Tesla to clarify how customers may disclose problems

Fri Jun 10, 2016 10:00pm EDT
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By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Tesla Motors Inc on Friday revised a nondisclosure clause in its customer repair agreements after a U.S. regulator took issue with the practice, while the electric carmaker's chief executive separately called most customer reports of suspension problems in its Model S sedan fraudulent.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk went on the offensive on social media, saying in a tweet that 37 of 40 suspension complaints filed with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration were fraudulent. "Would seem to indicate that one or more people sought to create the false impression of a safety issue where none existed," he wrote.

The NHTSA would only say that the company was cooperating fully with its review and that no suspension problems had been found "to date." Musk said the complaints were "fraudulent" because a "false location or vehicle identification numbers were used."

Reuters reported Thursday that anonymous individuals have filed a number of complaints of suspension problems on NHTSA's website, citing salvaged Tesla vehicles.

NHTSA spokesman Bryan Thomas said Tesla was cooperating "and NHTSA’s examination of the data is under way. To date, NHTSA has not identified any safety issue with Tesla’s suspensions."

He declined to comment on Musk's assessment of the complaints. On Thursday, NHTSA had criticized Tesla for entering into a "troublesome nondisclosure agreement" with a Model S owner with a suspension problem.

On Friday, NHTSA said "Tesla has clarified the language ... in a satisfactory way, resolving the issue" of the nondisclosure agreements..

Alexis Georgeson, a spokeswoman for the California-based green car maker, confirmed the change.   Continued...

A Tesla logo hangs on a building outside of a Tesla dealership in New York, U.S., April 29, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo - RTSGU3X