Tesla failed to disclose pre-delivery damage, says former employee

An ex-employee has alleged that American automaker Tesla knowingly sold defective vehicles to customers, in a lawsuit filed against the company.

Adam Williams, who worked as a regional manager for the brand in New Jersey from 2011 to September 2017, says that he was demoted and fired after revealing the worrying practice to his superiors, east coast regional manager Lenny Peake and company vice president Jerome Guillen.

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He claims that he witnessed the company 'failing to disclose to consumers high-dollar, pre-delivery damage repairs', and says that defective models were often sold as used or ex-demo vehicles.

A representative for Tesla has hit back at Williams' claims. "There's no merit to this lawsuit," they said. "Mr Williams' description of how Tesla sells used or loaner vehicles is totally false and not how we do things at Tesla.

"It's also at odds with the fact that we rank highest in customer satisfaction of any car brand, with more owners saying they'd buy a Tesla again than any other manufacturer. Mr Williams was terminated at Tesla for performance reasons, not for any other reason."

Electric car blog Electrek described the lawsuit as a he-said-she-said type of scenario. "It's nothing new," it wrote in a blog post. "We already know that early Tesla vehicles, especially the Model X in 2016, had several issues that needed a lot of service. For the most part, most owners end up just going through all the service, but others got fed up and asked Tesla to buy the car back.

"There's definitely an argument to be made about Tesla disclosing the repairs made to the vehicle before selling them back for the sake of transparency, but I don't think that there's an actual problem labelling those vehicles as 'used' or 'loaners.'"

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