Actor Says Tesla Lost a Customer After 24-Hour Parking Garage Nightmare: ‘It Sent Me Into a Rage’

Companies often don’t worry too much about losing one customer. No one likes it, of course, but the financial impact of one less customer is usually negligible and easily made up for by new business. Of course, when a single purchase from a customer will run in the neighborhood of $50,000 to $140,000, that can make a difference in the math. And when the lost customer is an actor with a popular podcast and hundreds of thousands of listeners, getting that new business might become more problematic, as well. Welcome to Tesla’s world. Actor Glenn Howerton, probably best known for his role as Dennis Reynolds in “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” went “into a rage” over the weekend when the key fob to his Tesla broke and he found himself unable to unlock the vehicle with Tesla’s cellphone app because he was in a parking garage and couldn’t get a connection. “Your phone and vehicle must both be actively connected to cellular service to allow the mobile app to communicate with your vehicle,” Tesla’s online Model X Owner’s Manual says. Howerton said he drove a Model X, but didn’t note the year. “Tesla recommends that you always have a functional physical key readily available if parking in an area with limited or absent cellular service, such as an indoor parking garage.” “I had a crazy, crazy day, a night and day, Friday night and Saturday,” Howerton said on Monday’s episode of “The Always Sunny Podcast.” “The kind of thing that sent me into a rage.” Howerton has, according to Insider, made numerous references to his impatience with such things, which explains the reaction of producer Megan Ganz, who said, “You?” Howerton explained what happened, noting that “Every step of the way throughout this journey, every single thing that could go wrong went wrong.” “So I drive a Tesla, I drive a Tesla Model X. OK, the key fob stopped working on my car. OK, that’s OK, you can use the app on your phone to drive your car, OK?” Howerton said. The man says “OK” a lot. “So I was like, ‘OK, that’s a good fail safe, that works,'” he continued. “So I’m driving around, it’s all good. I go to pick up my buddy, Nick Wechsler, ’cause we’re going to a screening at the [Director’s Guild of America] of a friend’s new show that he’s made. So we go to the DGA, I park.” After the screening, they returned to the car — which is when the trouble started. He couldn’t get into the car and, even after he realized the next day that there was a way to use his key fob to access the car, once he did so, it wouldn’t start. And he couldn’t get on the phone with Tesla for help, because there was no cell service on the bottom floor of the parking garage where the car was located. Eventually, Howerton had to get the car towed, and even that was an ordeal, because the roof in the parking garage was so low. You can watch the entire podcast episode here. (The Tesla story starts within the first four minutes.) It’s still unclear — as Insider pointed out — how much of the problem was actually Tesla’s, and how much was user error — what in the Army we used to call “operator timing and head space.” “Newer Tesla models do not require internet connectivity to use the app to open and start the car,” Insider wrote. “The newer vehicles also come with key cards. Over the past few years, Tesla has also begun supplying drivers with backup key cards that can be used to get into their cars and start them. … Howerton said he didn’t discover until the next day he could unlock the car by putting the key fob on a designated area on the vehicle.” So, I don’t know — did Tesla lose a customer because of something Tesla did, or because of something the customer did? You be the judge. I’ll just leave you with something else we used to say in the Army: You gotta be smarter than your equipment. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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