Tesla has once again found itself in a heated debate, this time over the premium it charges its customers. While most car manufacturers offer different options in car’s variants and sell different models with different configurations, Tesla has handled it differently. The controversy arose when the owner of a used Model S discovered that while he bought his car with a smaller battery pack, it actually already came with a larger battery.
However, to unlock the full performance potential of the extra capacity, he had to pay a hefty fee of $4,500.
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The Revelation of the Unlocking Fee
The controversy over the unlock fee began with the surprise revelation by a buyer of a used Model S. He was expecting a 60 kWh battery and found that his vehicle had been upgraded with a larger 90 kWh battery. However, in order to take advantage of the full performance potential of the additional capacity, he had to pay a substantial sum of $4,500. This discovery caused frustration and dissatisfaction among him and many Tesla owners, who felt that they should be able to use the extra power at no additional cost. The situation raised questions about the transparency of Tesla’s pricing structure and the fairness of charging for features that should be included in the base price.
The Power of Social Media and Resolution
Social media has played an important role in broadening the controversy over the unlocking fee. Many customers raised issues on platforms such as Reddit and Twitter to voice their concerns and gain support from other Tesla owners. The viral nature of the discussions generated a lot of attention and eventually prompted Tesla to restore the full battery capacity of the affected vehicle at no additional cost.
Ethical Concerns and Customer Reactions
Tesla’s unlocking fee has raised ethical concerns in the EV community. Customers argue that they shouldn’t pay extra for features or software that are technically available in their vehicles. The discrepancy between advertised features and additional fees has led to widespread discontent and a sense of injustice among Tesla owners. This backlash demonstrates the importance of companies keeping their promises during the sales process and ensuring transparency in pricing.
In addition, the unlocking fee controversy has raised further ethical questions about companies’ responsibilities to their customers. When customers purchase a vehicle, they expect to receive the advertised features and capabilities without incurring unexpected fees. Charging extra for software or features that should be included in the base price can undermine trust and damage a company’s reputation. This controversy reminds us that ethical considerations should drive pricing in the electric car industry and beyond.
Transfer of Licences and Recognition of Brand Loyalty
Amidst the controversy over the unlock fee, a Twitter user proposed an idea to reward brand loyalty and recognise customers’ financial commitment. He suggested allowing the transfer of the Full Self-Driving (FSD) licence to new Tesla vehicles. This proposal would give customers who have paid in full for the FSD feature the flexibility to use the benefits in multiple vehicles, creating a sense of appreciation and recognition for their loyalty.
So a lousy $3,900 for FSD that they will gladly sell to you on your next vehicle from them for $15,000. @elonmusk this is unacceptable. @TeslaLisa @arctechinc @TeslaDiva99 @Tesla @Tesla_Asia @brandonee916 @teslanoma @Muskstaycalm #FSDTransfer #FSD @RealDanODowd pic.twitter.com/GIDu3UmYVR
— Alex (@kuthedk) July 9, 2023
This proposal is in line with the idea that customers shouldn’t be penalised for investing in and supporting a particular brand. Recognising the contributions of loyal customers through licence transfers wouldn’t only increase customer satisfaction but also strengthen brand loyalty and commitment.
As the EV market continues to evolve, companies like Tesla should carefully consider the implications of charging extra for features or software that should be included in the base price. It’s important that customers receive the promised features without hidden fees to build trust and maintain customer satisfaction.