Tesla Referral Program Prompts Formal Complaint Over 'Rogue Car Salespeople'
Tesla's business model is under scrutiny again. This time, California dealers say referral incentives amount to payment for selling cars.
Tesla's referral incentives are under the microscope, following immense criticism of its direct sales model, according to a complaint filed by the California New Car Dealers Association to the California DMV.
The complaint alleges that Tesla is using its customers as unlicensed pseudo-salespeople, according to Teslarati. California law prohibits car sales without a sales license in the state. Yet if you love your car, you're bound to tell people about how great it is - possibly even attempt to convince your neighbors and colleagues to go out and buy one. Sometimes friends like it so much that they too want to buy one.
A referral isn't just a one-sided game, either. The prospective new owner can also get $1,000 off the purchase of their Model S or Model X, and a lifetime of free supercharging at any of Tesla's charging stations. The Model 3 is ineligible for any current referral bonuses that Tesla offers its customers, however, possibly due to slim profit margins on the lower-priced configurations.
"This is just another example of car dealers trying to interfere with us and our customers," An unnamed Tesla spokesperson responded to the claim, "The regulations prohibit rogue car salespeople. Does anyone seriously think our customers are salespeople that the public needs to be protected from?"
Tesla has also had two separate formal complaints filed against it, both involving the manufacturer's business model. Only one of those complaints were acknowledge by the DMV, which issued a warning to the automaker for offering strictly monetary incentives in its "secret" referral program.
- RELATEDThis $3 Million Brooklyn Townhouse Comes With Its Own Brand-New TeslaObviously, the Tesla won't be in the living room.READ NOW
- RELATEDTesla's Semi-Truck Reveal Delayed Until Late OctoberBuzzed about the Tesla semi? Well, calm down, Sparky...because you're gonna have to wait another six weeks to see it.READ NOW
- RELATEDNTSB Says Limitations of Tesla's Autopilot Played a 'Major Role' in Fatal 2016 Crash"System safeguards were lacking," the NTSB chairman said.READ NOW
- RELATEDTo Help Drivers Escape Hurricane Irma, Tesla Extended the Range of Some Model S, Model X CarsProving once again that over-the-air software updates are great.READ NOW
- RELATEDTesla is Expanding its Supercharger Network in Chicago and BostonTravelling cross-country or just running errands in your Tesla is about to get easier.READ NOW