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Menlo Park Service - Not a good start

My pano roof was making cracking noises when I closed it. I noticed pieces of plastic broken in both rails the roof rides in. I called the Menlo Park service center and they said, "just drop by and we'll take a quick look at it." By the time I brought it in it would no longer open when the service rep looked at it. "We have to order a new roof. Come back in two weeks when we get the parts." They took a list of other other issues I had with the car.

Came in this morning and the experience is not making me feel comfortable.

The service rep started taking information down like this was the first time I had ever shown up. "Don't you have me in your system?" she gave me a blank stare in return. I've paid for the "4-Year Anywhere Plan Service, does that mean anything?" She gave me another blank stare. I went through the list of other issues I gave them two weeks earlier.

Oh well, at least I'll get a Tesla loaner and be on my way. "Am I going to get a Model S or a Roadster?" I asked. The service rep just laughed, "Oh no, our sales guys sell all our loaners as fast as we get them. We'll get you an Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Oh... "You have to go with the Enterprise rep to their facility across town, they don't have the paperwork here." Oh... No Telsa loaners, no loaners on site...?

Now across town, we're filling out the loaner paperwork when the phone rings at the rent-a-car company. It's Tesla service calling. I had left with my Tesla key in my pocket. My fault I guess. (But you would think "ask for the keys" would be on a service reps checklist.)
Finalizing the rental paperwork the reps says, "Tesla covers the car rental but you pay for the gas." Say what? That's not how my other car dealers handled loaners. Probably just a mistake since I'm dropping of my key, I'll ask my rep.
Back to Tesla in my Nissan Altima loaner to drop off the key.

Since this experience wasn't making me feel like anyone actually had ordered parts for my car, now that I'm back at service I asked them to check to see if they had the roof parts they had said they needed. A few minutes later, "Oh we have roof deflectors and roof cables." Hmm, that doesn't sound like the parts I pointed out were broken two weeks ago that you said you ordered. The service rep who originally looked at the car two weeks ago pretended he wasn't in the room. Well Ok, I guess you guys know what you're doing, what time should I pick up the car today? "Oh, it's not going to be done today, it may be done by next Monday or Tuesday." Today is Thursday. Yet another surprise.

Oh by the way, "Enterprise thinks I'm paying for the gas - that's a mistake isn't it?" The rep said, "Oh we're not allowed to pay for gas." When I said "say that again" she then backtracked and said, "Well I can ask my service manager if we can waive that for you." That's when I just said thank you and left. I really don't care about paying for gas, it's a rounding error.

But the entire experience made me feel like what I imagine service feels like in a Chevy dealership. "I have to ask my manager" is a phrase I thought left behind. In the last 20 years I've had Porsche, Jaguars and Lexus and none of their service experiences felt like this.

Couple of conclusions- 1) Tesla is a startup and acts like one. 2) They're selling as many cars as they can (great) but they will do it at the expense of existing customers. 3) Service and support will suffer until it starts to impact their sales (same experience I had being an early Solar City customer.) 4) The CEO makes claims that are great for the stock price (and he actually might believe) but which really don't show up on the ground now or potentially ever.

p.s. like everyone else who owns the car I love it and will never go back to an ICE car. Just disappointed they haven't made the service experience in one of their larger markets feel as good as the car.

I'm sorry to hear that you had a bad experience, but here are a few things I would have done differently. Please keep in mind that I don't own one yet, I have a finalized reservation, so I'm not intimately familiar with the process.

If at the initial service appointment they were going to order you a new pano roof, I would have asked for a receipt or some written confirmation of the service visit and resulting parts order. I also would have required Tesla to provide me with a loaner while I waited at the service center, I would not have inconvenienced myself by going across town for that. When you came back to the service center for your follow-up appointment and got several blank stares from your service person, I would have immediately asked for the service manager and would have dealt directly with him/her.

Lastly, if paying for gas is a "rounding error" as you say, why was it important enough for you to ask Tesla to pay for the gas in the first place? When the Tesla employee said she would get manager approval, you leave at the point of getting the gas paid after making it an issue? I understand that you may have been really ticked off at this point, but it sounds to me like at every step you felt that something was inappropriate, you accepted it anyway without escalating.

I am very anal when it comes to these kinds of things, so perhaps I'm looking at this differently than others. I do not trust anyone, and when I have a feeling the person I'm dealing with does not understand what they are doing, I always ask for a manager or supervisor.

@AmpedRealtor I've learned never to beat up the individuals for what is a broken system.
Each step just made me realize that somewhere at corporate they've made a decision that making the quarterly sales numbers are more important than making service matter.

They weren't worth escalating because the problems are not fixable at local service centers.

These are decisions that get made in exec staff meetings or board meetings. And for Tesla's survival probably the right decisions for now. I'm a fan, but it doesn't make it any less annoying.

@sblank
Sorry you had such a bad experience. I've got only smiles and professionalism at MP Service. Had her in twice for minor issues. I'm fortunate to live nearby, so I didn't get a loaner either time, so I can't speak to that - but the experience sounds awful.

Next time you are in, ask to speak to Johnny, he da man.

The first thing that came to mind was that maybe the person OP spoke with was a relatively new employee. I don't know if I agree with the statement that "making the quarterly sales numbers are more important than making service matter" - that seems like an assumption based on a single experience rather than on a fact pattern.

I've never had a service center pay for gas on a loaner car for one of my ICE's so I wouldn't have been surprised by that. Who pays for gas?

@sblank - I'm also sorry to hear about your experience, and understand your frustrations. I have had great experiences with MP service, but they are very casual/informal, and I can see how these problems can occur if you're not on top of all the details. And of course it shouldn't be up to you to stay on top of the details.

Please don't assume that the local service centers can't address the problems. I think corporate understands that happy customers are extremely important for their sales numbers, and they want to do the best they can for their customers. There have been plenty of growing pains, and obviously still are, but that doesn't mean the problems are "not fixable". Let your service center manager know about your experience, and email George Blankenship. It won't happen immediately, but they'll make the necessary changes to get customer service right.

Remember you're not dealing with a typical car company. They'll listen to you, and your feedback can make a difference!

@NKYTA thank you for the recommendation of Johnny in service.

@sblank that does sound like a lousy (un-Tesla) experience. I have found the Menlo Park store to be very good and nice, so hopefully this shall not continue from here on.

@sblank. I'm a bit annoyed at the fact that they are selling the loaners that were PROMISED to us, current owners. I have to take mine in to Menlo Park or Freemont soon for few annoying issues, and don't really wanna Enterprise loaner (last one was a crappy Chevy).

I think we need to write to George and ask them to replace a loaner from the factory BEFORE selling them. I think that's only fair.

The lack of (as in zero)loaner cars in the MP Service Center is very disappointing after Elon's big announcement last April.

And, the rental program is a pain. It can easily take an hour to get a car!

Something has been lost in the delivery of this message:

"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."

MS #S437

@sblank....Tesla is rolling out new service centers across the country...it's understandable some minor hiccups from time to time are bound to happen with new system and employees being setup. In short order all the minor kinks will be smoothed out! Though not ideal, going across the road to rent a new car is not such a big deal...few minutes deal for getting a loaner car is acceptable for new service delivery roll out. And Gas....Please....few dealers if any pay for ur gas...and why make so much a big deal for paying for gas when u would have paid for gas yourself anyway if u were driving ur own car???? That is quite cheapy...in my own opinion...

As a member of the family, I too am sorry you had such a bad experience. I used the Fremont Service Center and my experience was almost the complete opposite.

I originally went in for the 7500 mi tire rotation. The SC rep noted that there was a significant number of Service Bulletins for my vehicle (Sig S00465 VIN) which would take the rest of the day. I was offered either a Roadster or Model S (I'm 6'4", 280 with GF and Son in tow so we went with the Model S).

Turns out that the servicing took from Friday morning until the following Tuesday evening! Free Model S for the whole time. No problem, wonderful Service.

Might be worth sending your commentary to ownership@Teslamotors.com to let them know of your experience.

jd3

Sorry for your experience but when I drop off my Mercedes at Euromotorcars I usually get a Mercedes and I am always asked to return the car with the same level of gas. That seems reasonable. I am given a loaner car to help me out with transportation and paying for the gas while I drive around town is my expense. I've seen the same policy at both Mercedes and Volvo dealerships I've served my vehicles and I see nothing wrong about it.

My Mercedes has a 22 gallon gas tank. Why should the dealer have to pay $100 for a tankful of gas if I end up driving 350 miles in the loaner car?

We are going through something similar right now. Let me start out by saying we LOVE our Tesla and are huge fans of the company, Elon, etc. Buying this car was a financial stretch for us, probaly postponing our retirement by at least a year, but it is a choice we do not regret. We think the Model S is the greatest car in the world!

We took our S into Fremont yesterday for our 12.5K service, plus a few items such as a cracked windshield. (Delivery 12/12 - Not too happy that our 4 year plan is really a 2 year plan.) The service rep said the car should be ready the next day.

No Tesla was available as a loaner, my husband was very disappointed; he specifically asked for a Roadster when he made the appointment a couple weeks ago. He & another Tesla owner were driven from the service dept. to the rental car place. The other guy was given a BMW, and my husband a Nissan. He was told the BMW was reserved for us, but the other guy was waiting for a car longer. Big disappointment since we had bragged to the neighbors how Tesla gives you a Tesla loaner. An upgraded car (Mustang convertable)was offered for $10/day. We chose to go with the Mustang and added collision insurance ($15/day) just in case. Of course the gasoline is extra; we're OK with that, but it will add another $60 to our service event.

As of now, our car is not done and since we are working tomorrow and can't get to Tesla until late in the day, we will be paying for 3 days of rental. The extra $75 isn't a show stopper, but it is disappointing that we payed almost $100K for a car, then $1800 for service, are promised a free Tesla and end up paying for a Mustang.

We love our Tesla, but need to rethink the value of the service plan. We might feel differently if they changed the terms to a true 4 year plan with realistic mileage limits.

@sblank and @nora

MS85 VIN 717_

I'm sorry you have had these experiences. Unfortunately, based on my 3 months of experience with the Costa Mesa service center, I've found that this is the rule:

Anything that requires them to order a part will take months to resolve. They keep, as far as I can tell, zero parts in stock at the service centers - everything is ordered custom.

I came in 3 days after taking delivery in march, and there was a very pleasant roadster owner there, whose car had been in the shop for a couple weeks having something to do with the roof replaced (as I can remember). He was told that they had "finally" received all the parts except for this one bolt that they absolutely needed. He was polite, but mentionted that it had been more than a month since they first started ordering all the parts, and they were aparrently trickling in all separately.

I have been waiting for a simple plastic part for my pano roof rack that was broken on delivery in March. I've called several times, and every time they act as if they've never heard of the problem. At least once, they told me they created a "ticket" for me in their system, but still they seem to forget.

Today, I called again at 4PM, and their "parts guy" was nowhere to be found. She accidentally hung up on me, and I was calling repeatedly before I finally reconnected. She said they don't have my phone number. That seems unlikely, since they have called me in the past (esp when I took delivery in that very same service center.)

I was really annoyed another time when I noticed a bubble in my interior liner - only the size of a silver dollar, but I mentioned it so that they would have a record of it if it got worse. The guy squinted and made a big deal out of "not being able to see it," (he never got out a light to obliquely light it), and just said "god, how did you even SEE that!?" and just moved on to the next issue.

God, I hate to put this stuff up in public, because I really love this car, and I love the company. I'm also a shareholder, and I don't want to see the value drop. But they won't keep growing and doing better unless they resolve this service quality issue.

Having spare parts available would go a long way to solving the problem. On the occasion that my center mirror popped off while I was adjusting it, they fixed it in real time while I waited. I think a lot of their dodges are based on trying to cover the fact that they just can't get the parts to fix any of your problems.

I have been to both MP and the Fremont service centers. I had the same experience with the MP Service center. Here are what I encountered

1. It is very hard to get somebody on the phone. Even the central service center can't seem to get hold of Menlo Park. You have to keep on trying.

2. The whole car rental thing was a mess. Had to do the trek to enterprise to pick up the car. There were 5 people there waiting for a rental but enterprise couldn't take all of us so we had to wait our turn :) (No Model S)

3. The work done was shoddy. The trim on my door had fallen off and was fixed but when I took the car the entire alignment pof the rubber was off and the window wasn't closing properly. Since I had already dropped the rental I ended up taking the car and taking it to Fremont next week (where they informed that for specific work I should always take it to Menlo Park since they did the work :)).

4. I still haven't received paperwork on what was actually done.

5. Fremont experience was much better (no Tesla loaner again but the enterprise car was on the lot).

The staff has been courteous and helpful (in both places) but I agree that this needs a change from the top. The service experience has to match the driving experience :)

I love the car and hate it when I have to take it in :(

So much for Enterprises "We'll pick you up"

Odd, considering that everytime I had a Porsche serviced they had the Enterprise person come out to drop the rental car off.

Could be the P85+ loaners are being bought by those who get them, in trade for their existing cars. Elon said this was an option.

If your car is a lemon and you're given one that isn't, you might fork the cash to move on.

After I posted my earlier message, we got a call that our car could be picked up today, if we could get there before 6 pm. The service dept. did not get everything done, but they had the courtesy to call to see if we would prefer to keep the car in over the weekend, or schedule a 2nd appointment when the rest of the parts get in.

Even though we were frustrated about the rental car, every Tesla employee we have ever encountered has been frienly and courteous.

Make that frien"d"ly. (had to catch my typo before Brian H. sees it!)

I would suggest that someone at Tesla go over to a Lexus dealership and see how they handle service. It is extraordinary! Every aspect of the process is seamlessly professional and is one reason that customer loyalty at Lexus is so high. Hire someone from Lexus and have them head up the Tesla service personnel training.

nora;
At least you didn't write "feindly". That would be devilish.

Or fiendly, even.
An extreme example of Muphry's Law at work, misspelling a hypothetical misspelling!

They may already do this, but it would be nice to rotate service personnel to the production line once for training - and make them see how everything is put together to start with. Once I was at the service center, and someone on the phone asked "where is the DC-DC converter?" It sounded like the guy on the line was complaining of some kind of noise and suspected his 12V system (I only heard one side of the conversation.) Anyway, they had to ask several different mechanics before someone could answer that simple question.

If the mechanics all spent two weeks at various stations on the assembly line, they might give some good direct feedback to the factory about the real-world problems we're experiencing. Also, the service guys will get more experience with the open guts of these new cars - so they know what every part is and how it was put together.

As far as pampering us when we take the car in: That's less important to me personally than improving their proficiency at fixing these problems. If they had all the parts on hand and knew how to fix them quickly, the availability of ModelS loaners OR enterprise rental cars would be less of an issue.

Of course, a smart business should try to improve in all domains.

I suspect a lot of staff at service centres have previously worked in car dealerships, where lying to customers, not delivering on their promises and generally not giving a damn are normal. It will take a while (and constructive feedback from owners) to get them all behaving the way Tesla would like.

I also suspect the service centres are "right sized" for servicing and repairing a fleet of cars, but not really large enough to satisfactorily cope with a new model launch, all those minor teething troubles that will go away as production processes get perfected. They -could- boost staff at the centres by 50% now to make the experience better, but would they really want to make layoffs in another 6 months...?

I'm surprised everyone is saying "it's normal for the customer to pay for gas." Yes, this is normal at ICE dealerships. But we bought an *electric car*. Many people bought a Tesla in part because they wanted to be part of the electric revolution. Check the threads on "why you bought a Tesla". There are plenty of people for whom the environmental impact was a big deal. Being forced to drive a primitive gas car while we get our space age vehicle fixed is like a slap in the face, not to mention 3-5x more expensive (at least!) Tesla even (dubiously) used the "time spent pumping gas" as part of their calculation on total cost of ownership, so if we were to follow their own logic we could be invoicing them for that time spent in our Enterprise loaners. I realize they've got themselves in a pickle due to many owners new-found hatred of ICEs, but they have to realize how big a deal it is to go back to ICE. I agree with the posters above; they should replace loaners before they are sold, and they should offer to pay for some portion of gas. You can't compare this to a conventional dealership experience. Tesla is supposed to be different!

If I were a Tesla owner, I would probably be upset at the various Enterprise Rent-A-Car policies, such as the enormous pressure put on customers to get the insurance. I experienced that when I had my Mercedes in for service, and it really soured my whole experience and impacted my feelings about the manufacturer. So if you combine that with the promised Tesla loaner not being available you have a lousy situation.

I suspect the problem with Elon's policy is what Brian H pointed out - that many people are simply driving away with the loaners and paying the difference. I'm sure many buyers wanted in their heart of hearts to buy the more expensive model, so handing it over is a brilliant upsell that a lot Tesla's more affluent customers would want to take. I'm sure that as production backlogs ease, this will become less of a problem, but I can certainly understand why people are upset in the mean time.

I wonder where the used Model Ss go in that case. I've noticed there are almost no used Model Ss on the market right now, and the few available ones have asking prices at retail or greater. Ouch. It would be nice to see certified preowned Model Ss that would have come out of those services, because I might wind up being quite interested in buying one ...

Of course the bigger problem is slow service and lack of parts. Cheer up, guys. At least it seems like your cars are suffering from relatively minor problems. Remember Fisker and their tendency towards becoming charred junk? I would say Tesla's history so far has been quite remarkably glitch-free if you consider what a huge and complex rollout it's been.

D

I have to agree with sblank.

If I had that experience at the service center I probably would have tried to return the car, no matter how much I loved it. You don't treat customers like that, and certainly not customers willing to spend 80-100k for your product. Completely unacceptable.

As far as the rental car goes, I find it insane that it seems like quite a few Tesla owners on this forum have gone through this experience when Tesla proudly advertises the Tesla exchanges on the web site. I certainly hope this is simply an issue of growing pains, as many have suggested. Was this before they advertised the exchange program?

In the meantime however, cybrown has nailed it - you bought an *electric* car so you would not have to spend the time or money dealing with gasoline. As long as Tesla is still using Enterprise instead of their own fleet, they should at the very least offer a generous reimbursement on gas (say, X amount per mile up to Y miles per day).

Hope this gets resolved satisfactorily for you. Good luck.

Tesla offering people gas-powered cars to drive is unacceptable for those paying up-front for a service plan.

@Gresse....aren't we little Pricess.......maybe Tesla will arrange a helicopter ride for a loaner.........


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