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Consumer Advocates Support Tesla Direct Sales in Dispute

Traditional car dealers say Tesla Motors Inc.’s model of selling electric vehicles without a middleman leaves defenseless customers at an automaker’s mercy. Consumer groups don’t buy it.

Dealers have sought to block Tesla’s operations in New Jersey, New York, Ohio and other states, saying that laws requiring people to purchase from their franchises encourage price competition and give customers an advocate. Organizations including the Consumer Federation of America and the Center for Auto Safety said manufacturers should be able to sell directly if they want and buyers would benefit from having a choice.