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21604Re: A scary Halloween story with a happy ending

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  • Rod
    Nov 1, 2001

      Very happy for you that you got your Prius! Too bad you had to do so
      much work to keep the dealer honest though...

      Please be sure and put your comments about this dealership into the
      dealer database so that present and future Prius owners can see what
      weasels these guys are!


      --- In toyota-prius@y..., haceaton@h... wrote:
      > Here is my story:
      > I ordered my car on August 15 at the dealer (Antwerpen Toyota
      > of Clarksville, MD), I didn't place it via the internet which
      > was my first big mistake. I was told to expect delivery in Jan-
      > Feb. and put down a $1,000 deposit.
      > Last Saturday, for the first time since ordering I decided to
      > go to the dealer to make some measurements and check on the
      > status of my order. As it happens, I found my car sitting in
      > the dealer's lot with a "SOLD" sign in the window.
      > I asked for a strange set of options because
      > I am strange (actually, I'm an EE and I'll be doing some
      > significant hacking!) - my options were NAV, side air and floor
      > mats. When I saw the car with the right color and my option list
      > on the lot I was pretty sure yet not certain that it was mine.
      > I pointed out the car to my sales rep and inquired if it was mine.
      > he "checked" then assured me that it was not, that another customer
      > had ordered it before I ordered mine. I then asked what was
      > my order status and he produced a "vehicle assigned" e-mail
      > dated Oct 4. and said my car would probably be arriving in Dec.
      > I asked if he could tell me what VIN was assigned to me and he
      > said it wasn't available yet. I left that day rather unsatisfied.
      > Since it was a weekend there was no way to get more info.
      > On Sunday I returned and took several photos of the car at the
      > dealers lot including nice ones of the window sticker, VIN
      > number, and "SOLD" sign. There is a photo in the Photos section
      > (halloween.jpg) the sign near the rear-view mirror reads
      > "$23901 SOLD". Once I noticed this appeared to show a sales price
      > that was about $1200 over sticker I became more convinced this
      > was my car.
      > On Monday I called the Toyota National Customer Assistance Center
      > and they were most unhelpful. They could not tell me my VIN, that
      > only the dealer could do that and said there was nothing they could
      > do to help me. With a lot of further work I was able to contact
      > Prius coordinator at Central Atlantic Toyota Distribution in Glen
      > Burnie MD (410-760-1500). I told her I was trying to reconcile a
      > number with a purchase request number. She asked for the last 6
      > digits of the VIN which I gave and then she confirmed it was indeed
      > allocated to fulfill my order and had my name as the customer name.
      > told her what was happening and she said they couldn't do that
      > the order was cancelled - she checked for a cancelation notice and
      > there was none. I certainly never cancelled my order.
      > Armed with this information, I called the Customer Relations
      > Manager at Antwerpen and told him what had happened. He asked for
      > the VIN in question and said he'd call back. When he called back
      > he told me that the car was bought by Antwerpen for their TRAC
      > program, and was NOT my car. I asked why it had a "sold" sign on
      > it, and why I was told that another customer ordered it and he said
      > that was a mistake. I asked why they didn't order
      > it either fully loaded or stripped down and he said they order
      > their cars lots of ways. I pointed out that regional had informed
      > me that the car was built in fullfillment of my order and he told
      > me that Antwerpen was an independently owned dealership and that
      > they can do whatever they want with their cars. I said that it
      > wasn't right for them to re-allocate my car while holding my
      > deposit money. He repeated that it wasn't my car. The tone at this
      > point was openly hostile on both sides.
      > I called regional back and asked to speak with a dealer relations
      > representative. The operator asked if I was a customer rather than
      > a dealer rep and when I said I was a customer she told me that I
      > first have a case number assigned by the Toyota National Customer
      > Assistance Center. So I called them and explained what had happend.
      > Once again they were no help. They were more interested in how I
      > got the regional phone number and why I thought it was my car than
      > in what had happened. They told me there was nothing they could do.
      > So I asked simply for them to assign a case number, which they did.
      > I was about to call regional back with my case number in hand, but
      > I had a voice-mail message. It was from Antwerpen's customer
      > relations manager and informed me there had been a mistake, that
      > the car was mine and that I could schedule to pick it up whenever
      > was convenient for me. I do not know what happened exactly that
      > caused them to flip from the over-my-dead-body attitude to ok,
      > you are right attitude. I picked up the car that night and
      > there pretended nothing strange had happened. The process went
      > smoothly other than them having to print new sales contracts after
      > I pointed out that there was no Maryland sales tax on Prius' and
      > that I already had paid $1,000 towards the car.
      > In the end, I got my car and the car is great. If I hadn't happened
      > to accidentally spot it on the dealer lot, I'd be waiting still,
      > unaware that no car was being built for me! If I wasn't resourceful
      > enough to prove that the car in question was built in fullfillment
      > my order, I wouldn't have the car either. Toyota tries hard to
      > keep the customers from getting independent (of the dealer) proof
      > PR<->VIN asignment which I think is wrong.
      > I realize that many people who ordered before me still don't have
      > cars yet. That is another thing Toyota needs to work on, but I
      > certainly don't feel guilty fighting for the car that was built
      > specifically for me.
      > Cheers,
      > harry
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