By on February 7, 2020

Tesla Model S Grey - Image: Tesla

I’m a broken record when it comes to consumer protections. Environmentalism may be more fashionable but the green movement has already amassed a sizable army in the current year. Someone needs to be watching out for Joe Customer because companies are stepping up their game. While we’ve often focused on data privacy, right-to-repair laws, and the hidden perils of subscription services, ownership rights also deserve a bit of attention because they’re all sort of interconnected.

As products become increasingly digital, it’s becoming fuzzy as to who actually owns something. In previous decades, someone wanting to outfit their computer with the latest software meant they had to go out and buy it. Now you can simply download stuff over wifi, with no need to have the physical copy cluttering up your desk. But this convenience factor has ramifications. A subset of the video-game community is up in arms over backwards compatibility and the ability to truly own their purchases. With games and movies beginning to occupy internal storage almost exclusively, they’ve grown concerned that companies will attempt to force them to repurchase old games on new platforms to turn a quick buck.

Why is this being explained to you on a car website? Because the automotive industry may be about to engage in similar practices. Jalopnik recently published an account of a man buying a secondhand Tesla Model S, only to see it stripped of thousands of dollars in features. 

The article withheld the purchaser’s name, but said the car was bought from a third-party dealer on December 20th of last year. Due to some screen yellowing, the 2017 Model S had been auctioned by Tesla in accordance with California’s lemon laws. When the dealer bought the car at auction from Tesla on November 15th, it was decked out with Enhanced Autopilot and Tesla’s Full Self Driving Capability (though it should be said that particular FSD suite doesn’t offer any autonomous capabilities, just the promise that they’ll be added later). Combined, those options would represent an $8,000 premium on a new car. But the person who owns the Model S says it no longer has either feature.

Tesla conducted a remote audit of the vehicle on November 18th and decided to remove those features during the next software update. But this doesn’t appear to have ever been disclosed to the dealership, who sold the car believing it to be equipped as the accompanying documentation specified.

The final owner didn’t find out about any of this until January when he took the car in for repairs — some suspension work, a fresh air filter, and a new media control unit — listed in the disclosure statement that were never made. This also resulted in his car getting the latest software update, which trigged the removal of both Autopilot and FSD.

Reaching out to customer report, yielded the following response from Tesla:

Tesla has recent identified instances of customers being incorrectly configured for Autopilot versions that they did not pay for. Since, there was an audit done to correct these instances. Your vehicle is one of the vehicles that was incorrectly configured for Autopilot. We looked back at your purchase history and unfortunately Full-Self Driving was not a feature that you had paid for. We apologize for the confusion. If you are still interested in having those additional features we can begin the process to purchase the upgrade.

And we’ve come full circle. Tesla doesn’t appear to believe buyers have ownership of the features on a secondhand car. Both Autopilot and the FSD suite come as one-time purchases, making this a vastly different than simply canceling someone’s satellite radio subscription. Someone paid thousands of dollars extra when this car was new and you had better believe those features played into the final auction price and subsequent sale.

Jalopnik reported that the poor bastard that is now stuck with the car attempted to outfox the automaker by contacting a Tesla Used Vehicle Sales Advisor to ask if Autopilot and FSD would be removed from a used vehicle. Curiously, they said the company would not … even though it did.

The dealer that snagged the car from auction has since reached out to make it extra clear that both features were fully functional when it purchased the car from Tesla, even though that was never really in doubt. But they did remember there being a sporadic notification that the car’s autopilot had been upgraded after a software update. At the time, it was assumed the situation would be ironed out and the issue was addressed with its current buyer prior to sale.

However, the dealer also explained this wasn’t the first time a secondhand Tesla has seen it features curiously vanish. “I sell dozens of Teslas a year, and sold my father in law a Model X P90D with ludicrous speed package. 60 days after the purchase of the car, Tesla removed his ludicrous speed package,” they said. “Upon complaints to them they said he never paid for it. We have video evidence and multiple pictures of the vehicle with it. They even removed the line under the P90D. I am still shocked at these acts.”

Tesla’s message boards have similar accounts, often with the discussion devolving into everyone asking what the point of FSD even is, and Jalopnik’s article is loaded with documents showcasing everyone’s general sense of confusion. If you’re the sort of person who worries about digital ownership, or just wants to keep advanced tabs on the auto industry’s changing business practices, it’s worth a read.

[Image: Tesla]

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105 Comments on “A Buyer’s Dismay: Tesla Reportedly Removes Features From Used Model S...”


  • avatar
    IBx1

    The features of the car were integral to the price of the used car. If this is how they want to play, then the resale value of every Tesla should drop to the value of a comparative base model, which would be sure to annoy those who paid well into the 6-figure range for a top-trim car.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    a) That sucks.
    b) Starting to act like a real car company (not in a good way). [Or another software company that starts with “M”.]
    c) When software updates affect hardware functionality, we have crossed into new territory and need to be careful – 737 MAX, GM brake recall(s), etc. etc.

    Curiosity question (not yet directly relevant to me, but perhaps within the next decade): Is it possible to “air gap” a Tesla and still use it as a daily driver?

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      ToolGuy – I wonder if a Tesla requires regular wireless communications with Mama (the manufacturer) just to allow it to keep it running, i.e., if it is unable to communicate for “X” days, will it turn into a brick? “Air gapping” a Tesla may not be a good idea.

      • 0 avatar
        ToolGuy

        Did some more looking. “The rules” [selected] for buying a used Tesla from Tesla:
        – $100 “order fee” (I assume non-refundable, I also assume I could walk away if I didn’t like the car upon seeing it in person?)
        – $2,000 transportation fee from anywhere in the continental US (I would take a road trip instead)
        – Price is non-negotiable
        – You get pictures online of your specific vehicle; ‘no test drive’
        – They aren’t going to fix any cosmetic issues/etc you find
        – You get one of two warranties (+4yrs/+50K, +2yrs/max100K) depending on the age/mileage where you start (<4yrs/<50K, <6yrs/<100K)
        – You get Standard Connectivity (over Wi-Fi) and can pay $9.99/month for Premium Connectivity (cellular)
        – You can pay for Full Self-Driving if your vehicle has the right hardware to support it

        I looked at Model S inventory within 200 miles of me (there are obviously more Model S vehicles available now than the other models).

        For me, I'm still waiting (use availability and used prices should only get better). But if I were in the market right now for a Model S, I would absolutely jump on a used one, even with all the rules/restrictions they have.

        [The guy described in the article is still in a crappy position – see my posts further down for a possible recent rules change/clarification?]

        Still curious to see what happens past 8 years/100K (i.e., my current daily driver is 15 years old with over 200K – will I be able to do that with a Model S [outside of any potential "battery" concerns]).

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      “b) Starting to act like a real car company (not in a good way).”

      Maybe BMW. I don’t know of anyone else doing this sort of stuff and honestly not even BMW but they had that whole stupid subscription for Apple Car Play but at least you knew going in what the score was and I think they have backed off that.

      I’d say more the Electronic Arts of the car industry. “You think you purchased the whole game? Naa…You need this DLC to actually play it and this online fee and hey, this game is now 5 years old so we are taking down the servers which are also required for single player modes for some reason.”

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    This would seriously piss me off. It’s not up to the MFR to take stuff away that they already *got paid for*. No different than the first owner paying for optional chrome alloys on a car, then trading it in as they bought it, the dealer selling to a 2nd owner, and Buick sending over a couple thugs a month later to take the chromies and leave you with steelies and hubcaps. Ridiculous.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    First, FSD is a myth with a price tag. Anyone buying it new (or used) is just throwing money away, because it will be litigated into oblivion if it ever hits the road.

    As for feature removal, I wonder what the Federal Trade Commission’s policy is on such matters (or SEC; I’m not sure of the governing authority). This seems like a simple case of product misrepresentation, bait-and-switch, or whatever. The seller should accurately represent the features, and the buyer should expect to receive those features as part of the transaction.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      FSD does give you some enhanced features with autopilot that you can use now. For most of those features, you need the free upgrade to HW3. The car in question is a 2017 so it probably has HW2 or HW2.5. Not surprised if they disabled the feature if he failed to get the free upgrade.

      • 0 avatar
        EGSE

        If HW3 was free, I would expect Tesla to perform the upgrade when it was in their custody since FSD was already included. Tesla sold the car representing it was equipped with FSD and I’m confident they reaped the profit from that.

        Then it was deleted after the check cashed. Hmmmm…

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          ” I would expect Tesla to perform the upgrade when it was in their custody ”

          Good point. They should have performed the upgrade. If any of the hardware is there, it’s proof that the car had FSD. FSD isn’t just a software option. If I was this guy, I’d be talking to the Attorney General’s office. I’ve seen photos of the paperwork on the car and it is supposed to have FSD. Tesla sold it with it and they have to honor the sale. Even if the original driver didn’t pay (which I don’t think is the case), it doesn’t matter. It’s on that paperwork. I think someone at Tesla screwed up.

  • avatar

    I don’t feel like Tesla has a leg to stand on here. They sold a car with ABC features. The first owner paid for these to be installed.

    A simple ownership change via sale does not negate these purchases. And if it does, then the original owner should be refunded a depreciated part of the purchase price for these options. Fair’s fair, right?

    What’ll be interesting is if this happens in a situation where a spousal or business ownership transfer has occurred for whatever reason, with no sale at all. I guarantee you they’re auditing based on DMV title records.

    Hopefully they’ll be sued, and owners restored to their rightful positions.

    • 0 avatar
      Guitar man

      The vehicle was sold at an auction to a dealer.

      There are no warranties on vehicles sold at auction, not are there any conditions on “fit for purpose”. They are sold entirely “caveat emptore”.

      In any case, consumer law remedies are unavailable for business-to-business purchases.

      • 0 avatar

        Not talking about the dealer suing, but the customer.

        Tesla removed features of value after purchase – one day there, next day not. The company that built your house can’t come uninstall the air conditioning after it’s sold to someone else, and cite “The new owner didn’t pay for the AC.”

        • 0 avatar
          EGSE

          @Corey

          Exactly how I see it.

        • 0 avatar
          fn2drive

          Your comment makes no sense. Have you read the original sales contract?. It is possible the initial purchase made clear certain features were being purchased for only as long as the original owner owned the vehicle and would be bricked upon change in ownership. Not commenting on fairness or wisdom but contracts govern.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            Contracts aren’t iron-clad or sacrosanct, especially if they cover illegal behavior.

            Second, even in your case the contract would have been with the *original* purchaser. The feature in question was on the window sticker, the second buyer had it on good faith that the car was so equipped, and paid a price for the car commensurate with that only to have it removed after purchase.

            it’s no different than Corey’s analogy; they *removed* a f***ing feature after the car was sold to someone. Just because it was via disabling in software rather than physically taking something off of the car doesn’t change that.

            I mean, think of the implications of that. You could now make the case that the second owner of a car is not entitled to *any* of the optional equipment on a car because he/she “didn’t pay for it.” I don’t see why you think Tesla trying to double-dip on this is acceptable just because software.

          • 0 avatar
            jkross22

            According to Tesla’s own window sticker, those features Tesla bricked were advertised as ‘included’.

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        Cars do not loose their warranties just because they are sold at auction. Removing features also doesn’t sound like it should be possible. Here’s an example that actually needs to be litigated. Can you imagine if a customer buys some accessory wheels for a car. Then sells it to someone else. All of a sudden a truck shows up and a crew puts the factory wheels back on. That would be stealing. It doesn’t change because it’s software, and done wirelessly.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          This was a lemon law car though. I think they are often not warrantied by the manufacturer and have their status noted on the title…and are priced accordingly.

          Still shady, but not likely a warranty deal.

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            I didn’t notice that in the article the first time. I can’t speak for Tesla, but vehicles that were bought back under lemon law usually still have a warranty, but different than factory warranty. At my manufacturer it’s 2 years. It actually works out if you’re buying a vehicle where the factory warranty is expired or about to be expired.

            Since they bought it back, they could have eliminated the additional features while it was in their possession. Either way this needs to be litigated, and I’m usually the last one to call for a lawsuit.

        • 0 avatar
          Guitar man

          > Cars do not loose their warranties just because they are sold at auction.

          You are wrong – they do. That’s why cars are so cheap at dealer auctions.

          And business buyers have no access to consumer warranties or consumer law protections.

          I refer you to the article :
          the dealer bought the car at auction from Tesla on November 15th,

          > I mean, think of the implications of that. You could now make the case that the second owner of a car is not entitled to *any* of the optional equipment on a car

          The dealer sold the car as provided with features it did not have – they are the ones who have violated consumer law, not Tesla.

          It is no different that if they sold the car as having the original warranty when in fact it no longer had it.

          >but vehicles that were bought back under lemon law usually still have a warranty, but different than factory warranty.

          Not when they are sold to a dealer at an auction.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            >>The dealer sold the car as provided with features it did not have – they are the ones who have violated consumer law, not Tesla.<<

            Just because you (Tesla) can, doesn't mean you should.

            And what "consumer law" applies here?

            The legality of it hasn't been established. Or laws are a step behind the technology.

            Can Tesla show up at your house and remove the stereo's amps/subs/components? Unless they're paid for again?
            Actually a 3rd time, since the secondary dealer bid/paid on a fully equipped car.

            What about removing your power seats, power windows and locks and leaving the manual ones? If they could they would.

            But again, it doesn't mean they should. Nor would it be "legal".

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            Buyback vehicles have whatever warranty the manufacturer provides on a buyback. This is different than normal warranties.

            Normal vehicles still have the remainder of the factory warranty. You are the one that’s wrong. Where do you think most of the cars on dealer lots come from? An auction doesn’t magically take the warranty away.

            The dealer sold the vehicle with features it did have, and Tesla took that away later.

    • 0 avatar
      ScarecrowRepair

      Microsoft used to claim that when you sold a PC with their software, you had to remove their software because it was only licensed, to you, and that license was not transferable.

      It was a trash argument to me, still is, but they got away with it. I would not be surprised if Tesla is just following their example.

      • 0 avatar
        TimK

        Read the EULA — it gives Microsoft the full licensing rights to their software. End users don’t own it, ever. I’ll bet Tesla has the same clauses in their software license agreements, and the license to use various features ends when the car is sold or destroyed.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          When MSFT quit supporting XP some PC owners encountered the dreaded blue screen, crash and lockup when they got on the internet. Worked one day, crashed the next.

          If they had made the recommended system backups they could restore their basic system and use the PC off-line without the updates forever.

          But if they got on-line they risked the same crash.

          I experienced that with my XP-Pro HP Pavilion Media Center PC that is the core of my 5-TB Video library. And it works just fine, off-line.

          I’m never using it to go on-line ever again having been through the crash&restore routine twice.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ


            When MSFT quit supporting XP some PC owners encountered the dreaded blue screen, crash and lockup when they got on the internet. Worked one day, crashed the next.”

            if that actually happened, it was likely due to an unpatched vulnerability they encountered, not any deliberate action from Microsoft. They’re not obligated to support something forever. IF you had a Mac you’d be surprised how quickly Apple kicks previous OS versions to the curb.

            at any rate, if you’re still using Windows XP on an internet-connected system you deserve to lose everything.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            Doesn’t work like this. Microsoft still actually supports XP…you just need to be a large enough entity to write them the check (think US Navy with all the XP embedded still on certain ship classes). They don’t cripple stuff.

            But yeah, if you are using it unpatched you are a fool. Even Toyota doesn’t support your 20 year old products directly. Yes you can still drive it, but you understand most support (parts) at this point will be third party.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            @Jimz…Ironically Apple IOS devices enjoy some of the longest support periods in the mobile business though. Pixel/Google devices are the best in the Android world and even they aren’t that good by comparison (2 years I believe). Don’t get me started on LG.

            Macs aren’t so bad. I think dropping 32 bit support was the last kick in the teeth to those users. My old “early 2011” macbook my wife uses is still getting support though last I checked.

            But yes, when they do move on to the next thing you basically have to buy new…If they went to “OSXI” tomorrow, it is a safe bet none of your OSX stuff would work and honestly you’d be lucky if you could use the peripherals you own with it.

          • 0 avatar
            cprescott

            Actually this did not happen. I had an old computer that I kept active online. It worked even if MSFT stopped supporting it. And I know computers and fix them.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      Once this becomes common knowledge, it will negatively affect the resale value of Teslas. It definitely needs to be litigated, but since these are used cars, and not new ones, how do you form a class, for a class action suit?

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      There is only one way to fight this – informational campaign. First, people will stop buying used Tesla. Second, less people will buy new Tesla thinking that they will not be able to sell it.

    • 0 avatar
      pragmatic

      Can the original owner now buy a stipped Model S and transfer his previously purchased features to the new car? Or does no one still have a valid license for the software?

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      When the vehicle was sold to the dealer at auction it listed those features on the window sticker and Tesla did not notify the dealer that those features were not available so this is on Tesla for not disclosing the facts. To use the example above, the house was foreclosed and listed with A/C and sold to a RE Agency as such. The RE Agency re-sells the house but the bank says A/C doesn’t come with the house and takes it back after the new owner takes possession.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    Tesla. The Enron of the auto industry.

  • avatar
    EGSE

    Does Tesla disclose that ownership of optional upgrades are limited to the original buyer? If yes, this might be harder to fight. I’ve purchased and “owned” software that was licensed only to me with no transfer rights, but that was made clear prior to sale. If on the other hand this was an arbitrary after-the-fact move on Tesla’s part, I hope they nuke ’em ’til they glow.

    This type of news will ripple through the used car biz and it will absolutely diminish the market value of pre-owned Teslas that aren’t already strippers. What’s on the table here? Will they subsequently software-limit the range of a battery that had extra capacity unlocked as an option purchase?

    There’s potentially many thousands of dollars per car hanging on this. If I ran another auto mfr I’d jump on this news like flies on chitt and say “we don’t f— you like Tesla does”, regardless of whatever limitation of rights Tesla has the original owner sign for paid add-ons.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      Here’s what I think is going to happen:

      Almost everywhere except in California, state legislators will pass laws requiring that software licenses purchased to enable features in vehicles must be transferable to subsequent owners.

      Every state has a powerful dealership lobby that, I would think would love to stick it to Tesla. Combine that with consumer outrage and you have the never-before-seen commonality of interest between these two forces.

  • avatar
    bunkie

    You don’t own software, you license it.

    Sooner or later, this was bound to happen with features that are enabled by software.

    I’m willing to bet that buried in Tesla’s license agreement is that the software license for these features is not transferable.

    Which would create all sorts of problems. First, as others have mentioned, what happens if you trade in or sell your Tesla to anyone except Tesla? Your vehicle loses considerable value. And what happens when Tesla sells your trade? Presumably they would not downgrade the software (and not have to pay an additional license fee) giving them an unfair advantage that could be interpreted as restraint of trade. From a consumer perspective the safest way to dive a Tesla is to lease it, avoiding these issues. But that just feeds into the Tesla monopoly. Clearly Tesla wants to control the used market as well.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      While what you say is true, you can make the counter argument that you’re not buying a software license. You’re buying a car which has certain features at time of first sale, and the manufacturer has no rights to remove any of said features once the car leaves their possession.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I feel like this is one of those things we were all told would *never never never ever* happen as a result of over-the-air vehicle tech.

  • avatar
    newenthusiast

    I’ve never been to an auto auction, so I need to ask: is there some equivalent of a Moroney sticker used to disclose features to buyers? Because if the dealer bought it under the assumption that that these features were there, I assume they priced for retail with that feature in mind. I assume the auction company did as well.

    If so, then under California law, does either the dealer or the final customer have a small claims case (for the difference of what was paid vs the used market value of what it actually is) against the auction or Tesla?

    Because it seems (if I am reading this right) as if the customer bought the car WITH the feature listed as intact, but it should not have been, but that’s not a buyer’s fault. And because no one informed him/her it should not have been, they likely paid more for it because it was advertised as such. Not knowing you are fraudulently advertising something doesn’t excuse liability just because it’s a piece of software, right? A feature is a feature. Am I wrong?

    There’s not enough info about exactly what the dealer and the buyer paid and how the car was described to really know if there is a civil case here or not.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      It all depends on the auction of course, but at many they write the key features in grease pencil on the windshield. There are a couple of auction houses and wholesalers near me. So it is common to see lots of cars in transit. So I see the cars with varying amounts of writing still on the windshield.

      From what I’ve read elsewhere the car in question was purchased at an auction held by Tesla, and the dealer says he was told that the car had those options enabled. How that was communicated wasn’t mentioned.

  • avatar

    All SW sooner or later is going to adopt subscription model. That what Tesla had to do with these features so new buyer do not have any illusions. My car has SiriusXM. It work for free for some period of time and then you have to subscribe. That is the future of personal mobility.

    Regarding that used Tesla – seller should reset it to factory setting like you do with smartphone. He did not buy car with that futures. It also wipes out sensitive personal data.

    • 0 avatar
      EGSE

      I don’t think those arguments work well in this context.

      First, the trial period for SiriusXM is a teaser where a new car buyer is getting service for free in the hopes they’ll sign up after the trial period, i.e., is a non-recurring marketing write-off. If you want to continue it you pay for it. The service is an *on-going expense* for SiriusXM to provide, like phone service or cable TV service.

      Software is a collection of bits that absent updates/bug fixes etc has no recurring cost burden to the manufacturer. The car would have received OTA updates if not sold and selling it to another party doesn’t cost Tesla one more cent just because a new name is on the title.

      I’ve never heard of anyone buying a used cell phone for the customer-installed apps, they want the phone and that’s what they get. Deleting apps and personal data doesn’t wipe the OS kernel or updates for functionality like battery management and the new owner will load the apps they want. If (for example) a music streaming account is deleted, again, it was there to provide a service that has an on-going cost to provide and the new owner should pony up if they want it.

      In the particular case in the article the new owner DID buy the car with increased functionality *that was already paid for*. Even if Tesla is within their legal rights to delete that functionality, it will look like a dick move in the court of public opinion and make used Teslas less desirable. It’s nothing more than a cash grab and the public will see it that way. It’s an f— you customer stupid move.

      • 0 avatar

        As an example Norton Security and Microsoft Office have both adopted subscription model. SW always gets new patches, new features, new versions including whatever features Tesla provides to its cars.

        • 0 avatar
          MBella

          The Microsoft Office subscription is almost indefensible. They aren’t providing you with a service.

          Norton security or anything else that has anti-virus software is different. They can build the most perfect secure software and tomorrow they will need to program an update for new virus signatures.

          • 0 avatar
            EGSE

            A side comment….

            Unless you’re in a corporate environment and just *have* to use MS OFfice, kick it to the curb and get LibreOffice. It is every bit as good, handles file imports better and it’s free. There’s even an ActiveX add-on if you need to automate functions between programs. I dumped MS Office 15 years ago and never looked back.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            Now go do a simple search on exploit db for Microsoft Office and tell me how they don’t have to offer continual updates like av companies.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            LibreOffice is nowhere near as good as MS Office. The only people who think it is are geeks who hear “most people only use 20% of Office’s features” but don’t understand that no one uses the same 20%.

          • 0 avatar
            EGSE

            YMMV but what I and others I know needed worked as well. Not “geeks” but engineers, hardware and software. Only problem I encountered was 3-D plot rendering years ago and I’ve not revisited that. Let’s table this for another time and place.

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            Art, they have to patch security holes that they created. That’s not different than any company having to make sure their products don’t have defects. Anti-Virus companies have to continuously add definitions for new viruses. If you have a 5 year old anti virus software, it will likely work just as designed, but will not work for a virus created last year. Very different to Microsoft leaving a back door in Office that they have to repair.

          • 0 avatar

            I personally stuck in 2007, that’s MS Office. It is perfect for home use and I do not see why I have to upgrade. At work we upgraded from 2007 to latest version but I like simplicity of 2007. Same with VS 2010, VS 2015, 2017 and so on – I do not care – I use VS as editor and compiling is done by script on build server. At home I use 2010. Yes ten years old.

            Regarding age – who remember Borland C++? I bought it in 1991- it was the heavy box with disks and manuals. WWW (Mosaic) was barely available and very slow but porno already circulated on floppy disks via bulletin boards.

          • 0 avatar

            I personally stuck in 2007, that’s MS Office. It is perfect for home use and I do not see why I have to upgrade. At work we upgraded from 2007 to latest version but I like simplicity of 2007. Same with VS 2010, VS 2015, 2017 and so on – I do not care – I use VS as editor and compiling is done by script on build server. At home I use 2010. Yes ten years old.

            Regarding age – who remember Borland C++? I bought it in 1991- it was the heavy box with disks and manuals. WWW (Mosaic) was barely available and very slow but porno already circulated on floppy disks via bulletin boards.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “My car has SiriusXM. It work for free for some period of time and then you have to subscribe.”

      yes, but when you bought the car you paid for the *receiver,* and they were (or should have been) upfront that the *content* was via paid subscription. If you don’t subscribe, you don’t get the content, but the receiver still works.

      what Tesla has done here would be like if you sold your car to someone and the manufacturer disabled the receiver until the new owner paid for the option again.

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    I didn’t really need another reason to not buy a Tesla but I’ll add this to my list. Thanks.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      The article is an indication that sooner rather than later OEMs of other cars run on proprietary software will reserve the same rights and revoke certain software or updates that were purchased by the first/original buyer but not paid for by the subsequent buyers.

      You still get whatever is required to make the car run safely, like getting back to basics.

      The same can (and does) happen to second-hand buyers of cars with active Sirius/XM accounts or On-Star accounts. If you haven’t paid for it, it goes away.

      So why not software enhancements that make a Tesla tailored to the first buyer’s wants and needs?

      If the second-hand buyer wants to pay for the enhancements, they’re only a phone call or email away and it guarantees Tesla a secondary stream of income on enhancements for used vehicles.

      Buyers will have to bite the bullet, or do without. If it came to that, I’d do without enhancements and go back to basics. After all, it is a used vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        In your scenario, original owners would have to keep in mind the potentially large hit to resale value as well.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        We aren’t talking about radio subscription services here…we are talking features the end user paid for. This would be akin to me selling my Fiesta ST and Ford showing up post sale and removing the turbo and swapping the manual for a powershift. That is not the car the buyer paid for.

        If Tesla wants to do this, fine but used resale is going to take a beating on top trim models.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      This isn’t a Tesla only problem. Although they’re going to get good and bloodied first.

  • avatar
    mcs

    There was a bug with Ludicrous mode in some cars last fall. By the way, Ludicrous mode is more than just a software upgrade. New hardware is required as well in order to handle the extra power.

    https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/tesla-performance-ludicrous-mode-bug/

  • avatar
    Garak

    It would be interesting to see them try this in the EU. The courts have previously ruled that a software license is property and can be resold, and any EULAs or similar forbidding resale are not legally binding. We’d see if the same laws apply to car functions.

    At least I have one more reason not to buy a Tesla.

  • avatar
    jaffa68

    This is likely due to the fact that all the FSD hardware installed on 2019 and older cars must be upgraded, this will need to be free-of-charge for those who bought FSD in advance, so Tesla is changing the definition of an FSD purchaser to reduce their liability.

    This is a company that operates on and sometimes over the legal line in so many areas, it’s a consequence of having a fraudster as a CEO.

    I reality it’s a moot point, because FSD (as originally defined) is never coming to any Tesla produced to date, apparently they’re now just getting “feature complete” FSD which is FSD that can’t FSD.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Gives me just one more reason to not want a Tesla.

    • 0 avatar
      whynotaztec

      Same here, although I was liking the Cybertruck.

      unfortunately most people will be ok with paying for this, so it will continue and probably grow as others have mentioned.

      • 0 avatar
        RHD

        Everyone that I know who has a Tesla loves it. That said, this guy owns one and is rightfully pissed off.
        When (if) I am in the market for an electric vehicle, I’ll do an awful lot of research before handing over my money.

        My 42-year-old analog Toyota truck is looking better and better every day. (Not my daily driver, but as dependable as the sunrise.)

        If you pay cash for a good well-maintained, fully depreciated used car and then invest a monthly “car payment” in prepaying a bit of your mortgage, contributing to your IRA, and investing in some REITs and solid dividend-bearing stocks, you could retire many years earlier than otherwise.

  • avatar
    Schurkey

    Yeah, it’s criminal. Duh. It’s Tesla.

    Yeah, if you’re stupid enough to buy a Tesla–which from Day One was nothing but gimmick, hot air, and wet dreams wrapped-up in Tax-funded subsidies–you’re getting what you deserve for failing to perform “Due Diligence”.

  • avatar
    gasser

    I remember that on some Tesla’s the battery “upgrade” was actually an over the air software update which increased the range. I wonder if this feature will also “disappear” on a resale??
    When the dealer bought this vehicle at auction, I wonder if his price reflected the stripping out of programmable features?

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Typical Corporate American Scum. The first owner paid for features. The second owner bought the car with said features that were represented by the outfit selling the car. The new buyer expected – and paid for those features, yet they are denied them after the purchase. Sorry for the second owner. If they think they are going to get any sympathy from any government agency that is supposed to work for consumer protection – forget that. Not in this business first and final environment.

    This is not too uncommon for certain products. If you “bought” Rosetta Stone language software, you really didn’t buy it. You bought the right to use it. If you go to sell it you are breaking your purchase agreement with the manufacturer. That is why you never see it for sale on eBay or other mainstream sites. Bad enough for a minor purchases like this. Criminal for something like a car.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    “Gives me just one more reason to not want a Tesla”

    LOL, I love this repeated comment from posters with Tesla Derangement Syndrome who never would have purchased one anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Sure. Why would we? Considering that it is an electric motor tied up to a computer, what sense it makes to pay 80K for Model S on display here? Battery is the most expensive part and costs about 20K. 20K for rest of the car. Looks like buyers funding Space-X.

      Ok, lets return to Earth. Considering all-around, Tesla purchase does not make any monetary sense. Not at this time anyway

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      As a potential purchaser (Yes, I certainly have the cash for anyting they build), I am more concerned with the fact that rather than at some point before the car going Lemon Law, they didn’t just replace the yellowing screen. If it is so difficult to replace that screen that the company would go through the hassel of buying it back and dumping it at auction rather than popping in a new one, I am not sure I’d want to own it long term. Add to the “Lease Only” list with BMW and Alfa Romeo.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    So this is interesting – apparently the rules change effective tomorrow:

    “What type of connectivity will my used Tesla come with?
    All used Tesla cars purchased on or before January 8, 2020 will continue to have Premium Connectivity at no cost for the lifetime of the car, and will be active for future owners if sold privately.

    All used Tesla cars purchased on or after January 9, 2020 will receive Standard Connectivity and are eligible to upgrade to Premium Connectivity. A 30-Day trial of Premium Connectivity is provided on delivery and can be upgraded to Premium Connectivity from the Tesla Account.”

    https://www.tesla.com//support/used-tesla-support#used-tesla-pricing

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      And on the topic of “Autopilot”:

      “Which versions of Autopilot can I find in used inventory?
      All used vehicles with Autopilot hardware will come with one of the versions below. A Used Vehicle Sales Advisor can provide more information.

      • Autopilot with Convenience Features: Enables Traffic-Aware Cruise Control, Front Collision Warning and Lane Departure Avoidance.
      *This version cannot be upgraded to Full Self-Driving.

      • Standard Autopilot: Enables Emergency Collision Warning, Blind Spot Monitoring, Autosteer, Automatic Emergency Braking and Emergency Lane Departure Avoidance.
      *This version can be upgraded to Full Self-Driving at current market price.

      • Full Self-Driving: Enables Navigate on Autopilot to allow automatic driving from highway on-ramp to off-ramp, Auto Lane Change to automatically change lanes while driving on highway, Autopark in both parallel and perpendicular spaces and Summon.
      *Full capability to come. Available for purchase at current market price.”

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    This reminds me of that Apple South Park Episode.

    I’m sure it is buried somewhere in a contract that they can technically do this. So they are.

    “By clicking Agree, you are also acknowledging that TESLA may sew your mouth to the bu**hole of another TESLA user”

    “TESLA and its subsidiaries may also, if necessary, sew yet another person’s mouth onto your bu**hole, making you a being that shares one gastrointestinal tract.”

    Hmmm, I’m gonna click onnn… “Decline.”

    Clearly $100 stock price pop coming up on Monday morning.

    • 0 avatar
      Right_Click_Refresh

      While CLEARLY most Tesla buyers would still sign on the electric screen for Tesla to have the right to do that to them, many people see it as shady AF business practices. Software or not. Its pretty petty unless its already in the contract somewhere. If they’re just deciding to change it now, its really pathetic. Where does it stop, arnt most cars RUN by software now a days? Whats to stop GM or Ford or whatever company from doing this. Stupid.

  • avatar
    Schurkey

    ” the 2017 Model S had been auctioned by Tesla in accordance with California’s lemon laws. When the dealer bought the car at auction from Tesla on November 15th, it was decked out with Enhanced Autopilot and Tesla’s Full Self Driving Capability (though it should be said that particular FSD suite doesn’t offer any autonomous capabilities, just the promise that they’ll be added later). Combined, those options would represent an $8,000 premium on a new car.”

    The time to disable whatever they’re going to disable is BEFORE Dirtbag Tesla sells the car at auction to the used-car dealer. When that stuff is gone before Tesla auctions the thing, no-one farther down the ownership chain has any expectations that it’s still there.

    Waiting beyond the auction to the dealer, so that the used-car consumer can say “It used to be there and now it isn’t!” is about as stupid and crooked as I’ve always thought Tesla was. However, I thought Tesla’s fate also hinged on being politically-correct; and this certainly isn’t.

    So, yes, I WAS WRONG about Tesla. (They’re even worse than I’ve believed.) I can only hope that the used-car purchaser was told this car was auctioned because it’s a “Lemon”. (Duh.)

    Most of the blame goes to Tesla. Some goes to the used-car consumer for being gullible enough to buy a Tesla to begin with.

  • avatar
    markf

    So is the opposite true? If I buy a software feature like Ludicrous mode on a Tesla then buy a new Tesla that can handle that feature as well does it come with me? I am guessing not?

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    So I don’t think this is so cute and dry as most seem to be making it.

    The car was a lemon law buyback. That implies that ownership passed back to Tesla…at which point Tesla is free to strip it of features should they desire.

    Still, in this case I don’t see Tesla as having a leg to stand on. They didn’t strip it of these features, they auctioned it, then a dealer sold it, then it was stripped after their ownership period. Unless they notified the auction house that it would be loosing those features and they in turn misrepresented the car (still shady IMHO…don’t sell a car you aren’t done preparing for sale), then I think they are in the wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I guess the real question would be is this happening to cars that pass through the normal secondary market via private resale or non-Tesla trade ins hitting the normal wholesale market and thes never being owned by Tesla again?

      The PR types could spin this case off as some sort of error that should have happened while the car was under Tesla’s ownership or simply turn the dudes autopilot back on as quietly as possible.

      But if the later case is happening I think they have some explaining to do and some damages to be paid.

    • 0 avatar
      ravenchris

      The dealer should have done the update. The dealer is reported to say they had this problem before. The dealer was aware this this problem and sold the this car without updating it or informing the buyer of this potential problem.
      The dealer needs to be spanked.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    And oh yeah…are the screens difficult enough to replace that one that is “yellowing” or otherwise defective necessitates buying the car back rather than a simple warranty repair to replace it? I’ve dealt with pretty much every modern infotainment system and this would be a first and likely add Tesla to my “Lease Only” list with ze Germans and Italians which is idiotic as an electric should be a prime candidate for long term ownership.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      Typically lemon laws say you can file a claim after 3-4 unsuccessful repairs for the same defect. It varies by state a little bit, but “it’s just the touchscreen doesn’t necessarily make it not subject to a lemon law suit.

      Especially when so much in a Tesla runs through that screen.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        No doubt…I just wonder why Tesla didn’t swap it out on say, visit 3 vs going through the whole lemon law thing. Perhaps there is more to it, but if that’s it, it seems silly.

    • 0 avatar
      EGSE

      I was wondering the same thing so I entered “tesla yellow screen fix” into Google. This is the internet so caveat emptor and filter as appropriate, but more than one customer claimed to be affected. And according to some of those customers the proffered repair to the existing screen has a spotty success rate. It is claimed Tesla stated that *repairs* are free but *replacements* are not. One claim made is that Tesla uses consumer-grade screens that aren’t rated for an automotive environment and their vendor is refusing to replace them on their dime. That certainly seems plausible.

      “Tesla motors club” and “the drive” on the first page of links has a mix of info.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        How would they get away with that? If the screen is yellow, and the car under warranty, they have to fix it. If the “fix” requires replacement then that is a Tesla problem, not the owner. If vehicles are being taken in under warranty and Tesla is charging owners for the actual fix that seems criminal. I don’t think even those shady add on in the finance office third party warranties could get away with that.

        Again, I look at the powershift example. If you took your Focus in for shudder and they dumped some Marvel Mystery Oil in and said “eh, this may work but if you want the real fix (a new transmission that is not a pile) you’ll have to pay, heads would roll.

        Does explain how it ended up getting lemon-lawed. Maybe Tesla has some Ford Mathematicians that have decided most will just put up with the yellowing and it’ll be cheaper to eat the few that don’t.

        • 0 avatar
          EGSE

          What was claimed as the “fix” of the original screen was to irradiate it with a UV light source. I would have expected UV light to degrade the screen but I’m not too old to learn something new. I just typed “uv fix for display screen” into Google and it’s all links about this problem with the Tesla screen.

          I’ve owned a few products where the manufacturer stated that warranty repairs or replacements could use “new or reconditioned” components or entire units.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Tesla won’t take responsibility for a cosmetic issue. Is it fundamentally any different than yellowing headlights? Of course Tesla should do “the right thing”, except when do they?

        • 0 avatar
          MBella

          I too would assume they would have replaced the screen if the UV repair didn’t work. Even if it got bought back, (very easy in California) they could have fixed it after buyback. At my manufacturer, we go through great lengths to make sure vehicles that are bought back are repaired before being resold.

  • avatar
    mcs

    @markf: “If I buy a software feature like Ludicrous mode on a Tesla..”

    Ludicrous mode currently is not an option on the performance Models of the Model S. It’s standard. They’re not going to remove a standard feature. Well, hopefully not.

  • avatar

    It took more work to remove a feature than it would to have left it alone.

    Imagine if someone knocked on your door, and removed the navigation feature, or removed your stereo amplifier, because “a mistake was made at the factory”.

    I don’t think so.

    It is a shame Tesla isn’t a real car company. Not that they are a prize, but no one takes your sunroof away if it turns out it wasn’t spec-ed.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I still own a decade-old Apple laptop that I bought from Apple’s website, configured with 4 GB of RAM, but it arrived with 8. Even Apple, king of nickels and dimes, never tried to claim the extra 4 GB back, although Macs phone home all the time with their configuration. If you’re more nickel-and-dimey than Apple, you’re doing it wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      EGSE

      Some companies treat their customers as valued assets.

      I needed an item of electronic test equipment and bought it used from a trusted vendor. I added some hardware options but none of the several software-enabled ones, figuring I could get the specific key with embedded chip for the specific option if I needed it later; they cost $400 each. And several years later I did need one of them and went to buy the right key. No longer available; the newer “B” version of the instrument includes all the options as standard. There were no keys available anywhere. Do you think they expected me to buy a new instrument?

      No. They pointed me to a posting that said what I wrote above….updated version has what you want and the keys have been discontinued. But….download this file, re-flash your device and ALL of the options will appear…..for free.

      THAT is how you win customer loyalty.

  • avatar
    incautious

    Ought to do wonders for the resale values of these things. but but but the dope smoking CEO says that these things are Appreciating assets. Yea right. 1 million robo taxis coming soon.lol

  • avatar
    285exp

    The time for Tesla to brick the features was when they took possession of it, not after they unloaded it on someone else. If they did not disclose that those features weren’t included in the auction price, and that they were going to remove them at some future time, then they misrepresented the vehicle to the dealer, because he priced his bid accordingly. So, either this was disclosed to the dealer and he did not disclose it to the buyer, so the dealer should pay to have the fee to have them reactivated, or it was not disclosed, and Tesla defrauded the dealer, and Tesla should reactivate the features at no charge.

  • avatar
    cprescott

    I hope Tesla is sued out of business by customers who bought a second hand car which had the original owner actually to pay for the “options”. With Tesla’s logic, anyone who bought a used car with a sunroof should have it covered up with the sunroof removed because the second owner didn’t pay full price for that option – or with upgraded factory wheels – reduced to the smallest metal rims that came as STANDARD equipment.

    Tesla must be punished. Their arrogance is outrageous and must be sued to stop with the games they play. This company is poorly managed and is so arrogant as to make any other company (like Apple) seem absolutely understanding in comparison.

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