Buying a car from Tesla has been quite the experience. I’ve never had such poor communication and customer service from a company. The last couple of months have been a complete shit show. Since I read so many other horror stories, I was prepared for it and kept notes of the entire process.
When Tesla can nail down their communications and delivery processes, their car buying experience will be light years better than walking into a dealership and playing games with salespeople.
Anyway, here is how everything went for me…
October 10, 2014 – I posted “Will someone buy me a Tesla?” on Facebook. This is the first mention I could find. I’m pretty sure this was right after seeing videos of Insane Mode on a Tesla Model S.
March 31, 2016 – Tesla unveils the Model 3.
October 29, 2016 – I learned that deposits on a Model 3 reservation could be cancelled any time. Forked over $1,000 for a place in line, with an expected delivery of mid 2018.
November 1, 2017 – Got an email about delays, pushing the estimated delivery back. I want to say the estimated delivery was June 2018 – July 2018 at this point, because it was going to be right around the time my Ford Fusion lease would end.
February 7, 2018 – Got an email delaying the estimated delivery again. The estimate moved to August 2018 – October 2018.
June 27, 2018 – Tesla opened up the Configurator to all reservation holders. I configured my car, handed over another $2,500 (no longer refundable) and got a new delivery estimate of September 2018 – November 2018.
August 17, 2018 – I got an email that the white interior was available (or maybe it was just a reminder?) for an upgrade. It looks sweet and gets rid of the strip of wood across the dash, which always looked out-of-place to me. I had been contemplating changing the exterior color anyway and after looking at some examples of the white online I made up my mind. Switched from the Obsidian Black Metallic with black interior to the Deep Blue Metallic with white interior. I figured if I’m spending that much I might as well get exactly what I want. The changes moved my estimated delivered out to October 2018 – December 2018.
August 25, 2018 – Logged in to my Tesla account and the estimated delivery moved up to September 2018 – November 2018 again.
September 6, 2018 – A Delivery Scheduling Advisor (DSA) sent me an email, which included the following:
Your pick-up location will be at our Cleveland-Lyndhurst location.
Your Model 3 will be available between Wednesday, September 19 through Wednesday, September 26.
Except it was supposed to be delivered to my house, so I replied to clear things up. Wasn’t expecting anything for another month or more, so this was a nice surprise.
September 10, 2018 – The Edit Design link disappeared from my account and it started prompting for my loan info even though I haven’t been giving a VIN yet.
September 11, 2018 – Applied for a loan at COPOCO Community Credit Union.
A Home Delivery Specialist (HDS) emailed to confirm payment via third-party loan, no trade-in, and delivery center (where home delivery comes from) before submitting final documents and scheduling delivery. Never did get a response from the DSA.
September 12, 2018 – Loan approved for 71 months at 2.25%.
An email from the HDS told me to respond to some items in my account, which I’d already done earlier in the day. My selections had all reverted and I know they had saved because I accessed my account several times after updating. Updated the options again.
September 13, 2018 – Got the VIN number via email from the HDS.
Called to start checking on insurance.
Later the HDS called to give a delivery update. Was looking like the first week of October, but I’d be in Orlando, so probably the week of October 8th. A lot still depends on when it gets to Cleveland, inspection, etc.
September 17, 2018 – HDS let me know the car wouldn’t be to Cleveland until the beginning of October, so no chance of driving down to pick up the car before my trip to Orlando. Delivery should be the week of the 8th.
September 26, 2018 – Received the Motor Vehicle Purchase Agreement (MVPA), but the financed amount was too high so it showed a negative balance due.
September 28, 2018 – Called the HDS who I hadn’t heard from in 11 days and left a voicemail. Called the Cleveland-Lyndhurst Tesla service center. They told me someone from the delivery team would call me back that day. Never got a call.
October 1, 2018 – Still no response from Tesla, but my account now shows my VIN and has significantly changed. Was able to change my financed amount, so hopefully they’ll send the updated MVPA.
October 2, 2018 – Called the Cleveland-Lyndhurst Tesla service center again. Delivery is still on schedule for some time next week and I’ll get more info as it gets closer. They’ll get me the updated MVPA in the next day or so.
October 4, 2018 – Called the service center again and pretty sure I talked to the same guy as the last call. He said he’ll nudge the delivery specialist again, but there wasn’t anything he could directly do. I should be getting contact soon to schedule the delivery though. Well I sure hope so because I’m supposed to get the car next week and I still don’t have the correct paperwork to give my bank.
October 8, 2018 – Logged in and my account now shows “Estimated delivery Sept. ’18 – Nov. ’18” again. I’m guessing this is automatic since it had said today at midnight, which passed by. Still waiting to hear from the HDS to schedule the actual delivery. Decided to call him directly and he picked right up after seeing my name on the called ID. Has been trying to get the contract folks to update the agreement for me so we can process final payment. My car is ready and waiting in Cleveland. He even called me back before his day was over to let me know he is still putting pressure on the contract folks.
October 9, 2018 – Didn’t hear from the HDS. I called at the end of the day with no answer and a full voicemail box. Sent an email. How hard is it to change one number on a contract?
October 10, 2018 – Called the HDS, no answer and voicemail was still full. Called Cleveland but must be closed for the day. Called the main Tesla Sales number and was floored when it went right through! Got passed around a little, but explained I’ve been waiting 2 weeks for a correct MVPA. After he was trying to tell me there is nothing he could do to push it along, I told him that’s the same thing the HDS told me and I’m still waiting. Asked if there was any way to expedite it and obviously there was. He also let me know they need a copy of my current insurance, so while waiting I sent in a copy. Maybe 30 minutes later the HDS called and had the updated MVPA!
October 11, 2018 – Took care of insurance and signed the loan at a local credit union.
October 12, 2018 – Wire transfer was sent in the morning.
October 14, 2018 – My account updated to show the payment step has been completed.
October 15, 2018 – In the morning my account was back to showing Sept-Nov since 12am on the 15th had passed. In the afternoon it showed October 17, 2018 at 12:00am. I called Cleveland later and was told that tentatively the car is scheduled to get on a truck on Wednesday. If that happens, the truck driver will call me with an expected time. I had been under the impression the home delivery had to be scheduled.
October 17, 2018 – No word from anyone and my account is back to showing a Sept-Nov delivery. Called Cleveland and this guy said the last status shows there was a hold because of the incorrect MVPA, though he does see payment was made and everything should be ready. I’m supposed to be contacted by their delivery coordinator. So the guy I talked to on Monday was full of shit about the car getting on a truck today. Today’s guy flagged my account for the delivery coordinator to look at. Hopefully I hear back soon.
In the afternoon I called the main Tesla Sales number to escalate. I finally got a very helpful woman who seemed to care. Apparently in their system, my account showed I would be picking the car up in Cleveland! No wonder those idiots weren’t scheduling my home delivery. She said it was really odd that they’d be putting 12am in for the scheduled deliveries and she reached out to the HDS and his manager. I was on hold for a while, but she wasn’t getting a response, so she said she would call me back.
After waiting 3 hours, I tried calling the HDS. No answer. Started calling the main Tesla Sales number again. While waiting, the HDS called me apologizing and basically saying the other people I’ve talked to are full of shit. My car is on the list for home delivery. Sounded like maybe the woman did get ahold of the manager and got up his ass. He’s waiting for a transport truck to be available for my car. I explained I’m already paying insurance for a vehicle I don’t have. He said he’d talk to his manager to see if they could do something there. I’m hoping for at least a Super Charge credit like others have gotten. I asked when I could expect an update on the delivery and he said he’d call me every day until we get it scheduled.
October 18, 2018 – Started thinking more and who knows, it could be another week or two of waiting! Emailed the HDS in the morning to ask if it’s not going to be delivered this week, would they get me a rental car so I could drive down to Cleveland and pick up the car Friday or Saturday.
The HDS called me in the evening and said they have a truck confirmed for Monday, so I’ll have my car within a few days after that. Once it’s loaded, the driver will call me with a better date and time estimate. My account updated to show a delivery appointment of Oct. 24, 2018 at 12:00 AM.
October 22, 2018 – Called Cleveland at 10:30 to see if things were still on schedule. Was told the truck was almost there to start loading up. At 2pm I checked my Tesla account and it was back to saying Estimated delivery Sept.’18 – Nov.’18. How can their systems be so messed up? Hoping it means the car got on the truck and hasn’t been properly updated with an estimated delivery yet.
At 6:30pm I still hadn’t heard anything, so I called the HDS. He got the truck driver’s number, called him, and then called me back. I’m set to be the first stop in the morning! The truck driver called me at 8:30pm to make sure I’d be home in the morning around 9am.
October 24, 2018 – Still can’t use the app and my account doesn’t show it as delivered. I called support and they confirmed it’s marked as delivered. He said it can take 48-72 hours before everything updates where I see things reflected in my account and start using the app on my phone. I can’t help but think about those email unsubscribe messages that say “it may take up to a week for changes to be processed.”
October 26, 2018 – Called Cleveland because my account is still incorrect with no access to the app. It shows a Delivery Appointment at Cleveland-Lyndhurst on Oct. 27, 2018 at 12:00 AM. WTF!! He said the status of my account still had the car in transit, but confirmed it was at my house by checking the location. Gee, thanks, I wasn’t aware that I already had it. He pushed some changes that should update everything.
October 27, 2018 – Took a road trip down to Cedar Point and back. Still no update to my account and didn’t have access to the app to monitor the supercharging status.
October 28, 2018 – My account shows a delivery appointment for Nov. 1, 2018 at 12:00 AM.
October 29, 2019 – Called Cleveland again and this guy instantly marked the car as delivered. I was able to use the app as soon as I got off the phone. I also received an email “Tesla Quick Guide to Ownership.” Why didn’t the guy I talked to on Friday do that? Interesting that it is exactly 2 years after I placed my reservation.
November 6, 2019 – Received the title and other documents needed for registration via FedEx.