The last decade saw a proliferation of heart-warming stories where over-eager children bought expensive vehicles or toys using their parent's accounts on phones, tablets or using smart assistants like Alexa. Some of us have the opposite problem, dad-clicking our way into things we shouldn't. Dominic Preuss had this very issue recently, as his father-in-law charged over $14,000 to his credit card by accidentally purchasing the Full Self-Driving upgrade on his Tesla Model 3, reports CarScoops.
The precise charges came out to $14,186.25, for Autopilot and Full Self-Driving plus tax. It's a hefty sum no matter how you cut it. Writing on Twitter, Preuss notes "If you double click the shift panel twice and accidentally engage the auto-pilot in Model 3, Tesla will automatically charge you $14100 if you didn't previously purchase auto-pilot."
Autopilot and Full-Self Driving are two of Tesla's headline features it uses to differentiate itself in the marketplace. The incident happened when Preuss's father in law was driving the car, and thus the charges were made without so much as a request for credit card info or any password authorization. The Tesla simply billed the credit card already on file.
It suggests that anyone, even a child sitting in the car, could easily land a Tesla owner with a huge bill with just a few clicks. An email notification of the purchase alerted Preuss, who was able to cancel the charges. Heading into the "Manage Upgrades" settings let Preuss secure a refund to his credit card.
The Tesla owner noted that the purchase may have been made through a different method than the one he quoted, but was made without any authorization regardless. Given that even most smartphones require a thumbprint or PIN entry to spend as little as 99 cents, it's a little horrifying that you can get billed fourteen big ones from a couple of mis-swipes by anyone who sits in the car.
We'd expect Tesla to rectify the issue in a future update, though we can't verify this is on the cards as the company famously doesn't run a press department. In any case, if something similar happens to you, in a Tesla or any other car with subscription-activated features, be sure to drop us a line.
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