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Without issuing a press release or a notice to its consumers, Tesla has ended its $100 flat fee for its mobile servicing pickup.
The flat fee was part of Tesla’s service plan, which is separate from warranty repairs. Customers that purchased the pre-paid plan received an annual inspection and replacement of “all wear and tear parts,” except for tires. Pricing started at $600 for a one-year, 12,500-mile plan and could be extended to cover four years and 50,000 miles for $1,900. To take advantage of the service, owners could either bring the car to a service center or have the car picked up for a flat fee of $100 per visit.
The Mobile Service Squad, which the company also referred to as Tesla Rangers, were originally created after the Tesla Roadster was launched as a way to reassure customers that service would always be accessible.
“Our customers told us that they wanted service that was convenient, clean and fast – and our ‘house call’ approach is just what the doctor ordered,” said Greg Zanghi, Tesla’s director of service operations, in a 2010 blog post to announce the new mobile service squad. “Our strategy reflects Tesla’s goal to take an uncompromising approach to everything we do, and we hope our Rangers set a new standard for the industry.”
This mobile service was also a big selling point when the Model S began rolling out in 2012.
“Moving beyond automobile service of the past 100 years means bringing service to you in a new way,” said Vice President of Global Service Joost de Vries in 2012. “In addition to making an appointment at one of our Tesla Service Centers, a mobile technician – we call them Tesla Rangers – can come to your home or office to perform an annual inspection, warranty work, or almost any other work that doesn’t require a vehicle lift. This is an entirely new way to keep your car running at its best every day.”
Tesla said that by tracking where the first Model S owners were located, it could strategically place service facilities nearby. The company noted that by March 2013, with initial deliveries of the Model S underway, “more than 90 percent of all current Model S reservation holders in North America will be within 100 miles of a Tesla Service Center and more than 80 percent will be within 50 miles.”
For the Roadster, Tesla charged $1 per roundtrip mile for a service pickup, with a minimum fee of $100. But when the Model S was launched, the company changed the pickup charge to the flat fee:
“We’ve revised our pricing such that Ranger Service for Model S and Roadster is now a $100 flat fee per visit, regardless of how far away you live from a Tesla Service Center.”
It’s not clear when the $100 flat fee went away, but Tesla is apparently not honoring it any longer for customers, regardless of when the Model S was purchased.
Model S owner Brian Manke purchased the service plan with the understanding that a Tesla Ranger would transport the car 202 miles away to the nearest service center for only $100. According to Automotive News, he was recently quoted $606 by Tesla for the same service.
“I certainly expected it to be that way for the duration of the warranty period,” Manke said of the flat service fee. “That was a major part of my decision-making process. If it weren’t for the fact that this car is so damn good, I’d be pretty ticked off.”
“We take care of our owners unlike any other automaker, with 24-hour service, pickup and delivery and free loaners,” said Tesla representative Alexis Georgeson. “We needed to introduce a way for early customers out of range of a service center to have a seamless Tesla ownership experience. Since then, we have invested heavily in brick-and-mortar locations to serve our rapidly growing customer base.”
On its website, Tesla hasn’t published a well-defined fee for its Ranger service, noting that, “Tesla Ranger service may be available in your area. Service begins at $100 per visit and increases based on your distance from the nearest Tesla service center.”