Toronto, Ontario — Adding to the already busy workload of Tesla’s legal department, the leading EV automaker is being sued by two classes of customers in San Francisco, who allege that Tesla has effectively run a monopoly on the repair of its vehicles.
The pair of federal class action suits, headed up by two Model S owners in California, allege a breach of antitrust laws on the part of Tesla, according to Bloomberg.
The crux of the customers’ claim rests on the premise that drivers of traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles have numerous repair options, whereas Tesla drivers are only permitted to seek repairs from dealers, or facilities in the company’s repair network, using only original Tesla parts.
In this way, the plaintiffs claim that Tesla is knowingly using its market power to restrict repair servicing from outside the company.
The suit describes three specific practices employed by Tesla that are alleged to be in violation of U.S. federal antitrust law:
- Designing its vehicle warranties and related policies to discourage Tesla owners from obtaining parts or services anywhere other than Tesla;
- Designing its vehicles so that maintenance and repairs require access to diagnostic and telematic information accessible only through remote management tools exclusively accessed by Tesla; and
- Limiting access to its manuals, diagnostic tools, vehicle telematic data, and original equipment manufacturer (“OEM”) replacement parts.
Tesla has yet to respond to Bloomberg’s request for comment.
Both class action lawsuits are filed in the Northern District of California (San Francisco) under Lambrix v. Tesla, 23-cv-01145 and Orendain v. Tesla, 23-cv-01157.