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Tesla Owners Are Furious And Nothing Is Being Done

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How long does it take to repair a damaged Tesla?

Almost a year ago we reported about unusually long repair delays at Tesla service centers. You'd think fixing a busted front or rear bumper could be done in a matter of days, right? Wrong. Some owners whose vehicles were damaged in accidents have been waiting months for repairs. All the while their cars have been parked in a Tesla-approved repair shop. SF Gate has learned that a local San Francisco resident has actually been waiting six months for his Model S to be repaired.

Last October, Chris Hedges was driving on the Stanford University campus when a Toyota Corolla pulled out in front of him and smashed into his Model S. Fortunately, this was not a high-speed crash but the Tesla still sustained front fender and suspension damage. It was not drivable. Hedges had it towed to the nearest Tesla-approved body shop and arranged things with his insurer. Sounds like standard procedure. And then nothing.

Today, still nothing. The Model S still hasn't been repaired. "When my car got in an accident, it was somewhere in the thirties to be worked on and the last time I had a conversation with someone there a few weeks ago, there was well over 130 Teslas there to get fixed," Hedges said. "Now I think if you're number 130 (in line to get fixed), it's going to be well over a year to get your car back."

This specific body shop apparently only has two certified Tesla auto body technicians on staff and one of them is only certified to repair rear suspensions. Other Tesla owners whose vehicles are at this body shop are equally frustrated by the long repair times. To make things worse for owners, insurance companies typically only provide loaner cars for up to 30 days. After that, people have to pay out of pocket.

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It's unclear whether all Tesla-approved body shops are short staffed, but these months-long waiting times are unacceptable. For Hedges, although he's been happy with the Model S itself, he hesitates to recommend it. "This accident was not my fault. So even if someone else hits you, you're without a car for a long time. And I think that's crazy. Nobody would want to own a Tesla in my opinion if they knew how long it's going to take to get repaired." Photo courtesy of Craig Hedges