Prospective Tesla buyers, beware: The company’s return policy appears to have changed. And by changed, I mean “done away with completely.”
It used to be that new Tesla owners had a seven-day “no questions asked” return period, starting with when they took possession of their new vehicle. That no longer seems to be the case, however, with Electrek confirming via “sources familiar with the matter” that the policy was discontinued on Thursday. Oct. 15.
The dedicated URL that once existed for the return policy – https://www.tesla.com/support/tesla-return-policy?redirect=no – now automatically redirects to a Tesla support page that makes no mention of return options. And there’s no way for press types like me to check with Tesla corporate directly because the company reportedly no longer has a public relations team.
(Mashable did reach out to a general Tesla press email that still seems to be working. We haven’t heard back yet, but I’ll update this post if/when we do.)
Tesla does, however, have dealerships. So I tried calling one and the salesperson who answered readily confirmed that yes, the seven-day return policy is no more. They told me the policy used to make sense because Tesla didn’t have a major presence in many states, and so showrooms and test drives weren’t widely available.
That’s no longer the case, however. With more than 100 Tesla showrooms in the U.S. alone, it’s much easier for a prospective buyer to check out one of the cars before they buy it.
The only piece that doesn’t add up in that explanation ties to a recent change Tesla made to its return policy. Before the change, the policy held that a return within seven days was allowed with no questions asked, provided “you have taken delivery of your vehicle without ever having taken a test or demo drive with us.” But the change, which happened in March 2019, did away with the test drive requirement.
If the return policy was done away with because showrooms and test drives are an option now for most would-be buyers, why would a 2019 tweak to the return policy allow for returns even after a test drive happens? This is the kind of question a PR rep would normally help us answer.
Whatever the reasoning may be, the result is the same: You no longer have a seven-day grace period to return a newly purchased Tesla. (To be fair, Tesla’s original policy was generous compared to the rest of the auto industry, where no-questions-asked returns aren’t the standard.) So you may want to hunt down a showroom and/or a test drive before you plunk down all that cash.