Tesla has agreed to settle on a class action lawsuit over sudden price increases the company pushed on Solar Roof buyers in 2021, CNBC reports. Tesla said it will pay just over $6 million in the settlement, which involves thousands of customers who had committed to purchasing the novel roof-replacing solar shingles product.
According to the court filing, the settlement class included 8,636 customers, 6,307 of whom had canceled their orders. About 1,600 of the remaining customers completed their full contract at the original prices, and the rest are either scheduled for install or are pending. One of the lead plaintiffs had their Tesla contract increase from about $72,000 to $146,000, while others were offered a free Powerwall home battery to follow through with the contract.
Tesla’s Solar Roof was an exciting and unconventional product when it was introduced in 2016, especially compared to typical solar panels installed on top of roofs. At the time, Tesla CEO Elon Musk touted the solar shingles “as good or better” than conventional roof panels. The Solar Roof was developed alongside SolarCity, a company owned by Musk’s cousin that was later acquired by Tesla. Today, Solar Roof and Powerwall are part of Tesla Energy.
In 2021, thousands of Solar Roof customers were met with sudden and unexpected price increases, with Tesla pushing some customers to accept new contracts that were more than double the original cost. Musk acknowledged that the company made “significant mistakes” and that price jumps were due to varied roof complexities and increased costs.
Several Solar Roof customers told The Verge about taking out loans as well as wasting time and money on getting local permits to remove trees to prepare for the installation. Customers created petitions to get Tesla to honor the original prices, and at least one had filed a complaint with their state attorney general’s office, citing “abandonment of contract, extortion and deliberate misguidance and misinformation” on Tesla’s part.