Tesla Doubled Its Non-Refundable Order Fee
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Tesla is undoubtedly the pioneer when it comes to electric vehicles. Many are surprised to learn that they also make the best vehicles for the U.S. economy.
The innovation doesn't end there, as the Palo Alto carmaker implemented superior customer service. One noteworthy example was its "no questions asked" return policy, presuming customers only had the new car for a week and kept miles under 1,000.
Nothing lasts forever, unfortunately. This includes some of Tesla's most celebrated customer service practices. Tesla quietly made changes to a few policies recently, and these changes weren't necessarily in the customer's favor.
The Tesla order fee
Previously, Tesla had a $100 non-refundable order fee, as reported by Electrek. This was in part to cover costs associated with returns.
Sure, a customer could return a vehicle, but the $100 order fee would not be refunded. In a way, this makes sense to offset the costs associated with returns.
The return policy makes sense, as the transition from gas to electric can raise unforeseen challenges. Customers could buy a Tesla with confidence, knowing that if their local EV infrastructure isn't up to snuff, an exchange could be made with ease.
In the past week, this non-refundable order fee was more than doubled to $250 with no explanation provided.
Why isn’t the company accepting returns anymore?
The increase in the non-refundable fee could be assumed to cover the rising cost of returns. But Tesla recently canceled its beloved return policy.
The refund policy was killed in silence, leaving many scratching their heads in confusion. No press release or official statement has been made explaining the change.
Possible explanations for Tesla’s policy changes
Without an official explanation, we are left to ponder why Tesla gave this popular return policy the axe. Electrek.co speculates that it was related to the international microchip shortage, which is forcing all automakers to make dramatic changes.
To oversimplify, the great microchip shortage was a result of the pandemic. When many people were in quarantine and staying at home, they decided to upgrade many of their electronics and appliances. At the same time, many microchip producers were suspending production for employee safety.
As a result, we are now in a microchip shortage. Many people expect the shortage to end by the end of the year since chip production has mostly resumed.
The chip shortage affected all carmakers, including Tesla. Electrek.co found that Tesla orders are taking much longer to fulfill than in normal times.
While not confirmed, it is reasonable to attribute the longer fulfillment times to the chip shortage. The chip shortage may also be the blame for Tesla ending their return policy.
As microchips are more precious now than at any other point in Tesla's history, they need to be guarded as such. The company may no longer be able to afford a chip going unused due to a return. This gives hope that the return policy may come back when the shortage is over, but that’s just a hope.
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