Tesla Disables Features of Used Model S, Asks for $4,500

Tesla recently sent shock waves across the automotive landscape when news broke of them disabling features and range on a used Model S and requiring the customer to pay $4,500 to restore it. The story originally surfaced on Twitter by Tesla component business owner, Jason Hughes, who stated that the customer had taken the vehicle into service for an unrelated software upgrade. After the upgrade was complete, Tesla contacted the customer to tell them they had found a “configuration mistake” with the car, which they then attempted to rectify by disabling 80 miles (about 129 km) of range.

Tesla has the right to disable features before reselling a used vehicle that’s traded into them, but refusing to restore range to a customer without payment is a questionable move. Fortunately, both in this case and in another similar situation, the problem seems to have been solved.

This situation brings to light the importance of Tesla having a public relations department, to better communicate their decisions and set precedents in a transparent manner. Unfortunately, we can only report this scenario for now without an official confirmation from Tesla.

It will be interesting to see what other ‘wild and wacky’ stories of Tesla ownership emerge, and how Tesla responds to them moving forward.