Tes­la has restored the Autopi­lot dri­ver assis­tance fea­tures it remote­ly dis­abled on a used Mod­el S, just days after Jalop­nik pub­lished a sto­ry about the customer’s ordeal.

The own­er, who Jalop­nik sim­ply referred to as Alec, con­firmed to The Verge that the fea­tures are back after The Next Web spot­ted new Tes­la Motors Club forum posts he wrote ear­li­er this week. Alec said he was con­tact­ed by a Tes­la cus­tomer expe­ri­ence rep who “apol­o­gized for my trou­bles, told me that Tes­la has restored all missed options” and “cit­ed a mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tion” as the rea­son why the com­pa­ny pulled the Autopi­lot fea­tures in the first place.

Alec had pur­chased the used 2017 Mod­el S in Decem­ber from a third-par­ty deal­er that acquired the car from Tes­la at auc­tion in Novem­ber. The orig­i­nal own­er had equipped the car with the (now-retired) “Enhanced Autopi­lot” ver­sion of Tesla’s dri­ver assis­tance pack­age and the company’s “Full Self-Dri­ving” pack­age, which promis­es increased auton­o­my over the years. Three days after Tes­la sold the car to the deal­er, Tes­la per­formed a “remote audit” that flagged those fea­tures for removal, accord­ing to Jalop­nik.

The own­er bought the used car from a third-par­ty deal­er — which bought the car from Tes­la

Even then, the fea­tures were nev­er removed, and the deal­er post­ed the car for sale with both Enhanced Autopi­lot and Full Self-Dri­ving fea­tured on the car’s Mon­roney stick­er — mean­ing Alec paid for a car with those fea­tures.

But when Alec took the car to a Tes­la ser­vice cen­ter a few weeks after his pur­chase, he was told that the fea­tures were removed. When he con­tact­ed Tes­la cus­tomer sup­port, he was told this:

Tes­la has recent iden­ti­fied instances of cus­tomers being incor­rect­ly con­fig­ured for Autopi­lot ver­sions that they did not pay for. Since, there was an audit done to cor­rect these instances. Your vehi­cle is one of the vehi­cles that was incor­rect­ly con­fig­ured for Autopi­lot. We looked back at your pur­chase his­to­ry and unfor­tu­nate­ly Full-Self Dri­ving was not a fea­ture that you had paid for. We apol­o­gize for the con­fu­sion. If you are still inter­est­ed in hav­ing those addi­tion­al fea­tures we can begin the process to pur­chase the upgrade.

Tes­la has removed fea­tures from used cars in the past, but typ­i­cal­ly does so before the car is sold off to a third-par­ty deal­er or a new own­er. Since Tes­la pulled these fea­tures both after it sold the car to the deal­er, and after that deal­er sold it to Alec, it caused some fear that the com­pa­ny was set­ting a prece­dent for yank­ing fea­tures on a whim.

That now seems less like­ly to be true, although own­ers and poten­tial cus­tomers should always be pre­pared to deal with changes. Tes­la is push­ing the bound­aries when it comes to adding new fea­tures and gen­er­al­ly mak­ing cars upgrade­able via over-the-air soft­ware updates, and oth­er automak­ers are (slow­ly) fol­low­ing suit. But the eas­i­er it gets for automak­ers to remote­ly update or change the fea­tures of a car, the eas­i­er it gets to take those fea­tures away, too.

Exact­ly what Tesla’s pol­i­cy is here is hard to say, though. The automak­er did not respond to mul­ti­ple requests for clar­i­fi­ca­tion or com­ment.

Pho­to by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Source link