Tesla Settles Model X Case Over Alleged Design Flaws
A man who owned three Teslas sued the car maker last month, citing a variety of problems affecting the doors and software in his Model X, and demanding the company issue a refund under California’s “Lemon Laws.”
Today, 38-year-old Barrett Lyon now owns just two Teslas—a Model S and an original Roadster—after the company quietly agreed to take the Model X back and settle the lawsuit.
The core of the case involved Lyon’s allegations that Tesla (TSLA) “rushed” the Model X into production before it was ready for prime-time. Meanwhile, other customers are also seeking and obtaining refunds.
In Lyon’s lawsuit, he claimed the cars doors opened and closed unpredictably, smashing into his wife and other cars, and that the Model X’s Auto-Pilot feature posed a danger in the rain. He also shared a video that shows the car’s self-parking feature failing to operate successfully. (A Wired report has also raised question about the doors).
Lyon said he could not comment on the lawsuit, which he filed after a Tesla service center allegedly gave him the “runaround,” and only stated the company had taken the car back. A Tesla spokesperson confirmed this.
“We are committed to providing an outstanding customer experience throughout ownership. As a principle, we are always willing to buy back a car in the rare event that a customer isn’t completely happy. Today, the majority of Model X owners are loving their cars,” said the spokesperson by email.
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It’s unclear howe many people are seeking refunds over the Model X. But in the course of reporting on the Lyon case, Fortune obtained examples of other Tesla Model owners expressing frustrations with the process of returning one.
Part of this frustration appear to stem from what one owner, who returned a Model X and described Tesla’s request for “an onerous NDA/release” and “information lockdown.”
The Tesla spokesperson did not address the issue of whether the company asks customers for non-disclosure as a condition for refunds. Meanwhile, in a recent blog post, Tesla flatly rejected claims that it would seek to prevent car owners from discussing concerns with regulators.
In the bigger picture, Tesla and its technologies continue to attract enormous attention from car lovers and the clean energy industry. See my colleague Katie Fehrenbacher’s recent “5 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Tesla” for more background.