Tesla Reps Will Lie To You

I will preface this post by saying I completely identify with Tesla, their product, and their bigger picture. That said, their in-store rep straight lied to me. Once the price increase was announced I was ready to put down my deposit. I decided to go to our local store, at the Topanga Westfield mall to ask a few questions and check out the car, again. One of the questions was regarding the price increase and the new seats. I asked if I put my reservation in before the price increase but my car was built anytime in 2013 what seats would be installed. The rep said "You get the best of both worlds! You get the lower price but the new heated seats!" Wow, I thought, this all sounds great. I reserved. I occasionally visit the forums, but don't spend a significant amount of time on them. After I finalized recently I checked the forum and saw an entry on a random post that completely refuted what the Tesla rep had said.

I contacted my build rep, Jeff Chu, and asked if the new heated seats (I'm getting textile) would be installed in the car. Jeff said no.

Let me interject to say I get that Tesla is a start-up. I get there's been growing pains. I can stomach the cracked windshields, the doors popping open, the distortion with the windshield, the numerous software bugs and glitches, the water in the rear light, paying a ridiculous amount for the tech package, the waiting for parts, and everything else that's been brought up- which has been substantial. But when I'm told something by an official company representative that impacts my basic expectations for what's included with the car, I expect that to be true, why wouldn't I? I just don't expect to be told something that's simply not true by a rep to get a reservation made. And maybe the rep didn't know, but that's not on me, that's on Tesla. I'm fine if that's the policy and if I would have been told that from the beginning but I wasn't.

Jeff, who was receptive and polite, brought the issue up with his manager. No help. Can either get it as is, cancel my order, or transfer payment to Model X.

The lesson- never trust an in-store rep. The concern- Why can't they train and inform their employees properly?

As an entrepreneur myself who has dealt with start-up woes, I would always stand behind the customer, even if it meant eating a certain level of cost, while the issue was sorted out. They could have easily flipped the bill for their cost of new front seats (what $500? against an $85,000 car) and boom, I would've been a happy camper. Instead, I'm frustrated.

I don't think it matters. I placed our reservation during the 2012 build period but when I finalized in late December it was for a 2013 MS. If they are delivering a 2013 MS it should come with what's advertised when you finalize not when you placed your reservation.

@lov2krz - Are you paying the 2012 pre-increase price?

Sorry for long-winded response but just noting that I had almost identical situation.

Definitely seems like training and communication issues, I do not feel it was intentional either.

Unfortunately for us, it's going to seem like a moot point to Tesla since it's a transitional issue going from their pre-2013 to 2013 default configurations. Not an "ongoing problem" to rectify. Just victims of very specific circumstance and poor coordination and communication. Will not be an issue for others until next time they change default configuration of the cars.

I may be slightly less upset than you are but am somewhat disappointed in that I feel that I was not afforded the chance to make a decision based on complete and factual information.

I had a res from 2011 originally, and held off from my Sept 2012 invitation to configure because

1) many, many details were still just emerging regarding not just basic configuration, but other buyer experiences and warranty details (like what does the battery warranty really mean), who actually installs the paint armor, factory or third party, do they really know how to detail a car properly? etc

2) was still contemplating the right battery config in light of all experiences and data available not to mention details of how the battery warranty would really work where limited miles are involved. After all, it's a pretty big purchase.

After the notice about January deadline to finalize or be subject to the price increase, it was as if all the 2012 information was purged from Tesla's memory banks, website, staff, whatever, and all communication and facts were focused solely on 2013 model details. So unless you had all the obscure pre-2013 details burned into your memory banks, surprise! It's kind of like how the 60kwh car originally said supercharing hardware was "included" in Sept 2012 but then not long afterwards, it became a $2000 upgrade without any specific announcement about the change, if it was poorly worded before on the website, whatever. Hmmm...just keeps getting more expensive.

Even I, at first glance, originally misunderstood GB's price bump communication to mean that we were going to get whatever they were building now in 2013 for our 2012 price as long as we met the specific deadline (incentive to get off the fence). Without thinking about it too much, it might have seemed like one of those "gimme's" for the old time loyal givers of the "interest-free $5k loan". After all, we've given Teslsa our $5k loan longer than people who were just putting their reservations in. Loyal and early adopter perks, right. Nope, actually feel kind of taken for granted and penalized like "oh, you are so yesterday, you 2012 people, what? you want to know what you are buying? oh, well, ok, let me see, I think we can still order those sub-standard seats for you.

In my particular world, December is work HELL, so no time to think about finalizing an optional car purchase. Therefore in January 2013, coincidentally, I ALSO visited the local Topanga store to take another look, get information refreshed. All very friendly staff, enthusiastic. Talked for a long time about the car in general, talked with other new customers browsing the cars, talked with staff about having the 2012 reservation and coming up against the Jan 2013 price deadline. Talked with staff about generally preferring textile interiors to the leather. Now, wouldn't you think MAYBE the person would say "hey, if you have a 2012 reservations, you need to know is that the 2013 seats will actually be different than the old textile seats, so you may want to reconsider that in light of the features you would get for the $2,500 price bump and if it's worth it to you". NOPE. Now, remember, all the "old data" has been purged from the website about the old "8 way adjustable" seats, what that means as compared to 12-way and there was ALSO never any emphasis on the fact that if you decide against leather, you do NOT get seat MEMORY either. So pick your preference or poison. Nope, just basically silence other than "12 way adjustable seats will be standard" and base car and other stuff will be more expensive. Truth is, the staff probably never even knew about the old seats either! The other thing, pretty much all the showroom and test drive cars were leather, not textile.

I MIGHT have reconsidered buying up to leather for $1,500 or upgraded textile for $2,500 to get the lumbar adjustments and seat memory for husband with back issues, but unfortunately, since I hadn't been cruisng the "user forums", the information was inadequate to realize this difference even existed. I found the "seat memory" issue by reading the forums, never from official Tesla communications on the matter.

Since I was a 2012 reservation holder, unfortunately, my configuration literally FLEW right though as soon as we e-signed and immediately went to status "forwarded to factory". Done deal according to Tesla even though I called just a couple of days later after I stumbled into the lumbar adjustment issue.

So bottom line is that while Tesla is a different company in a lot of ways, they suffer from many of the same challenges of other companies in operation.

Have you ever dealt with Comcast/Verizon/Sony/Microsoft/insert other big company here? Big companies hire lots of people, and sometimes the training isn't always up to snuff, or the employee isn't up to snuff. It doesn't make it a lie. Lying implies intent to deceive, and it seems likely that this person told you that fully knowing it was false. It doesn't make it right, but it's not a lie.

I think you're making a mountain out of a molehill. You don't have the car yet, and haven't paid for it. And now you know the facts. Make a decision and move on. Emailing George Blankenship over this? Ridiculous. Why do you need to vault the chain of command and take a minor training issue to the top of the company? I see no need. Talk with the person's manager, and let it go.

@Epley- what's ridiculous is comparing a relatively low volume luxury automaker to Comcast/Verizon/Sony/Microsoft. I'm not buying a $50/month phone plan.

I'm asking of Tesla is to take accountability for their actions and until I feel I'm heard by the company, which hasn't happened yet, I will go to the most senior level person I can- thus the vaulting the chain of command. I believe it will strengthen the experience for buyers and make Tesla a better company- you don't want that? I'm not alone in this belief.

My friend receive his Sig loaded up. Except for a few software glitches that were fixed via upgrades. the car has been flawless after a couple of months. The performance is superb and the quality of the outside is as good as any hi end car. The interior controls are much better than a hi end BMW or Mercedes. Seats could be improved. I like the Lexus seats, etc. Much better than Porsche 911 or Panamera. My friend has a Mercedes S600 parked next to it... looks dated, even though the sustained power of the V-12 with twin turbos is impressive at hi speeds.

Tiebreaker, yea payed the 2012 price got delivery yesterday.

Thanks, Big Tex. I am really interested in hearing whether George B. puts it right. We are all on the edge of our seats and appreciate that you are campaigning for the good of the company rather than simply looking for an excuse to get a freebie. Personally, I don't know how you can carry on given this horrible wrong that you have suffered. Stay strong, brother!

Update- Thanks for the comments everyone. The issue has been resolved to both mine and Tesla's satisfaction. Excited to take delivery!

Aha, an NDA, huh? Nosy minds want to know ...

I seriously doubt Tesla would give anything other than an apology and a coffee mug or other token. Customers have experienced more serious mistakes and have not gotten anything significant out of them thus far. Problems with the car have been corrected but that has pretty much been it.

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