Tesla Owner Files Lawsuit Over High Maintenance Prices, Limited Parts
Long wait times for Tesla repairs isn’t a new story, but now some have had enough. In a lawsuit reportedly filed against the company this week, Tesla owners are taking the automaker to task for outrageously high prices and long repair times. The suit claims that Tesla is monopolizing both replacement parts and services to the detriment of vehicle owners. Unfortunately for Tesla, this is just the latest in a string of legal troubles for the brand.
Tesla sued for limited repair capacity
In a Bloomberg report, a Model S owner filed the class action suit against Tesla on March 14th. Filed in a federal court in San Francisco, the lawsuit states that owners of combustion vehices have multiple options for maintenance and repairs. Not only can traditional vehicles be repaired at a number of service centers, but owners have the option to repair the vehicles themselves if they so choose.
In addition, parts for traditional vehicles can come from manufacturers beyond the OEM. With generic and aftermarket parts available for nearly every vehicle application, the discrepancy between Tesla and legacy automakers is stark.
Is Tesla monopolizing repairs and parts?
According to the suit, filed by Tesla Model S owner Virginia M. Lambrix, Tesla owners have just one option when it comes to repairing and maintaining their vehicles. Tesla itself.
The suit claims that only the brand itself or Tesla-approved service centers are allowed to work on these vehicles. Worse yet, those approved service centers must use only Tesla-manufactured components.
In doing so, Tesla is being sued on grounds that it is violating antitrust laws. Lambrix goes on to say that Tesla is leveraging its unique standing in the market to prevent repair and maintenance dollars from leaving its umbrella.
Customer complaints have been longstanding
Of course, lengthy delays and expensive replacement parts aren’t news for those that have been following Tesla for the past few years. In 2018, it wasn’t unusual for Tesla owners to wait weeks or months for even basic vehicle repairs like brakes and suspension components.
Those waiting on more complex parts related to the electric motors or in-car electronics could see even longer wait times.
The suit addresses this as well, stating “[owners] suffer lengthy delays in repairing or maintaining their electric vehicles, only to pay supra-competitive prices for those parts and repairs once they are finally provided.”
Will the Tesla lawsuit be successful?
At this time, it’s difficult to know whether or not the lawsuit against Tesla will be a success. The company has several patents that make it difficult for third-party manufacturers to create less expensive replacement components. However, there are also several sourced parts within Tesla vehicles that should be easy to source outside the manufacturer umbrella.
It isn’t unusual for auto manufacturers to require in-house parts and labor for warranty repairs. However, once the vehicle is beyond its warranty, owners are free to repair their vehicles how they see fit, and there is a wide ability to do so. That Tesla continues to limit where and how owners service their vehicles beyond the warranty period is certainly unusual.
Unfortunately, there is no way to reach out to Tesla directly for comment on the lawsuit. In addition, the company has yet to formally respond to the suit.
We will continue to provide updates as we learn more.