Two class action lawsuits accuse Tesla of discouraging drivers from using independent shops for service work
March 18, 2023 at 13:24
by Chris Chilton
Tesla’s lawyers have had another busy week, and this time it’s got nothing to do with Elon Musk’s tweets or Tesla’s autonomous tech.
No, this time Tesla has been hit with not one, but two antitrust class action suits. The first came on Tuesday, and a second followed on Wednesday, according to Reuters, both accusing Tesla of making owners wait longer and pay more for repairs than is necessary by unlawfully squashing competition from independent shops wanting a slice of the Tesla service and repair market.
The cases would cover anyone who has had their Tesla repaired by an authorized Tesla workshop since March 2019, and although neither lawsuit puts a dollar figure on damages sought, the cost could total hundreds of millions of dollars if Tesla loses.
According to the wording in the lawsuits Tesla’s determination to keep owners inside the official service network resulted in massive wait times for drivers who would have been happy to take their car to an independent shop given the option. But the suits say the design of Tesla’s cars and the way its warranties and repair policies are configured means that’s actively discouraged.
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The suits are demanding that Tesla’s monopoly on servicing and the supply of spare parts is stopped and calls for the company to make both repair manuals and diagnostic tools available to independent shops “at a reasonable cost.”
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Tesla owners have previously complained about being forced to wait unusually long for service slots, several weeks in the case of one woman whose car was delivered without one of its brake pads. And although CEO Elon Musk promised last year that he would improve the level of service in North America, his attempts haven’t gone without a hitch. Last year it was reported that Tesla was using untrained employees in some of its service centers in order to reduce wait times for customers.