Service Nightmare, Stripped-Out Prepaid Maintenance Plan and Lies

Service Nightmare, Stripped-Out Prepaid Maintenance Plan and Lies

At three months short of 5 years with my Model S I have never had occasion to make anything other than glowing comments about the service center in Scottsdale where Chris Swann has always taken very good care of me. This has all changed as of yesterday with a service experience which ranks #2 to a Toyota dealer backing my car into another car in the service drive. That one barely edges out yesterday's Tesla experience for worst ever service.

I made an appointment 10 days in advance for the airbag recall, a 12v battery replacement and the "annual service" which I prepaid for 8 years when I bought the car. When I arrived they told me that "Because these cars are maintenance-free, you are better off canceling your prepaid and just pay as you go...but we will certainly honor your prepaid service today." Use of the word "honor" set me on edge a bit and later I learned why. In the past (and I have all of the documents), they would perform a tire rotation and alignment during this annual service for which I had paid $475 x 8. I felt that made it worthwhile, but I'm getting ahead of the story.

When I picked up the car, Chris went through a weird list of items they had checked including the horn and the windows. What? That was a first. Based on the trust I had with him and Tesla which had been built over the years, I let that go but had to ask about the airbag. That's when Chris said, "Oh, we don't have the parts, so nothing was done." WHAT?!?! They could have told me that in the morning. They could have told me that up to ten days earlier. They could have called or texted or at least told me when I arrived. I had to drag this out of him. Then he fumbled papers, gave me my key and I left. On the way home I realized I did not have the customary paperwork which always shows the alignment as-found and as-left. I emailed and he responded with an email document.

That document showed that they had done virtually nothing to my car. Yes, they had changed the 12v battery at my expense, but that was it. No airbag. No alignment or tire rotation. They did not even replace the cabin air filter which was specifically listed as an item this service would cover. So I paid $237.50 EACH for new wiper blades, the most expensive wiper blades ever sold. Again, they could have told me at 9AM when I dropped off the car that the annual service had been stripped out to meaningless crap such as checking the windows, but they didn't. I did not have the opportunity to cancel my plan including this year's service. They flat-out scammed me out of $475 and they did it with a smile.

Tesla has not commented about my cancellation of this service plan or the problems I encountered, so I feel I will probably need to have my day in court along with a five year stack of documents. Tesla never even informed me they were gutting the service plan. I am not going to let this one go. Apart from fiscal injury they crapped all over the trust I had for the company and at this time I would never consider another Tesla car. If I want to be treated like garbage I'll buy a Mercedes and at least know what to expect. Tesla has changed and not for the better by any means. Those of us who trusted them and put six figures on the line to help this company survive deserve a lot better than to be manipulated and used in this manner.

charles.a.braun | 12 juni 2019

Several months ago. Tesla made a blog post on their website about no longer recommending annual or mileage based service. I guess you were never made aware of that?

I was and I immediately followed their guidelines to the letter on how to request a refund of the unused portion, including a motorized document showing current mileage. I also enclosed a copy of my receipt and was very clear that I was cancelling the annual pre-paid service plan and not the 4 yrs 50k mile extended warranty.

They responded by sending me another form to fill out which I did and a few weeks later a $2000 check arrived via fed ex.

Jump ahead a few weeks to last week when i had an appointment for the airbag fix and a new right headlight. I was told that the car was out of warranty at 60,000 miles and that I would have to pay out of pocket.

Uh, no, I dont think so and I texted back that I was still under warranty.

I heard nothing more about the headlight until I picked the car up and it was not fixed. They say they didnt have the part and they ordered it and mobile service will schedule when available.

I have sent an email to servicehelpna or whatever that email is asking them to confirm that it was the prepaid service that was cancelled and not the extended warranty but a week has passed and not a peep.

Tesla is a logistical nightmare. Nobody talks to anybody. Nobody takes responsibility. Everybody blames everybody else. Just horrible and embarrassing.

stevenmaifert | 12 juni 2019

When did you purchase your annual pre-paid service plan? I purchased a 4+4 in 2013 and it clearly says "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." Do you have a link for the blog post you are referencing? I can't seem to find it. Thanks.

charles.a.braun | 12 juni 2019

This is the blog post and the last Q&A on the page talks about cancelation and refund.

charles.a.braun | 12 juni 2019

Oh, and I purchase Sep 2016

p.c.mcavoy | 13 juni 2019

@stevenmaifert - terms of the plan likely changed along the way. I purchased mine mid-2016 and has refund language referenced abovel.

However, need to understand that actual refund terms in the pre-paid maintenance agreement. It's prorated on mileage or time. So say you have a 4 year plan, you've only used 2 of the 4 services so far, but you're almost to the time/mileage for the third service. You won't get half the cost refunded, more near 1/4th even though still have 2 of 4 services remaining.

In my case I have 1 service event left on my 4 year agreement, but I'm at about 46.5k out of 50 miles, so would only get little less than 10% back even though 1/4th of the service not performed, including the year 4 service was one of the highest dollar services based upon the original schedule.

While technically I could get a refund, from what I can tell, I'm actually better off to go ahead and use my last service and hope they will cover as much of what the plan would have suggested when I actually purchased it.

Silver2K | 13 juni 2019

There are lots of texts that go into the black hole.

I requested a price quote for driver side upper door hinge that is held on by 6 bolts and can be replaced by owner and have not received any responses. The mobile tech checked and saw the request on my account, but no responses. When it came to getting a repair done, the responses were fairly quick.

Customer service has been horrendous to say the least, but mobile techs have been great. Things have got to change.

bp | 13 juni 2019

The maintenance plan agreements for our 2017 S and 2018 X don't allow Tesla to cancel the plans or change the terms. However, the agreement allows owners to cancel the plans and request a refund for the unused portion of the maintenance.

Last week it was time for our 2018 X to have its first annual/12.5K maintenance. I checked with Tesla - and was assured Tesla would abide by the terms of the plan - and provide the maintenance that was recommended when the plans were purchased, even though that's more than the currently recommended maintenance.

They did not perform an alignment only because they inspected the tires and determined no alignment was needed - which has been their policy since we purchased our first Tesla with a pre-paid maintenance plan in early 2013.

When I scheduled the service last week, I selected "Other" in the smartphone app and stated I wanted the first annual/12.5K mile maintenance on our X - and that's what they did.

stevenmaifert | 13 juni 2019

@p.c.mcavoy - I am in a similar situation. I have 2 annual service visits left on my 4+4 and would be better off using them instead of asking for a refund in spite of the language in my 2013 service plan. My 6th annual was done in January and the San Diego service center did do everything that was called for prior to Tesla saying that annual service is no longer required. I also have the Extended Service Agreement (aka extended warranty) which requires I have the car serviced as recommended by Tesla. I'm unclear as to what I need to do, but I guess if I do what is recommend on I'm living up to my side of the ESA contract.

mcmack15 | 13 juni 2019

Seems like there is more going on her than meets the eye. Strongly worded negative post from a five year customer that apparently had no prior issues at all---just 5 years of great ownership. And he is 'not going to let this one go' over some $500, of which it sounds like he could have gotten back if he wanted to by cancelling his contract. OK, they messed up on the communication over the air bag, but such a post just 1 day after things happened and after 5 years of being a happy just doesn't sound right---maybe the OP, Johncrab, can fill us in if there is more to this

And it makes me wonder about such a post on the day the stock rose on positive news from Musk, etc.. To me, and I could be 1000% off base, it just comes across as someone trying to offset the good news of the day for Tesla. | 13 juni 2019

@mcmack - +1

Rare to see someone go over the deep end on what appear to be a misunderstanding by the owner. Tesla suggested he cancel the prepaid maintenance and get money back, but he elected not to and then complains about not taking Tesla's recommendations. To make it out as lies, make multiple posts and then call out the service manager seems a bit crazy to me. Something is seriously amiss, but I'm doubtful it's Tesla.

reed_lewis | 13 juni 2019

I have had some sub-optimal service at my service center, but I would never go off the deep end like @johncrab seems to have done.

As long as they take care of the issues in a timely manner, I am happy. Maybe not ecstatic, but I am happy.

reed_lewis | 13 juni 2019

...And I love that:
1. People here think a post that is negative is trying to lower the stock price.
2. That a post here could affect the stock price.

carlk | 13 juni 2019

Pretty weird post. At best it's an user error from someone who did not aware of publicly available info. At worst it's what @mcmack15 was thinking about.

carlk | 13 juni 2019


1. Yes there is always that possibility.
2. Yes and there are those who think they are real smart.
"One of the more remarkable things I discovered in my Tesla homework is how much time, money, energy and hatred is aimed at trying to make this company fail."

mcmack15 | 13 juni 2019

reed-lewis------I have read many of your posts since we bought our S, and I always found them helpful, insightful and on the money. In your 2nd post above I can see where you are coming from and I understand completely---------my two cents-----in this case the OP's post just doesn't pass the smell test for me. I honestly think the OP got up on the wrong side of the bed and just wasn't clear headed; or he forgot to take his meds; or he took too many meds.; or has some other agenda.

Five years of happy ownership and basically just because he didn't get his tire rotation and wheel alignment (as Tesla obviously felt it wasn't needed---no different treatment that many of us have received this past year), he posts this extremely negative thread. He compares this slight to another experience he had when another dealer backed his car into another vehicle. He uses phrases such as "they had done virtually nothing to my car" when prior to that he noted they went down a list of things they did; 'stripped to meaningless crap;' ;they flat out scammed me;' 'I will need my day in court;'' 'I am not going let this one go;' 'if I wanted to be treated like garbage;' 'I would never consider another Tesla car;' 'than to be manipulated in this manner.' It just seems a bit much for not getting a tire rotation and alignment-------when it wasn't needed.

Mathew98 | 13 juni 2019

We all have good days and bad ones. Let's not all pile in and assume the worst from the OP.

Just because I was 100% satisfied with the quick rangers visit at my work garage this week, it doesn't mean others would feel the same at their local service center.

Providing constructive criticism is better than poking him with pitchforks.

carlk | 13 juni 2019

There is no assuming there. That was real bad manner even if things he said 100% check.

tes-s | 13 juni 2019

Constructive criticism - take the refund for pre-paid service and move on.