Tesla Owners Slapped With Hefty Repair Bill From ‘Rain Damage’


Imagine shelling out big bucks on essentially your dream car, only to have it irreparably damaged due to something as innocuous as rain. That was the reality for one Edinburgh, Scotland, couple who were “flabbergasted” to receive a repair bill exceeding $20,000 after the battery of their Tesla was “submerged” after unusually wet weather.

Johnny Bacigalupo and Rob Hussey told Edinburgh Live that they had been out to dinner when they returned to their £60,000 electric vehicle and found that it wouldn’t start. After contacting Tesla support and “a few annoyingly difficult further calls, and one failed collection attempt,” the couple were made to wait five hours before their car was finally towed away. 

However, the real shock came a few days later, when they got a call from Tesla with the estimate of what it would cost to replace the battery, which they were told was “damaged due to water ingress.” Unfortunately, the battery was not covered under the eight-year warranty, and they were told the repair would cost around £17,500, or $21,342 in U.S. dollars. They haven’t seen their vehicle since the night it was towed.

“I honestly can’t believe that this has happened,” Bacigalupo told the publication. “When I first got the call I thought we would get bill for £500 or £1000. When they said over 17 grand—it’s absolutely obscene. My heart missed a beat, honestly.”

“We went out for dinner and drove our car to Frederick Street,” he explained. “Obviously, it was wet with the weather last week, but I honestly can’t remember any huge puddles or anything like that. It’s not like I was driving my car through the Cairngorms.”

“Did I wish to proceed??” he recalled of the conversation with Tesla. “I was flabbergasted and couldn’t really find my words.”

When the couple pressed about how they could be responsible for the damage, they were told it was a “weather issue.” “They said that the battery is effectively submerged in water. How can that be our fault?”

“After finally getting to speak to a manager, he told me it had water in it due to the fact the weather in Scotland has been so bad. That was the issue,” Bacigalupo continued. “They said it’s not necessarily my fault but it’s not Tesla’s to pay under warranty. He reminded me there was a yellow weather warning in some parts of Scotland.”

“I said to the manager, ‘So, my understanding is, Teslas are unfit for purpose in Scotland?'” he asked. “I’ve been driving for 30 years and this is my most premium car to date and this is what it does when Edinburgh’s roads get puddles or a little wet!”

Bacigalupo added that if he had known how poor Tesla customer service was, he’s not sure he would have bothered buying the car in the first place. “I can only see the number of claims on problems like this going up. The thing is, Elon Musk could buy everyone in the world a Tesla if he wanted to.”

It’s rare for it to be necessary to replace the battery on electric vehicles, as they are typically made to outlast the life of the car. Though, it can indeed be costly, ranging anywhere from $2,500 to $20,000 depending on the make and model, according to GreenCars.com. If nothing else, the cautionary tale demonstrates why it’s a good rule of thumb to read your warranty agreement very thoroughly before making the costly investment.

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