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The Mystery Shoppers Have Spoken: San Diego Lemon Law Attorney Discusses Tesla’s Low Ratings

» Posted October 14, 2016Resources | Share This Post

Tesla is a car dealer that aims to avoid the traditional dealership model. While the idea of a factory-direct distribution model may seem an attractive alternative to the sometimes aggressive car-selling marketplace, reports indicate that mystery shoppers generally have rated Tesla as having among the worst dealership ratings in several important metrics.

Reports showing issues with Tesla are an important reminder that consumers shouldn't necessarily count on any car dealer to be different or substantially better in meaningful ways. Car shoppers should be cautious about doing their due diligence and trying to protect themselves no matter what dealership they buy from or what type of car they buy.

Car purchasers should also understand the different consumer protection laws that could affect them and should consult with a San Diego lemon law attorney if they are in need of assistance due to defective new vehicles.

Tesla Gets Low Marks From Mystery Shoppers

Ward's Auto reported on the issues with Tesla. The reports arise from an annual mystery shopping study of the effectiveness of car dealers in selling vehicles.  The study is called the Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index. Pied Paper has conducted its study for the past 10 years, sending mystery shoppers into dealerships in order to determine how effective the dealer is at sales and marketing. 

Car dealers with a higher Pied Piper Satisfaction Index Score (PSI score) end up selling significantly more cars. In fact, car dealerships ranked in the top 25 percent sell 16 percent more cars than dealerships in the bottom 25 percent. 

In the most recent year, mystery shoppers gave Tesla low marks. This is not the first time that has happened.  In fact, Tesla has repeatedly scored low and received some of the lowest scores over the past three years. These low stores come as a big surprise since Tesla owns all of its own stores so it would be natural to assume it would develop consistent and effective policies.

During the mystery shopping process conducted for Pied Piper, dealers are judged on a variety of different factors, including how well they follow sales processes, whether the dealer is good at asking for the sale, and whether the dealer is good at asking qualifying questions.  Of course, Tesla’s low or no pressure approach may be behind these findings.

Tesla reportedly performs well on some of the metrics, such as preparing consumers to buy. However, mystery shoppers found that while Tesla dealers were willing to answer questions and were able to talk about their cars knowledgeably, they did not ask for the sale and some of them were described as acting more like museum curators than car sellers. 

Tesla dealers also largely failed to ask consumers about trade-ins, despite the fact that most consumers have cars they want to trade in to help cover the cost of their new vehicles. While 86 percent of most dealers inquire about trade-ins, only 36 percent of Tesla dealers do because trade-ins are difficult for Tesla to deal with. Since Tesla only sells their own cars, they have to rely on third parties to sell their trade-ins.

The low PSI scores could potentially be an indicator that this alternative car-selling model may not be better than the traditional model. Of course, consumers have issues with the traditional dealer model as well. The bottom line is, no matter what approach is taken, buying cars can be hard for consumers. Doing research and understanding consumer protection laws is important, and a lemon law attorney can provide help to consumers who have problems with defective new vehicles.


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