talked to anyone at Tesla since that trade-in value was added to the order. It may simply be a mistake that someone there needs to resolve. Has he tried mentioning this to his sales advisor?

People aren't perfect. I bet they'll correct this with a quick phone call. That said, as others have stated, you may be able to obtain a better offer elsewhere. I've read many posts of people who were able to get Tesla to match trade-in offers from Carvana. Might be worth having a second offer just to see the difference.

I have an M3LR... best car EVER! Good luck!
 
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There are several fairly negative posts here. My experience with Tesla has been fairly good. You didn't seem to mention if he's talked to anyone at Tesla since that trade-in value was added to the order. It may simply be a mistake that someone there needs to resolve. Has he tried mentioning this to his sales advisor?

People aren't perfect. I bet they'll correct this with a quick phone call. That said, as others have stated, you may be able to obtain a better offer elsewhere. I've read many posts of people who were able to get Tesla to match trade-in offers from Carvana. Might be worth having a second offer just to see the difference.

I have an M3LR... best car EVER! Good luck!
As of last check with him, he had contacted Tesla a couple times about it, but was told someone else needed to look it over who would get back to him soon. However, he said no one got back to him yet about the trade-in value, which is beyond the timeline they promised.

The sense I get from reading various threads is that there exists a good number of people who run into some kind of issues between time of placing order and taking delivery. I'm certainly not claiming everyone runs into a big issue, but it seems to be a non-trivial risk. Personally, before I placed my order, phone rep was fantastic. Since that time, I called him about some procedural questions and sent a text to adviser, but no answer to text and phone went to voicemail box which was full.

As I've mentioned before, I am not fundamentally anti-Tesla, but I hope they invest sufficient resources to improve these segments of their business and also ensure their trade-in practices are fair. Mistakes occur, but imo a measure of a company's ethics is how they deal with the mistakes they make. If Tesla reaches out with a fair resolution, I will update the thread accordingly.
 
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The lowball offers is them telling you to take it elsewhere to be frank. On our trade in we opted to just try the local Carmax and got I kid you not $5K more than Tesla. Carmax offered us BlueBook value for the car and took 3 hours to print our check out.
Agree that lowball is fine, as long as they do it from the start. Significantly above market offer at start, followed by significantly below market offer, but only after $1500 of electrical work, $250 non-refundable deposit, a long day to drive to Tesla to test drive, and credit seeking activity is what I find to be the problem.
 

OrthoSurg

TSLA-digger
Jun 2, 2017
1,681
13,104
Montreal
Hi all,

My dad was offered $6654 for a trade-in on October 24th and accepted online before any deadline. The quote, and he has it saved as a PDF, listed:

"Your saved trade-in credit: $6654, Valid until October 31st, 2021."

That same day, he made the decision to purchase a Model 3 LR largely on the basis of this offer, but then did not see any credit for the trade-in related to his order on the account page. He called Tesla, and they said he would not see a credit listed on the account until closer to the delivery date. He called Tesla again prior to October 31st, confirming his intent to accept and wondering why no Tesla credit was shown. Phone rep told him she could apply it manually, and it would show up in a couple days. Later on, he scheduled a test drive on November 11th and inquired why his credit did not show. Rep said she did something to the account and told him he later could upload odometer, and he did the next day November 12th.

He asked at basically every step along the way if trade value could be changed. And reps assured him no major changes could occur, unless the odometer was majorly wrong or their was a significant (undrivable) defect with the vehicle. When I've talked to Tesla in the past, I have asked about trade-in values, and again they assured that no major price changes occur, absent something major (e.g., an unreported collision or lying about the odometer). The language that my dad agreed to when accepting:

"
I certify that the details above are accurate and that my trade-in is in good condition, drivable, free of
major cosmetic and mechanical issues and has no history of any major accidents.

I acknowledge that this is an estimated value for my trade-in, and that it can change significantly based on
market conditions and the vehicle’s final odometer reading at the time of delivery
. Tesla will provide a final
offer approximately two weeks prior to the delivery date
"

Yesterday, after uploading his odometer, which is not significantly different than when the initial quote came, Tesla's updated offer came: $1500. The particular language is:

Your valuation is complete and expires on 12/13/2021.
Trade-In Credit$1,500.00

Long story short, a drop from $6654 to $1500 when the used market for his vehicle type has *increased* in price is not a difference with respect to market conditions. There are no new "major defects" or anything of that sort. They dropped his trade-in value 78% based on no major changes in the cars history only after he put down a $250 non-refundable deposit and made commitments to install a Level-2 charger at home. This cannot be reasonably construed as a change in "market conditions", when the market has strengthened for his vehicle type. In my view, this is an abusive and predatory practice and feels very much like bait and switch. Let me also say, I have long been a fan of Tesla, have an order for a Tesla myself, and have been a long-term investor in Tesla. I'm not some crazed anti-Tesla person. However, this behavior is not acceptable. If this not rectified, this will result in two cancelled orders (one from my dad and one from myself).

Tesla has tons of brand power and has distinguished themselves in performance and in a number of ways. They don't need to resort to tactics like this.

Tl;dr My dad's trade-in value was changed from $6654 to $1500, only after he placed his order and placed a $250 fee, with no major differences.
Tesla offered me 2000$ for my 2010 Dodge Caravan.
I ended up selling it privately in less than 1 day on Facebook marketplace
 
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It's Tesla. Customer service is terrible.

Either
(1) cancel your orders and don't look back
(2) sell the other car to another company, and then remember that the most reliable way to get customer service from Tesla in the future is to be loud on the Internet.
Unfortunately--this.

Sell your other car outright, or to another trade in company. If you are anywhere near Nebraska, we'd recommend Dillon's.
 

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