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Tesla online used car purchase MAJOR ISSUES

domodan

Member
Jul 15, 2020
399
180
UT, United States
Appreciate your insight and I totally concur. Here’s a few pics. The rear bumper was very bad in real life...the side panel repair also bad
Man, that looks really bad. I wouldn’t want that car either. Hopefully it doesn’t ruin your desire to own one of the cars, because they are awesome cars. Just buy from someone other than Tesla if you’re going to buy used. The warranty isn’t worth hardly anything anyways.
 

random155

Member
Mar 18, 2019
876
450
NJ
Two years ago in March I had a similar situation. There were 3 or 4 cosmetic issues with the car that I was not happy with. When I decided to take the car anyway they set up repairs for some of them but not all. Overall I would say I was satisfied but NOT happy. The difference with my purchase is that they sent me pictures of the car that did not show this damage so they fixed the issues based on them not being in the pictures. I did say I dont want this car and they were just like "ok see ya later". I just cannot fathom that Tesla isnt even sending pictures upon request before someone buys a used car. Tesla is not concerned at ALL with selling used car. They actually act like its a thorn in their side, and it would look bad if they just crushed up all the trade-ins so they just do it. It's actually a disgrace. If I buy another used Tesla it will probably not be through Tesla unless I get some pictures. I hope you get your money back or get it applied to another car.
 

Greg63

Member
Jan 10, 2021
36
34
NC
Some 4 year old cars look better than others. Most of what you've shown us can be improved with a little bit of elbow grease. How much would buying this car save you over buying new? Didn't you say this one checked all your boxes? Depending on price, miles, options and the condition of the interior, I'd accept this car. A 4 year old car is going to have imperfections. Truth is, Tesla will sell this car to someone and that person will love it.

Why should Tesla refund the transportation fee? You requested them to bring the car to you and that costs money that they can't get back. I can also understand them not wanting to refund the deposit but applying it to another car would be a good compromise.

That said, Tesla service is terrible. They should have pictures of the actual cars they're selling so that the customer knows what they're paying for. Having us play Russian Roulette with $1000 or more hoping that the one we get is nice is absolutely horrible customer service.

BTW, these imperfections aren't even close to MAJOR ISSUES! If these are major issues then why are you looking at used Teslas? Mechanical and electrical are major issues, not cosmetic!
 
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2101Guy

Active Member
Jan 6, 2020
1,517
1,336
USA
I can see both sides of the equation here. The OP had his expectations set a bit high for a used car, and Tesla can do better on their end in properly setting expectations on each car. It would not cost THAT much to have a set process for each used car being sold to include:

- High Res pics of each car to include each body panel, seats, dash, center console, wheels.
- Verification of paint thickness on each panel using a paint thickness meter (lets you know if a panel was resprayed)
- Free Carfax history
-

The above arent silver bullets but could go a long way in preventing some of these cases where expectations werent met.
 

Watts_Up

Active Member
Mar 4, 2019
3,299
2,194
In a galaxy far, far away
I recently found a 2017 model S online which checked all my boxes and immediately made the move to purchase online through the Tesla website. I’ve been waiting for the right one to pop up and was super excited to get into my first Tesla (huge Elon fan).

Unfortunately, my experience with buying a certified used Tesla online was not so good. After my car was shipped to my local delivery center in SoCal (from another California facility) I was alerted by my rep that my car was ready for pick up.

Upon viewing the car, I noticed numerous areas with dings/scratches over 1 inch in length- some of which had obviously penetrated the paint. The rear bumper also looked to have been in a collision with a very large scrape on the lower portion. The right rear quarter panel also had previous paint damage which was poorly fixed and not up to Tesla standards. Ironically, the other used cars being delivered were in great shape with minor/typical wear/tear.

The on-site rep acknowledged that my car was a bit more damaged than most and said someone would get back to me since I had decided to “reject” the car.

This is the response I got from my Tesla sales rep after sending them numerous pictures of the damage, which was obviously beyond the scope of normal “wear and tear” :

“Hi, sorry for the delay in my communication, I was waiting for more information from our leadership.
I was referred to the tesla website which states:
Due Today$1,000
$500 Transport Fee and $500 Order Deposit.
Non-refundable.
By placing this order, I agree to the Model S Order Agreement, Terms of Use, and Privacy Notice.
I acknowledge wear and tear will be present on the car.
If I cancel my order, any Order Deposit and Transportation Fee paid will not be refunded.”

I’m super surprised by this based on the above circumstances and would think they would either refund the $1000 or give me the option to use the credit towards a new car etc.

What do you guys think?
This is the typical problem of What 'Caveat Emptor' where the buyer
must take on the responsibility of thoroughly inspecting a product before finalizing the sale.

Before signing a non-refundable $1,000 contract, would it be possible to look at the car,
even if you need the time to visit another sales location?

Note: A flight from LA to NY is about $500, so making a weekend driving trip to another Californian sales location
would not be that expensive, except time consuming.
 
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ucmndd

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2016
6,519
12,189
California
Before signing a non-refundable $1,000 contract, would it be possible to look at the car,
even if you need the time to visit another sales location?
No. Tesla doesn’t do this. Most of their used inventory is in storage lots inaccessible to the public. They will do precisely nothing to help facilitate a pre-purchase inspection of the car.
 

HenryT

Member
Jan 29, 2020
542
440
Manchester
Tesla could solve this by simply taking some more pictures of the cars. Not sure why that's so hard. I can see them not investing resources into refurbishment, but had they disclosed the condition via pictures, they (and potential buyers) could avoid this nonsense.

They did use to do this.
 

Watts_Up

Active Member
Mar 4, 2019
3,299
2,194
In a galaxy far, far away
No. Tesla doesn’t do this. Most of their used inventory is in storage lots inaccessible to the public.
They will do precisely nothing to help facilitate a pre-purchase inspection of the car.
This way Tesla will always charge anyway $500 for transportation, as it would be impossible knowing if the car is local or not !!!
 

ucmndd

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2016
6,519
12,189
California
This way Tesla will always charge anyway $500 for transportation, as it would be impossible knowing if the car is local or not !!!

No, they tell you where it is plain as day on their website and set transportation fees accordingly. If you look at California cars, you'll note that a whole bunch of them are in "Lathrop". This is a storage facility closed to the public - not a Tesla store or gallery. Maybe you'll find a few that are actually in stores, and you can then go try to visually inspect it on your own - but as I said above, Tesla will do precisely nothing to try and facilitate this process for you.
 

beatle

Active Member
Aug 31, 2019
1,094
551
Springfield, VA
I can see both sides of the equation here. The OP had his expectations set a bit high for a used car, and Tesla can do better on their end in properly setting expectations on each car.

But Tesla specifies what you should expect in their "Mechanical and Cosmetic Standards" section:

Cosmetic Condition
Cosmetic wear and tear is typical of a used car and does not affect the functionality of the car. Your car will exhibit cosmetic wear and tear that includes, but is not limited to, the following:

Painted Panels

  • Scratches up to 1"
  • Dents up to 0.5"
  • Rock chips
Unpainted Panels or Exterior Trim

  • Scratches up to 3"
Glass

  • Rock chips up to 1"
  • Scratches
Wheels

  • Rash up to 0.5"
Interior

  • Signs of usage on upholstery and interior panels such as markings, discoloration, small tears or stains up to 1"
  • Signs of usage on entry and exit points
Rubber Seals and Trim

  • Damage of rubber not affecting function

Looking at the OP's pictures, it looks like some of the panels have scratches in excess of the limits Tesla specifies in their standards. That's the real problem here - if Tesla fails deliver on their standards, and you call them out on it, they instead charge you $1000 and tell you to roll the dice again (with another $1000).

I think the SCs / sales departments have the screws turned down so tight on them at this point that they don't have any financial leeway / resources to cut the prospective buyer a discount for the err in the listing or to spend labor hours refurbishing, even if that just means an hour or two addressing some cosmetic issues.
 

Alysashley79

Active Member
Oct 4, 2013
1,199
513
Seattle(ish) WA
the reason that pics aren’t taken anymore is because of all the complaints people had about the quality of the pictures. So now we don’t get ANY pictures. Tesla employs Mannheim to keep the vehicles secure and transport them. (Part of their contract was pictures which they took. But keep in mind what Mannheim does. They’re an auction company/secure storing company. The pictures they take are from THAT perspective. Not from a high end Tesla perspective) Honestly I’ve been in the repo business long enough and worked with Mannheim long enough to know this the damage on that car happened either in their lot or during transport or a combo of the two. Some of it may have been from the previous owner but not all of it.

flip side of that coin moist of the damage is on plastic parts. Did you ask the service center if they’d be willing to fix the cosmetic issues on the tail lights? I know it’s not something they have to do but some of the managers are willing to do it and then they can go after Mannheim.

frankly from the pictures it looks like less than $500 in cosmetic damage that could be paint corrected easily. I know you rejected the vehicle but maybe you can show the pics to a local body shop and ask them how much it would cost to paint correct.

I’m also going to play devils advocate here (and not from a fanboy perspective) Tesla doesn’t run on a true dealership model which is I think what so many of us overlook when it comes to a used car sale. If they were to truly get into the CPO business again well then when something goes wrong on our cars we’d have a really long wait for repairs and or delivery of our new cars. it would be super nice if they’d have Mannheim handle the sale of the cars for them. It would be win win for everyone involved.

Op: since you have a local service center I’d highly recommend trying to get in touch with the service manager. There are a few crap ones but many of them will be willing to help you get this resolved.
 
Oct 10, 2019
308
151
So-Cal
Looking at your pics all the blemishes are acceptable with the exception of the bumper, that is excessive. If it was me i'd just ask for the bumper to be fixed or for a lower price on the car.
But Tesla specifies what you should expect in their "Mechanical and Cosmetic Standards"
based on these ^^ standards i'd definitely say you have a case to tell them to f**k off and fix the car though.

It does suck they don't do the CPO program anymore, i bought mine when it was still a thing, my sales person even went out and took pics of the car with his cellphone and texted them to me when i asked for them.
 

2101Guy

Active Member
Jan 6, 2020
1,517
1,336
USA
I know that front bumper covers come prepainted and are in the $650 price range new from Tesla. Not sure about cost of rear..
 

Cyborg

Member
Feb 7, 2021
10
12
Los Angeles
But Tesla specifies what you should expect in their "Mechanical and Cosmetic Standards" section:

Cosmetic Condition
Cosmetic wear and tear is typical of a used car and does not affect the functionality of the car. Your car will exhibit cosmetic wear and tear that includes, but is not limited to, the following:

Painted Panels

  • Scratches up to 1"
  • Dents up to 0.5"
  • Rock chips
Unpainted Panels or Exterior Trim

  • Scratches up to 3"
Glass

  • Rock chips up to 1"
  • Scratches
Wheels

  • Rash up to 0.5"
Interior

  • Signs of usage on upholstery and interior panels such as markings, discoloration, small tears or stains up to 1"
  • Signs of usage on entry and exit points
Rubber Seals and Trim

  • Damage of rubber not affecting function

Looking at the OP's pictures, it looks like some of the panels have scratches in excess of the limits Tesla specifies in their standards. That's the real problem here - if Tesla fails deliver on their standards, and you call them out on it, they instead charge you $1000 and tell you to roll the dice again (with another $1000).

I think the SCs / sales departments have the screws turned down so tight on them at this point that they don't have any financial leeway / resources to cut the prospective buyer a discount for the err in the listing or to spend labor hours refurbishing, even if that just means an hour or two addressing some cosmetic issues.

This is 100% correct. There are numerous scratches in excess of these limits. I didn’t even post all the pictures. There is also an area which was very poorly fixed...one of the worst patch jobs I’ve seen/felt on a used car.

This amount of damage is not acceptable in my opinion, however if they would have offered to bring the car up to the appropriate standards maybe I would have done it.

But this was not offered...it was more a “take it or leave it” situation, despite the car obviously having more damage than their documented wear and tear standards.

Still no call or response from Tesla used car management.
 
Last edited:

BigNick

Disaffected Member
Dec 3, 2017
1,143
1,386
Pennsylvania, USA
the reason that pics aren’t taken anymore is because of all the complaints people had about the quality of the pictures. So now we don’t get ANY pictures. Tesla employs Mannheim to keep the vehicles secure and transport them. (Part of their contract was pictures which they took. But keep in mind what Mannheim does. They’re an auction company/secure storing company. The pictures they take are from THAT perspective. Not from a high end Tesla perspective) Honestly I’ve been in the repo business long enough and worked with Mannheim long enough to know this the damage on that car happened either in their lot or during transport or a combo of the two. Some of it may have been from the previous owner but not all of it.

flip side of that coin moist of the damage is on plastic parts. Did you ask the service center if they’d be willing to fix the cosmetic issues on the tail lights? I know it’s not something they have to do but some of the managers are willing to do it and then they can go after Mannheim.

frankly from the pictures it looks like less than $500 in cosmetic damage that could be paint corrected easily. I know you rejected the vehicle but maybe you can show the pics to a local body shop and ask them how much it would cost to paint correct.

I’m also going to play devils advocate here (and not from a fanboy perspective) Tesla doesn’t run on a true dealership model which is I think what so many of us overlook when it comes to a used car sale. If they were to truly get into the CPO business again well then when something goes wrong on our cars we’d have a really long wait for repairs and or delivery of our new cars. it would be super nice if they’d have Mannheim handle the sale of the cars for them. It would be win win for everyone involved.

Op: since you have a local service center I’d highly recommend trying to get in touch with the service manager. There are a few crap ones but many of them will be willing to help you get this resolved.
That explains a lot, actually.

It sounds like Mannheim usually doesn't deal with cars that get sold via dealers or Tesla showrooms, but instead "units" that are sold at cut-rate prices via auctions, due to being repossessed, theft recoveries, insurance write-offs, etc. So they're not as careful with them as owners would be, and they're not handling them like a manufacturer would handle new inventory.

They want to move as many units as possible and apparently it doesn't matter to them if they get a few minor dings in the process.
 

2101Guy

Active Member
Jan 6, 2020
1,517
1,336
USA
This is 100% correct. There are numerous scratches in excess of these limits. I didn’t even post all the pictures. There is also an area which was very poorly fixed...one of the worst patch jobs I’ve seen/felt on a used car.

This amount of damage is not acceptable in my opinion, however if they would have offered to bring the car up to the appropriate standards maybe I would have done it.

But this was not offered...it was more a “take it or leave it” situation, despite the car obviously having more damage than their documented wear and tear standards.

Still no call or response from Tesla used car management.

You may wish to try emailing Tesla at [email protected]. However be advised, that some report never hearing back anything beyond an initial auto-generated generic reply
 
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beatle

Active Member
Aug 31, 2019
1,094
551
Springfield, VA
I’m also going to play devils advocate here (and not from a fanboy perspective) Tesla doesn’t run on a true dealership model which is I think what so many of us overlook when it comes to a used car sale. If they were to truly get into the CPO business again well then when something goes wrong on our cars we’d have a really long wait for repairs and or delivery of our new cars. it would be super nice if they’d have Mannheim handle the sale of the cars for them. It would be win win for everyone involved.

That's the thing, Tesla wants all the benefits of being a dealer but with none of the investment. Forget CPO, even the shady used car lots often have websites with pictures you can see, and a lot they pay for to let you browse the cars. It's okay that Tesla doesn't want to invest in lots, pictures, and more staff to keep these things up and get people the info they need to make a decision. It's their choice. But they want to enjoy the fat markups they get from paying trade-in prices for inventory and selling them at retail. Not even having the essentials covered will only lead to unhappy customers.

At this point they are REALLY banking on people valuing that one year warranty very highly. And if you really believe you're buying a durable good, is a 1 year warranty really that valuable?
 
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jeremymc7

Active Member
Feb 3, 2013
1,302
580
U.S.
Not to mention how many months will you have it in service trying to get all the things wrong with the used, not cpo. Car taken care of under that simple one year warranty. Audi and I’m sure others added an extra tear in to their CPO cars recently over the last time I purchased.
 

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