On March 6, the Danish newspaper Politiken published that 75 Danish Tesla owners have filed a lawsuit against the car company. They demand 100,000 Danish kroner each (approximately $16,400) for a problem that probably applies to most owners of Tesla Model S purchased between 2013 and 2015.
Bilklager (CarComplaints) is following the case in Denmark, as well as a similar case in Norway (see below) and encourages Tesla owners to follow TeslaClaims. If compensation is paid in these cases, we will follow up and consider lawsuits on behalf of other Tesla owners who may have a valid claim.
The thing is, Tesla released a software update in 2019, which caused Tesla Model S purchased in the period 2013-2015 to start charging much slower with Tesla’s superchargers. When asked by customers, Tesla denied that the update resulted in a longer charging time, but before and after checks showed that the update was the direct cause of the problem.
This has generated lawsuits in several countries – including Norway, where about 10.000 Teslas were sold during the period. On April 29, more than 30 Norwegian Tesla owners won on the same basis and Tesla was sentenced to pay each of them NOK 136,000 (approximately $15,500). The sentence is attached below. If all of the affected Norwegian Tesla Owners were to receive the same compensation, this would amount to NOK 1.36 billion (approximately $162,4 million).
In 2013, Tesla sold more than 25,000 cars globally. In 2014, they sold 31,655 cars. In 2015, they sold 50,466 Tesla Model S. This means that a total of 107,000 cars may be affected. If they were all to be compensated with $15,500, this would amount to $1.66 billion!
In its article, Politiken was in contact with Danish consumer authorities and other experts, who problematized the use of automatic updates on such expensive goods as cars. If the updates result in degraded features, shouldn’t users be compensated? Should the same regulations apply to a pair of cheap shoes as for an expensive car?
Tesla is not alone in making its products worse. Apple released an update in 2016 that slowed down older iPhones and made the battery ustable. The case became known as Batterygate and Apple was sentenced to pay billions in compensation to its customers.
TeslaClaims have been in contact with several of the Norwegian plaintiffs, who state that the verdict was announced on May 17. This means that Tesla must settle by May 31, or choose to appeal the verdict by June 17. So far, the plaintiffs have not received any settlement. If Tesla chooses to appeal the verdict, they will thus claim that customers are not entitled to compensation if the cars are subsequently made worse through software updates. In that case, it’s very similar to Batterygate.
TeslaClaims have gotten hold of the Norwegian verdict: