A customer complaint filed at the Federal Trade Commission in August 2022 led to the California Attorney General investigating Tesla's claims over Autopilot safety. Greg Wester, a 2018 Tesla Model 3 owner, complained to FTC about phantom braking in the car.
It is a phenomenon where the car abruptly hits the brakes without any apparent danger or reasoning. This can cause the car to be rear-ended by any vehicle behind due to the sudden nature of the action.
It is not Tesla's first time in hot waters over false advertisements. Earlier this year, South Korea fined Tesla $2.2 million over false claims about its cars' driving range and charging speed.
Tesla was scrutinized just over a week ago regarding a fatal Autopilot crash in California where a three-month-old passenger suffered a catastrophic injury while hitting a Subaru Impreza.
Autopilot is a Tesla feature that aids drivers with traffic-aware cruise control and auto steering. On the other hand, Enhanced Autopilot (EA) offers Navigation, lane change, park, and smart summon.
Tesla was heavily criticized for removing essential autopilot hardware, including radar and lidar, to cut costs. The autopilot on newer Tesla models relies on stereo vision only to make distance calculations and driving decisions.
Greg Wester claims he paid a hefty $15,000 to get the full Self-Driving Capability of Tesla but felt misled about the safety and reliability of the Autopilot system. Later on, an analyst from the California Attorney General's office tried to contact him, the records of which were shared with CNBC news.
Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, is engulfed with his new passion project X after the Twitter acquisition while Tesla is continuously on the news with lawsuits, autopilot glitch accidents, and investigations. Even though Musk promised investors and customers about features being added with over-the-air software updates, they are yet to be realized.
Wester says in an interview
'Tesla should offer customers the option to receive a full refund of Autopilot features if they are unsatisfied with the product. [W]e bought a full autonomy product and we received a driver monitoring product with partial autonomy.'
Tesla mentioned in its second-quarter filing that it received information requests from regulators, government bodies, and the Department of Justice DOJ.