Website Glitch Allows Tesla Fans (& Detractors) To Reserve Multiple Model 3s

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It’s amazing what qualifies as news these days. Just put “Tesla” in the title and people will read your story (present company included). A noted Tesla short seller from the investment site Seeking Alpha recently discovered that he was able to put down a paid (but refundable) reservation for not just two Model 3s, but twenty of them. Although the reservation form itself limits you to a maximum of two deposits, there’s nothing to stop people from hitting the form multiple times in order to put down deposits on more than two Model 3s. The author’s speculation was that this system glitch undermines the credibility of the 400,000 (or so) reservations on the books already for the Model 3. He even went so far as to say that there was intentional manipulation going on, in order to pump up the numbers.

Tesla’s online reservation system limits you to a maximum of two Model 3 reservations, but you can currently submit the form more than once.

But before you head over there and start stockpiling your Model 3 orders, we’ve got some bad news for you: advanced Model 3 reservations are limited to two per person, and the loophole that allows folks to order more than two is most likely a simple bug in the online reservation system.

In a recent dialog with Elon Musk on Twitter, we confirmed that orders for Model 3, whether done in the store or online, are indeed still limited to two per person. And furthermore, it appears that most of the folks ordering a Model 3 are actually only ordering one, suggesting that the vast majority of Model 3 reservations are from actual people who want to buy the car for themselves or for a family member, not from speculators who want to re-sell the car, nor from employees or investors who want to pump up the hype.

In a recent Twitter exchange, the author confirmed with Elon Musk that the number of fraudulent or duplicate orders is low (0.2%) and these duplicate orders will be cancelled.

Per Mr. Musk, “Duplicates will be cancelled. Max of 2 will be delivered to any one person. Only ~5% of orders are 2, so speculation unlikely.” Elon went on to elaborate: “System scan detected only 0.2% of orders with same email and physical address. Those have been purged.” So the Seeking Alpha short’s 20 reservations have been cancelled (at least 18 of them have) and the other 780 (or so) fraudulent/duplicate orders are being cancelled as well. Sorry, folks, but Tesla Model 3 rationing will be in effect, at least until the company can ramp up production and start catching up with the order backlog.

View the twitter conversation here:

We suspect that this is simply a bug in the online reservation system. We also suspect that Tesla’s web development team won’t be getting much sleep for the next couple of days. Lucky for them, they still get first dibs on actual Model 3 deliveries.

Follow the author on Twitter at @MrBoylan or connect with him on Google+.


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Chris Boylan

is an EV and alternative fuel enthusiast who has been writing about technology since 2003.

Chris Boylan has 56 posts and counting. See all posts by Chris Boylan

37 thoughts on “Website Glitch Allows Tesla Fans (& Detractors) To Reserve Multiple Model 3s

  • Such a problem to have…

  • Won’t be getting sleep for days? This bug shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to quash.

    I also found the first two sentences quite ironic, given that Cleantechnica pumps out Tesla stories like they’re going out of style.

    • Acknowledged (and agreed). This is why I said “present company included.” 🙂 “Tesla” and the various model names are extremely popular search and alert terms, due to the stock’s popularity/volatility and the disruption they’re causing in the industry.

      • “I didn’t try myself as I don’t want to jeopardize my own place in line with my legit in-store order.”

        That is a problem.

        1) If one recognizes there is an arbitrage opportunity for the 3 as a desirable product, in this case one must divorce themselves from that desire for the product, risk foregoing possession of it for themselves, and invest $1000 in hopes of collecting on selling their early place in the que.

        2) If one did not find the product all that desirable – one have to hold the belief that others find it desirable enough to make it worth it to risk a $1000 deposit, to flaunt the no more than 2 per person rule, to risk credit card fees charges and interest, and that others find it desirable enough to pay them a premium for their place in line, when Tesla has clearly said…we need to rethink production planning?

        3) You could ask, if the deposit is refundable is this really a $1000 risk? One pundit has written that Tesla reserves the right not to refund the deposits of anyone who does not follow their rules!

        • Does the $7500 federal tax credit go away if the car is re-sold in less than 1 year?

          From the government’s point of view, no reason to worry about that. It got an EV on the road.

          From the second buyer’s point of view, the price should reflect what the first owner paid not the price if one buys it direct.

          • “Does the $7500 federal tax credit go away if the car is re-sold in less than 1 year?” The only wording about this I can find in the 30D documentation is: “The vehicles must be acquired for use or lease and not for resale. Additionally, the original use of the vehicle must commence with the taxpayer and the vehicle must be used predominantly in the United States.” So based on this wording, registering the car and driving it in the US makes it eligible for the credit. I don’t think there’s a time requirement on said use before resale.

            I had thought I read somewhere that you needed to keep it a year, but can find no evidence of that.

          • So the coin dealer that sold his new Model X to a car dealer who immediately on sold it to Ford might miss out on the $7500 Federal tax rebate. We know Ford paid well over list price but I wonder if the coin dealer got a high enough price to cover the loss of the $7500 ?

          • Did he not drive it to the delivery? If so, and if he registered it before selling, then he apparently qualified for the subsidy. There seems to be no minimum mileage/time of ownership requirements.

            People used to fly to Europe, pick up their new Porsche/whatever, drive it around for 500 (?) miles, and then ship it back as a used car.

          • Yeah, like Bob said, if he registered the car at all, and didn’t do some sort of immediate title transfer w/o registration, then he could probably claim the incentive as the first registered owner of the car. He got the car for $115K plus tax (flat price for fully loaded FBR Model X). It sold to Ford for around $200K. Even with the dealer piece, he probably did OK on the deal. 🙂

        • I don’t think it’s a problem. I ordered a Model 3 in store on March 31, for me/my family. I am not particularly interested in re-selling that car, even at a premium. I just want to own a Tesla. Been waiting long enough and almost had an X but for it being too wide for my driveway.

          I see no problem with those who do wish to buy and resell the Model 3, but for me, paying something like 8% sales tax on top of the purchase price, then counting on selling it as used at a premium is just too risky. Plus Tesla and SpaceX employees are ahead of me in line as are current Tesla owners. I doubt that Tesla and SpaceX employees will be reselling theirs, but it’s certainly possible that some current Tesla owners are ordering 2 – one to keep, one to sell. So there could be quite a few “used” Model 3s on the market in the early production days.

          Based on the 400K reservations, I do believe demand will exceed supply for quite some time, but I’m personally not willing to risk a $60K or $70K (plus tax) investment in the hopes of turning it around for a quick profit. And I say $50K or $60K because it’s the highly optioned ones that will ship first.

          I know that orders are capped at two per person, and I believe that Anton and the Yahoo guy were able to put in more than 2 orders. I don’t need to test that myself and potentially risk my existing order being cancelled (even if only accidentally).

          • True largely. And my meaning was it presents a series of problems to resolve for anyone with nefarious intent – clearly you you are too honest to perceive that risk as off putting!

            Regarding a lot of used legitimately purchased 3s (purchasers who followed Tesla’s rules) – Tesla is stating there is only a small percentage of orders that have requests for more than one car, and there is much anecdotal evidence. Evidence that there are many double purchases which are for two specific people, often family members. But remember, this is only anecdotal at this point.

  • It’s a bug that the system doesn’t immediately report to an intentional schemer that their scheme was denied?

    • But they are being purged now so what’s your point other than to be obnoxious

      • My question was is that even a bug?

      • Insults.
        Not necessary.

  • The reservation is not a guarantee of sale. If you misbehave, the money can be refunded to you. It’s also clear, that disparaging the product might be grounds for dismissing the reservation. Mr. Musk might have just broken new ground here. Or at least something that hasn’t been around for many years. Not no shoes, no shirt, but rather, don’t misbehave or you are out.

    • I think I can recall only two Tesla orders ever being cancelled: one guy who threatened legal action for issues he was experiencing with his Model S, plus the blogger/investor who wrote a scathing criticism of Musk and Tesla just because he didn’t like being kept waiting during the Model X official unveil event. Was Tesla justified in cancelling the orders? That’s a subjective thing.

      I personally wouldn’t want to do business with someone threatening to sue me/my company, nor would I care to send one of my brand new cutting edge products to someone who is clearly easily annoyed. If he wrote 1200 words on how unacceptable it was to keep him waiting, how would he have handled a finicky falcon wing door or a defective seat latch?

      • Good point. If you are waiting in line at a movie theater, no sense in getting kicked out before yo see the movie.

      • I personally think there’s more to that investor story than just his impatience. Musk himself called him after he wrote that piece, and only after was the order canceled. Musk seems like a fairly reasonable guy if you don’t work for him; and my guess is that investor wanted some sort of preferential treatment. The “I’m so important because ____ ” B.S.

      • “plus the blogger/investor who wrote a scathing criticism of Musk and Tesla just because he didn’t like being kept waiting during the Model X official unveil event.”

        Tesla seems to have learned from the event and completely revamped the reveal event process for the Model 3.

        • Yup, they also did not allow “real” cameras at this one, only cell phones. That was probably my fault. My zoom lens caught things backstage at the Model X event before Elon took the stage that I shouldn’t have (like Model X with a surfboard on the roof, Model X towing an airstream, etc.). Oopsie. 🙂

  • When I reserved it took a couple of tries before it worked and I tried a couple of cards but only got one reservation confirmation back so they are weeding out duplicates. They seemed to have back-end problems with processing the credit card. Initially it bombed out at the credit card stage and then worked a few hours later.

    • I did mine in store but didn’t get the confirmation e-mail for several days. It was visible almost immediately in “My Tesla” so I didn’t worry about not getting the e-mail.

      • Didn’t know about My Tesla but see that I have an account on it, did a password reset and can see a reservation number for my Model 3. That wasn’t in the confirmation email. It feels a little more confirmed now.

        • I suspect that the online reservation system for Model 3 looks up your e-mail address and links any deposit to an existing My Tesla account if it finds a match. If the e-mail address is new/unknown then it creates the My Tesla account using the supplied e-mail address for confirmation/tracking purposes. The ordering process requires a My Tesla ID so it makes sense to track reservations through that too. Many people who put down a Model 3 reservation may not even know that there was an account set up for them on the Tesla web site.

    • That was a point of contention in the article Mr. Boylan referenced.

      I) Longs – two per person.

      II) Shorts – he put in as many as he wanted and was never stopped.

      III) Your experience – only one try actually goes through.

  • Elon went on to elaborate: “System scan detected only 0.2% of orders with same email and physical address. Those have been purged.”

    So, you just need to use the same physical address & multiple e-mails then. Is there anyone who doesn’t have multiple e-mails? It doesn’t seem like this would be a very thorough cleaning.

    • “Max of 2 will be delivered to any one person”
      What don’t you understand from this statement?
      Even if you could sneak multiple orders in that are not detected right now, you will still not get more than 2.

      • Wow are you ever rude! I’m not talking about actual deliveries, I’m talking about inflated reservation numbers.

        • I’m not rude.
          It’s just that there was absolutely no reason for your comment if you had read the complete article. Everything is in there. You’re just spreading FUD.

          Only 5% of reservations are 2 cars, so the number of people who even technically could’ve ordered more than two is under 5%. Reality will be far less of course. You really call that inflated?

          • I’m not spreading FUD. I’m a big EV advocate. I’m just saying that the description of what Tesla did to track excess reservations would not have caught people who made 2 reservations per e-mail across multiple e-mail addresses. While Tesla has stated that they won’t deliver more than 2 cars to these people, it could still be inflating reservation numbers. It’s unlikely to be a very large inflation, but it is possible.

            You are extremely rude. I read the entire article and researched what Tesla did before making my comment.

    • You might be able to sneak additional reservations but you may not be able to actually purchase more than two cars under your name.

      If someone really wants to scalp Mod 3s there are ways. Pay all your friends and relatives to buy two under their names. It could be done.
      Should we really worry about that?

    • That is indeed a possible loophole. Fortunately, it looks like the actual numbers of these duplicate orders is very low.

  • Not only no screenshot, but no comments from him on the post at all – unusual.

    • Seeking Alpha pays him (and any other author) a flat fee per article *plus* a kicker of $10 per 1,000 views of the article. So he’s laughing all the way to the bank. The more inflammatory or controversial the article the better, as far as he is concerned (more traffic=more money). I just hope it’s enough for him to cover his shorts. (Meanwhile, we here at CleanTechnica are only in it to save the world). 🙂

      • Yes, however he was conspicuously absent from the conversation? More comments = more traffic.

Comments are closed.