Maybe You Shouldn’t Buy a Used Tesla From Carvana

by Giovanni

Tesla is a company already known for their industry innovation in both product and experience. Bar none, the purchase experience found at Tesla is favorited over the traditional dealership haggling. The days of scummy bait and switching are seemingly over as Tesla has already changed the future of car dealerships.

Through direct sales and a salaried staff, buying a Tesla is as easy as making any other purchase. The times of dreading buying a new car are over. Simply choose your car online, get your money ready, and go pick up your car, hassle free. The process works wonders for factory fresh vehicles but in terms of used cars, it gets a bit more complicated.

Carvana is a dealer group focused on providing a similar experience for used vehicles, haggle free online orders with home delivery. While great in theory, execution seems to run at its own pace. Reddit user Camberdin had a less than ideal experience when trying to get their hands on a used Tesla Model S.

The future Tesla owner did as you do in 2020, they added a used red Model S P85 to their cart and checked out. Preparing financing, trade-ins, and insurance for a non-traditional experience is a breeze as we transition into this new era of car sales. On the day of delivery, the Reddit user was bewildered when no Tesla showed up at their door. As it turns out, days earlier, during transit the cars windshield was smashed in by a rock, or so Camberdin was told. The used car buyer was irritated at the fact that they were never informed, and rightfully so. The car was sent to Tesla for repair with no new delivery date set. After a few emails and a week of silence, a phone call was placed. Unbelievably, the keys for the car were now lost. At this point, the payment had already been sent and had to be canceled.

After many back and forth phone conversations, it was clear, it was time to move on. Giving Carvana another chance, another used Model S was ordered, this time in blue. On delivery day, with a 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm window, Camberdin waited until 6:05 pm to go out of their way with another dreaded phone call. After an hour on hold, it was discovered that the car was immovable with a dead 12-volt battery.

Camberdin’s husband was so fed up with the whole ordeal that he drove to the inspection center where the car sat, dead. It was clear Carvana was near clueless on how to get the vehicle operational. The husband made proper suggestions which were apparently ignored.

The following day another call was made to Carvana’s customer service. The updates were never relayed over and the rep was unaware of the situation. After another canceled payment, it was time to try something else.

The two made an appointment to see another blue used Model S, this time a P85+, at one of those dreadful traditional car dealerships. There they were met by a Tesla enthusiast who was happy to help and answer their questions. With 40,000 miles the car read an error message. The dealership offered to send the electric vehicle to Tesla themselves for the repair and pay the bill. The deal was signed and the couple drove home while their new car sat in the hands of a Tesla service department.

Carvana eventually called stating the suggestions made got the car up and running. It was once again ready for delivery. Obviously after being given the runaround, dealing with insurance, financing, and missed deliveries twice, interest in working with Carvana had expired. As it turns out, canceling your Carvana purchase can’t be done over the phone, it had to be done by Camberdin online. Happy to end the headache, the order was quickly canceled.

The Reddit user is now a happy Tesla owner with a blue Model S P85+ bought at a Texas BMW dealership.

(read the full story and some Q&A’s here)

The situation is not as unique as you’d imagine, it spreads throughout all digital used car sales. Storage, logistics, pricing, repairs, and sightless customer service are a lot to handle when delivering nationwide. A lot of the time, it’s a lot easier for a traditional used car lot that knows the business and has the staff at hand to handle used vehicles locally.

Tesla offers a similar program with their pre-owned vehicles. You might think it would be best to go through the source themselves, right? While probably preferred, the system is still not perfect. Reddit comments were quick to point out the similarities to their experiences purchasing a used car through Tesla themselves. In fact, prior to the Carvana fiasco, Camberdin tried to purchase a used Model S through Tesla. After a reservation was paid for and placed, the CarFax came back dirty with fire damage of all things. Not disclosing that major issue up front left the Reddit user wary so they wen’t ahead and tried Carvana, which obviously didn’t turn out any better.

There’s no easy solution to online used car sales. Plenty are trying to perfect the system but there’s always one too many components to handle. If you’re buying new, there’s no doubt the Tesla experience is best. Used? Maybe check your local dealerships first, at least for now.

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