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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.

Saddened to hear about that.
Integrity is the best sales pitch in the long run IMO.

I was also told by a rep that heated seats would be included with non-leather seats for my pre 2003 reservation. I have yet to finalize and would like a definitive answer.

IMO, the rep had misunderstood the policy, and communicated his misunderstanding. That said, he was acting as an agent of the company, and TM should arrange some "saw-off" with you, and make a horrible example of the employee for others to learn from.

@Baz- the definitive answer is no, they will not be included.

@Iph- exactly. I believe the true test of a start-up is how they respond to the inevitable customer service issues both big and small. While I hear good things about some, my first-hand experience says otherwise.

@Brian H- My thoughts exactly. If the policy would have been presented correctly this first time I wouldn't be writing this, but it wasn't. The forum is the only way I found out and while it's a wonderful tool, and I've enjoyed many entries from you and others, it shouldn't have to be mandatory to check on every detail of what's been promised by the company.

I agree with most of what you say, but to say "Lie" means that the rep definitely knew what they were saying was wrong and said it anyway. It's still true it's Tesla's fault if the rep gave you faulty information, but it isn't lying.

I will say there are many many examples of reps who have said things that didn't turn out to be true. I think they have a tendency to say things they've heard, without checking on them.

@gregv64- I hear you. It certainly FEELS like being lied too when you're told one thing, which builds expectations, and the company does another. It's true I don't know if the rep definitively knew or not- either way, it's extremely disappointing on many levels.

Big Tex. Lies! I think that is a bit strong. I suspect TM is consistent. TM consistently communicates poorly with their customers, they probably communicate poorly with their sales staff too. If I were you, I would consider paying the $1,500 for the leather with heated seats and buy some textile seat covers and be happy to save $400.

After waiting 2.5 years, I just received my 60kWh MS (Ventura County). I am happy to say all is forgiven - a truly amazing automobile.

I also got cloth seats and wanted the 12-way adjustability and heated seats. I assumed when it was announced that there was no way to keep the old pricing and get the new seats, and my rep agreed though he did say at some point they will run out of the old seats and they would likely just switch to the new ones at that point, but no guarantees on when or if. As it turned out, I switched off of red and got my car much earlier, so the question was moot.

I got different answers from different people, but I never felt like I was being lied to -- only that there were a lot of people trying to answer tons of questions and things were in flux where there may not have even been one correct answer, much less known by everyone.

@petero- There is no doubt, I was deceived. I just wonder at point their poor communication skills will stop being racked up to being a start-up and when they'll actually have to take responsibility for the things they say. Now would be good.

I could also cancel my order and just reorder to get the seats (can't do leather for other reasons) but that's really not the issue nor is saving $400- it's the fact that Tesla should own up to what they say. Integrity. Honesty. And all the other principles that Tesla should stand for.

Even decieved isn't really true unless you can prove that the rep you talked to KNEW what he was tellinjg you was not accurate, which we'll never be able to prove or disprove here.

A betrayal of trust is what you're experiencing, which feels bad, but isn't an outright lie.

If it makes you feel any better, you can submit the name of the guy that misinformed you straight to GB himself. I doubt that particular rep will get his info wrong a second time after that ;)

@jat- I suppose I only got one answer from one person but that should hold water since it came from an actual rep. Isn't time we start to hold them to some level of responsibility? Shouldn't they know the answers? Shouldn't management give clear and concise training? The rep seemed confident in his answer so I took at as truth while it wasn't. Congrats on the car- it's a fantastic product without a doubt.

You now know the facts and know your options, so pick one.

@Vawlkus- I just think whatever I'm feeling should not go along with an $85,000 purchase and that Tesla should take some sort of responsibility for what is put out in their name by company reps. I don't have GB's email- where can I find it? I don't want to see the company fail, quite the opposite, which is why I wrote this- so anyone I can tell, I will! Thanks! :)

I know it's around here somewhere on these forums, but I don't have it handy. I'm on my iPhone or I'd volkerize it for ya :)

Check Tom's thread here somewhere, it's called "I'm through with Tesla", or something similar. He had to get GB involved as well, and I'm pretty sure the email was linked in that thread.

@Crow- sometimes it's healthy for a company to eat some- crow, that is.

@Vawlkus- Thank you, I will look!

I think Tesla has hired a typical US salespersons there IOW, customer is always right, don't ever hesitate to answer even if you don't have a clue what he is talking about, never show that you don't know what you are talking about, be firm and assuring, make the customer happy. Always smile. (and don't give customer time to think).

That leads to unhappy customer if the guess he makes was wrong, and happy customer when the guess happen to be right. If he needed to guess.

Problem is that they are not taught to give answer "I don't know, but I will check and get back to you when I find out" and actually also do that checking. These people are not engineers. If you ask engineer you get straight answer, but tone of the answer might not be quite so pleasing which again might lead to unhappy customer.

Big Tex, ‘Eating Crow.’ TM ate quite a bit of crow with the super charger pricing announcement last year and made things right for many reservation holders. I am sure not everyone was happy especially those who have to pay $2K to have supercharging.

Mistakes happen. I use to sell cars. I have frequently observed sales, parts, service writers, repair staff, F &I managers, and sales managers make technical mistakes and not be fully versed in all the options, price and option changes, etc. Newer associates are more likely to make mistakes. I am familiar with the Topanga showroom, and visited it in mid- January, there was not a familiar face in the showroom.

I apologize if I am wrong, but the showroom staff do not sell cars, they show the car's features, answer questions, or try to. You order the car on line. I think TM should apologize for the error, and offer you the opportunity to either rescind the sale or move forward. TM cannot treat one customer different than another. That is why customers who pick up their cars in Fremont pay the same delivery charges as those in Florida. That doesn't sound very fair, does it?

Personally, I agree with you. You have suffered an ‘outrageous wrong.’ The sales person, should be shot, hung by the neck until dead, then fired from TM, his/her family should live in disgrace… and you should be given a free car. Now are you happy?

“Only this, and nothing more.' Quoth the raven, Nevermore! ”

Mistakes happen. Hopefully you can move past this incident. I promise you the 'S' is well worth it. I had a showroom staffer try to convince me I needed twin chargers, which I didn't buy. Perhaps in the future the staffer will prove to be right.

You asked about GB's email. It is .

@petero- superchargers were before my entry point so I was fine paying 2k for it with the 60. The same with the "delivery" charge- it's known and the policy is given out to everyone, unlike the information I was given regarding the seats.

I don't want the sales rep fired or anything like that. And it's not an angle to get anything for free- I was happy to lay out $85,000 for the car, a few thousand dollars over a finance period is not a big deal. It's the lack of business principle for taking responsibility for your staff and of standing behind a customer that is bothersome. I'll be happy when they can do that for their customers.

That's the thing- if I was presented the proper policy by a company representative there would be no issue.

Pardon the disagreement but it's ludicrous to believe a company like Tesla who sells luxury goods and not on a large (yet) volume, cannot offer a certain level of personalized care for a mistake that was made on their part. This isn't a big box store for vehicles.

Regarding the online experience- Tesla staff is there to fill the gaps the online experience lacks. They are meant to be the interface with the customer when the website cannot. So, if the website had wrong information or if the staff give wrong information is the same thing and if that information leads one to purchase something under a certain pretense or expectation which is then not meant, frustration ensues at the fault of the company.

@Timo nails it. Why is it so hard to say, "I'm not sure, let me check for you."

If the rep didn't know or was given wrong info from corporate then either scenario is still on Tesla.

Maybe I'm old school, or too principled but yes, mistakes happen but I believe they should be handled to the satisfaction of the customer.

@Brian H- you're the man, thank you for that! I will write an email tonight.

Thanks Brian, I just found it at random in another thread, but it's already here :P

@Tex: some people just hate to say "I don't know". It implies they aren't perfect, which goes against their self image and ego. :P

I've sent George an email.

@Vawlkus- thank you for thinking of me. You're right about the ego and I'm sure MY ego has a role in this as well. I've learned that when principles are involved the ego is most always intertwined. Recognizing that is one thing, learning to stay in your higher Self and peeling away the layers of conditioning to reach a more conscious and mindful state is another :)

First, I am sure that this was not a lie. Second, they are offering to make you whole in the sense that you have the same options you would have had if the rep gave you the correct information. Sure it is a bummer but I see this as a minor issue and not worthy of tarnishing th Tesla brand.

@adestein- your definition of "whole" is different than mine. I was never given the option of getting the seats installed. Of course I suppose I could cancel and re-order but that's not helpful and that's not with Tesla taking any responsibility. I'm also not trying to "tarnish" Tesla- as I said in my original post, I am a believer. I am simply sharing an authentic experience- a bad experience due to misinformation given to me by a Tesla rep.

@olachampcar made a comment on the other thread:

"I sense a certain amount of hubris on the part of some Tesla management. Call it an Apple mentality where there is less urgency to address issues to the benefit of both parties. I've found the initial responses to be very one sided. It is my opinion that this will wear off quickly when the idealism of Silicon Valley Tesla management makes its way through compliant early adopters and runs head long into the mainstream luxury car sales cycle. This is just my take on it and only time will tell"

Well I was going to start by saying you can never solely rely on a sales rep but I didn't realize that the website (just checked it one minute ago) says:

Finely appointed interior features hand wrapped surfaces of cloth and synthetic leather materials. 12-way power adjustable, heated seats with memory.

This is what they are listing in their own spec's and option page at:

I think if your car doesn't come with heated adjustable seats you have a valid claim.

That's the New Pricing Dispensation, not the 2012 one.