Electric Vehicles tesla-model-s-towtruck

Published on April 8th, 2014 | by Christopher DeMorro

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Video: King Of Lemon Law Sues Over Defective Tesla Model S

Milwaukee’s Vince Menga, a lawyer specializing in “lemon laws” has sued Tesla Motors over what he claims is a defective Model S. The suit has brought to light Tesla’s sales contract, which demands any lawsuits or arbitration be handled by California’s court system. But the King of Lemon Laws thinks he’s got a case that will end up in Wisconsin court. This is one lawsuit worth watching.

While initially I dismissed this story as another attempt by a lawyer to cash in on the latest craze, if the accusations are true, the Model S at the center of this story certainly seems like a lemon. Purchased in March of 2013 by Robert Montgomery for $94,770, the Model S was afflicted with a variety of woes, from not starting or going into “Drive” to non-functioning door handles and a battery that wouldn’t charge.

tesla-model-s-towtruck

In the lawsuit, Menga claims that the Tesla spent more than two of its first five months off the road for service issues. This includes time lost transporting the Tesla between Wisconsin and the closest service center in Chicago. Montgomery filed for a buyback under Wisconsin lemon law three times, and three times Tesla ignored his request. For a company that prides itself on customer satisfaction, this is unacceptable, no?

Enter the King of Lemon Laws, who has reviewed the sales contract and calls it unusual. As already stated, any lawsuit must be filed in Northern California, where Tesla is headquartered, and either Tesla or the owner can demand arbitration, which could prevent a court case. Any settlement must be kept secret as well. Menga believes that Wisconsin law supersedes Tesla’s sales contract though, and he is obviously hoping for a big payday from the darling of Wall Street. He also takes a dig at Tesla’s direct sales model, which despite popular support has drawn the nationwide ire of the powerful car dealer lobby.

Knowing this lawsuit could also bring him a bit of Internet fame, Menga went ahead and made a video for the lawsuit too. Because every lawsuit should get its own viral video.

As this story gains traction, will Elon Musk himself chime in? Is Menga just another ambulance chaser, or did Robert Montgomery really end up with a $98,000 lemon?

Source: USA Today | Image: Vince Menga




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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or esle, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.



  • Jim5437532

    In for repairs over 60 days in the only five months should almost certainly qualify this Tesla model S. as a lemon. I’ve heard similar stories from other Tesla model S. lemon owners.

    I think it is dubious that Tesla allegedly has clauses in some of their contracts that gag customers and try to force them into binding arbitration to avoid court and a public record of the problems.

    The video seems to be a publicity stunt that undermines the credibility of the complaint. Absurd verses absurd

    • Knetter

      Ssssuuuurrrrree you’ve heard from other Testa lemon owners, JIM. I highly doubt thats your real name. Seems you were quiet for a while and now you are back with your troll self. Maybe you haven’t heard: Toyota is recalling 6.39 million vehicles, GM knew about a faulty ignition that is in about 2.6 million vehicles and is responsible for AT LEAST 13 deaths. Also pretty much every corporation has a arbitration clause in their contracts, so let me reiterate what i said several weeks ago to you: STFU. Your posts hold no weight, you are a troll paid for by either the gas corps or other car manufacturers who are scared of Teslas sales model and that they might actually be selling a better quality product than they are. There is more to this “Lemon” story than is let on, that lawyer feels safe enough in that “lemon” to drive it to the courthouse and drive around filming that crap.
      That video looks like you made it, the King of Lemons has as much credibility as you do:None.

      • egogg

        “Jim” has a private disqus profile. I suspect he’s a shill as well.

    • Jim Smith

      sure seems odd the fuse stopped blowing repeatedly after the tamper proof tape was applied…

    • RobS

      It seems like most of the service time has been spent trying to diagnose the problem, if the problem was sabotage by the owner as there seems to be significant evidence for now then it would take a long time for any problem to be found.

  • Tony Kalniev

    This is good for us, the middle folks. The more problem arise with the S, the more Tesla will fix them in time for the E arrival, thus getting a cheaper value, better quality and longer lifetime survival and performance…give these guys a break!!! not too much of a break to put pressure on them to fix the issues, but neither to severe to destroy the company’s reputation and objective of changing the automotive industry. With your own research, you will understand what I mean about that…

    Still, cant wait for the Model E for US, not for the rich…and after testing the Roadster in 2010, never again buying a gasoline car and rarely driving one as I am electric converted already!

  • J_JamesM

    There was bound to be a faulty car eventually. Accidents happen. If I were Tesla, I would just cut my losses, give the guy a new Tesla, and research the lemon.

  • benswing

    Apparently there is evidence that the customer tampered with the vehicle. http://www.teslamotors.com/blog/when-life-gives-you-lemons

    • Jason Carpp

      I agree. I’d love to see the air bag blow up in this schmuck’s face. I’ve seen lots of Tesla Model Ss on the road and running fine. I’ve only heard of a couple Teslas catching fire.

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  • corners

    the guy had blown fuses.

    Every time they replaced it they couldn’t find out why and they would blow again. When they put tamper proof tape trying to access the fuse the fuse problem magically never happened again.

    He also had a phantom door handle problem that never seem to be a problem when they were trying to recreate it.

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