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Tesla Model 3 Delivery Horror Stories Keep Coming In

In keeping with their scheme business model of having the cart well in front of the horse, Tesla has just announced that they’re going to begin taking orders for the Model 3 in China. But as a New York Times expose recently pointed out, many of those who ordered Model 3s in the United States - like 44 year old Jim Fyfe - are still being rope-a-doped, misled and confused (if not outright deceived) when it comes to taking delivery of their new cars. For traditional automakers, such behavior would be embarrassing and totally unacceptable. For Tesla, it just seems to be one more thing that the company, stockholders, the Board and cultists customers have not problem tolerating.

Fyfe put down a $2500 deposit in June to order a $70,000 black performance Model 3. He was given a delivery day in early September, but when he tried to go get his car he was told by the company that it was still in California. Two more weeks went by without an update from the company, so he took the initiative and called the delivery center, who then told him his vehicle had been involved in an accident during transit.

Jim Fyfe in his empty garage/Source: NY Times

A couple of days later, he asked for his money back, but instead was told by the company that they had another vehicle for him. Delivery for the second vehicle was said to be on October 27, but Fyfe received a phone call on his way to pick it up and was told that his second vehicle was also involved in an accident during transit, in a truly remarkable coincidence.

When questioned about this by the New York Times, Tesla told them that the second accident was a mistake and that the company was actually referring to the first accident - a cover story about as reliable as a Model 3 in winter weather. After this nonsense, Fyfe had enough and requested a refund, which he received. 

Fyfe told the New York Times: "If they had been straight up with me, I probably wouldn’t have canceled. I lost all faith in Tesla. I don’t think I’ll ever buy a Tesla."

Another customer, Russell Rabadeau, was supposed to have a September 25 delivery date and sold his car the day before he was supposed to pick up his Tesla. Big mistake: two hours before he was supposed to pick up his new car, he got a phone call saying that his color vehicle would not be available until mid October.

He stated: “That was frustrating because nobody called me to let me know sooner. There was no communication.” 

Elon Musk

After walking to work for two weeks, he then checked in on the status of his new vehicle. Tesla told him that they had one for him but it was still at the Fremont, California factory. In the interim, Tesla rented him a Cadillac to drive and he finally got his Model 3 on October 26.

Another buyer, Jonathan Berent, paid $1000 in 2016 to reserve the right to order a Model 3, then paid an additional $2500 this year as a deposit. In early September, he was told by the company that his car was near a delivery center by the Fremont plant and, after heading there with a check for the balance, he was given a VIN number and shown his car.

While the car was being detailed to be given to him he was told there was a mixup. The car that he was shown was apparently assigned to another customer who shared not the same last name but the same first name. They eventually found another car an hour away and when it arrived, it had paint defects that needed to be repaired. When he decided to cancel his order, he was contacted repeatedly over the coming weeks by sales representatives who told him they had a car ready for him. The company even went so far as to say they would deliver it to his home or to a nearby coffee shop if he wanted.

It's Elon Musk's genius and Tesla's outside the box thinking that have made these embarrassing complications possible, according to Mike Ramsey, a Gartner analyst.

He stated: "Tesla had a huge volume push in the third quarter, and they probably could have avoided a lot of this if they had traditional dealers."

Of course, if Tesla had a traditional dealership network, its cash burn would be orders of magnitude higher and probably would be out of business long ago, and while we doubt that this is what Elon meant when he said he wanted Tesla to be a "disruptor", we are quite confident that as Tesla ramps up production, this is only a glimpse of the first circle of delivery logistics hell" that Elon has warned about.