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Six years on, Indian prospects who pre-booked Tesla Model 3 are nonetheless ready

“It’s $1,000, but still, they have just taken my money…” This is the sentiment amongst scores of Indians who booked a Tesla Model 3 when the automobile was introduced in 2016 and CEO Elon Musk introduced that pre-bookings can be out there for purchasers from many international locations exterior North America, together with India. Customers needed to put up a refundable deposit of $1000 on the time. And whereas Tesla has delivered over 300,000 Model 3 automobiles globally, its Indian followers who paid the early deposit are a disenchanted lot. Some are nonetheless ready for refunds.

A Kolkata-based personal investor, who requested to not be named, says he has hardly acquired any correspondence from the corporate. He has not even acquired a refund on his bank card, regardless of making a number of requests. “I now feel cheated by a company like Tesla. They have taken my money. Okay, it’s $1,000, but still, they’ve just taken my money. And without any recourse, any clarity or information. It’s like a fraud. I’m sad to say this, but it feels like I’ve been scammed,” he informed indianexpress.com.

Varun Krishnan, a Chennai-based entrepreneur who runs a tech information web site, booked Tesla’s first ‘low-cost’ mannequin as a result of he was a Musk fan on the time. “And I was just trying my luck with my Indian credit card. And it actually went through. I thought I might own a Tesla at some point in the future in India, but sadly, that never happened,” he mentioned.

But as months become years, and with no indicators of the corporate really starting operations within the nation, asking for a refund appeared the very best plan of action. However, it was simpler mentioned than executed.

Krishnan lastly obtained his refund final yr after a whole lot of back-and-forth with the corporate and even after he acquired the refund, he nonetheless isn’t pleased with how he has been handled. “I had to chase them multiple times to get a refund because I realised that it was going nowhere. And finally, I got a refund sometime last year. Because they had no plans. So why even take bookings from a country when you don’t have a plan to launch,” he requested. He added that the refund was caught for an extended whereas as getting remittances from overseas is just not straightforward in India.

Despite all that, Krishnan considers himself one of many fortunate ones since lots of people didn’t even get that. “I know a lot of people who also booked and haven’t received a refund, I was fortunate to get my money back. But a lot of my friends who had placed bookings didn’t,” he added.

Requests for feedback despatched to Tesla by indianexpress.com haven’t but acquired a response on the time of publishing.

But can these prospects take any authorized recourse? According to Bejon Kumar Misra, a world shopper coverage skilled and an honorary professor at National Law University Odisha, whereas Tesla’s motion constitutes a “gross criminal breach” and an “unfair trade practice,” holding the corporate accountable is simpler mentioned than executed.

“In our country, regulators are intentionally protecting the culprits. Only in certain cases, do citizens seek justice through the legal process like filing Public Interest Litigation (PIL) or does the judiciary intervene through suo moto proceedings. As consumers or the voluntary consumer organisations lack the resources to sustain the long-drawn and cumbersome legal process, companies get away with robbing innocent and vulnerable consumers,” Misra mentioned in an e-mail.

In 2021, the corporate registered its Indian arm “Tesla India Motors and Energy Pvt Ltd” with the Registrar of Companies (RoC) Bangalore. But it’s nonetheless unclear when it is going to really start promoting automobiles in India as it’s “still working through a lot of challenges with the government”, in keeping with Elon Musk.

Recently, the corporate’s proposal for tax cuts on fully-assembled automobiles obtained rejected by the Indian authorities. While talking at a convention in New Delhi on Tuesday, Minister for Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari mentioned the corporate was welcome to fabricate in India.

“If Elon Musk (Tesla CEO) is ready to manufacture in India, then there is no problem. But if he wants to manufacture in China and sell in India, then it cannot be a good proposition for India,” he mentioned.



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