Tesla billionaire Elon Musk may be a genius, but the employees at his electric-car maker’s service centers are substandard, according to the thousands of complaints filed by dissatisfied customers.
Tesla owners filed more than 9,000 complaints with the Better Business Bureau, Vox reported last week. There have also been more than 1,000 complaints about the company with the Federal Trade Commission, including 120 related to the company’s service centers, Vox reported last week.
Those numbers are staggering when you consider there are fewer than 200 Tesla service centers nationwide.
Consumer complaints ranged from unresponsive service centers to a lack of available parts.
In some instances, Tesla owners said their electric vehicles were returned in worse condition than before they went into the shops for repairs.
“The complaints point to all sorts of problems with the experience of owning a Tesla vehicle, including an inadequate number of service centers, limited stock of replacement parts, bad communication, poor manufacturing quality, and long wait times for repair appointments,” Vox reported.
One Tesla driver reported finding a dead mouse and rat poison in the car’s front trunk after a service visit.
Another owner tweeted that after spending 51 days in a service center, part of his car was “repaired” with duct tape.
@Tesla @elonmusk just recieved my model S after 51 days in the shop. Just found some parts DUCT TAPED together. Is this normal? Rear left wheel side. Is there a supply chain issue for clips? pic.twitter.com/r2WwFShTgh
— Thomas (@TelticThomas) August 18, 2022
A key selling point of Tesla and other electric vehicles is that they supposedly require less maintenance than gas-powered cars.
But that’s not necessarily the case.
“The customer should have fewer visits to a service department per year, right?” Christopher Sutton, vice president of automotive retail at the consumer research firm J.D. Power told Vox. “But what we’re seeing is that, at least for now, it’s about the same.”
According to Vox, Tesla was at the bottom of a J.D. Power initial quality survey — measuring how well new vehicles are built. The company was second-to-last on Consumer Report’s reliability rankings for 2021, according to Vox.
Unlike gas-powered vehicles — which can be serviced at most car-repair shops — Tesla repairs can only be done at one of the company’s service centers around the country.
Some states, such as Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho and Hawaii, only have one service center for the entire state.
Making matters worse is that some repair centers have long waiting lists before customers can get their car fixed.
Jason Fenske, a YouTuber who posts automotive engineering videos, said he loves his Tesla, but getting it serviced can be extremely inconvenient.
“Booking service at the centers is often a month or so out, as every time I’ve needed service they’ve been booked out for weeks, if not months. And it’s difficult to get real answers,” Fenske told Vox.
Tesla owners’ mounting frustrations with the EV maker’s repair services are a longstanding issue.
According to a 2019 Bloomberg survey, the majority of nearly 5,000 Tesla Model 3 owners were dissatisfied with the speed and quality of repairs at Tesla service centers.
Considering even the cheapest model of Tesla will run about $50,000, it’s no wonder owners can be furious.
When you throw in the numerous customers who have reported problems with charging their Teslas, you have a recipe for disaster, especially at a time when the Biden administration is rabidly trying to transition the country away from gas-powered cars to EVs.
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