Tesla Gets An F Grade From The Better Business Bureau


While Tesla vehicles are stylish and quick, and dominate the electric car market, especially in the U.S., the Better Business Bureau isn’t happy.

Perhaps Tesla’s growth is making it more difficult to keep up with customer concerns? We previously reported about CEO Elon Musk taking to Twitter and personally asking owners about problems and suggestions, then quickly initiating over-the-air fixes.

Read Also: Tesla’s New Mobile Service Vehicles Will Be ElectricTesla

Tesla’s previous global sales and service chief Jon McNeil was known for jumping on forums and getting personally involved if problems weren’t addressed promptly and correctly. Now, with his absence, the company’s busy CEO is taking on that role.

Let’s not forget about Tesla’s outstanding customer satisfaction ratings either. The company regularly touts that fact that its customers are much happier than those of any competing automakers.

More Information: Consumer Reports: Tesla Model S & X Among 10 Most Satisfying Cars

Regardless of all of this, the local BBB gives Tesla an “F” for how it responds to customer complaints. Chief Executive of the Better Business Bureau for Silicon Valley and Los Angeles Steve MacFarland says dozens of verified Tesla customers have complained about the automaker’s customer service. He shared:

They’re a fine company, they make fine products. We just don’t want companies to ignore consumers. Respectable, credible companies do not like bad grades from the Better Business Bureau.

As expected, Tesla does not agree with the BBB’s findings. This is true of many companies. It is more rare for a happy customer to contact the BBB. Generally, a few unhappy customers or simply those who have an issue with the company file a complaint and push others to follow suit. When this happens, it can escalate quickly. Tesla responded:

While we can always do even better, the BBB numbers are based on a tiny number of customer issues dating back several years, most of which were resolved a long time ago. Everything we’ve achieved is due in large part to the goodwill of our customers, so this is something we care deeply about.

Let’s look at the details in the numbers, according to the BBB. The organization cites a total of 65 complaints. Below is the response breakdown:

  • 23 were resolved, leading to happy customers
  • 17 issues were addressed that didn’t lead to the customer informing the BBB of the result
  • 10 items were responded to, but Tesla didn’t chose a resolution that appeased the customer
  • 15 cases were ignored

Unresolved complaints included defective floor mats, a Model S suspension issue, and the lack of a receipt for two purchased t-shirts. The floors mats were apparently bunching up near the accelerator pedal. Tesla insisted that the Model S had been in an unreported crash, making the suspension issue non-coverable under the warranty. The t-shirt complaint said that the automaker never mailed a requested receipt of purchase, meaning the shirts couldn’t be returned.

According to Mercury News, Tesla is not alone when it comes to complaints and low grades from the local BBB. Google currently has a D for its customer service. McFarland said Google’s rating fluctuates since it responds to customer problems intermittently.

Source: Mercury News

Categories: Tesla

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

44 Comments on "Tesla Gets An F Grade From The Better Business Bureau"

newest oldest most voted

From my limited experience with the BBB, I would give the BBB an F grade. I felt they were more an advocate for paid up businesses then the customers they supposedly serve.

ABC agrees, with Hamas getting an A rating from the BBB:


It is a payola system:

“as part of the ABC News investigation, an ABC News producer with a camera was present as two small business owners in Los Angeles were told by Better Business Bureau tele-marketers that their grades of C could be raised to A plus if they paid $395 membership fees. ”

“In a second case, Carmen Tellez, the owner of a company that provides clowns for parties was also told she had to pay to fix her C- grade, based on a two-year old complaint that she says had already been resolved. The C minus became an A plus the very next day after she provided her credit card number for the $395 charge.”

I’m shocked to learn the BBB is a scam.

Well, I learned something today… sadly. 🙁

BBB is FOS Attempting to justify for their meaningless and Petty Existence..


I guess Tesla did not buy their BBB plaques….

Because BBB is a Useless & Senseless Money Grab That do Nobody any Good, Except for Themselves..

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Who runs the “(B)ig (B)umbling (B)afoons” anyway?

The only thing all these “BBB fails Tesla” articles will do is give the bashers superficial fodder to attack Tesla.

We should sic Yelp and BBB on each other and see who’s left standing.

From article: “Tesla Gets An F Grade From The Better Business Bureau”

The BBB Mission Statement: “BBB’s mission is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust… BBB sees trust as a function of two primary factors – integrity and performance…” source:

I hereby declare BBB earns an F for failing it’s own Mission Satement.

“…Tesla Model S sedan topped the [Consumer Reports] list of cars whose buyers are satisfied with their purchase after three years of driving… across all models, the Elon Musk-led automaker — based in Palo Alto — ranked No. 1 on the [Consumer Reports]list of vehicle brands whose owners feel satisfied.” Source: http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-hy-tesla-customer-satisfaction-20171221-story.html

I do believe this may be an example where, to quote Elon, “the measuring stick is wrong.” Go to the Devil BBB!

BBB gives good ratings to people who pay for good ratings. It’s pure pay to play.
BoltUp gave one article, here’s some more.


Of the 15 complaints that Tesla ignored, was one from Walter Huang?

The crazy thing is that those 15 ignored complaints (regardless of age) are worth up to -31 points alone. In other words, BBB will slap your company with a “D” rating simply for refusing to play their game and validate their website by responding through BBB. This is even if you as a business 100% satisfy each and every customer outside of the BBB system and ignore the BBB, they will slap you with a D rating. Unless you respond through THEM, and contribute content to their website and help build their business, they will slap you with a big fat “D” just for not playing their game.

It is outright extortion. As a company you either contribute content for them to build their brand, or they penalize you massively for not participating:


LOL. The mediocre Chevy dealer near me gets an A+.

Your local Chevy Stealership has the A+ rating to go with the Better Bolt Battery!

My Bolt ev Battery has operated flawlessly. In 2 weeks I’ll get the software upgrade which gives me ADDITIONAL NOTIFICATION should any connections loosen up. Once, My Tesla Roadster went ‘dead’ suddenly when the ‘guess-o-meter’ got to a certain point. It was a bit surprising to me at the time, since apparently there was still some juice in the battery, as the heater, wipers and headlights operated normally even AFTER the car refused to get out of Neutral. Tesla later on provided a SOFTWARE UPGRADE (via a Tesla Ranger Visit) to notify the driver when there were about 2 miles left before the car can’t be driven. I was very grateful for this software upgrade, and never ran out again in any of my cars again. To say that an additional notification is a bad thing is just silly. What GM is doing is totally analogous to what Tesla did – except GOING BEYOND what they did to help the driver sniff out potentially marginal problems with the expensive battery. The BOLT ev already has a SUPERIOR guess-o-meter, that takes you down to very low miles, just as the Model 3 apparently is also quite good notifying the driver of… Read more »

let’s see – comparing 2018 technology to 2010 tech… yeah – bolt is sooo superior

What makes them mediocre? From BBB’s point of view, if complaints are handled in a manner that is satisfactory to the customers, they are a fine business.

In Teslas case I guess you mean if the 65 carefully selected complaints from all of those generated by literally hundreds of thousands of vehicles having been driven billions of millions are handled satisfactorily…
Pretty sure if you pay your membership dues all they do is select a different 65…

And you pay the $400 a year BBB fee….

Then it should be a government entity. Why would you expect it to be free?

That’s because they paid to play LOL

As Model S owner of 2017 model S delivered Dec 8th last year. I agree with the F grade.

here is my full story of my experience

TLDR: poor fit and finish with minor to major defects and PISS POOR customer service with Tesla dropping the ball every step of the way.(with me actually catching the service tech lying to me and calling him out on it)

As a Model S owner and a Model 3 owner, I give them an A+. They have been extremely responsive to my requests and I love that they now do most service at your home or work. My Model S 12V battery failed after 3 years and 48K miles and they came to my work and replaced it under warranty. Have had no issues with the Model 3 over the last 4 months, so have not had a chance to use their service on that one.

Jaydee – You will get far more empathy toward your issues on TMC than you will here. A good thing that happened to me was the SPECIALIST Tesla sent me from Green Bay, Wisconsin to fix my Roadster (he was one of the few Roadster Techs still left in the company who worked east of the Mississippi), was shocked and dumbfounded when the Mississauga service center did very little for their $830 annual routine maintenance. He was curious as to all the details, and said that he was commissioned by TESLA to investigate ‘under performing’ service centers. For warranty repairs, I couldn’t drive to a Canadian service center (the only one that was within one battery charge), so the car would always be flat-bedded to Columbus, Ohio (I’m in Buffalo, NY). The most irritating thing to me was the MANAGER there would hang up on me 1/10th of a second after he felt he ‘legally’ could. I’d call that poor service since it required hours and hours on the phone to try to get issues resolved. Apparently some here have had better luck with their SC’s but there are plenty of horror stories just the same, as you have seen… Read more »

What this article is missing is the details on those original Tesla complaints. A large quotient were from one rather disgruntled individual who kept posting over and over again. I remember reading about it here first, so that’s worth tracking down.

I, for one, think consumer-based programs like Angie’s List do a much better job. BBB is a marketing company, an old guard that is striving for relevance in the era of online reviews, Yelp, and the like. Who in the US can honestly say they check BBB before going to a restaurant they don’t know, instead of Yelp, Google reviews, etc?

The merits of the BBB grading speak for themselves: selling around 100,000 vehicles a year, and what, around 50 complaints, one of which involved a t-shirt order? There’s more Youtube video reviews of the Tesla vehicles and energy products a month than that.

Was that the same “whompy wheels” guy who entered multiple fake NHTSA complaints under VIN numbers he didn’t own?

Shoot. Maybe it was NHTSA, I might be mixing that up. Good catch.

> and the lack of a receipt for two purchased t-shirts


Who is BBB?…

I wonder how many complaints the BBB got from people who actually purchased Tesla EV’s

Didn’t get a receipt for buying T-shirts? Seriously, the BBB is “dinging” Tesla for this?

“Let’s not forget about Tesla’s outstanding customer satisfaction ratings either. The company regularly touts that fact that its customers are much happier than those of any competing automakers.”

Well said. I’m amazed that BBB gives an “F” rating to the auto maker that is always #1 in Consumer Reports‘ survey of consumer satisfaction. It makes me seriously question that the BBB’s ratings have any value at all.

I wonder what ratings other auto makers get? Without any such comparison, this article seems to be definitely lacking in perspective.

GM gets an A rating:


But they also are paid members in BBB’s AutoLine, which Tesla is not:


The BBB AutoLine process basically pushes people into agreeing to arbitration: https://www.bbb.org/autoline/bbb-auto-line-process/how-bbb-auto-line-works/ Once people get the arbitration forms for the BBB AutoLine process, I’m guessing the claim abandonment rate is likely very high.

GM gets an A rating:


But they also are paid members in BBB’s AutoLine, which Tesla is not:


The BBB AutoLine process basically pushes people into agreeing to arbitration. Once people get the arbitration forms for the BBB AutoLine process, I’m guessing the claim abandonment rate is likely very high.

65 complaints out of about 200,000 vehicles sold worldwide? Really, who would care about this rating based on that?
Why did I even post? This is nonsense reporting and it is a pity InsideEVs stoops to even publishing this garbage. If there were 65,000 complaints that would be worth hearing about, but 65 complaints (one being ridiculous about a T-Shirt receipt) is just a sham, a scam and really should be ashamed!
Maybe Koch brothers have purchased InsideEVs as now we are seeing some of these silly, negative EV stories that really add nothing to the awesomeness that are EV’s.

We didn’t decide it … the BBB did. We report it whether it’s right or wrong, good or bad. That’s what we do. If we report good news about Tesla, we are called a Tesla Fanboy website. If we put out a story about someone saying something is negative, you tell us we should be ashamed and the Koch Brothers bought us out …

We will continue to research the latest stories and disseminate the information. It’s not like it’s made up. The BBB did give them an F. Is it unwarranted? Yes, that’s very likely. This is why I mentioned the customer satisfaction stories and shared the silly complaints, as well as the breakdown, and explained that if one person complains to the BBB, it sometimes spirals. We should all be kept aware if a major company in our segment has good and/or bad press. Then, we can form opinions and have a conversation about it. If you don’t want to read it, you don’t have to.

I completely agree that 65 complaints, many of which are likely nonsense, shouldn’t do it. Yes, 65,000 would surely be something. But, nonetheless, organizations like the BBB will give your company an F regardless. Therein lies the story … crazy right? That’s what makes it worth looking into and sharing.

See the comments by Nix about GM, and others about the BBB. Interesting for sure …

If this was just the local BBB you would think they would tabulate results from the entire USA. I’m of 2 minds regarding the BBB. At one time they were good, then got questionable for a while, then got good, etc. Not sure where they are now. But 65 comments over the entire country wouldn’t be a representative sample. Surely there would be more than 65 people who enjoyed their Tesla experience nationwide and notified the BBB of same.

But that stuff about buying BBB endorsements has also unfortunately been true at times in the past.

Would just like to add: Any international complaints would not to to BBB, but to other local/national organizations.
Not that it matters much..
Numbers are small anyway, but as they grow and sell to more average customers (and not EV fans or environmentalists) they will get even more weird and crazy complaints.. so they need people to give those customers an answer fast and correct.
There is a lot of crazy, stupide people out there, so reading complaints can probably be fun sometimes.

This ‘consumer protection’ subject takes me back to my youth… coming home from school, flipping on the TV, for the afternoon movie matinee. They were more B-movies, rather than real Jimmy Cagney gangster films. But some charming, working class neighborhood would have its mom-and-pop grocery, the laundry and so on, visited weekly by tuffs who collected their ‘business association’ dues.

Simply stated it was easy to place an order for a Model 3. Tesla took my deposit quickly.

Too much time has passed and I canceled my order. I have not received a refund and try as I might I can not speak to anyone at Tesla. My order was placed in January of 2017 and my cancellation was over on month ago.

We sold our tesla last year for about 80% of what we paid for it and bought a Bolt, the difference in customer service is night and day. Tesla’s was terrible and often I was on hold for 30 min. or more. the Bolt I just call my local dealer and the problem is fixed quickly and with no headache. I will never buy another Tesla again and tell anyone that will listen that the company is trash.