Tesla motors is once more under fire from California auto dealers who are crying foul regarding some of Tesla’s referral programs and sales strategies.
In a letter sent to the California Department of motor vehicles, the California New Car Dealers Association has lodged a complaint against Tesla, stating that it’s latest six referral programs violate state law.
The problem cited by the CNCDA is that the new referral programs use incentives to entice new Tesla owners into acting as unlicensed sales people. In California, it is against the law for a company to offer rebates, discounts or commissions to anyone without a sales license on the condition that they sell, or aid in the selling of that company’s goods.
Per Brian Maas, president of the CNCDA “Tesla continues to widely publicize its now years-long strategy to sell cars using current customers as the middlemen”.
In the complained about program in 2015, Tesla offered $1,000 for each new buyer referred by an owner, and new buyers would receive $1,000 off the price of a new vehicle. In Virginia, there were similar complaints which resulted in Tesla finally modifying its offer to give the buyer the entire $2,000.
In the most recent complaint six programs which were introduced this year were listed with claims that the short duration of each offer is intended to avoid enforcement against illegal sales practices. In one program owners are allowed to “unlock” new levels of incentives with a certain number of referrals. Some rewards include free supercharging, a $1,000 discount on a Model S or Model X, and a chance to buy the yet to be introduced next-generation Roadster at a 10% discount.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles has commented through a spokesman that the agency has received the complaint and is reviewing it. Tesla has been asked to respond but as of yet there has been no word from the auto manufacturer.