According to an email obtained by Electrek, Elon Musk shared with Tesla employees a report from last week that shows most NHTSA complaints against the automaker are ‘fake’ and the company even suspects that it is a tactic from detractors.
We had first suspected issues with complaints against Tesla to the U.S. Department of Transportation after we found out that someone was filing bogus NHTSA complaints about Tesla’s suspension allegedly failing 2 years ago.
NHTSA’s complaint system is made for car owners to flag potential safety issues with their vehicles, but numerous complaints were traced back to a single individual in Australia who was simply pulling pictures of damaged Tesla vehicles off salvage auction sites and submitting them as complaints by speculating on the cause of the accidents.
Now the report shared by Musk points to an increasing number of those similar complaints this year, which they see as a potential “larger piece of a coordinated strategy” by Tesla detractors.
The report states:
“After a review of hundreds of Tesla customer complaints filed with NHTSA since 2016 through present day in 2018, I can confirm that at least two-thirds of them are fake.”
They compared them against complaints about BMW, Audi, and other automakers and found that they were framed very differently.
Complaints about Tesla were classified as “likely fake” when they appeared to be submitted by the same sources without valid information about the vehicle like VIN.
Several complaints are all written in full caps, signed “A concerned citizens” and often even admit that they are filing complaints about a vehicle that they don’t own.
Here are two examples:
In the report, they came up with the following charts that show an increasing number of complaints believed to be ‘fake’ over the year:
The second chart even attempts to find a correlation with increases in complaints and Tesla reporting its quarterly results.
I am not sure if this is actually a “coordinated strategy” to attack Tesla since it appears that most of them can still be traced back to the same guy: Keef Leech.
Like we explained in our report ‘The story behind the ‘false’ Tesla suspension complaints to NHTSA’, this guy sounds more like an unstable conspiracy theorist than someone working for the Tesla shorts.
That said, those reports do have a negative impact on Tesla since they artificially inflate the number of complaints on its vehicles.
Some buyers are looking at those and they could decide not to buy because of the number of complaints even though most of them are about cars from owners who actually never complained about their vehicles and might be very happy with their purchase.
It’s a bad situation and most importantly, it makes more difficult for NHTSA to actually look at potentially real complaints that could lead to improved safety.
What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.