Charged For Charging: Tesla Sued Over Battery Warranties

tesla battery warranty

Consumer Class Action Lawsuit Claims Tesla Misleads Customers, Refuses Repairs

Electric vehicle giant Tesla can’t seem to stay out of the news, and this time it’s in for a charged legal battle over alleged misleading battery warranties. The company is being accused of falsely advertising and selling warranties for vehicle batteries that they have no intention of honoring, according to a new lawsuit.

While the company says it will repair or replace faulty batteries in its warranties, it has refused to do so, a Tesla consumer argues, saying in the lawsuit that battery warranties are especially important for electric vehicles given how critical the parts are for function.

Fuse blown, warranty broken? Lawsuit says Tesla won't honor battery coverage

Ari Schwartz, who filed the proposed class action lawsuit, bought a 2016 Model S Tesla electric vehicle that came with a battery warranty that expired in 2024. According to the lawsuit, in 2023 the vehicle notified him that a “battery fuse requires replacement soon.” When he took it to get repaired, it was covered by the warranty. But when the same thing happened again months later, the company refused to replace the fuse without charging him, “thereby refusing to honor its warranty.”

Tesla advertises its battery warranties in print and digital media, misleading Schwartz and many others, the lawsuit says. “Plaintiff would not have purchased the Model S or any similarly advertised product had Defendant disclosed that it would not honor its warranties,” it adds.

Tesla's history of courtroom encounters

If you keep up with the news, you’ll know legal action isn’t anything new for Tesla. The company recently dodged another proposed class action lawsuit accusing it of overstating its battery range when U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled the consumers had to resolve their claims in individual arbitration, Reuters reported.

Recently the company has also settled two separate lawsuits. One was a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family of Walter Huang who died after his Model X SUV crashed into a highway barrier in California in 2018 while autopilot features were turned on. The second was a racist discrimination lawsuit: the company paid Owen Diaz, a Black man who used to work at the Fremont factory, $3.2 million.

Meanwhile, the company is also facing legal action from 25 California counties that accuse it of mishandling its hazardous waste at facilities in California, The Guardian reports.

Not just Tesla: Legal troubles in the electric vehicle industry

Tesla is far from the only electric vehicle manufacturer to face charges in court. Kia, Hyundia, and Genesis are all facing legal action over an allegedly faulty charging port, which either slows charging substantially or causes it to stop altogether. Kia was also under the spotlight last year when it had to recall a range of vehicles due to risks of engine fires caused by a leaky hydraulic clutch actuator.

In a major legal battle happening overseas, Volkswagen AG is battling in court against claims one of its Porsche electric vehicles triggered a 2022 fire onboard a cargo ship that sank with thousands of cars on board, Fortune reported.

Fighting back: What Schwartz wants from the lawsuit

In his lawsuit against Tesla, Schwartz is accusing the company of violating California’s False Advertising Act, Unfair Competition Law, and Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty, as well as violating the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.

He wants to represent Tesla drivers nationwide in seeking corrective advertising, damages, and attorneys fees.

The plaintiff and proposed class are represented by Todd M. Friedman and Adrian R. Bacon of Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman, P.C.

The Tesla battery warranty proposed class action lawsuit is Schwartz v. Tesla, Inc. et al, Case No. 8:24-cv-00750  in the United States District Court for the Central District of California.



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