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Tesla never registered my car (California)

Hi there!

I’m in a bit of a labyrinth at the moment, so I’ll break it out in bullet points below. Any advice is hugely appreciated!
  • I bought a new M3 in Southern California in January.
  • I drove off with temporary plates. Tesla is supposed to register your car for you, and I was told I’d get my permanent plates, registration, and title within 2-3 weeks.
  • After 2 months, I received the permanent plates... but no title or registration or those stickers you put on the plate.
  • 3 weeks ago, I reached out to the Tesla dealership. They said they were on it.
  • I reached out again. And again. They won’t return my calls.
  • My temporary plates expired last week.
  • I decided to bite the bullet and just pay the CA DMV for “replacement” stickers/title/registration.
  • But when I tried to do so online, there was no record of my car. My car was never registered at all.
  • There doesn’t seem to be an option to address these issues through Tesla’s site or phone service (though please correct me if I’m wrong!).
  • At this point, I’m trying to get an appointment at the DMV. But I don’t have the required documents to register my car, because I never received them.
  • I could go to the Tesla dealership, I suppose, but it’s a 3-hour round trip and it feels ridiculous to have to do so.
Have y’all had any experience with this issue? I’m currently driving an unregistered car with expired plates, and I dread getting pulled over.

Thank you so much in advance for your help!
 
History repeats.
 
<< After 2 months, I received the permanent plates... but no title or registration or those stickers you put on the plate. >>

Where did the plates come from? AFAIK, plates in California are issued by DMV and are assigned to a particular vehicle. What car and what owner does DMV think the plates belong to?
 

tps5352

Active Member
Supporting Member
It appears to me that at this point you have two targets of attack (either or both of which may be "guilty;" but that may be a moot point):
  1. DMV.
  2. Tesla (Service Center).
After consideration, regardless of who is at fault I think your best target is DMV.

In your corner you have the the temporary plates, the permanent plates, and any paper that accompanied them. (Hopefully you kept the license plate mailing envelope from DMV printed with a date and your address.) Make an appointment with DMV (maybe at a small, less busy office?), bring everything (VIN; temp. & permanent plates; your photo ID; any paper evidence of purchasing the Tesla; copies of any Tesla online documents; etc.) to that meeting, and provide a concise outline of the milestones, dates, and key points (as you did above). Don't be adversarial. You are asking DMV staff for their help. Expect to (re-)apply for car registration. Expect to (re-)pay the registration fee. (You can go after a refund from Tesla later.) Be calm, keep your temper, and be polite. Do whatever they say; pay whatever they want (within reason). Emphasize that you are the victim here (probably of Tesla), and you just want to clean this mess up and register your zero-emission car appropriately and legally. (Before you leave, if you get a chance ask for written evidence that DMV never received the original registration application and the fee. If available, you can use that to battle Tesla, later.)

BTW, others may disagree, but I recommend that once the temporary permit is expired you do not drive the Tesla and do not admit to driving it with expired plates. The last thing you need is an (expensive) infraction. Use, borrow, or rent another car. DMV is riddled with unhappy employees and mind-numbing bureaucracy, but to its credit they strive to rapidly get people legally licensed and registered if given half a chance. Go in, concisely tell them you factual tale, and I predict that if you do what they say and pay what they want they will get you registered and on the road in no time.

2. Meanwhile,... WTF!, Tesla? Why no response? Covering someone's butt? If it were me I would have been be at that SC in person asking to speak to a manager. I suspect someone at Tesla messed up--at least twice (initially and then in failing to respond). But hold on--I'm being hasty. Perhaps Tesla staff did correctly file the paperwork with DMV? Who knows? Give them a chance to investigate and respond. Either way they still have something you want (and may need)--your registration fee (and Tesla repair people).

I suspect that the DMV appointment route will be quicker You have the car and the metal plates. DMV should therefore be able to rectify the problem more quickly. Once you are registered, then go back to Tesla with any evidence and get your registration fee refunded.

Good luck.
 
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tps5352

Active Member
Supporting Member
I had to file a complaint with the AG office to get the title for my Nissan Leaf. Only thing that lit a fire under their …

my guess is it’s a DMV or USPS issue, since you got your actual plates.

My permanent plates and the paper registration (with colored sticker) came in the same envelope, I believe.
 
Bought In early June 2021. Called in early July and they had done nothing. They extended my temp registration. Early august they sent me paperwork to sign (2 months after delivery of the car). It was the wrong paperwork for the wrong state. Month three and they redid the MVPA and are now sitting on it. No action that I can see. I call frequently and always reach a dead end because they will Not put you directly In contact with their “DMV” team. No title, no registration, paperweight.
 
  • I decided to bite the bullet and just pay the CA DMV for “replacement” stickers/title/registration.
  • But when I tried to do so online, there was no record of my car. My car was never registered at all.
From my experience using the DMV site, my car was only accessible about one month before the renewal registration date, otherwise was not found.

You should go to your DMV, making an appointment in advance, and show your VIN number on your phone App.
 

brkaus

Well-Known Member
Jul 8, 2014
8,507
7,141
Austin, TX
My Nissan took 9 months and a complaint to the AG office and BBB to get resolved. It was a used car, they finally ended up forging the previous owner’s signature to the best I can tell.

I know because I talked to the previous owner several times - they were very nice and provided me with the wheel lock keys.
I told them of the dig thing and they even tried to stop by and sign anything missing - but Nissan couldn’t even find the paperwork when they were there but the DMV said it was sent back missing signatures.
 
Hi there!

I’m in a bit of a labyrinth at the moment, so I’ll break it out in bullet points below. Any advice is hugely appreciated!
  • I bought a new M3 in Southern California in January.
  • I drove off with temporary plates. Tesla is supposed to register your car for you, and I was told I’d get my permanent plates, registration, and title within 2-3 weeks.
  • After 2 months, I received the permanent plates... but no title or registration or those stickers you put on the plate.
  • 3 weeks ago, I reached out to the Tesla dealership. They said they were on it.
  • I reached out again. And again. They won’t return my calls.
  • My temporary plates expired last week.
  • I decided to bite the bullet and just pay the CA DMV for “replacement” stickers/title/registration.
  • But when I tried to do so online, there was no record of my car. My car was never registered at all.
  • There doesn’t seem to be an option to address these issues through Tesla’s site or phone service (though please correct me if I’m wrong!).
  • At this point, I’m trying to get an appointment at the DMV. But I don’t have the required documents to register my car, because I never received them.
  • I could go to the Tesla dealership, I suppose, but it’s a 3-hour round trip and it feels ridiculous to have to do so.
Have y’all had any experience with this issue? I’m currently driving an unregistered car with expired plates, and I dread getting pulled over.

Thank you so much in advance for your help!
It has been over 60 days since my M 3 was delivered to me and I still didn’t receive the registration card and license plate. tried to contact Tesla several times but it looked like no department at tesla can take care of this one. One Tesla delivery guy suggested that i reach out tesla show room for help. i sent out email asking for help but no reply within 3 days. it kinda frustrated.
 
Hi there!

I’m in a bit of a labyrinth at the moment, so I’ll break it out in bullet points below. Any advice is hugely appreciated!
  • I bought a new M3 in Southern California in January.
  • I drove off with temporary plates. Tesla is supposed to register your car for you, and I was told I’d get my permanent plates, registration, and title within 2-3 weeks.
  • After 2 months, I received the permanent plates... but no title or registration or those stickers you put on the plate.
  • 3 weeks ago, I reached out to the Tesla dealership. They said they were on it.
  • I reached out again. And again. They won’t return my calls.
  • My temporary plates expired last week.
  • I decided to bite the bullet and just pay the CA DMV for “replacement” stickers/title/registration.
  • But when I tried to do so online, there was no record of my car. My car was never registered at all.
  • There doesn’t seem to be an option to address these issues through Tesla’s site or phone service (though please correct me if I’m wrong!).
  • At this point, I’m trying to get an appointment at the DMV. But I don’t have the required documents to register my car, because I never received them.
  • I could go to the Tesla dealership, I suppose, but it’s a 3-hour round trip and it feels ridiculous to have to do so.
Have y’all had any experience with this issue? I’m currently driving an unregistered car with expired plates, and I dread getting pulled over.

Thank you so much in advance for your help!
Hi!
We took delivery of our 2021 MY in October 2021. The temp plates were on the care with an expiration date the end of December 2021. Today is January 12, 2022....no plates. We just got a notice form the CA DMV stating that the vehicle registration is incomplete due to Posting Fees. I called the sales office in Rocklin, CA were we took deliver and actually spoke with someone that said there was an error in the paperwork and they would reach ut to me soon with a update. Ok, lame. I'm now driving with expired temporary plates and a vehicle reg slip that may not be vaid.
 
Hi!
We took delivery of our 2021 MY in October 2021. The temp plates were on the care with an expiration date the end of December 2021. Today is January 12, 2022....no plates. We just got a notice form the CA DMV stating that the vehicle registration is incomplete due to Posting Fees. I called the sales office in Rocklin, CA were we took deliver and actually spoke with someone that said there was an error in the paperwork and they would reach ut to me soon with a update. Ok, lame. I'm now driving with expired temporary plates and a vehicle reg slip that may not be vaid.
We are on the same boat buddy… I got my MY on Oct 2021. Until now I havent receive my permanent plates or registration. Im calling SC in Rocklin, they cannot give me any reason what is the hold up.
 

Barklikeadog

Active Member
Jul 13, 2016
2,013
2,054
PA
My Nissan took 9 months and a complaint to the AG office and BBB to get resolved. It was a used car, they finally ended up forging the previous owner’s signature to the best I can tell.

I know because I talked to the previous owner several times - they were very nice and provided me with the wheel lock keys.
I told them of the dig thing and they even tried to stop by and sign anything missing - but Nissan couldn’t even find the paperwork when they were there but the DMV said it was sent back missing signatures.

Ha. My wife previously lived in PA, then with me in another state, then we moved back to PA.
she bought a volvo back in 05, lost the title in the moves somewhere.

In 2014 I went to trade that car in, in another state. The dealer said no problem, we request titles all the time, just sign the form and PA will send us a copy.
60 days later, dealer calls me...we have a buyer for the car, have no title. PA won't send it, you need to get it.
I go to the local dmv... you can request the title, but it will only go to the address on file (an address that doesn't exist anymore)
-otherwise- you can go to the main office in harrisburg and get it... no exceptions.

and besides, your wife now has a license in another state, she needs a copy of her old PA license and
evidence of insurance when she previously lived here... (that stuff is loooong gone, shredded etc)

F that, how can this be our reality?

While I was having my truck serviced, I spoke with the title/notary at the Ford dealer.
She told me the only way around this mess is to lie. Happens all the time unfortunately.
I signed the title request for her with the current address and she notarized it verifying that she saw all the necessary documents.
Title gets sent to us, I overnight it to the dealer in the other state. They sell the car.

I held onto my previous state license for years to avoid the bureaucracy.
 

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