Tesla Must Face Class-Action Lawsuit Over Alleged Repair Monopoly, Judge Says

Tesla doesn't let its customers have their cars repaired at independent shops, which violates anti-trust laws.
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I’m sure you have a parent, an uncle, or some old-timer relative who’s told you about the value of a good mechanic. Y’know, someone you can trust to fix your car the right way, at a reasonable price. Unfortunately, Tesla owners currently don’t know such a thing, because Tesla is being accused of creating a repair monopoly, only allowing its own service centers to fix its customers’ cars. But now, according to Reuters, a federal judge has granted owners the go-ahead to pursue a class-action lawsuit against the electric vehicle maker.

U.S. District Judge Trina Thompson in San Francisco is giving owners the chance to prove Tesla’s monopoly on repairs and service. A Tesla Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing shows that it reported $8.3 billion in repairs, 9% of its $96.8 billion in total revenue. However, Tesla was able to create that much revenue because it reportedly forces customers to use its service centers, versus independent mechanics, with the threat of voiding warranties otherwise.

Judge Thompson learned that Tesla’s vehicles require software diagnostics and repairs that only Tesla service centers can perform, which forces customers to go there. However, it also refused to open enough authorized service centers to handle its customers. It also prevents original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) from selling Tesla parts to third-party companies, so no other shops or mechanics can repair Teslas even if they were allowed to, since they don’t have the parts.

Once any vehicle’s warranty runs out, customers are on the hook for any and all repairs, which is usually when customers eschew stealership prices for their own cheaper independent mechanics. But they can’t with a Tesla. Even Tesla customers with active warranties have to use the brand’s higher-cost service centers for any non-covered repairs. Making matters worse, since it won’t let OEMs sell Tesla parts to various shops, even the self-wrenching DIYers are forced to go spend top-dollar on Tesla-done repairs.

The class-action lawsuit was originally started by five Tesla customers who have been forced to pay for Tesla repairs since 2019. Judge Thompson initially dismissed the case last November but has now seen enough to permit it.

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