Have you heard the story about the used-car dealer who removes the window tint from trade-ins – so he can sell window tint as an option to the next customer? Now it appears electric car maker Tesla is doing something similar but with optional electronic features.
According to a report by CarScoops, Tesla is remotely deactivating features on some of its vehicles in the United States when they are sold from the original owner to a used-car buyer.
The report claims that, at first, the only cars affected had been sold and bought privately.
The first case reported 'Enhanced Autopilot' and 'Full Self Driving Capability' features of a Model S being deactivated by Tesla after the car had been sold to a privately-owned used car dealership – and subsequently advertised as having the features.
The features had been optioned by the original buyer at a cost of AU$13,100.
Above: Tesla Model S
When the vehicle was purchased from the used car dealership and found not to have the features advertised, the buyer contacted Tesla. A representative from Tesla stated to the owner that the features had been removed due to a company audit of vehicles equipped with – versus sold as-new with – optional features.
“Tesla has recently identified instances of customers being incorrectly configured for Autopilot versions that they did not pay for,” a Tesla US representative told the buyer. “We looked back at your purchase history and unfortunately Full Self Driving was not a feature that you had paid for.”
The representative then offered to sell the features back to the owner.
However, as reported by Jalopnik, features have also been removed from used vehicles bought back and re-sold by US Tesla dealerships.
Above: Tesla Model X
One customer claims that a Model X he bought originally equipped with 'Ludicrous Mode' – a AU$32,700 option – had the mode removed after he took delivery because he had not paid for the feature.
However, contradicting the claims, Tesla customer support in the US told Jalopnik that features are connected to the car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) and that optional extras purchased by the original owner do move with the vehicle through the used-car market.
CarAdvice has been told no Australian-delivered Tesla cars have had features removed after entering the used market, and that the only time Tesla Australia may remove functions of used cars is when the car has been bought back by Tesla and is being prepared for sale as a used model.
Tesla Australia can add additional features onto used cars that were not originally sold with them at a buyer’s request, however the options attract the same price as if the car were new.