Exactly a week ago, we reported that a Tesla owner had been charged twice for the purchase of a new car. In fact, he paid in full. So, Christopher T. Lee (Everyday Chris) bought a brand-new Model Y for $56,578, but he was double-charged and ended up paying a grand total of $113,156.
At the time of writing the previous article, three people had come forward stating this same type of situation happened to them. Since then, more have come forward, and others have admitted it happened, but they were unwilling to go on the record.
In the end, six Tesla buyers officially confirmed they were charged twice by Tesla, and/or the company it uses to handle its payments. The expectation was that Tesla would fix the issue as soon as possible since folks were missing tens of thousands of dollars from their bank accounts, as well as dealing with potential overdraft fees.
The good news is, Tesla has now fully refunded the extra charges to the impacted buyers. In addition, the automaker offered a $200 credit to be used at its online store. Chris confirmed that his refund arrived in five business days. Other customers also confirmed that they got their refund in about a week, complete with payments for any overdraft fees.
We're glad Tesla fixed the issue, though some people believe five business days or one full week is simply too long. While we agree, we're not bankers, and we don't know precisely how the system works. What we do know is that we've requested refunds for various companies many times in the past, and we were first told to reach out to our bank. This seems like standard procedure, and it's exactly what Tesla initially told Chris. He shared:
“I did, in fact, contact my bank, and they told me that because Tesla withdrew their money directly through ACH, there was no money to reverse and nothing to give back.”
He reached out to his bank first, just like we have with such situations in the past. The bank typically tells you to reach out to the place of business, which seems like the standard procedure as well. Since both sides steer you toward the other, it delays the process, which is just outright unfair to consumers.
Hopefully, companies like Tesla can put a future plan in place that will allow an immediate refund in situations like this. However, based on our personal experiences with many companies, we'd be very surprised to see that happen.
People shouldn't be double-charged in the first place, and it shouldn't take five business days to get their money back, but with online banking, bureaucracy, and red tape, it seems the system tends to work against consumers and in favor of banks and businesses.
What do you think? What's your experience with refunds from businesses and banks?