Refund of pre-paid service contract

Refund of pre-paid service contract

Now that the warranty is no longer contingent upon an annual service, can we get the 4 year pre-paid service refunded?

Captain_Zap | April 29, 2013

There is a thread that has been started for this topic in the last couple days.
You can search for it via

This sounds like it might be a good candidate for the Tesla Bulletin Board FAQ thread. You can submit quesions here:

xradr | April 29, 2013

@ tadnakauchi

I called to have refunded. They said no problem and it will take 2-3 weeks, but they will send a check.

optimistic | April 29, 2013

According to the latest blog post, the service contract covers:

' ... having Tesla look at the car once a year for things like tire alignment, to address a few things here & there and perform any hardware upgrades ...'

I'm curious, what exactly is the value of these items? Would love to hear an informed view about this.

Captain_Zap | April 29, 2013

Hardware upgrades could be a big deal.
Upgrade sounds like more than an update.

An upgrade is enticing and gets my imagination going since we already have cars that are evolving via firmware/software updates.

GeekEV | April 29, 2013

> I'm curious, what exactly is the value of these items? Would love to hear an informed view about this.

Me too. I've got an outstanding email asking for greater clarification on just this... I'll post back if I learn more.

DouglasR | April 29, 2013

My Service Plan states on its face that the purchaser can cancel within 31 days for a full refund if no claim has been made.

I suspect that all the software updates and any hardware updates/upgrades will be available with or without the annual inspection/maintenance, although you may have to ask for some of them expressly.

The Service Plan covers routine maintenance on items such as wiper blades, brake pads, wheel/tire alignment and rotation, etc.

But the real benefit of the Plan, in my view, is to check the car over, and deal with all the things that are not "user serviceable." Does the car need lubrication? Brake fluid? Does the battery coolant need to be checked periodically? Motor/PEM and AC fluids? How about the seals, bolts, and fasteners? Does the suspension or steering ever need adjustment? Are there system diagnostics that need to be performed? Are there service bulletins pointing out issues before they become problems?

Even if no repairs are actually performed, it just makes sense to have the car thoroughly gone over once a year by someone who knows what he's doing. I think a lot of the complaining would go away if TM would simply publish a list of all the items that get checked off in an annual service.

Brian H | April 29, 2013

I doubt "exactly" is a reasonable request. Not only is the car evolving, but the individual issues will differ from person to person, and year to year.

Captain_Zap | April 29, 2013

RE: "I suspect that all the software updates and any hardware updates/upgrades will be available with or without the annual inspection/maintenance, although you may have to ask for some of them expressly."

I would think that hardware upgrades would be available at an additional cost if you do not have the annual service. This is the first I have heard about hardware upgrades potentially being included.

I would think that a hardware update would necessitate a service call too. I can imagine Tesla being more inclined to cover an update rather than an upgrade though.

I expect that we'll get some clarification on what this means.

DouglasR | April 29, 2013


What I meant was that any hardware updates/upgrades that are free to those with a service plan will probably also be free to those without. I was thinking of changes aimed at addressing recurring problems, e.g., changing out some part in the door handles or sun roof that has a high failure rate, even if it has not broken yet. I don't see the service plan covering any other kind of upgrade (e.g., parking sensors). After all, if it were anything major, a person could get it by just purchasing a single $600 annual plan. In other words, I don't think the service plan will buy you any hardware updates or upgrades that you wouldn't get otherwise.

Of course, I have no information on this, inside or otherwise.

stevenmaifert | April 29, 2013

@DouglasR - I think you're probably right WRT the hardware updates/upgrades. I bought the 4+4 and I'm really wrestling with cancel or keep. As a low mileage driver, I wish they would drop the 12 month requirement and just go with periodic maintenance, not to exceed 12.5K mileage intervals. Right now I'm locked in at $475/yr for 8 years. If I drop, that $600 per year could easily be twice that much in 8 years.

eAdopter | April 29, 2013

@DouglasR +1

Today I spoke with TM and tried to get clarification regarding the service visits, warranty, etc. I learned a lot, but there are still open questions regarding how service visits mesh with the warranty.

While TM is currently very generous, I don't anticipate that will last forever. At some point, they will probably impose reasonable limits on warranty repairs. For example, if the car is damaged due to something that could have been prevented by suggested maintenance, then customers should anticipate having to pay for it. You can't just come in after driving the car for 100,000 unmaintained miles and expect a free repair. I don't know where TM will draw the line, but I do expect some limits will be needed.
Bottom line: Don't be a self-inflicted victim. Get service about every 12,500 miles or annually. Purchase the extended warranty if keeping the car more than four years. This combination should cover owners in almost all circumstances.

Robert22 | April 29, 2013

What I'm hearing from ownership is that hardware enhancements/ upgrades/ improvements will be free to those with an active service plan, but will also be available for a-la-carte purchase by those choosing to forego the service plan. Obviously any safety upgrades or recalls would be available to all, but hardware improving upon or providing additional features would be included only with the service plan. It's beginning to sound like the 4+4 is a no-brainer if you plan on keeping the car. Low mileage owners are the ones with a decision to make.

DouglasR | April 29, 2013

But Robert22, there is nothing in the Service Plan documents that says anything about hardware enhancements/upgrades/improvements, and there is express language that says "No person has the
authority to change this Agreement or to waive any of its provisions." I don't think anything you are hearing from Ownership can be relied upon unless you get it in writing.

Robert22 | April 29, 2013

I agree, but we're all in the weeds now and I doubt it's going to get any clearer by tomorrow's deadline. They were pretty emphatic when I asked if there were going to be items that would be included in the plan that would require a separate payment for non-plan owners. There was no ambiguity here. I referenced Elon's announcement last week. He said hardware. Did he mean hardware? Yes, says ownership. I think the service plan will evolve the same way the requirement for annual inspection did. Everyone knew it wasn't tenable in its present form immediately upon release, but you could get a feeling for where they were headed. The real question is do you trust Tesla to add value? It may be naive, but I think they can deliver and still make money. What I would prefer not to be doing is paying $500.00 for an add-on widget or improvement to my climate system that could have been included in my service plan, but now requires me to pay double for in the Tesla store, plus labor and delivery fee. Think add-on twin charger. I plan to keep the car, the decision is easier for me. I'm pretty sure the hard drive isn't going to last 8 years either.

DouglasR | April 29, 2013

Well, as indicated above, I think the service plan has sufficient value to get it, whatever the policy about hardware upgrades. I got the 4+4. I hope I'm pleasantly surprised, but I'll have no regrets whatever they decide.

rd2 | April 29, 2013

To add my 2 cents to this murky evening before the deadline:

I spoke to no fewer than four different Tesla reps today (3 on Tesla Ownership Experience line, one was my Menlo Park service rep).

They have confirmed to me the following:

1) If you don't purchase the prepaid plan, and you drive more than 12,500 miles before servicing the car, you can simply pay the $600 annual servicing fee, get the service, and you will NOT be penalized for that delay, for instance, by not receiving software or hardware upgrades.

2) The average Tesla owner is expected to drive 12,500 miles/year. That's why that number is on the service plan and warranty (re: 4 years, 50k miles). However, if you exceed this mileage per year, and choose to do servicing only annually (and not every 12,500 miles therefore), Tesla is not going to penalize you for this.

My take on this is that if you drive less than or close to 12,500 miles/year, the prepaid plan makes very good sense.

If you drive more than 12,500 miles/year, it may make sense to just do the annual $600.

For instance, I drive 20,000 miles a year. I will be at my 50,000 mile limit at 2.5 years. So in actuality, the $1900 cost is $760/year, not $475/year.

I believe Tesla has made a great product, and on those rare occasions the warranty will cover defects or malfunctioning items. They will also rotate/balance my tires every 6000 miles independent of the service contract. So... seems like I should just pay $600 for an annual inspection right?

I am going to do an annual $600 service, and purchase the extended warranty at 50,000 miles. I think that will keep me covered for 8 years.

Robert22 | April 29, 2013
inverts | April 29, 2013

The 4+4 package is worth it just for peace of mind, the Ranger add-on is indulgence. Even if I may pay a bit more with 25Kmi/a, the service package is giving me a much more relaxed attitude about the car. I spent 100K on novel technology, so let's now maintain it at the right level. This can quickly turn into penny wise pound foolish.

I work with some science tech toys and we pay around 10% of purchase price for annual service package; Tesla is around 1-2% even with high milage and Ranger. The way I see it, Tesla service is cheap.

jjaeger | April 29, 2013

Thanks for the info rd2 - makes me comfortable w/ my weekend decision to go with the 4+4 and go in annually, independent of being over the 12.5K limit. Assumed that they would not penalize me and the check & upkeep indeed is a prudent path given the initial investment we've made.

AlMc | April 29, 2013

Obviously we all need clarification on the 'hardware' part of the service agreement. The way I would read it is that any new hardware upgrades that you see in newer MS coming off the assembly line will be retrofitted onto your S during the yearly/12.5K visits. Example: They make blind spot indicators standard on the 'tech' package and you bought the tech package with your S but did not receive them..they would be added during the routine service. VS. A new package is added...example, the Performance Plus where there is an additional charge to put it on a new would be expected to pay for it to be retrofitted on your MS.
I am going with 4 + 4.

prytog | April 29, 2013

I don't even have my car yet, but when I heard hardware upgrades, I thought new motherboard. I've read enough about the screen rendering speed and lock-up's brought on by gesture-overload, that I hope paid service means more RAM, and a better CPU/GPU.

bp | April 30, 2013

Had my car in for service last week - and they recommended having the tires rotated and balanced every 6K miles - which is included in the pre-paid service plans.

Was unclear if the tire rotate/balance would be included in the $600 annual inspection visit - and it didn't appear that would cover the 6K mile tire service.

tsx_5 | April 30, 2013

So my question on this...

If I drive 30K/y and purchased the 4+4 plan, and decide to have it inspected yearly, will I get 8 inspections or 3? I'm guessing 3, which would make each one about $1266. Since the agreement say no cancellations... I may be stuck.

J. Cancellation
This Agreement may not be cancelled by You or Tesla and no return of the purchase price or any other fees or taxes will be provided by Tesla to You. This Agreement is not being sold in any jurisdiction in which the sale or performance of this Agreement is not permitted pursuant to applicable law at the time of
purchase. Any such sale is void ab initio and of no force and effect and will not be deemed a cancellation. You will receive a full refund provided no services have been provided by Tesla.

herkimer | April 30, 2013

I don't know why you are guessing 3. Ask them directly. I think they will work with you, on these things. Why would more mileage not necessitate more maintenance? I think you will still come out ahead. Just MHO. Also, I think its clear from other posts, that Tesla has facilitated cancellation of service plans in view of last week's announcement, saying, essentially "no problem."

MandL | April 30, 2013


I sent an email to ownership asking if I could cancel my pre-paid plan hoping to get back "Yes, would you like to?" but I got back "Done, expect a check in a few weeks."

I really wish there was more information. If I had the kind of funds it sounds like many other Model S buyers have available I would stick with the plan and go about my day. But the car was almost 4x what I've ever paid before and a huge stretch. I can't just go dropping a couple thou here and there without thinking about it. So is it worth it? Who knows? What's covered? Who knows?

Annual inspection takes 3.5 hours and loaners are only available for service that's expected to take over four hours. I took my car in a few weeks ago to have the summer/winter wheel swap done and to fix the wipers inability to park in the proper position. I figured it would take an hour, max. It took over three. The Rockville MD Service center is in an office park with nothing remotely interesting nearby. Do I want to drive 45 minutes to get there and then spend 3.5 hours watching tv in the waiting room?

Don't get me wrong, I love my Model S. I sucked up the Signature premium, I scrounged and paid for the pre-paid service plan thinking it was saving me money (even though I drive almost 20K miles a year). I just wish there was some way to know what it really buys you. I think at this point I'm going to take the refund and hope for the best. But I wish I wasn't flying blind.

eAdopter | April 30, 2013

Regarding the scenario described by tsx_5
On Monday I called TM and had a lengthy discussion (25 minutes) with the ownership support staff. My example wasn't as extreme, but tsx_5 is correct. The 4+4 contract covers 8 years or 100k miles. It does NOT cover 8 visits. Each visit therefore costs more than $600, or $475 if paid in advance.

I don't think this current policy will fly for long. My guess is that TM will give pre-paid buyers 8 visits. Evidence of this is inherent in their decision to make visits optional. They acknowledged that people thought $600 was too much. It doesn't make sense that they'll charge more. I think TM will clarify this in the coming months.

Personally, it doesn't matter. I drive about 12k-13k miles per year and want to keep my car well maintained. I plan to take the car in for annual service. I also plan to purchase the extended warranty soon. According to the ownership support staff, this combination will cover my car (everything except tires) for 8 years or 100k mile. Perfect.

stevenmaifert | April 30, 2013

If there is to be a clarification, it needs to come in the next few days, not months. The refund clock is ticking.

DouglasR | April 30, 2013


Are you saying they told you they would charge more than $600 for a single visit if you brought the car in at, say, 15,000 miles?

rd2 | April 30, 2013

I think there should probably be an extension to the deadline for purchasing the pre-paid plans.

Just spoke to a Ownership Experience rep, and he said that 'tire rotation/balancing at 6000 miles is on our white board to discuss with Elon, in terms of whether that is covered, or not, with the $600 annual service." ... "We won't know until next Tuesday though."

He wasn't sure if you would be charged additionally or not if you brought your car in for a tire rotation mid-year, but didn't purchase the $600 annual service until the end of the year; OR if you'd be reimbursed for that extra charge; OR if the $600 covered the upcoming year's worth of tire rotation and balancing.

Apparently several owners have asked the same question about mid-year servicing costs/coverage and they haven't really figured it all out yet, it seems. Maybe it makes sense to pay your $600 at your mid-year tire rotation/balancing, but the defer the rest of the service items until the end of the year.

So I'm wondering if they will extend the deadline until they do have it figured out.

church70 | April 30, 2013

@stevenmaifert @DouglasR +1 Bottom line: Don't be a self-inflicted victim. Get service about every 12,500 miles

Hmm no lol every 12,500 miles is like 2 times a yr for me so i am out $1200 a yr no thx