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Tesla Valet service goes POOF!!!

Discussion in 'Model S' started by MattOtt, Oct 23, 2015.

  1. MattOtt

    MattOtt New Member

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    Ottawa, Canada
    Let me start you off with a riddle: How do you open the door on a $100,000 car?

    The answer: well, it depends on where you live. This statement may seem ridiculous for owners that live/work close by a service center. However, if you live more than 25 Miles/KM from a service center, the answer has become much more expensive.

    Tesla has decided (suddenly and without notice) that they no longer offer valet service in many areas. And if they do, it will cost you. This is troubling for me, and many other Tesla owners, who were sold the car with this service guaranteed to us by Tesla literature and Tesla staff. More troubling has been the Tesla service approach of denying the existence of such service. Add to that, service staff insinuating that I must be confusing valet service with road-side assistance and, quite frankly, it borders on insulting.

    For my part, I'm quite sure that I wouldn't buy a $100,000 car with the knowledge it would cost me $546 every time it required warranty service! And that's because, my house is 200km (125 Miles) from the nearest service center.

    I'm far from alone in believing that the warranty valet service was part of the sales pitch. The owner blogs have numerous entries about it, such as:
    If You Live Far From A Service Station Your Cost Of Ownership Just Went Way Up
    Change of Policy on Tesla Ranger Service
    3 mile ranger fee be informed (before) you buy


    You may be thinking; “C’mon, didn’t you check the literature on their website?!” Well…yes, I did. The entry titled "Creating the World’s Best Service and Warranty Program" from CEO, Elon Musk, dated April 23, 2013, still appears on the Tesla website. In this description of warranty and service offered by Tesla Motors, Musk includes a section titled "Valet Service" in which it states: "Your time is valuable and should not be spent driving to or waiting at our service centers. Tesla is putting in place a valet service, so that your car is seamlessly picked up and replaced with a loaner and then returned as soon as we are done. There is no additional charge for this."

    So now you're thinking; "Is that it? Did you base your $100,000 decision on this one statement?!" Well...no, but it would appear Tesla has removed other references to their warranty valet service. Luckily, I have access to a time machine.

    Come with me and step inside the Wayback Machine and let’s have a look at the Tesla Service site back in June of 2014 when I ordered my car...Oh! Look what I found:

    21st Century Service.. . Many issues can be resolved remotely, but if your Model S does require in-person attention, you can bring it to a Tesla Service Center, or have your car picked up in exchange for a loaner at no charge with our valet service.

    And...


    Tesla Valet Service. Tesla is putting in place a valet service so that your car is seamlessly picked up and replaced with a loaner and then returned as soon as we are done. There is no additional charge for this.


    Tesla appears to be whiffing their way down the value ladder to become every other car company. OK maybe a half-step above VW, but mostly on par with the likes of GM or Ford. In fact, the Tesla policy change has the same feel to it as the GM warranty plan in late 1980s. GM charged $100 deductible every time warranty work was required on the car. Then again, the GM policy was documented whereas Tesla promised valet service and then simply removed their valet service guarantees from their website and left owners wondering what they’ve paid for. Can you say Bait and Switch?

    "But wait", you say, “Certainly Tesla wouldn’t be looking to make money from service? They have repeatedly said that service is not meant to make money.” After all, Tesla has taken great pride in distinguishing themselves from every other car company. It is no secret that they have fought against the dealership networks that survive on making money from service. Well, consider this: In the US, they are now charging $3/Mile for valet service. Outside the US, where the metric system is prevalent, they are charging $3/KM for valet service. That’s a 60% surplus and disproportionate to the cost of transportation. It’s also an infinitely higher cost than the promise of free I was quoted at the time of purchase.


    So why do I feel compelled to tell you this? Well, I propagated the knowledge of this warranty valet service to potential owners, some of which went on to buy the vehicle. I've conducted numerous walk-throughs on the benefits of the car, which included Tesla service guarantees that I quoted from Tesla literature, Tesla sales staff and Tesla delivery experts. Heck, I even paid my own way into the local car show to stand by the Tesla booth for two and a half hours and talk up the Model S as an owner. So, yeah, I drank the kool-aid and was an all-in fanboy. What changed? Quite simply, I was lied to and feel duped. This may sound like nothing more than sour grapes, but the truth is Tesla has painted me into a financial corner.

    I believe Tesla has taken the long-view that owners will fall in line and accept this undocumented change in policy. This is, after all, the price of driving the future. The Tesla Model S is seen by many as a toy for the super-rich. For those owners, I would agree that it may be simple to shake their head at this undocumented change in policy and just hand over their credit card. There is, however, another class of Model S driver, the underclass if you will, that paid well more than they would normally pay for a vehicle. These owners took the long-view that, while having paid a huge sum of money for the Model S, their total expenses over a 5 or 8 year period would be mostly fixed given the low-cost to operate an electric vehicle and the supposed knowledge that Tesla would make warranty work seamless, even if a service center wasn’t in the immediate area.

    It is much harder to predict your costs given unexpected expenses for items that appeared would be covered under warranty. In my case, though, how many unexpected $546 charges would it take before my Tesla Model S became 'unmanageable'? Well, the short answer is 2. So there you have it, Tesla's long-view and the underclass of Model S owners' long-view stand in contrast.


    Tesla should consider that this underclass of Model S owners are the ones more often rubbing shoulders with and promoting Tesla to would-be Model III owners. You know, the upcoming model that has Tesla 'all-in' with its Nevada Gigafactory battery plant. I would have to suggest a serious rethink for anybody holding out for a Model III.

    In fact, to any prospective Tesla client, I couldn't recommend a purchase unless you live in close proximity to an existing service center. Even then, given Tesla's cavalier approach to changing policies that affect their clients' well-being, I would caution a high degree of skepticism when accepting information from Tesla.


    My strong recommendation would be:
    • Get everything in explicit writing - just because it exists on the website, it could disappear at any point.
    • Remember that sales people are still sales people
    • MOST IMPORTANTLY: Do not buy a Tesla unless there is an existing service center in your immediate area
      • For my part, I was told at the time of delivery that a Tesla service center was 12-18 months away for my city. That was 14 months ago and we are now further away from getting a Tesla presence than we were 14 months ago.

    As a member of the underclass who believes in the vision of Tesla, it's disheartening to have Tesla put this financial hardship on early-adopters. In my case, to the point I may need to sell the car at a substantial loss.

    Given this corner Tesla has painted me into, I'll close off by stepping through my options:
    • Move my family to a city with a service center so I can get warranty service for FREE
    • Sell the vehicle at a huge loss and replace with something that can be serviced in my city
    • Tie a rope to function as my door handle and drive on

    By virtue of being the least bad, option 3 would be my choice. Incidentally, it is also the answer to the riddle.

    That's right, you open the door of a $100,000 car using a rope!

    File Oct 23, 5 08 27 PM_resize.jpg
     
  2. Sunfishsolar.ca

    Joined:
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    Owen Sound, Ont Vin#9904
    Or just get triple A or CAA in Canada. 250km free tow!

    I got CAA. It maybe $60 a year, and includes the tow. Done. Or go buy a Chevy.


     
  3. RAW84

    RAW84 Member

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    250 km for free?


    Last time I had AAA only the first 3 miles of the tow were free. Additional miles we're $4/mile!
     
  4. Tourman

    Tourman Member

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    or you know, stop whining and just drive to the service center. It's a long haul, but it's not like the car is undrivable.
     
  5. RAW84

    RAW84 Member

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    He's talking about warranty issues...presumably when the car isn't drivable.
     
  6. RichardL

    RichardL Member

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    I don't think 'stop whining...' is really a helpful response - the OP clearly shows that Valet service was promised as a no cost feature at the time the car was purchased - this is another example of great promises to early adopters that are not really viable for a mass audience and Tesla simply reneges on its promises and acts as if they were never made.

    I understand that expecting a free pickup and delivery is a big deal - but that is what was promised.

    I am sad to say that there are numerous examples of similar actions over the last few years - it makes me very sad to see.
     
  7. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    He's talking about valet, so it's drive-able. Towing would be another issue.

    - - - Updated - - -

    You should temper any policy you see on the website with the expectation it is subject to change (unless it explicitly says "for the life of the car" or something to this effect). Any service expectation not written in the purchase contract or some kind of written contract can't really be relied upon, esp. if it is mission critical to owning the car.
     
  8. RAW84

    RAW84 Member

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    Well yea, duh. Lol
     
  9. Jhall118

    Jhall118 Member

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    You can't find someone in your neighborhood willing to drive your car for free to get service and back?

    Seems easy enough to find on craigslist. You could use a rental service like relayrides for the insurance.

    Be creative. Seems much cheaper than selling the car at a loss. Unless that was Hyperbole.
     
  10. JohnQ

    JohnQ Active Member

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    Wow. You have the OP who clearly documented the promises that Tesla made regarding servicing his vehicle. And I underline promises because the language on the website and communicated by Tesla representatives can be construed as such. Was there a disclaimer regarding distance? I don't know. I would certainly ask a Tesla representative about that and trust the answer I got.

    He then invests a significant amount of money in the car and, I presume, has been told by the SC that they will now charge him for a pickup. He then comes on TMC to complain about that and gets "can't someone else drive it?" "Stop whining" and "it's subject to change."

    Given what the OP has said, will you really defend Tesla?
     
  11. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    I recall, when Tesla introduced the valet service, that someone had qualified it as 50 miles. The ranger service was supposed to cover most of the issues > 50 mi, but of course that is no longer offered.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Well, yes, because the OP isn't posting the specifics of the program:

    From Service Answers | Tesla Motors :

    This has been their policy since valet was introduced - I remember the 50 mi number being listed at that time.
     
  12. JohnQ

    JohnQ Active Member

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    I appreciate the clarification. I didn't recall the distance provision.
     
  13. Tourman

    Tourman Member

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    It is one thing to require a valet because the car is somehow stranded somewhere and immobile, compared to wanting a valet because OP has moisture in his tail lights or one of the handles doesn't work. In the latter, OP can still drive the car, and is just otherwise inconvenienced by having a long drive to a service center. I do think it is pretty unreasonable to require a valet for every minor warranty issue. It's not like Tesla is denying him a loaner - they should reserve this for emergencies. There's always the Ranger option if you are hundreds of miles from any service center too, though not free.
     
  14. JunesongProvisn

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    My driver's side rear door handle quit presenting tonight and I live exactly 135mi from the nearest service center. I feel your pain. Fortunately, I'll be in the area on business next week so that's good (assuming they can take a look at it).

    I'm on a AAA family plan that I keep forgetting about, so thanks to the other poster who reminded me of that option. "Free" towing for the first 100 miles if needs be.
     
  15. HankLloydRight

    HankLloydRight Fluxing

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    In the US I have AAAPlus which does give you up to 100 miles of free towing. But I found out the hard way that there is a limit on the number of times you can get a free tow. Years ago I had a VW Corrado which had a gremlin that kept causing it to break down... so each time I called AAA for a (local) tow. After a few of those, they said "sorry, you've reached your limit this year"..and offered to tow my car but at a discounted rate. YMMV.
     
  16. mikevbf

    mikevbf Member

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    I wish the ranger service Tesla Motors listed in the their service faq was accurate and would only cost $100 per visit.



     
  17. CHG-ON

    CHG-ON Still in love after all these miles

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    I still have ranger service for free. I live less than 50 miles from my SC. I spoke to my Ranger when he picked up the car one day, giving me another like model, and he said that if we are under 50 miles, it is free (at least for now in the US-my comment). Over that, it has been discontinued. From a corporate POV, I under the incredible cost to Tesla. Most likely unsustainable. From a consumer POV, I think it is unfair. But I bet the US lawyers (gotta love that nasty crowd) built language that none of us can understand and gives them a loophole of some sort.

    I had hoped that Elon would have built a company that would be different. I understand the pressures they are under to keep costs down. But I think it just plain sucks.
     
  18. kort677

    kort677 Active Member

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    #18 kort677, Oct 29, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2015
    that is NOT the answer!
    When I bought my Tesla almost two years ago I was lead to believe that a service center would be located about 25 miles from where I live, it was the major reason why I bought the car.
    I've lived with being 140 miles from a SC because of the valet service.
    I just ordered a second Tesla based on the availability of the valet bringing a loaner and taking my car in for services.
    I agree that Tesla is being deceptive or less than honorable by eliminating this service.
    Years ago I passed on buying an aston martin because of the distance, 200 miles, from a place that the car could get proper maintenance and I bought a MB where the availability of getting the car serviced is far more "universal" I repeat, I feel that I'm having the rug pulled out from under my feet if this is their new policy.
     
  19. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    Plans can change though. Was the location of the service center in writing or was a location purchased and construction started? Agree it sucks but you bought the car on tentative plans for a location it sounds like. They should still honor the ranger plan if that's what you have.
     
  20. kort677

    kort677 Active Member

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    #20 kort677, Oct 29, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2015
    Nonsense, I bought the car based on Tesla's "promise" to have a local service center. the service center has been on their map for over two years, at one point even an exact address was given, to date there has been NO PROGRESS towards bringing one here. They are opening a pop up display in a shopping center but that is not going to do anything for current owners!
     

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