Tesla repays customer $175,000 for hidden structural damage on used Model S
You'd think buying from a Tesla dealer would be a safe bet - apparently not!
Tesla has taken some flak in the past for its hit-and-miss quality control (QC) record, but this must be one of the worst cases of negligence to hit the headlines in recent years.
One owner in China bought a Tesla Model S second-hand directly from a Tesla dealership, expecting it to be thoroughly inspected prior to going on sale. Buying from a dealership is usually more expensive than going private, but the peace-of-mind associated with dealerships and professional salespeople usually outweighs the extra financial cost.
However, that wasn't the case this time. After paying for his Model S, the owner discovered that the car had hidden structural damage. It turns out that the C-pillar and rear fender had been cut and welded back together, leading the owner to (rightfully) sue Tesla.
In the end, the court ordered Tesla to pay the buyer 1.14 million Yuan (around $175,000) after they determined the components were cut and welded following an unrecorded crash, as reported by Business Insider.
The court also ordered a third-party inspection of the Model S, which determined that the repairs may have affected the vehicles driving characteristics, along with a statement saying the purchase price of the car should've been significantly lower than it was.
Despite only paying around $58,000 for the Model S at the time, Chinese consumer law states that a business found selling fraudulent (in this case, misdescribed) products must pay the buyer triple the items purchase price, adding up to around $175,000 in this instance.
Interestingly, Tesla denies the claim of structural damage and intend to appeal the decision, despite noting that the car was in fact involved in a crash during January 2019. It remains to be seen whether the appeal will be successful, but in the meantime, make sure you get any secondhand car thoroughly inspected before purchasing.