Nobody Really Knows How Many Tesla Model 3 Deposits Have Been Refunded


Tesla says one thing. Analytical data says another. Who's right?

Production delays for the Tesla Model 3 have convinced some depositors to forget the whole thing and ask for that $1,000 deposit back. It’s happening, no doubt. But the real question is how many people have requested refunds? That’s what’s in dispute between Tesla and data compiled by “Second Measure,” a data analytics firm. Automotive News took a look at the firm’s report and the results are quite interesting. According to the data, 23 percent of Model 3 depositors had their money refunded since reservations opened over two years ago.

Tesla disputes that, not at all surprisingly. Its own internal data shows there have been over 450,000 Model 3 net reservations since the end of the first quarter of this year. Unfortunately, Tesla declined to reveal how many of those were refunded. Tesla’s basic tagline is something like ‘look, we know there have been Model 3 production issues and delivery delays which caused those cancellations, but the number of overall reservations remains stable, so no need for concern.’ Fair enough. It’s also important to note that once a customer actually configures their car the purchase is no longer refundable. “Second Measure” claims its data shows a growing number of configurations, an 8 percent increase in fact.

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That’s definitely a good sign for Tesla, but we’d still very much like to know the number of refunds given, according to its figures. Is it possible “Second Measure” has the correct customer refund figure? Yes. Tesla? Also yes. But the doubt is on Tesla since it isn’t willing to make that number public.