Southern California residents Tom Slattery, Christopher T. Lee and Clark Peterson said that he purchased a brand-new Tesla electric car, gobsmacked to find the company had charged them twice, taking tens of thousands of dollars from their bank accounts without authorization or warning.
Two other customers also reported that they experienced duplicate debit charges from Tesla, leaving them in distress. One of them faces overdraft fees and problematic finance charges on credit card bills due at the end of the month.
Dave Excell, the founder of a financial crime prevention tech firm called Featurespace, said duplicate charges are a common problem in e-commerce and banking, generally. These platforms that process ACH transactions can use so-called de-duplicate functions to prevent double charges from happening erroneously. These systems must be flexible enough to allow duplicate transactions like a regular salary payment, or a grandparent sending $50 to each of their grandkids on the same day.
For consumers who see funds taken from accounts twice, when they only ordered once, Excell said the consumer can go back to the merchant and let them know an error occurred. Ask them to reverse or refund the money. That should be the easiest way. Contacting a bank to ask them to try to reverse the transaction could also work, but it might take longer and will require the bank to coordinate with merchants.