Tesla hits antitrust class actions with ‘right of repair’

Tesla hits antitrust class actions with ‘right of repair’

Tesla has been sued in a pair of proposed antitrust class actions, alleging the company illegally stifled competition for maintenance and replacement parts for its electric vehicles, overpaying owners and charging for repair services. forced to wait for a long time.

The lawsuits, filed Tuesday and Wednesday in federal court in San Francisco, allege that Tesla designed its electric vehicles, warranty and repair policies to prevent owners and lessees from using independent shops outside Tesla’s control .

“Tesla needs to open up its ecosystem and allow competition for servicing Tesla [vehicles] and sale of parts,” said counsel for the plaintiffs, Matthew Ruan of Fried Kanner London & Millon, which filed one of the proposed class actions.

A representative for Austin, Texas-based Tesla did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment. Tesla’s defense attorney has not yet made an appearance in the cases.

In both cases, the proposed class would include anyone who paid Tesla for repairs or parts since March 2019.

Each complaint was filed on behalf of a California resident, and none of the lawsuits specified the amount of damages. Ruan said the potential class includes hundreds of thousands of Tesla owners and lessees, so damages could run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Lawyers for McCune Law Group, which filed a similar class action complaint Wednesday, did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

Tesla, the world’s most valuable automaker, reported revenue of $24.32 billion in the fourth quarter. The company delivered 405,278 vehicles in the quarter.

Tesla joins other major automakers facing a “right to repair” over alleged exclusionary conduct.

A cluster of cases against Harley-Davidson Motor Co Group LLC was recently consolidated in Wisconsin federal court, and Deere & Co, the world’s largest farm equipment maker, is defending against the charges in federal district court in Chicago. Is. Both companies have denied the claims.

The US Federal Trade Commission released a policy statement in 2021 stating that the agency would prioritize removing manufacturer restrictions on repairs and parts.

According to the new lawsuits, Tesla’s alleged restrictions on service and repairs caused “excessive wait times” for drivers who would otherwise have gone to an independent repair shop.

The lawsuit calls for Tesla’s monopoly on repair services and parts to be “dismantled” and the company ordered to make its repair manuals and diagnostic tools “available to individuals and independent repair shops at a reasonable cost”. Is.

These cases are Virginia Lambrix v. Tesla Inc., US District Court, Northern District of California, No. 3:23-CV-01145; and Robert Orendian v. Tesla, No. 3:23-CV-01157.

FTC votes to make ‘right to repair’ a priority, abandoning 1995 merger policy

(Reporting by Mike Scarsella)

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