Tesla Ripped me off and will not do anything about it!

Tesla Ripped me off and will not do anything about it!

Tesla is hitting new lows. Back on December 15th I stopped to charge my car and get a cup of coffee. I plugged my car in and got my coffee and came back 15 minutes later. My car had stopped charging and had a message on my console saying my car was not plugged in and to reattach the cord. So I unplugged and left. Later I discovered they charged me a idle fee for the 15 or so minutes I was there. After trying to reach them for over a month and leaving messages and sending support messages on the owner page of the web site I finally got through by calling the emergency road side assistance number. They passed me on to another support line and ultimately they refused to get rid of the idle fee. They said it does not matter why the car stopped charging, even if it is a malfunction of the charger you will still be charged idle fees!

BTW I have stopped at this charge since and on several occasions I got the same error and had to move my car to a different charge before my car would charge.

So is this a new way for Tesla to make money? Have the charge unexpectedly stop charging and then charge you idle fees?

rob | January 2, 2020

How much did you have to pay in idle fees?

bill | January 2, 2020

It is only about $9 but it is the principle. Why should I have to pay when their equipment malfunctioned?

rob | January 2, 2020

you probably won't like my comments but...

1. the idle fee is not a revenue generator. It is a deterrent for idling. And it worked. You didn't let it happen the next time you went back. That benefits all the others in line at the SC

2. you are probably putting more than $9 of energy into it. I understand the "principal" part. Late fees and such are my pet peeve too.

Let it go.

SnowFlake | January 2, 2020

I haven't charged but recently after the software update, I do not get the charge complete message or approaching the limit message. But when I reached home and my phone connected to Wi-Fi then all the messages poping up.
My data is on and I have given access to Tesla APp to consistently use the same as before when the messages were showing.on my phone..but recent update on the car seems to be not generating those messages through the car's LTE connection . When car connects to Wi-Fi then messages start poping up.

tes-s | January 3, 2020

Many people have reported getting their first idle fee waived when they are in for their next service.

I'd be willing to bet the next time you are in for service, they will give you a $9 credit. If you have to, take out a loan to cover the $9 until then, and ask for credit for the $9 plus interest at your next service visit.

johncrab | January 3, 2020

“‘Tis the way of things.” - Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Mathew98 | January 3, 2020

Are you that guy who shakes the vending machine violently like you were the Hulk? All to chase that $0.75 bag of chips. Should have called that 800 service number.

Pungoteague_Dave | January 3, 2020

This is the Business We've Chosen

-Hyman Roth

Mathew98 | January 3, 2020

@PD +1 because he just went gangsta on us!

GoldAK47 | January 3, 2020

You should go steal $9 worth of coffee from service center.
If anyone confronts you, use your rage....and tell them... George got ripped off. George is getting very mad.

Jerry or Elaine will bail you out.

Bighorn | January 3, 2020

You could contest the charge with your CC provider, but you may run into trouble in the future when you go to charge.

mialink | January 3, 2020

I had a similar experience last week. I wasn’t watching my app that closely and when I got back to the car it was finished, 5 of 8 chargers in use. 15 minutes later I got 3 text messages telling me charging almost done, charging done idle fees may apply, idle fees applying. Was a little pissed as I never leave my car idle. A few minutes later I get an email saying first offense waved.

Ddowns2050 | January 3, 2020

Tesla needs to use common sense. Why just piss off customers. The intent is for people not to purposely leave their car plugged in after charging is finished and if they do fine them. Not to trip people up and charge them on a malfunction. I don't care if it is only $9. That being said you should make sure your car is actually charging before leaving it. And no I have never had an idle fee. I know the guys at the service center and I believe if this happened to me they would waive the charge. If I was the OP I would try asking at your local service center.

Bighorn | January 3, 2020

The operators in Draper, UT unfortunately don't seem to have the latitude to fix even small financial issues. And escalation often seems to get lost by the wayside. I have had mistaken idle charges credited back to me, but couldn't seem to get a small, errant supercharger charge on a FUSC car removed. I just evened the score with a local fill-up and got over it.

NKYTA | January 3, 2020

Oh boy.

akikiki | January 3, 2020

It's really inconsiderate of Tesla to not stop the train - everything they are doing to refund $9. Who do they think they are !! Don't they understand how far someone can drive on $9 ? tsk tsk. I'm ready to contribute to a Gofundme account.

NKYTA | January 3, 2020


sentabo | January 3, 2020

I'll volunteer to cover the whole $9 ito the Gofundme account if it will keep the whiners away.

akikiki | January 3, 2020

sentabo, roflmao

jjs | January 4, 2020

OP I agree with the principal of it. Yes.
Unfortunately a more agree with those that call for perspective. As frustrating as this may be, you are asking a company who just increase sales/shipments by 50% year over year, in a highly capital intensive industry, against all odds, against all the "professional experts" predictions of failure, an unprecedented achievement, to put in place procedures to seamlessly, politely return your $9. The probably will someday. Right now, they have bigger fish to fry.

Trust me, I have PLENTY of things I COULD be upset about regarding Tesla and different interactions I have had. But on balance, when I step back and look at what they are doing, and how fast they are doing it, I just marvel at the effort, smile, and buy another Tesla.
Cybertruck anyone?

Stay calm and carry on.

jjs | January 4, 2020

"..I more agree..."

pdev | January 4, 2020

I suggest that Bill start drinking decaf and chill. If that doesn't work donate his S to charity.

NKYTA | January 4, 2020

@jjs, my Dutch friend/colleague who resides in the UK gave me a “Keep Calm and Carry On” plaque a decade ago, which has followed me around all my Bay Area jobs. An Ops thing.

It might be as appropriate today as it was in ‘39.

sentabo | January 4, 2020

pdev | January 4, 2020
I suggest that Bill start drinking decaf and chill. If that doesn't work donate his S to charity.

Good call on the donation. He could get a great return on his $9 investment with the tax write off.

akikiki | January 4, 2020

bill, I think its time to say this. No one's laughing at you for your frustration. We are in the same frustration boat as you. Its just not happening/happened to us recently so we are just poking a little fun. You've been around here a long time now. If we didn't love ya, we wouldn't pick on you a little. We love ya bro. And you are right.

Bighorn | January 4, 2020

Or we could curate the blame to the folks who abused chargers in the first place, necessitating idle fees when good citizens demanded a solution from Tesla. It's on par with being mad at SpaceX over not getting your parking validated at the first Mars launch. Priorities.

tes-s | January 5, 2020

They're not going to validate my parking?? Forget it then - I'm cancelling my reservation.

apodbdrs | January 5, 2020

Idle fees were adopted at the request of customers pissed off with people that would occupy the charger(s) and walk away sometimes for hours. It helps to check your vehicle's display to make sure it is indeed charging!

Mi75d | January 5, 2020

"They said it does not matter why the car stopped charging, even if it is a malfunction of the charger you will still be charged idle fees!"

That's pretty irritating. The last time I Supercharged, the car started charging, but after a few minutes just stopped. I tried again, but it didn't work. So I changed stations. This does sometimes happen.

Do you make use of the notices that you can get through the app? One of the notices is "Stopped charging." If you got that notice in the coffee shop, you could have gone back out and dealt with it.

Uncle Paul | January 6, 2020

Dad always told me...when a person says it is not the money, but the is always the money.

Bighorn | January 11, 2020

I got an email yesterday in follow up to my email 3 weeks ago about correcting a $3 supercharging error. They’re getting back to work after diverting to year end deliveries. | January 11, 2020

@Uncle Paul - the best laugh of the day - and true :)

bill | January 11, 2020

@Mi75d I do keep an eye on the app but I was only gone 15 minutes and my phone could not connect to the car. This is a frequent issue at this particular charger.

And you guys are absolutely correct that it is not worth $9. I rant and rave about things like this to hopefully change the behavior of not using common sense when dealing with things like this.

As many have pointed out whining about people leaving there cars at chargers for hours on end is what caused Tesla to make a change,

I have always believed the policy is to strict. 50% is a lot for stations with 8 + chargers. 5 minutes is not realistically enough time to check you phone every minute and get to your car in time. A lot of chargers a a distance to the nearest rest room (luckily as a guy I can work around that problem most of the time :) ). Also I am always alone so I can't rely on someone with me to help me keep checking the car.

bill | January 11, 2020

And don't make comments about my being alone!!!! :)

Rheumboy | January 11, 2020

Insanity is defined as using the same charger over and over hoping for a different outcome

akikiki | January 11, 2020

Gee, you folks are so lucky that you have an idle fee problem. You don't appreciate it.

bill | January 11, 2020

@Rheumboy So what else are you suppose to do when it is the only charger that can get you all the way home?

bill | January 11, 2020

BTW I stopped there today and it happens to me three times in a row., Here is the sequence:

Plug in
Car starts to charge
3 km later it says it is unplugged.
Plug in
Starts to charge for a few km
Says it is unplugged

If my car is unplugged how is it I get an idle fee? Does it know my car is in the spot?

This time I got out of line at the Star Bucks 3 times before it hit 5 minutes.

While I was doing this another guys said he was having the same problem and this is the only station I have hjad issues with.

So I called Tesla Support and a recorded message said you do not need to report SC problems they already know!

When I called a few weeks ago they told me there was nothing wrong with the charger and it must be because I am at 80% and if the station is crowded they now stop charging at 80%. I was at 60%.

avesraggiana | January 12, 2020

This has happened to me too. I was never more annoyed at Tesla, a company I've always loved, even with its quixotic and oratorically inept founder and CEO.

I took up the claim with my credit card company first who simply refunded my account. It was measly $4.50c and they even said they weren't going to bother fighting to get the money back from Tesla.

Tesla sent me an email basically telling me, "tough ti++ies!" It wasn't their fault that their supercharger had stopped inexplicably, but it was my fault that I had not checked my phone every minute to ensure that my car was still charging, thus missing the screen notification that charging had stopped. Neither did my phone buzz, click or bleat telling me thus.

I was pissed.

barrykmd | January 12, 2020

avesraggiana | January 12, 2020
I took up the claim with my credit card company first who simply refunded my account. It was measly $4.50c and they even said they weren't going to bother fighting to get the money back from Tesla.

That's a shame. It removes the satisfaction of battling a company that constantly craps on its customers.

plusplusjames | January 13, 2020

There is a known issue about Supercharging Interuptus. A fix is unknown.

bill | January 13, 2020


"There is a known issue about Supercharging Interuptus"

Maybee it will result in baby Superchargers!

"A fix is unknown."

Why would they fix something generating revenue?

Bighorn | January 13, 2020

I got refunded my errant supercharging fee a couple days ago.

avesraggiana | January 14, 2020

@Bighorn. Was it just a nominal amount? If it was, then your credit card company probably just credited your account, and charged it off as the cost of doing business.

I was appalled at how flinty Tesla Customer Service was, in refusing to acknowledge their part in this problem. What I asked for was a refund of $4.50, for an erroneously charged “Idle Fee.” The supercharger had stopped charging my car at 39%, nowhere near the 90% I had set. This being the Fashion Valley location in Mission Valley, San Diego CA, I’m certain every stall was occupied when charging to my car stopped.

Bighorn | January 14, 2020

CC knew nothing about it. Tesla contacted Chase and returned the $3. Ended up handled through email, but a very accommodating and apologetic guy in Utah spent half an hour on the phone with me while he connected with other departments trying to sort it out. Received a couple apologies for how long it took to fix, but I understood it was happening at a very busy time that was critical for company performance. Can hardly complain when that performance is building fortunes for the early believers.

avesraggiana | January 14, 2020

@Bighorn. Wow...very different response. Good for you.

My first email to Tesla asking for redress was a polite, almost beseeching missive. Not obsequious I hope.

My second email in response to their curt refusal was equally curt, and less amicable.

Pungoteague_Dave | January 14, 2020

@BH which is why I refuse to put a credit card on file. Might have to when the comm charges eventually kick in, but for now, they have no way to whack me without affirmative permission.

Bighorn | January 14, 2020

I pulled mine after some mistaken idle charges, which all got properly refunded. Added it back to add FSD. I got a mistaken supercharging fee on my FUSC Model 3 and I thought about pulling it again, but reconsidered when I heard of someone unable to supercharge because they didn’t have a credit card on file. Would rather work through a refund than find myself unable to charge when I took my daughter to take her GRE that week. Curiously, I wasn’t charged on that trip, but it wasn’t worth the gamble.

bill | January 14, 2020


Tesla Support told me it does not matter if the charger stops when it was not suppose to. You are liable for idle charges regardless of why the car stopped charging.

I do not have a CC on file so they have not been able to charge me but I am concerned that at some point it will cause me a problem. | January 14, 2020

@bill - Long ago, I was told if you don't have a CC on file, they just accrue the charges and they will appear on the next service bill when you bring the car in for service. I've never heard if this is actually done, but just be aware it might be one way they could collect.

The larger concern would be if they disable Supercharging for non-payment. Again, I don't think they've done that, but it's always possible. I'd hope they would warn you before taking any actions like that.