Tesla double-charged some customers for new cars, leaving them desperate for refund details

Tesla double-charged some customers for new cars, leaving them desperate for refund details



Last week, after paying for brand-new Tesla electric cars, Southern California residents Tom Slattery; Christopher T. Lee and Clark Peterson told CNBC they were gobsmacked to find the company had charged them twice, taking tens of thousands of dollars from their bank accounts without authorization or warning; then giving them a frustrating runaround when they sought refunds.


CNBC reviewed records including motor vehicle purchase agreements, correspondence with Tesla and bank statements to confirm their stories.

Two other customers, whose identities are known to CNBC but who asked to remain anonymous for privacy reasons; said they also experienced duplicate debit charges from Tesla, leaving them in distress.


One of them faces overdraft fees; and looming finance charges on credit card bills due at the end of the month.


The cost of any new Tesla is not trivial.


For the affected buyers interviewed by CNBC, amounts taken from their accounts ranged from $37,000; the price of a base version 2021 Tesla Model 3 sedan, to around $71,000; the price of a 2021 Tesla Model Y crossover SUV loaded with premium options.


ALSO READ: Here’s how Tesla’s new touchscreen drive selector works



Tesla did not immediately reply to a request for comment for more information.


The company how many customers experienced the duplicate charges, how such problems might impact its end-of-quarter delivery numbers (which it is expected to report at the start of April); how quickly the company can refund owners and what customers should do in this situation.


Dave Excell, founder of a financial crime prevention tech firm called Featurespace; said duplicate charges are a common problem in e-commerce and banking, generally.


Without speaking to Tesla’s issues specifically, he said platforms that process ACH transactions can use so-called de-duplicate functions; to prevent double charges from happening erroneously.


At the same time, the systems they use must be flexible enough to allow duplicate transactions that should go through — like a regular salary payment; or a grandparent sending $50 to each of their grandkids on the same day.

For consumers who see funds taken from accounts twice, when they only ordered once, Excell said, “The best thing is to go back to the merchant; and let them know an error occurred.


Ask them to reverse or refund the money.


That should be the easiest way.” Contacting a bank to ask them to try to reverse the transaction could also work; but it might take longer and will require the bank to coordinate with merchants.

About The Author

Osigweh Lilian Oluchi is a graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.A (Hons) in English, Masters in Public and International affairs (MPIA). Currently works with 1stnews as a Database Manager / Writer. [email protected]

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