That's one expensive pocket dial!
We've all answered a phone call, only to be greeted by lots of scratchy shuffling and/or distant, muffled voices, while repeating "hello? hello?" multiple times before registering what's happening. Yes, the pocket dial or "butt dial" is a real thing, with users mistakenly making calls or even sending messages via their unlocked devices. While car smartphone apps can be unusually useful, they can be problematic when paired with credit card details and an unlocked phone.
For a physician by the name of Dr. Ali Vaziri, the owner of a Tesla Model 3, much more than an embarrassing call occurred when his phone was in his pocket. He inadvertently managed to purchase a $4,280 upgrade for his car. Tesla owners can make purchases via the brand's app, one of the app's many useful features, but something which Vaziri had never previously done. "My phone was in my jeans," he told CNBC.
"I took it out, put it on this charger that comes with your Tesla and that's it. A minute later? I got the text." The text was from his bank informing him of his purchase. So, what did Vaziri's purchase get him? An Enhanced Autopilot upgrade, over and above Basic Autopilot, which adds to the existing driver-assist technologies in the Model 3. Available for a limited period this year, the upgrade added features like automatic parking, automatic navigation, and Tesla's 'Summon' function.
Immediately after being alerted of the purchase by his bank, Vaziri went about trying to get a refund and called his local Tesla service center. However, the process soon became a lot more complicated than it should have been.
He was referred to the brand's customer service hotline, then directed to click a refund button within the Tesla app, which he could not find. After being given the runaround by Tesla's support website, he eventually elected to process a stop payment request via his credit card company. This is allegedly not the first time that a Tesla customer has mistakenly purchased an expensive upgrade via the app. In both cases, Tesla's customer service left a lot to be desired. Vaziri says his car has been great but described the customer service as "horrendous."
Ted Stein, a software developer, says that it's much too easy to make accidental purchases via Tesla's app, despite the automaker's improved policies which allow refunds for over-the-air upgrades within two days of the purchase. To date, Vaziri has not been issued a refund. Let's hope that Tesla's dating app offers a less problematic user experience.