On October 23, 2021, Tesla released a new beta test (update 10.3) for its full self-driving software. Within 24 hours, the company had issued a recall after seeing some issues.
Although there were no specific defects mentioned, Elon Musk tweeted that Tesla’s quality assurance team had discovered problems with left turns being made at traffic stops. A few days later, Musk tweeted that update 10.3.1 would begin rolling out immediately.
The software defect was quickly handled and corrected. However, these October rollbacks have left some members of the public feeling less-than-confident in the reliability of Tesla’s full self-driving software.
In this post, we cover everything you need to know about Tesla, its software, and your legal options.
About Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Software
Tesla’s self-driving software is an add-on feature with a price tag of about $10,000. So while every Tesla vehicle is capable of using the software, buyers must pay the extra cost to access it.
According to Tesla, this software does not make the vehicle fully autonomous. In fact, its intended use is by a driver who is fully attentive, has both hands on the wheel, and is ready to take control of the vehicle at any moment.
Musk claimed via Twitter that beta software bugs are to be expected and that the point of the test was to identify problems.
Is This the First Rollback Tesla Has Issued?
The FSD software has a history of bugs and has not been deemed safe enough for a wide release. Still, almost all Tesla buyers have the option of using the software if they are willing to pay the $10,000 fee or a $199 monthly subscription.
Furthermore, Tesla has no driver monitoring system. The public is concerned about the future of self-driving vehicles and rightly so. Not surprisingly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has begun an investigation into the company’s self-driving software.
Are There Any Updates on the NHTSA Investigation?
The investigation began in August of 2021 after 12 accidents were reported involving Tesla’s Autopilot feature. Most of the accidents involved a Tesla car crashing into a stationary emergency vehicle after dark. The assumption is that the Autopilot feature ignored warning flares, cones, and flashing lights.
According to the administration, the investigation involves 765,000 vehicles that were sold between 2014 and 2021. The panel is especially investigating why Tesla did not issue a recall in response to the October software bug. The organization is also concerned about the perceived beta-testing Tesla is performing via consumers.
Does the Lemon Law Apply to My Tesla?
If you own a Tesla, you may wonder where your investment stands in the event of a major software defect. According to California Civil Code Section 1793.2(d), you are entitled to a replacement or refund if the vehicle doesn’t conform to its warranty and if the vehicle is not repaired after a reasonable number of attempts, which can be as few as two attempts. A defect refers to any issue that substantially impairs your car’s use, value, or safety. You may also be entitled to a refund if your vehicle is not of the same quality as other similar vehicles under California’s implied warranty of merchantability.
Should I Opt Out of Arbitration with Tesla?
You may not know it, but when you placed your order for your Tesla, you agreed to resolve disputes with Tesla through arbitration, giving up your right to a jury trial and day in court. You also agreed to arbitration when you actually purchased your Tesla. Tesla believes this venue favors the auto manufacturers because there are limited discovery rights for you to get the evidence you need to win. Fortunately, Tesla allows you to opt out of the arbitration within 30 days of your order or purchase. As a trial firm, we strongly believe in the value of the jury system for consumers. You should consult an attorney to help you decide if you want to waive your right to a jury and instead have a single arbitrator decide your case against one of the largest companies in the world.
When Is It Time to Call a Lawyer?
If your situation is covered by California lemon laws, you have two options:
- You can request that Tesla buys the vehicle back
- You can demand a replacement from Tesla
In either scenario, you want a qualified attorney on your side to navigate the legal nuances of vehicle defect law. The process can be rather complicated, and if done right, you may also be entitled to additional damages called civil penalties.
If you need legal guidance, give us a call. We can discuss your options and whether you might be entitled to a settlement.
For more information call the experienced trial attorneys at (833) 4MY-LEMON for a free case evaluation.
Disclaimer. The information provided in this post is for informational and educational purposes only regarding aspects of the California Lemon Law. It is intended for California Consumers only. This post is considered an advertisement by attorney Richard M. Wirtz and Wirtz Law APC. You should not rely on any of the information provided in this advertisement and no legal advice is given by the advertisement. No attorney-client relationship is established by viewing this advertisement. A written signed engagement agreement between you and Wirtz Law APC is required to create an attorney-client relationship. You should immediately consult an attorney which is experienced in California Lemon Law. Attorney Richard M. Wirtz is responsible for the content of this post. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.