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Discussion Starter #1
I got interested in the Prius and stated surfing the net for info, found this forum and it's my first post. Hi All.

I read a bunch of posts about what everyone is told by the dealer as far as how long the wait is, and how everyone gets called early by the dealer about a car that nobody wants, and it can be yours if you pay $$$$ over MSRP.

Don't you see what's going on? it is quite obvious:

You put down your deposit to be on the waiting list. The dealer gets his allocation of cars, usually every 2-3 weeks, sometimes every week. Does that car go to you if you're next on the list, NO! He goes down his list, calls a dozen people or so, "I have a car here that you can have right away for $$$$ over MSRP", someone will eventually agrees, and he sells it for a big profit. I repeat: It does not matter where you are on the list.

It's the law of supply and demand, as long as there are people who are willing to pay extra to get the car today, the salesmen will continue to push to see what the market will bear. The solution? there is no solution, it's a free market.

Now, if EVERYONE starts refusing to pay over MSRP, and tell them you rather wait your turn and pay MSRP, and they find no buyer at the end of the day at that price, guess what they'll do.

I'm not knocking the sales people nor the buyers. I'm just frustrated that some people don't seem to get it.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Also, another reason it doesn't mean a whole lot where you are on the waiting list is that, as most people should realize by now, many buyers are on multiple wait lists.

PS. The more I read, the more I think I want to get a Prius. I've been thinking about getting a car that's friendly to the environment for a long time, but electric cars have been so inadequate.
 

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A few dealers are probably doing what you say. More dealers simply don't use a waiting list at all. Generally when you read of someone paying $5,000 over MSRP, they're buying from a dealer who sells his cars cold, no waiting list. But I think most dealers play straight with their waiting list, and are up front about their price, with some charging MSRP and some charging more. You know this is true because you've also read all the posts from people who paid MSRP and were treated honestly by their dealers. It takes all kinds to make a world.

Part of the blame is Toyota's, selling the cars to the Regions, who sell them to the dealers, who can do what they like with them, rather than allowing customers to place a firm order.

We've had Euopeans explain their system to us (not sure if this was all of Europe, or just certain countries): A customer places an order which is a binding legal contract, and makes a non-refundable deposit. He gets a VIN and can track his car from before manufacture. The dealer cannot sell the car to anyone else unless the customer releases the contract. If the customer changes his mind, he forfeits his (large) deposit. And MSRP is roughly 50% higher than it is here!

We pay 2/3 the price, and we have to jump through hoops. Or, we pay a premium, making the prices a lot closer, and get a car much sooner.
 

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Nice to see another person coming on here with uninformed non researched views that are just plain ignorant. Before you start bashing a process look into it a little. Every dealer that i have spoken with, including the one i work for, goes off of the list. The only time you will get passed up is if i call you and you say that you dont want the car. No matter what car you decide to get at whatever point you are on on the list you pay MSRP and that is it. Please research your comments alittle more thoroughly before you cut down an entire industry.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
You don't work in sales, do you.

I think you missed my point. If you would read my post a little more carefully, I'd see that I'm not bashing the process nor I'm cutting the industry.

I'm sure there are sales people who are professional and try to serve their customers. I'm just pointing out to the buyers who are willing to pay over MSRP that it's the law of supply and demand.

As for the sales people and the waiting list, it's really not a waiting list, it's an interest list of potential buyers. It's non-binding, it's not a contract, it's not enforceable in a court of law, and most people know it. How'd you know I'm uninformed or did not do my research? May be I have talked to sales people? May be I even have friends working in sales? may be I work in sales?

Sorry but you talking to sales people does not make you more "informed", that someone tells you they go off the list and you believe it I think you're rather naive. What makes a salesperson credible is the fact that he or she sells for MSRP, or may be a few hundred over, since it makes no difference who the buyer is.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I just talked to 3 dealers. All want $3000 over MSRP on a fully-optioned car, available within 2 weeks, that's slightly over $30,000. Else it's a 4-12 months wait.

Dealer #1: "We don't actually sell over MSRP, the car just has nicer wheels". Dealer #2: "We've stopped taking additional orders on the first wait list, but we have a second list of people who are willing to pay $3000 over MSRP to get their car sooner".

Not sure about the rest of the country, but here in Southern California, it's tough, I guess the demand is still really high. BTW, new inventory is arriving twice a week now, especially with LA being the port of entry.
 

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vegas1 said:
Dealer #2: "We've stopped taking additional orders on the first wait list, but we have a second list of people who are willing to pay $3000 over MSRP to get their car sooner".
Assuming people on the first waiting list put down a deposit, this is criminal behavior. You might want to remind them of this.
 

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melgish said:
vegas1 said:
Dealer #2: "We've stopped taking additional orders on the first wait list, but we have a second list of people who are willing to pay $3000 over MSRP to get their car sooner".
Assuming people on the first waiting list put down a deposit, this is criminal behavior. You might want to remind them of this.
It's probably not criminal. Just vile, immoral, and disgusting. Most dishonest commercial activity is perfectly legal. Legal is not the same as right, and illegal is not the same as wrong. Examples abound.
 

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I spent a month trying to find an option #9 Prius searching many dealers in Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, amoung others. One local dealer suggested Minnesota, Indiana, Tennessee, and Florida were good places to look for good deals. I also contacted several private party offerings. Dealers had different ways of handling their sales with some offering waiting lists with varying deposits and ultimate selling prices. Others sold them as they came in and got inflated prices. One private party had gotten on at least three waiting lists, bought three at MSRP, and then sold two of them at a profit. I looked at many eBay auctions and most were not getting the reserve price although I did see a few sell at or near MSRP. I finally found a dealer willing to sell at MSRP because they had to get rid of it before the end of the month. It was in an area where demand is not quite so high so there was some flexibility. They initially offered the Prius to me at $2000 over MSRP firm. Most dealers I dealt with, when I said I would pay no more than MSRP, said good luck and I never heard from them again. What this is all about is the simple economic concept of supply and demand. From my perspective the market is beginning to loosen up as production increases and other hybrids come on the market. The fact is resale prices for the Prius will come down as economics change. Look at the history of other hot cars when they are introduced, the Subaru WRX comes to mind.
 

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actually, i am a salesman for toyota. And its people like you vegas who give us a bad name. We dont make the rules, we just sell the cars. If you have a problem with it, dont buy it. As for your ignorant responses on the list. Talk to more people before you assume anything. We go directlly off of the list. If you dont want the one i have, at MSRP, dont take it and you are still number one on the list.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Good for you! if you go off the list and sell at MSRP, you ought to be congratulated. Why don't you tell us where you are and which dealer you work for?

Try to read this forum a bit more, you'll find at least a dozen posts about dealers selling over MSRP. I didn't make that up.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Be careful who you call ignorant, it may just reflect your own.
 

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I have talked and/or worked with no fewer than seven dealers. Only one of them claimed to charge MSRP. Needless to say, the wait is much shorter if you pay more, which I ended up doing. None of the dealers anywhere close to me charged less than $1000 over MSRP. Some wanted $6000 over and they claimed to be getting it...
 

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Daniel said:
It's probably not criminal. Just vile, immoral, and disgusting. Most dishonest commercial activity is perfectly legal. Legal is not the same as right, and illegal is not the same as wrong. Examples abound.
With the exchange of money (depost) it becomes an implied contract.

If the dealer takes your depost and later decides to sell *your* Prius to someone else for a higher profit, they are in breach of that contract, and can be held accountable in a civil court.

If the dealer takes your deposit with no intention of honoring a waiting list, then they are commiting fraud and the can be held accountable in a criminal court.

The difficulty in either example is proving to a court that the dealer actually sold *your* Prius to someone else. A slimy dealear can earn quite a profit sliding around behind the burden of proof.
 

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I just bought a black 04 Prius from stock that was immediately available at list price (a package B, which seems to be a loaded US version except for NAV and Bluetooth). I bought it at Regency Toyota in Vancouver, BC(salesperson was Muayed Istifo--really helpful and no pressure). Yesterday, I was at Downtown Toyota in Vancouver yesterday and they too have a few Prius on their lot (before there was a wait of about 2 months for Vancouver orders). Have any US purchasers looked into buying a Prius in Canada (warranty applicability, importing back to US etc)?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
melgish said:
The difficulty in either example is proving to a court that the dealer actually sold *your* Prius to someone else. A slimy dealear can earn quite a profit sliding around behind the burden of proof.
Exactly. It would be impossible to prove since there is not an "official" list. While there is a receipt, or your cancelled check, there is not something like a confirmation code that can be matched to anything. In essence we're going on good faith here.

I'm not sure about the legal aspect of a presumed contract by taking a deposit. I don't know if it's even a "reservation". You are probably correct.
 

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Jeffo said:
I have talked and/or worked with no fewer than seven dealers. Only one of them claimed to charge MSRP. Needless to say, the wait is much shorter if you pay more, which I ended up doing. None of the dealers anywhere close to me charged less than $1000 over MSRP. Some wanted $6000 over and they claimed to be getting it...
Thanks Jeffo, I was quietly laughing after seeing your post. Pheww! I was a little worried about my own ignorance.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Continuing my search, I have found another dealer who claims to go off the list and sell at MSRP. I will talk to him some more. He said the wait is 10 months however. Oh well, I'll keep on trying.
 

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I went to three dealerships, all of which said they would sell the Prius at MSRP. One of them did, however, try to get me to buy a Corolla or Matrix instead since they actually have those on the lot.

None of them had a Prius on the lot, but they offered to place an order for me with a $500 deposit. I will have to wait six months, but I don't have a rush.

The first person I talked to at one of the dealerships said it would be $1000 over MSRP but then another salesman came by and said he wouldn't charge me that. He had a wealth of information too, so I obviously went back to him to place my order.
 

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melgish said:
Daniel said:
It's probably not criminal. Just vile, immoral, and disgusting. Most dishonest commercial activity is perfectly legal. Legal is not the same as right, and illegal is not the same as wrong. Examples abound.
With the exchange of money (depost) it becomes an implied contract.

If the dealer takes your depost and later decides to sell *your* Prius to someone else for a higher profit, they are in breach of that contract, and can be held accountable in a civil court.

If the dealer takes your deposit with no intention of honoring a waiting list, then they are commiting fraud and the can be held accountable in a criminal court.

The difficulty in either example is proving to a court that the dealer actually sold *your* Prius to someone else. A slimy dealear can earn quite a profit sliding around behind the burden of proof.
What you say is true only if there is actually a contract. Does the dealer describe how his list works? If not, there is no contract. A list is just a list. Does he tell you, "The 27th Prius that comes in is yours."? Probably not, because maybe the 27th Prius is an AF and you wanted a BC. The mere fact that he accepted your refundable deposit is not a contract unless there is a clear understanding of what the dealer is promising you.

On the other hand, there's nothing stopping you from asking for a written agreement describing exactly how his list functions, and what rights you have according to your place on the list, and what price you will pay, either in absolute terms or in relation to the MSRP in effect when your car comes in, and what extras you have to accept and pay for. Then you have a contract that you can take to court if need be.

c00kie said:
I went to three dealerships, all of which said they would sell the Prius at MSRP. One of them did, however, try to get me to buy a Corolla or Matrix instead since they actually have those on the lot.
The dealer where I bought mine is now discouraging people from ordering a Prius, due to the long wait time. But I think they'll take orders if someone insists they want one.

I strongly recommend that everyone who is still shopping for a Prius ask dealers for very specific information: Do they charge over MSRP, and if so how much, and will they put that in writing at the time you place your deposit? Do they require you to buy any port or dealer add-ons? And very importantly, considering the complaints: How does their waiting list function? Do they scrupulously offer each car to each person on the list in order, until someone accepts it? Do they give people lower on the list the right to bid higher to jump the list? Do they have a separate list of high-bidders who get some of the allocated cars? Do they consider themselves free to auction a car to the highest bidder just because the first person on the list rejected it? Etc. The more you have in writing the less likely you are to be disappointed later.
 

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Daniel said:
What you say is true only if there is actually a contract. Does the dealer describe how his list works? If not, there is no contract. A list is just a list. Does he tell you, "The 27th Prius that comes in is yours."? Probably not, because maybe the 27th Prius is an AF and you wanted a BC. The mere fact that he accepted your refundable deposit is not a contract unless there is a clear understanding of what the dealer is promising you.
But there is an implied contract. Once the dealer accepts your money and places you on 'a waiting list', at the very least, it is understood that if you are in 'position 1' then the very next Prius that meets your order requirements MUST be offered to you BEFORE it can be offered to anyone else. I suppose it can be argued that there's alot of open room for what happens when a Prius comes in that doesn't meet the order of the guy in position 1, but it can be generally accepted that before it could be offered to anyone NOT on the list, that one of the following *should* happen.

1. It should be offered to the first guy in the list
2. It should be offered to the first guy who ordered that specific model, color and package.

I don't think either of these cases are the topic of this discussion. vegas1 and others are talking about a dealer that gets a "Seaside Pearl #9" and sells it to the guy standing in the showroom for $5000 over MSRP, BEFORE going to the office and checking the list. The dealer who does this, KNOWING that there is quite possibly, someone already waiting for the extact vehicle. The fact that a list exists at the dealership, and that people have given money to be placed on it makes this kind of behavior either a criminal act, or at the very least a breach of the implied contract described above.

But again, unless you pull in everyone to whom the dealer's sold a Prius to since you placed yourself on the list, and have them speak under oath that they were not on the list before you were, this becomes a very difficult situation to prove in a court of law. AND even if you could prove it, you wouldn't be any closer to owning one than you are now. The judge can't rule a Prius into existance, (if only it were that easy :p) and would most likely order the dealer to return your deposit, with interest and possibly court costs, and suggest you find another dealer.
 
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