- Tesla could have sued Cybertruck owners for reselling within the first year of ownership ... until it changed its mind.
- Tesla removed the lanuage about "injunctive relief'' from the order agreement after stories on it were published.
- The agreement now contains no mention of resale restrictions for the Cybertruck.
Tesla Threatened to Sue Cybertruck Flippers for $50,000 But Apparently Changed Its Mind
Tesla changed the legal terms binding Cybertruck buyers, seemingly after negative media coverage on the agreement
At some point prior to the November 30 release of the Cybertruck, Tesla added a section to its vehicle order agreement titled “For Cybertruck Only.” Within the Cybertruck-specific part of the agreement, the brand stated that it had the right to sue new owners for $50,000 “or the value received as consideration for the sale or transfer [of the Cybertruck], whichever is greater” should buyers try to resell the car within one year of its delivery date. Head to the order agreement now, and that section has vanished.
The since-removed section of the document is pictured above, obtained by Edmunds before the order agreement was modified. A number of outlets, including Business Insider and Engadget, published stories pointing out the Cybertruck agreement’s restrictive nature this week. As Tesla has no media department, the company was not available for comment on the modifications to the order agreement or what terms currently bind Cybertruck buyers.
Using web archives, Edmunds has found the version of the document previously posted by Tesla, which displays a capture date of November 13, 2023, seemingly indicating that the agreement was modified after coverage from Business Insider and Engadget went live. You can check the link and click through the various iterations of the agreement yourself. It seems Tesla has balked under the scrutiny of the various outlets that covered this admittedly strange portion of the purchase agreement and has reversed course, getting rid of any verbiage about lawsuits and restrictions around reselling. Tesla’s Cybertruck-specific agreement is normally something you’d expect to find as part of the purchase of boutique supercars, not a mainstream electric truck. Famously, WWE athlete and actor John Cena was sued by Ford for violating his agreement not to resell a Ford GT.
Before Tesla’s unannounced alterations to the agreement, Cybertruck buyers could technically resell their cars — but not before jumping through some hoops first. A customer would have had to notify Tesla in writing, and if the company agreed that your reason was good enough to warrant an exception, you’d have to give the company itself first right of refusal. Tesla said in its agreement that it would buy back a Cybertruck at “its sole discretion and at the purchase price listed … less $0.25/mile driven, reasonable wear and tear,” and the cost to repair the vehicle to Tesla’s standards for sale as a used vehicle. If Tesla declined, then the owner could go to third parties only after receiving written consent from Tesla. The document also stated that the brand could refuse to sell future cars to anyone who violated the agreement.
The Cybertruck has suffered a string of bad press recently. Videos shared to X (formerly Twitter) and other social media platforms show poor panel fitment, among other problems. One video shows the Cybertruck struggling to climb a popular off-road route during testing in California — while the Ford F-150 Lighting managed the same with ease. Maybe adding the fallout from threatening to sue its own customers to the pile of derision the Cybertruck has already faced was too much and that's why Tesla has seemingly changed its mind.
It is possible that Tesla modified the agreement after coverage on it broke over the weekend, hoping to curb backlash from buyers, many of whom have been waiting since 2019 for the truck’s release. The truck is years behind schedule, and with recent bad press, it’s hard to imagine buyers feeling secure in their purchase with just weeks until the truck’s touted release date.