A Model 3 owner who sued Tesla alleging that the company had failed to deliver on its promised features of Full Self-Driving (FSD) has settled his case out of court. The owner, Ed Butler, wanted to be reimbursed for the money he spent on FSD in 2019.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has long claimed the company was close to achieving full autonomy, saying in 2015 he believed the milestone was two years away. Two years came and went and Tesla did not deliver on the promise, but despite this the company has continued to advertise that the feature was just around the corner. In 2019 the website stated that the ‘city streets’ feature of FSD would be available by the end of the year.
It was during this time when Ed Butler purchased his Model 3 Performance in the United Kingdom (UK), adding FSD to his purchase for an extra £5,800 based on the claim that the full FSD suite was nearly ready to be released.
After years of waiting, and realizing that FSD was likely still years away from materializing in the UK, Butler sued Tesla for failing to deliver on their contract. Butler, who shared his story on the TMC forum, based his legal claim on the Consumer Rights Act 2015, section 11(1), which asserts that every contract to supply goods by description must ensure that the goods match the description. Since he had ordered the car directly from Tesla’s website, he argued that their website description was an integral part of the contract.
Before filing his claim, Butler sent a “Letter Before Action” to Tesla in February 2023, in which he outlined his case. Less than three weeks later Butler received a reply from the company in which he says they essentially denied his claim, likely thinking he wasn’t actually going to follow through with it. But he did, filing court proceedings that same day.
After some back and forth, Butler says the company essentially admitted their guilt in a defense filing but did not want to settle, instead trying to get the case moved to a small claims court. Butler was undeterred however, and based on principal alone wanted to see the case through to its conclusion.
That conclusion was supposed to be next week, November 17, the scheduled hearing date. It appears as though having this date scheduled was enough to get Tesla to try and settle. The initial settlement offer presented two major points of contention – a non-advice clause and a confidentiality clause. These terms did not sit well with Butler, who told the company he wasn’t going to sign it unless theywere removed. Ultimately, after some negotiation, Tesla agreed to remove the clauses, and the case was resolved with Butler receiving the full claim amount of £5,800 and additional compensation of £2,215.22. The FSD features were also removed from his vehicle as part of the settlement.
Part of the reason Butler wanted those clauses removed was so that he could share his story. Here are some of the documents Butler shared, in case others wanted to do the same. You can also read his post on the TMC forum with more details here.