- recently, a small number of tesla buyers discovered their bank accounts had been charged twice for new tesla electric vehicles they purchased.
- it took a week or so, but as cnbc first reported, the automaker has now refunded these buyers their money, as well as any bank overdraft fees. tesla also gave them $200 in store credit, but you can't spend it on tesla tequila.
- one final word of warning. even tesla admits that when buying one of their cars using bitcoin, these kinds of refunds just might be a much bigger hassle.
tesla has put a value on the hassle it caused some of its customers when the company charged their bank accounts twice when they purchased a car: $200. that's the amount—in store credit—that the electric-vehicle automaker has given customers who were forced to pay double for their new evs.
cnbc broke the original story, confirming that the tesla overcharging happened to five people (the confirmed number has now grown to six), and there have been other tesla buyers online who said the same thing happened to them. from what cnbc has found, tesla has refunded all of the duplicate charges, as well as any overdraft fees the customers' financial institutions charged them due to the over-withdrawals. the refund process took about a week, the buyers said, and the money was returned on or before april 1.
as for the $200 credit, tesla sent an email to affected customers and said they can spend the money on a single transaction on the company's merchandise store at shop.tesla.com, which includes vehicle accessories as well as tesla gear. the credit cannot be used for tesla tequila, and the value expires at the end of january 2022.
tesla did not respond to car and driver's request for comment, but one affected customer told cnbc that the speed at which the company took the extra money and how long it took tesla to give it back was unacceptable.
"while happy to have the whole situation sorted, i still feel that the response time was inadequate," buyer clark peterson told cnbc. "it took days before tesla had any kind of response, and they were holding our significant funds the whole time. and it took them five minutes to take those funds from our account."
"anything reasonable done quickly would have been completely fine," another buyer, tom slattery, told cnbc. "but i've learned that tesla's culture is that they care about the stock price and not customers."
while the issues here have seemingly been resolved, we can imagine a future where things get wonky once again, especially when it comes to bitcoin. tesla announced in february that it would accept the cryptocurrency for some of its products. a quick glance at the company's support website for these kinds of transactions are full of warnings for users who intend to buy a car with bitcoin. here's one: "it's your responsibility to make sure that you send the bitcoin to tesla's bitcoin wallet accurately." but this is the item that should be highlighted for anyone thinking of going full futuristic as they buy a tesla: "this is important: please do not overpay us. if you send more bitcoin than the bitcoin price, we might not be able to return the extra amount." caveat emptor, indeed.