UPDATE: Tesla Responds To “Lemon Law King” – Disputes Allegations (video)

APR 9 2014 BY JAY COLE 61

The 'Lemon Law King' Asks, "Will They (Tesla) Fight Like Dogs Or Do The Right Thing?"  Answer: They Will Fight Like Dogs

The ‘Lemon Law King’ Asks, “Will They (Tesla) Fight Like Dogs Or Do The Right Thing?” Answer: They Will Fight Like Dogs

Tesla has publically responded to the recent “lemon” lawsuit launched by a disgruntled Model S owner; an owner who has also retained the services of Vince Megna, the self proclaimed “lemon law king” – a lawyer who has a nack for making very over-the-top video presentations to shame the offending party into settling. (video of his suit with the Model S is below)

At the end of that video Mr. Megna says, “We are going to see what type of company Tesla is.  Are they going to fight like dogs?  Or are they going to do the right thing?”

The answer is…they are going to fight like dogs; because they believe it is the right thing to do.

While Tesla stopped short of saying that Mr. Megna was an opportunistic lawyer and that the owner of the car in question was a liar who was/is intentionally sabotaging his Model S to file a frivolous lawsuit – like he has done in the past; they came pretty darn close.

Below is a copy of Tesla Motors retort to the “lemon law king” and his client:

When Life Gives You Lemons…

We were taken by surprise by a lemon law claim recently filed against Tesla by a Wisconsin lawyer, describing himself as the “Lemon Law King”, who says that we ignored his client’s three demands for a buy-back after alleged problems with a Model S.

First, let us state that we believe in lemon laws – they exist to protect customers against cars that repeatedly suffer defects. That’s a worthy thing to address. We also make a point of going above and beyond in customer service, which extends to buying back cars on fair terms from any customer who ultimately remains unsatisfied with their vehicle. We never want someone to be unhappy in their ownership of a Model S.

In this case, however, there are good reasons to be skeptical of the lawyer’s motivations. The service record shows that the Tesla service team did everything reasonably possible to help his client and they were continuing their efforts to service his vehicle right up until the point the suit was filed with no warning. Indeed, our service team, which has been in contact with the customer numerous times since November, is still trying to resolve his stated concerns, many of which have elusive origins.

This lawyer’s claim strikes us as unusual on several counts. For a start, it contradicts the general customer experience as measured by outside surveys. The annual Consumer Reports survey, for instance, gave Model S top marks for owner satisfaction, with a score of 99/100, the highest rating of any car ever. That doesn’t mean a single customer can’t have a bad overall experience, but it makes it highly unlikely. The claim also doesn’t jibe with the other accolades afforded to the car, including Consumer Reports’ “Best Overall” designation for its Top Picks 2014 awards, and the 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year award.

More tellingly, however, there are factual inaccuracies in the lawyer’s story. The customer did not make three demands for a buy-back. The only time any such claim was made was in a legal form letter sent to Tesla in November 2013 as a prerequisite for pursuing the claim in Wisconsin. Our service team was in close contact with the customer both before and after we received the letter, and the possibility of a buy-back was never mentioned during those discussions.

To give you a sense of our service relationship with this customer, it’s worth considering our efforts to resolve two of his main complaints. One related to malfunctioning door handles. Even though our service team wasn’t able to replicate the issue with the door handles as described, we replaced all the handles anyway. Despite the fix, the customer said the problem persisted. We were never able to reproduce the alleged malfunction but offered to inspect the car again and are still trying to do so.

Another issue was that the car’s fuse blew on numerous occasions. Each time, our engineers explored all possible explanations and were never able to find anything wrong with the car. Still, just to be sure, we replaced several parts that could have been related to the alleged problem – all at no expense to the customer. When the fuse kept blowing despite the new parts, and faced with no diagnosis showing anything wrong with the car, the engineers were moved to consider the possibility that the fuse had been tampered with. After investigating, they determined that the car’s front trunk had been opened immediately before the fuse failure on each of these occasions. (The fuse is accessed through the front trunk.) Ultimately, Tesla service applied non-tamper tape to the fuse switch. From that point on, the fuse performed flawlessly.

It’s also of interest to note that this particular lawyer filed a lemon law suit against Volvo in February last year – on behalf of the very same client.

We are continuing our efforts to work with the customer and are happy to address any legitimate concerns he has about his Model S. Customer service remains of utmost importance to Tesla, and no Model S owner should be unhappy with their car. However, we would also like the public to be aware of the potential for lemon laws to be exploited by opportunistic lawyers.

UPDATE: “Lemon Law King” responds to Tesla’s blog post.  His full response is posted below:

Rebuttal to Tesla’s Blog Post
April 10, 2014

Tesla Lemon Law suit

In Response to Tesla Blog:

In this case, Tesla ignored three lemon law demands from its customer. Tesla received the refund demands under Wisconsin’s Lemon Law on 11-25-13, 12-13-13 and 12-19-13. All demands were sent by certified mail, delivered and verifiable on USPS.com. Tesla erroneously states in its blog, “the customer did not make three demands for a buyback.”

Under the demands, Tesla was given 30 days to provide a refund. The vehicle was presented four times for the same nonconformity, and the vehicle was out of service for 66 days – 36 more than is allowed under the lemon law. Failure to provide a refund within the 30-day time period constitutes a violation of the Wisconsin lemon law. Tesla did not provide the refund or respond in any way – no call, no letter, no blog post.

Service personal/auto mechanics do not have involvement in the decision to buy back a car. That decision is made by the manufacturer – Tesla Motors, Inc. In not responding to my client’s demand, Tesla’s decision was clear. Tesla should not be “taken by surprise” with the suit, or claim it was “filed with no warning.” The warning came last November.

Tesla may “believe in lemon laws,” it just doesn’t know how they work.

Tesla takes the big corporation approach by attacking its customer, rather than addressing its own failures. Diminish the person – make everything his fault. Blame your customer for problems that have “elusive origins.” Or, allege foul play because a “fuse blew on three occasions,” and ”engineers were moved to consider the possibility that the fuse had been tampered with.” Why not instead be moved to consider that Tesla has a problematic Model S that they just can’t fix?

It’s common on Tesla forums that door handles don’t work…that customers can’t get in their cars. That is precisely that problem that has persisted in this case. Door handles not presenting is nothing new to Tesla.

My client filed a lawsuit against Tesla. It remains obligated under the terms of the warranty to continue to repair defects with the Model S, not because of customer service, not because Tesla wants a happy customer, but because Tesla is required to by law.

I too find it “of interest” that more than one manufacturer rolls out a lemon now and then. Just today Toyota recalled 6 Million vehicles, and in the past few months, GM recalled 5.1 Million. Maybe tomorrow Tesla will buy back a lemon or two.

As a member of the “public” I appreciate your company taking the time to provide a Public Service Announcement that Lemon Laws can be “exploited by opportunistic lawyers.”

I too, have a Public Service Announcement: There are companies, great companies run by Billionaires, that force consumers to give up their Freedom of Speech and Right to Trial by Jury just for the opportunity to buy an electric car.

– Vince Megna

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61 Comments on "UPDATE: Tesla Responds To “Lemon Law King” – Disputes Allegations (video)"

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The same customer got a lemon Volvo AND a lemon Tesla. Is he unlucky or what……

My guess is… Or what.

Don’t be silly.
Of course he was just unlucky.
Really, really, REALLY unlucky…

What I don’t understand is, how can this customer, in a country where you can receive a visit from humorless drones for saying the words terrorist and president in the same sentence on the fone more than once, is not being investigated for fraud?

The secret service usually stops that knocking on doors thing when former Halliburton CEOs leave the VP residence.

‘Consumer surveys’ could be highly error prone, as mostly the lovers and haters would participate in those. For Tesla, the buyers are mostly Tesla fanatics. So, to get any negative review in consumer survey, the car must really suck enough to convert a die-hard Tesla fan to a Tesla hater. I would think, the Tesla fans would rather ignore many issues on their own and give the car a high rating, which could be true – it is supposedly a premium car.

Hahah, that’s funny, Mr Megna. If you owned and drove a Tesla, you would surely have a different point of view.

What makes you think this is his point of view?

Lawyers, especially opportunistic ones, represent what will make them money.

A white rasict opportunistic lawyer would represent non-white person in a equal rights issue.

Not sure why you brought race into this.

It’s pretty clear this is driven by Mr Lemon King himself.

Race itself is not the issue.

But as it is generally a sensitive issue which drives the decisions of many, it is a good example of how even more powerful money and social standing are.

I could just as easily chosen religion.
Even many of the most religious will compromise their convictions in favor of fame and fortune.

Most people are psychologically disposed to like any car they buy. A car (Tesla or otherwise) is a big purchase and most people don’t want to feel bad about their decision.

Well the Model S is the greatest car ever made so…

Wrong. The classic Minis were the greatest car ever made. Teslas are nice, but they seem to attract a bizarre amount of Drudge Report fans, which drops their coolness by 75%, because Drudge, and his fans, are douchebags.

You kind of lost me when you made the unsubstantiated claim that Model S “buyers are mostly Tesla fanatics”. I suspect you have the correlation quite backwards.

Whether the car is a lemon or not we need to breed these types of lawyers out of existence.

I you’re suggesting sleeping with their wives. Lol.

Could you imagine the divorce, what a joke.

Tesla should sue back if proof of tampering is found.
I wonder if all this data is available for an owner who wants it for is own car?
That would be valuable if needed in court!

I particularly like the description of the fuse problem. Open frunk, blow a fuse. And, with the addition of tamper tape, the problem stopped. Maybe ambulance chasing would be a better deal…

People like this should be billed for all the time and money they waste.

Are there any “lemon lawyer” laws?

It’s mostly lawyers who write the laws. So no.

Lol OWNED

At 50 seconds in the video you can see the brake light activate when the door suddenly opens (a red flash in the corner). That would be indicative of the key fob being used to unlock the door! I’m not a lawyer, but I did play one on a web site one time…

VERY NICE CATCH

Nice one!

Nice catch indeed. You can also see that when he opens the door and gets in, he is indeed holding the fob in his right hand.

The Lemon Law is pretty specific and almost straight forward. I’m pretty sure his claims do not qualify under the Lemon Law.

I wonder if the owner is “Current” on his payments…..lol 😛

I’m curious about the ‘meat and potatos’ about the main Complaint.

In my Roadster Agreement, I had to verify that I agreed to plugging in the car daily in cold weather.. This, along with the warranty stating that car is not warranted to be defect free, in effect holds Tesla harmless.
\
Now, the Roadster for quite a while before the latest software upgrades in the S, was much superior to it. Interesting since the Roadster could be considered a semi-experimental car, and the only problem Tesla would have would be exaggerated advertising at the time.

I’d be interested to see all the disclosures and agreements that Model S owners have to sign at purchase, and what the warranty covers and more importantly doesn’t.

Jay Cole:

Thanks for the Lawyer’s response. It provides a lot of meat to the meat and potatos I requested.

I wonder if Tesla is going to accuse Edmunds of making up all the problems they have experienced with their Model S? Edmunds was clever enough to videotape their problems.

It’s funny how Tesla mentions Consumer Reports but fails to provide all the facts. Tesla conveniently left out the fact that Consumer Reports added the 2013 Model S on their list of cars to avoid.

Consumer Reports found the reliability of the 2013 Model S to be below average and recommends that consumers “avoid” it.

Is Tesla going to accuse Consumer Reports of being opportunistic?

Hey Troll,

According to this (subscription required):

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/models/used/tesla/model-s/reliab

The Model S ranked below average in only the ‘squeaks and rattles’ and ‘body hardware’ areas, and was average for ‘climate system’. All other areas were above average or highest.

1 year-old car quality is generally quite good so a few problem areas with the Model S might indeed be enough to make it below average.

In any case it seems that they don’t say “Not Recommended”, neither do they say “Recommended”. Instead, the Model S is listed in the broad middle.

You’re the one being “Opportunistic”, Troll.

This is the only Consumer Reports cars to avoid list I could find:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2014/02/25/consumer-reports-worst-new-cars/5797579/

There is no Model S on there.

Edmund’s said they had issues with their Model S, but they also said that Tesla fixed those problems. So you are shown to be wrong by your omission.

Well some things/people just can’t be avoided, no matter how much we wish it could be so.

You know why everyone was sad when the bus full of lawyers drove off the clif?

Because there were 3 empty seats.

🙂

(Sorry to all the legitimate lawyers out there)

Too bad more lawyers don’t act in the manner that they are referred to in the UK. Over there they are called advocates. Lawyers would have a much better reputation if they truly acted as advocates instead of a schmuck like this lawyer.

Q. What do you call 1000 dead lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?
A. A good start.

Q. What’s the difference between 2 lawyers in a Porsche and a porcupine?
A. With the porcupine, the pricks are on the outside.

BTW, I’m a lawyer. 😉

Q What do lawyers and sperm have in common?
A They both have a one in a million chance of becoming human beings. 🙂

Have to admit, Tesla do have a sense of humor

I feel sorry for Cheryl. She makes a fact based posting and the majority jump on her as if she just insulted their mother, instead of politely disagreeing and documenting why.

Reading between the lines, it seems that several of the posters here have never investigated any complex device other than a model S , and therefore can’t accept that several different people can have equaly valid complex feelings toward an inanimate object.

If the customer is DELIBERATELY trying to get the car to misbehave, in other than just demonstration purposes but in day to day operation that is one thing.

The most interesting facts here to date was in fact presented by Cheryl regarding Edmunds, and also Tesla’s implication that something is going on nefariously with those fuses.

‘the majority jump on her’.

I am not sure what you’re trying to say, but I only see one response to her post.

A ‘fact based posting’ is only that if the facts are true.

I have no subscription for Consumer Reports, so I can’t check it myself. But who has the true facts? Cheryl stating Consumer Reports put the Model S on the ‘cars to avoid’ list? Or Anon saying the car is on no list (neither ‘recommended’, nor ‘to avoid’)?

Googling around a bit, I did find this: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2014/02/25/consumer-reports-auto-issue-2014-top-picks/5796705/

Birds of a feather stick together in the anti Tesla FUD game.

People wouldn’t be as apt to “jump” on her if she didn’t have a history of posting half truths about Tesla like some sort of vendetta. A more rational discussion of the whole facts, pro and con, is greatly appreciated.

I tried to find that Negative Review of the Model S, Cheryl, but I couldn’t find it. The review I saw gave the car an A or A-, which is pretty good.

So it turns out Cheryl accused Tesla of hiding something that she made up. She did this to stir up emotions and provoke hostile reactions. That pretty much sums up trollish behaviour.

Conclusion: Anon’s post was 100% fact-based.

(And, if you ask me, polite enough to not feel sorry for Cheryl)

To these eyes that’s jumping to conclusions.

However, I’m of course unsure until Cheryl responds, which she doesn’t do to my questions in any event.

The Lawyer’s response that Jay Cole included has much new information. I knew there had to be some substantive issues if there was going to be a case. I haven’t caught this guy in a lie, yet.

“Tesla service applied non-tamper tape to the fuse switch”

lol – non-tamper tape, my word of the year (or technically my 2.5 words of the year).

Dog vs roach…that should make for an interesting fight!

Or maybe I’m to harsh here..I’m sure roaches have their use in the grand scheme of things unlike this lawyer and his client.

The S door handles ARE troublesome though I have no doubt that this lawsuit is without merit. Tesla would have done much better to leave off the silly door handles.

I thought that too at first but once you figure out how they work they are fine. At least mine have been.

I’m hoping (and guessing probably true) that the Tesla Gen3 does not have the pop-out handles. KISS. That’s just one more thing to go wrong. I don’t care how many videos they show of the handles busting through ice, my fear is that they won’t like -20 degree Michigan winters full of salt & ice than will penetrate all the mechanics.

I think the door handles are awesome. What a cool way to have completely aerodynamic sides.

At 2:05, he says :
“Tesla is the first car manufacturer in the world that makes you sign a confidentiality agreement when you buy the car”

Is it true ? What is it about ? I feel it’s wrong. people shouldn’t be forced to sign this type of agreement when buying any type of consumer goods.

I have heard of such things in other products and services such as software EULA, but haven’t seen it yet for myself, who reads those anyway. What I have heard about these clauses seems to center around trying to keep issues in house and not bringing up negative publicity when an issue is being actively dealt with. I had also heard that these clauses don’t prevent a person from exercising their rights in a court of law but is meant to quietly deal with the issue before it gets that far.

I too wonder what the purpose of a confidentiality agreement is. If it is to protect trade secrets, or intellectual property, than that is perfectly proper.

IF it is to keep the customer from disclosing problems with the car, that’s another matter.

I think most nav systems built into cars have “eulas” that show up when you go to use it. Not exactly the same but definitely on the same arc.

Don’t mess with a company who’s product can track your actions and thus turn around and prove that you are a liar!

Maybe the definition of “brodering” should be widened to include unawareness of the car’s capability to track your actions while intentionally setting it up to fail.

Crocks this is the kind of lawyers that destroy America and the society. Legalised extortion

Tesla is not a conventional car company and they don’t sell conventional cars. If you don’t want to sign a confidentiality agreement or do the required maintenance as you agree too when you buy one, then don’t buy one.
With Cheryl, it’s like the boy who cried wolf.
After so many times of grousing and bashing Tesla her commentary is valueless, even if a negative comment is correct, since her comments are all always negative, there is no objectivity in her point of view.
Not trying to be cruel or mean.

Doesn’t the owner’s manual say that one’s hands must be free of gloves, grease, or other contaminants before touching the door handle?