If you buy a pre-owned Tesla Model S directly from Tesla, you’d expect it to be in pretty good shape. While the car may have some light cosmetic imperfections, you’d certainly want it to be free of major crash damage. A Chinese court ordered Tesla to pay a Model S buyer 1.14 million yuan, about $175,000, after it was determined that major components of the car were cut and welded after a crash.
The Tesla buyer purchased a used Model S from Tesla’s site in 2019, reported Chinese outlet Caixin. The car experienced multiple breakdowns, with the owner eventually discovering the C-pillar and rear fender had been cut, then welded back together. The Model S owner then sued Tesla.
Tesla’s site notes:
Every used Tesla has passed an internal inspection and may undergo light repairs to be prepared for sale. Expect your used Tesla to have cosmetic wear consistent with a used vehicle upon delivery. Normal wear and tear indicative of the age and mileage of the car should be expected.
Every used Tesla meets or exceeds Tesla’s Mechanical Standards as outlined below:
- No evidence of structural repairs
The court ordered a third-party evaluation of the vehicle and determined that the repairs to the Model S may have affected the vehicle’s driving traits, Business Insider reported. The purchase price of the Tesla should have also been $12,500 lower than the roughly $58,000 that the sedan’s owner paid.
Chinese consumer law stipulates that a business found selling a fraudulent product is to pay the buyer triple the product’s purchase price. The buyer has been awarded 1.14 million yuan — the equivalent of $175,000 — by the Chinese court for Tesla’s concealing the vehicle’s damage.
Frankly, I’m surprised a unibody vehicle with a cut and welded C-pillar would even be allowed to be back on the road, let alone sold as a vehicle with minor imperfections.
This unfortunately highlights that it’s a good idea to get an independent inspection, even on a vehicle supposedly inspected or certified by a manufacturer or dealer. You definitely want to make sure you’re getting something better than what you’d find in the bowels of Craigslist.