— A Tesla class action lawsuit alleges the automaker scams consumers through the use of online order agreements for owners and lessees.
The Tesla class action lawsuit includes:
"All individuals in the United States Who Entered into a Motor Vehicle Order Agreement (either a sale or a lease) and Later Received a New Agreement Containing a Higher Price and/or different configuration of options for essentially the same or lesser vehicle or for an altered vehicle configurations when the original configuration was available."
According to the lawsuit, a consumer must visit Tesla's website to begin their vehicle order and select various options such as the base vehicle, exterior color, wheels, interior décor, number of seats, charging options and if the vehicle should be equipped with Autopilot or self-driving capability.
The plaintiff says once the order is complete and the customer has paid a $100 fee, Tesla will send a motor vehicle order agreement which says the order was, "placed electronically with accepted terms" and contains a total price not including taxes and governmental fees.
The Tesla class action says a customer expects to receive the features and price included on the order form.
Tesla Lawsuit Alleges Order Agreements Are Modified
But the plaintiff alleges Tesla sends modified order agreement contracts to customers who have already entered into contracts with Tesla for specific features at specific prices.
The modified orders allegedly contain different terms and increased prices and even the base models may be different.
The plaintiff says this is exactly what happened to him when he was allegedly informed the changes were necessary because the Tesla he ordered was no longer available. According to the plaintiff, Tesla must have known this when he ordered the vehicle.
"However, the truth is that Tesla changed nothing other than the price, increasing it unilaterally and fraudulently. And Tesla strong-armed consumers into changing their orders by simply telling them the originally ordered vehicle would not be available or would not be produced." — Tesla class action lawsuit
Tesla has allegedly determined a way to force consumers to alter their orders on the pretext of non-available options and then enforce a price increase on other features that remained the same.
And the lawsuit alleges Tesla simply refused to manufacture the vehicle the consumer ordered just to increase the price on an already ordered vehicle.
The class action lawsuit asserts Tesla customers in no way sign, click or execute the modified contracts as the automaker allegedly merely enforces the new terms on existing customers with existing contracts.
The class action includes a description by the plaintiff of a new order agreement that contained the same original order number for his Tesla Model X.
- Instead of a Model X Long Range Plus, the vehicle was changed to a lesser Model X Long Range
- The price of the base vehicle, the Model X Long Range (not Plus), was increased $10,000 from $79,990 to $89,990, even though the vehicle was a lesser model base vehicle because it had a decreased range capability
- Instead of 20" Silver Wheels, they were now 20" Cyberstream Wheels
- Instead of a Figured Ash Decor, it was now an Ebony Decor
- It added a Yoke Steering Wheel
- The price of the Full Self-Driving Capability was increased from $8,000 to $10,000
The total price now allegedly demanded by Tesla was $109,190, an increase of $11,900 for a vehicle with lesser range and capability and a few changes in color.
The Tesla class action lawsuit over order agreements was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California: Daniel Aaron Horowitz, v. Tesla Motors, Inc.
The plaintiff is represented by the O'Connor Law Firm, P.C., Wirtz Law APC, and Reallaw, APC.