— A Tesla used car battery warranty lawsuit has failed class action certification because the owners who sued agreed to arbitrate their claims when they ordered the Model S and Model X vehicles.
The lawsuit includes 2012-present used Model S and Model X vehicles that allegedly go through a certified pre-owned vehicle inspection.
Although the plaintiffs focus on the used car battery warranties, the lawsuit was filed over the entire pre-owned warranties.
The lead plaintiff claims his Model S should get about 200 miles per full charge, but a fully-charged battery only provides about 165 miles per charge. According to the plaintiff, Tesla didn't provide a report about the alleged certified pre-owned inspection, and the owner says he has no clue which components were inspected.
The lead plaintiff also alleges that no matter how many times he checks the battery range, the Model S always makes it about 165 miles at full battery capacity.
Tesla allegedly attempted to recalibrate the battery, but the plaintiff says nothing helped even after five visits to Tesla technicians.
The plaintiff took his case to arbitration where the automaker won, allegedly by making false statements during arbitration. This sent the plaintiff to the court where the proposed class action lawsuit was filed.
The plaintiffs argue Tesla should buy back the vehicles and refund any expenses incurred by customers, an argument the plaintiff's will now need to make in arbitration.
Tesla told the judge a class action cannot be certified because the lead plaintiff and other named plaintiffs agreed to arbitrate any disagreements when the used vehicles were purchased. However, the plaintiffs claim they didn't sign a specific arbitration agreement and can't remember seeing anything about it.
According to the judge, the lead plaintiff is wrong to argue that an arbitration agreement must be signed, and by clicking the button to order the Tesla the plaintiff is agreeing to the terms.
The lead plaintiff says he “does not recall whether the agreement was presented to him or whether he signed the agreement.” But the judge ruled Tesla presents sufficient evidence the agreement was presented to all the plaintiffs when they ordered their used vehicles.
"If a party could get out of a contract by arguing that he did not recall making it, contracts would be meaningless.” - Judge Josephine L. Staton
The judge found Tesla clearly provided every used vehicle buyer with the order agreement which contains the arbitration section that says claims must be arbitrated on an individual basis.
The Tesla used car warranty lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California: Nguyen, et al., v. Tesla Inc.
The plaintiffs are represented by the Law Offices of Edward C. Chen.