Owning a luxury vehicle is so much fun. That’s until it’s maintenance time and you have to part with thousands of dollars to fix a seemingly minor issue. Sadly, Johnny Bacigalupo and his partner, Rob Hussey, learned this the hard way when they received a £17,374 ($21,000) bill to replace their Tesla vehicle’s damaged battery.
Bacigalupo told Edinburgh Live, a Scottish news outlet, that he didn’t believe it when he was told the cost. In his words, “I honestly can’t believe that this has happened. When I first got the call, I thought we would get a bill for £500 or £1,000. When they said over 17 grand — it’s absolutely obscene. My heart missed a beat, honestly.”
The couple explained that they engaged the services of a collection firm to deliver their vehicle to Tesla Edinburgh after attempts to start the car failed. They then received a call from a Tesla customer-support representative who explained to them that the battery suffered damage because of “water ingress.”
Although the automobile was covered by an 8-year warranty, the representative told them that this type of damage wasn’t included in the coverage. They were then asked if they wanted to go ahead with the repairs of almost £17,500.
“Did I wish to proceed? I was flabbergasted and couldn’t really find my words,” Bacigalupo said. Instead, he asked the representative how they were responsible for the damage.
Edinburgh Live confirmed Bacigalupo and Hussey’s claims after reviewing the communication between them and Tesla. According to the outlet, an email from the electric automaker’s customer relations department revealed an ongoing investigation into the claims.
Bacigalupo and Hussey aren’t the only Tesla owners to receive outrageous battery maintenance/repair bills. For example, Fox Business reported that Mario Zelaya, a Canadian Tesla owner, had a similar experience last year.
According to Zelaya, he was trapped in his Tesla Model S due to a dead battery. Surprisingly, he was told to pay $26,000 to get a new one. In a video which he posted on TikTok, he called his car “a piece of trash” and clamored for its recall.
“I got Transport Canada involved, and they actually did an investigation on the car. Not only did they do an investigation on this car, they’re gonna be doing one that Tesla doesn’t realize is coming up,” Zelaya said.
He eventually spent $30 to get new ownership papers to replace the ones that were locked inside the vehicle. “I’ll never buy another Tesla again,” he vowed, “they’re brutal cars, brutal manufacturing, and even worse, they’re a 10-year-old company.”
Meanwhile, J.D Power, a reputable data analytics and customer intelligence company, has quoted Elon Musk’s 2019 breakdown of battery replacement costs. According to the CEO, getting a new Tesla battery could cost as high as $5,000 and as high as $10,000. However, a Recurrent Battery Report reveals that the 2023 figures fall within a range of $5,000 to $20,000.
There’s no doubt that Tesla vehicles are status symbols and owning one should be a thing of pride. However, be sure to factor in maintenance costs when taking the bold step to patronize the best-selling luxury brand.