Tesla Owners Are Mistakenly Butt-Dialing Thousands Of Dollars In Upgrades Then Having To Fight For A Refund

You would think that a purchase of thousands of dollars would require an authorization, a password, something to prove it’s an actual transaction. But it turns out, Tesla will accept a phone call, even if it’s a butt-dial.

Butt-dialing, or pocket dialing, is common in the age of everyone having phones in their pockets. But a call that results in a $2,000 upgrade to your car? That’s a mistake you don’t want to make. This was what happened to Stefan Peterson who, like many Tesla owners can upgrade their Teslas via the Tesla mobile app. The problem is that while it’s convenient, it often results in thousands of dollars in unwanted purchases.

Stefan is not alone. Several others have made the same butt-dialing mistake. Both Nassim Taleb and Ali Vaziri had the same issue but for double the amount of money. Vaziri says he linked a credit card to his Tesla account and was charged for a $4,280 software upgrade for his Tesla on Sept. 24 without even being aware of opening the app and had trouble getting a refund.

Vaziri said he had never purchased anything through the Tesla app before. Naturally, immediately after he received the mobile alert from his bank, Vaziri called his local Tesla store and service center. While they couldn’t help they gave him the number for a customer service hotline.

He called the number and requested a refund. However, instead of processing the refund request on the spot, the customer service rep told Vaziri to click on the refund button in his Tesla app to process his request.

Vaziri found no such button and was then turned to the Help Center who turned him in the direction of his local dealership, which is where he started. How frustrating. Vaziri was able to put a stop payment on the purchase, but as of now, Vaziri says Tesla customer service has not provided him with a refund.

“The car has been great since I’ve had it. But this has been a nightmare. The customer service is horrendous,” Vaziri told CNBC.

Tesla CEO responded on Twitter saying:

Nassim Taleb, a butt-dialing victim, said, “They initially refused. They refunded me after I raised hell on Twitter. Then I saw they did not refund others, I raised even more hell: my point was that public venues are there to correct public, not individual, grievances.”

It does appear that Tesla is taking steps to make sure this doesn’t happen. Software is being updated so that Tesla no longer opts customers in to buy upgrades by default. Now, Tesla users must tick the box for the upgrade they want. Tesla now also sends an e-mail to users after they make a purchase through the Tesla app on the day of that purchase to eliminate surprises.

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