- there is a strange thing happening to some tesla buyers, cnbc reported: they are seeing duplicate charges in their bank accounts for the cars they're buying, but only getting one vehicle.
- these charges reportedly rose as high as an extra $71,000 removed from the buyers' bank accounts, and the customers are saying they are having trouble getting tesla to credit the overpayment back to them.
- cnbc has verified five of these accounts, but one tesla employee said "hundreds" of people have been affected. car and driver has reached out to tesla for comment without response.
the elusive allure of tesla on social media posts is usually good for at least a few clicks, it seems. christopher lee, a youtuber who remains a tesla fan despite this situation, is fully aware that titling his video "did i just get scammed by tesla???!" feels like a shady move to attract eyeballs. but simple clickbait this is not.
cnbc found and interviewed five people, including lee, who said they were double-charged by tesla for their new vehicles. in his video, lee says he saved money for two years and was understandably excited to purchase a 2021 model y using tesla's digital tools. the good feeling didn't last too long after he pushed the confirm button, lee said, once he discovered that tesla withdrew the total purchase price of $56,578 twice but only delivered him one car. at first he figured it was a digital hiccup that tesla would remedy immediately, but instead he had to navigate tesla's notoriously challenging gauntlet to get hold of someone. he tried the sales center, delivery department, and service center before finally getting someone to actually look into the issue, and even then they didn't offer a quick or easy solution.
"it was so difficult to contact anyone from tesla," lee said. "i just lost $56,000 and you're going to make me wait without telling me more information and what to do? c'mon." tesla originally claimed that their records showed only one charge, but lee says he is confident everything will get fixed at some point in the near future.
"it was so quick for them to take the money out of my account, however to get the money back into my account will take much longer," lee said.
cnbc confirmed that other people were double-charged between $37,000 and $71,000 for their ghost teslas. tesla did not immediately reply to a cnbc request for comment, but the problem seems to be a mixup somewhere in the digital transaction chain when people pay for a tesla using their bank account to make a direct payment, cnbc said. anecdotally, one of the affected buyers told cnbc, a tesla employee said "hundreds" of people have been hit by duplicate charges.
"this was not some operator error," another confirmed affected buyer told cnbc. "and for a company that has so much technology skill, to have this happening to multiple people really raises questions."