Supercharging referral program in Virginia, Ohio

Supercharging referral program in Virginia, Ohio

Anybody know why Tesla is not allowed to give residents of Virginia, Ohio, (and maybe Canada?) the free supercharging miles earned with a referral? Odd that my sales rep (in Virginia) was unaware of this until after my purchase and delivery.

Flash | July 12, 2019

Archaic and customer un-friendly dealership laws in both states. I can’t remember the exact verbiage. Something about having to work for a dealership to be compensated by the manufacturer. | July 13, 2019

Thanks. I figured it had something to do with our legislature's cozy relationship with the ICE folks. Pitiful.

skdbreed | July 27, 2019

I'm in Ohio and was just told I do not qualify for referral program either. We got a gas tax passed though! Funny how things work.

nukequazar | July 28, 2019

You should ask for some other compensation in lieu of the promised supercharging, e.g. maybe a they could throw in a Wall Connector instead.

tesla | September 25, 2019

Unbelievable... time to contact legislators!

mbishop | October 15, 2019

@nukequazar, the point is that they can't give you anything for having referred someone. Proposing to give something different doesn't address anything.

NV4NV | October 16, 2019

The following is from the February 2012 "Dealer Talk" Newsletter (Volume 15, Number 85) published by the Motor Vehicle Dealer Board (a government agency) of the Commonwealth of Virginia:

Virginia law prohibits dealers and salespersons from compensating anyone in connection with the sale of a motor vehicle who is not either licensed as a motor vehicle dealer or a salesperson. Virginia Code Section 46.2-1537 states:

It shall be unlawful for any motor vehicle dealer or salesperson licensed under this chapter, [Dealer Laws] directly or indirectly, to solicit the sale of a motor vehicle through a pecuniarily interested person, or to pay, or cause to be paid, any commission or compensation in any form whatsoever to any person in connection with the sale of a motor vehicle, unless the person is duly licensed as a salesperson employed by the dealer. It shall also be unlawful for any motor vehicle dealer to compensate, in any form whatsoever, any person acting in the capacity of a salesperson as defined in § 46.2-1500 unless that person is licensed as required by this chapter.

The term “bird dog” is used in a number of industries to mean an individual who refers prospective customers to an entity that sells a product. In the motor vehicle dealer industry, a bird dog is an individual who refers prospective customers to a particular dealership or salesperson for a fee (compensation). A prospective customer is a sales lead. So anyone who provides leads (prospective customers) to a dealer is playing the role of a “bird dog”.

We all clearly recognize that paying a fee to a soldier to send his fellow soldiers to a dealership is paying a bird dog. We all recognize that giving a gift to a customer for referring their friends and neighbors to a dealership is in fact compensating a bird dog. How about when an internet company sends you a sales lead and you pay the internet company for the lead? Is this any different from the previous two scenarios? We don’t think so.

One variation on paying a bird dog a fee is that the payment is contingent on a sale being made: The bird dog only gets paid for leads that result in a sale. This variation clearly violates the Virginia Law prohibiting compensating an individual who is not a licensed salesperson.

The second variation of paying a bird dog is payment on a per lead basis regardless if the lead results in a sale. In this variation, any lead that does result in a sale is a violation of Virginia law as there is a direct tie between the bird dog providing a lead and the dealership compensating the bird dog.

The MVDB has always interpreted Virginia Code Section 46.2-1537 to prohibit unlicensed individuals from receiving payment for leads on a per lead basis since any lead that results in a sale is compensating an unlicensed individual in connection with the sale of a motor vehicle.

In 2000, a task force that included Dealer Board members; trade association representatives; manufacturers; consumers; the Department of Motor Vehicles; newspapers; third party internet companies; and the Office of the Attorney General concluded in a report dated January 9, 2001 that “. . . licensed motor vehicle dealers may only compensate an unlicensed third-party vendor by a flat payment structure (e.g., per month) rather than per sale, per referral or any other transactional basis.“

Dealers who pay third party services for leads must be careful to not run afoul of the law. The Board has consistently stated and provided guidance to dealers and third parties that unlicensed entities can only be paid a flat fee for advertising and for providing leads. Dealers may not pay a third party on a per sale or per lead basis including any variation where a “flat fee” is adjusted periodically for past performance by the dealer or the lead generator related to sales or leads.

Dealers must carefully scrutinize contracts with third party services as it is the dealer who is in jeopardy when compensating unlicensed individuals. If you are compensating any unlicensed individuals or companies on a per lead basis or for leads that result in a sale or any variation where a “flat fee” is adjusted periodically for past performance by the dealer or the lead generator, you should discontinue this practice.

Our State advertising tag line is "Virginia Is For Lovers" (I guess unless you own a Tesla).

ibrad | February 26, 2020

What about using a referral code from someone outside Ohio and Virginia? Can an Ohioan receive referral miles if the referrer is outside the 2 states?

voltij | March 16, 2020

Nope. My referral lives in New Jersey and I am in Ohio. I bought my Tesla in December 2019, just supercharged for the first time yesterday and it was billed to my Visa card. I have no referral miles.