Tesla addresses “butt-dialed” in-app purchases with new refund policy

Tesla has updated its refund policy for software upgrades purchased through its mobile app, following a ruckus that had some customers accidentally buying upgrades they had no intention of buying. In what amounts to a “butt-dial”, Tesla owners were accidentally buying software upgrades through the unintentional press of the “Purchase” button on their mobile devices.

The electric car company has updated its support terms on its Upgrades page to indicate that all in-app purchases will be eligible for a refund within the first 48 hours from purchase. When customers open the Upgrades section in their mobile app, they will find an option to ask for a refund under the Purchased tab. The app will also ask them to provide a reason for asking for a refund.

“For upgrades purchased from the Tesla app, you can request a refund from the Tesla app within 48 hours of purchase,” the company notes via its Upgrades page. “All refund conditions are available in your Tesla app.”

The update is applicable to upgrades bought through the app only. For customers who bought upgrades through one of Tesla’s Service Centers, they must contact the Service Center for a refund. Refunds are also not applicable to subscriptions, including Premium Connectivity.

The latest update comes after a number of customers aired their dissatisfaction about accidentally buying upgrades through the app and not being able to ask for refunds.

Last year, Tesla pushed an update to its app to allow owners to buy software upgrades directly from their phones. It wasn’t long before customers began reporting that they were making unintentional purchases through the app with no way to ask for a refund, setting them back by $2,000 for the Acceleration Boost and roughly $6,000 for the Full Self-Driving upgrade.

“The Black Swan” author and scholar Nassim Taleb was one of the customers who took to Twitter looking for a speedy resolution by tagging Tesla chief Elon Musk, who is known to regularly respond to tweets from customers. Musk replied by promising to address the issue and assuring customers that Tesla provides refunds in general. Two weeks after the tweet exchange, it appears Tesla has followed through.

Nicole Arce: I write about science and technology that changes the world.
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