Superior Court of Quebec approves class action lawsuit against Tesla over Model 3/Y paint issues

A Superior Court of Quebec judge has given the green light for a class action lawsuit to proceed against Tesla. The lawsuit, filed by Jean-François Bellerose in May 2020, alleges paint quality issues on the Model 3 and Model Y.

In a decision published on September 13, 2023, Superior Court Judge Lukasz Granosik ruled that Bellerose’s lawsuit can proceed and include all Quebec Model 3 and Model Y owners who purchased or leased a brand new car between January 1, 2018 and the notice publication date whose paintwork was damaged when the vehicle was less than 48 months old.

According to the decision the case will be heard in Montreal on a date yet to be determined, where if Bellerose is is successful, Tesla will have to pay owners included in the class action lawsuit however much money they paid to have their cars repaired. In some cases that amount will be small, but in others, such as in Bellerose’s case, that amount will be as much as $4,737.66 or higher. Tesla will also have to pay each member of the class action lawsuit $500 “for moral damages and for troubles, annoyances and inconveniences, with interest,” and another $500 “as damages for failure to comply with the information obligation, with interest.”

That total amount Tesla will have to pay out if found liable will likely be in the millions as the lawsuit claims 13,088 Model 3s have been sold in Quebec, as well as 2,366 Model Ys as of June 30, 2021.

Tesla has been known to have build quality issues for cars made at their Fremont factory. While the quality has improved over the years since the launch of the Model 3, there were several issues that were quite common, one of them being paint which would begin to chip and peel earlier than it otherwise should have. The problem was particularly bad for owners in Quebec, where the harsh winter road conditions resulted in numerous owners reporting chipped (otherwise known as sandblasting) and peeling paint on their lower rocker panels.

Bellerose was one of those owners who says the black paint on the rocker panels of his Model 3 was chipping and peeling within the first six months of ownership. After contacting Tesla about the issue Bellerose was told it was not going to be covered by the factory warranty, forcing him to pay out of pocket to repair the peeling paint.

In his lawsuit Bellerose alleges Tesla knew about the paint defects and did nothing to prevent it. While Bellerose’s legal team will have to prove the former to be true, Tesla did start providing free mud flaps and paint protection film (PPF) kits to new and existing owners, but that only started a few weeks after the lawsuit was first filed.

You can read the full decision below, which is in French. If an English version is released, we will update the article to include it.

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