(CTN News) – Elon Musk’s electric car company Tesla (TSLA.O) was accused of monopolizing the markets for vehicle maintenance and replacement parts by a US judge and thus forcing customers to pay high prices and wait long times for repairs, according to the lawsuit filed against it.
According to US District Judge Trina Thompson, in a decision he handed down on Friday night in San Francisco, the proposed class action of customers failed to demonstrate either that the alleged problems were “not generally known” when they purchased the vehicles, or that they were unable to predict the costs associated with maintaining the vehicles.
According to her, Tesla customers can not be proved to have been coerced by Tesla into using its services and parts simply because they purchased their vehicles in the first place, because they could not demonstrate coercion.
According to Thompson, plaintiffs allege that the defendant misled them about the maintenance their electric vehicles require and how long it will take,” Thompson wrote. Consumers are not alleged to be unaware of the allegedly supracompetitive rates and lengthy wait times, according to the plaintiffs.
In addition, the judge dismissed claims under California’s consumer protection laws as well. Customers who have paid for Tesla repairs and parts since March 2019 may choose to amend their complaint, which combined five lawsuits, affecting all Tesla customers who have paid for repairs and parts in the past three months.
Attempts to contact the lawyers for the customers for comments on Saturday were not immediately answered.
The lawsuit alleges that drivers whose vehicles are powered by traditional engines may have repairs carried out at dealerships or independent shops, and they may use parts made by original manufacturers or other companies in order to repair their vehicles. Tesla, the Austin, Texas-based automaker, differs from other automakers in that it requires its customers to have their vehicles serviced at a Tesla-approved service center and only use parts sold by Tesla.
It is Tesla’s policy to sell its vehicles directly to customers instead of using a network of franchisees to do so.
In the period from January to September, the company reported $6.15 billion in revenue related to its services and other automotive products, accounting for 9% of its total revenue of $71.6 billion. The total revenue of $57.9 billion, or 81%, was accounted for by the sale of vehicles.
This case relates to Lambrix v Tesla Inc, US District Court, Northern District of California, No. 23-01145.