Tamara Tanney got tired of waiting for a new Tesla, so she asked for a refund of her $1,000 deposit. It's been a year since the Toronto digital strategist canceled her fully refundable order, and the money still hasn't shown up in the financial statements she regularly checks.
"If this is the service you get as a new client, I can't imagine the kind of service you would get as a current customer," said Tanney, 23, who is no longer interested in owning a Tesla.
Seventeen people interviewed for this report described months of effort to get Tesla Inc. to refund their deposits. The timing of their experiences overlapped with a chaotic period for the company, which initially struggled to mass-produce cars, then broke through to more than triple deliveries of its electric vehicles last year.
Despite all its progress in 2018, Tesla finished the year with almost $800 million in customer deposits on its books. Legions of would-be customers are still waiting on cheaper Model 3 sedans and a Solar Roof product CEO Elon Musk hyped more than two years ago.
A Tesla spokeswoman said anytime the company gets a refund request, it works to process it as quickly as it can. She declined to say how many refunds the electric-car maker has been processing or how long it's taking on average to resolve requests.