Tesla Model XSource: Tesla

What you need to know

  • It's surprisingly easy to accidentally do things when your iPhone is in your pocket.
  • Someone found out the hard way when they bought a $4,300 Tesla upgrade by accident.
  • Now they're fighting to get a refund.

We've heard all about people accidentally butt-dialing their ex or managing to send a strange message to someone after their butt did the talking. But it seems that someone managed to do something far more costly – in fact, it cost them $4,280.

Dr. Ali Vaziri told CNBC about his ordeal. According to the good doctor, he was in his Model 3 when he got a message from his bank saying he'd been charged the fee for Tesla's Enhanced Autopilot feature. He'd no idea why.

Vaziri had owned the electric sedan happily for less than a few months at the point of his accidental purchase. He linked a credit card to his Tesla account, he said, to pay a monthly fee for "premium connectivity" in the car. (That service enables features like live traffic visualization, satellite maps, video and music streaming over cellular and wifi networks.) The same card was billed for "Enhanced Autopilot," a $4,000 software upgrade that would enhance the driver assistance features of the car.

It seems Vaziri had managed to place the order via a cheek or two, although it isn't clear whether the iPhone was locked at the time, or not. Tesla is adding insult to injury by making it impossible for him to get a refund, too.

Moments after he received the mobile alert from his bank, Vaziri called his local Tesla store and service center. They couldn't help directly, but gave him the number for a customer service hotline. He called the number and requested a refund. Instead of processing the doctor's refund request on the spot, the customer service rep told Vaziri to click on the refund button in his Tesla app to process his request.

Execpt, there was no button. It was a similar story with the email confirmation he received after placing his order, too. Phone calls to a local dealer and customer services have yet to yield the desired result – so he's instructed his bank to get the money back instead.

Madness. Tesla apparently says you can ask for a refund on a software update – just like this one – within two days of purchase. What it doesn't say is that asking for it is almost impossible.