The news that Tesla started accepting bitcoin as a form of payment was so encouraging that some enthusiasts traded the dream of purchasing a Lamborghini for an Elon Musk electric car when the currency reaches new heights. Unfortunately, buying a Tesla with bitcoins is not interesting for the buyer, only for the auto company. And the reason is not simply that the purchase would basically be to exchange an asset that is being appreciated for one that depreciates over time, the key to this bad deal is in the "Terms and Conditions" of the purchase.
The “lemon laws”
In an article for Coindesk, journalist JP Koning explains that in the U.S., there are laws to ensure that buyers of cars with manufacturing defects receive a refund or a repurchase. In a document entitled “Owners Rights Notification“, Tesla provides its customers with a long list of their legal rights, including those regulations known as “lemon laws”. Laws may vary from state to state, but in general, if you buys a $ 50,000 car, for example, and it comes defective, the manufacturer is entitled to a few attempts to repair it. However, if he is unsuccessful the law can be triggered so that the consumer receives the 50 thousand dollars back.
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“So when Tesla sells a new $ 50,000 car, it's not just selling a piece of metal, plastic, rubber and a battery. It is also selling you a long-term relationship with Elon Musk. That is, you are buying his pledge – a multi-year IOU (acronym for "I owe you") on his behalf – to refund $ 50,000 in cash when conditions in your state's lemon laws are triggered. ", says Koning.
However, the story changes when the payment is made in bitcoins. In this case, the buyer must accept that, in the event of lemon laws being triggered, Tesla reserves the right to refund the customer in BTC or the dollar amount equivalent to the product price on the date of purchase.A screen capture of Tesla's BTC terms and conditions.
"Dude I win, crown you lose"
The justification for this, of course, is the volatility of Bitcoin, and the customer must assume the risk of the price change of the cryptocurrency. But does it make sense to take that risk? If any consumer needs a $ 50,000 electric car refund, Tesla has two alternatives: return exactly the same amount of bitcoins paid for the car or $ 50,000 in fiat money.If you're unlucky enough to pick up a defective car, end up needing a refund and Bitcoin has gone up, you can be sure that you will receive a check for $ 50,000. If the price of the BTC is lower, you will certainly receive the same amount of coins you paid for the car, but worth less. According to the magazine focused on cars MotorBiscuit, Tesla is not known for the reliability of its cars, so the need of a refund may not be as unusual as it looks. And for those who pay in bitcoin, it is an excellent game for the company. While bitcoiners customers bear all the risks of falls in the price of bitcoin, Tesla has all the benefits of a possible price increase. It's a bet where “man I win, crown you lose.” Another case of losing to the customer is if another fork like Bitcoin Cash or Bitcoin Gold occurs, they may end up with Tesla in the event of a refund. Making hodl always preferable, but still the idea of having a car that drives itself is tempting for those who are having high returns with Bitcoin. Want a Tesla? You can simply buy with dollars or wait for more fair and friendly terms for bitcoiners.