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You can sell the car, but not the reservation for it. That's the gist of a Green Car Reports post about Tesla Model S reservation holders looking to "sell" their spots in line on eBay.

With the half-dozen or so reservations for the all-electric sedan being posted for sale on the auction site, Tesla confirmed to Green Car Reports that none of the approximately 14,000 reservations can be legally sold because the holders have signed an agreement saying that the reservations are non-transferable. In fact, the agreement specifically states that the only way the reservation is "transferable or assignable to another party" is with the written approval from an Tesla authorized representative. And Tesla says that no such approval has been given. That said, the car itself can be sold as soon as the reservation holder takes possession of it. Mere details.

Last month, the Model S won the Motor Trend Car of the Year Award. Tesla in November also announced that it hiked the Model S price for next year by $2,500 for US customers. That means the prices for the sedan will range from $59,900 for the base model to $94,400 for the top-end version.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 23 Comments
      VL00
      • 2 Years Ago
      Not legal? Does the writer not understand that there is no law which could be used to convict someone? "Not legitimate" might be more accurate.
      Rotation
      • 2 Years Ago
      A pointless hair split. If a person just agrees for an amount of money to order the car another person wants and then sell the car to them they are not transferring the reservation at all. It's not like they signed a power of attorney or something to let the other person take control of their spot, they just agreed to take certain actions and then sell the car (which doctrine of first sale says they can do). Tesla obviously doesn't like this but there's really nothing they can do about it legally. Of course they can refuse to make your car for you if they sniff you have agreed to do someone else's bidding and then that'll end up in court. Memo to Tesla: perhaps this is why other companies don't use a system of taking preorders years in advance. You just ended up handing a $2500 price premium to people who got in line, basically turned speculators into mini dealers.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        "Tesla obviously doesn't like this..." Why would Tesla object? They're still getting their 25% profit, just the same as any other sale.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          I agree the author twice made the same point as you did. Making your point redundant. You didn't add anything with it. No, Tesla cannot terminate an order with a non-refundable deposit on it and not refund the deposit just because they suspect the owner might improperly sell it. The deposit is non-refundable if the buyer terminates the order, if Tesla refuses to fulfill the order (perhaps because they cannot or just won't) they must refund the deposit. I don't know if Tesla has terminated any orders, they threatened to do so a while back though.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Well, 25% is what I've been told, numerous times... I figure it's the standard 10-12% profit that most luxury automakers (BMW, Audi, Mercedes) get, plus the 10-15% profit that normally would be taken by the Dealer.
          Spec
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          "their 25% profit" They wish.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          "Tesla had them removed because they are against eBay rules." The eBay rules that were being violated had to do with the sellers not being able to promise a specific delivery date - due more to the vagaries of Tesla's production schedule at that point. One a reservation holder (correction - Tesla customer) has their car in their possession, there's nothing stopping them from reselling.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          From the original article: "So what these sellers are offering on eBay isn't actually the sale of a reservation. They're selling a used car they don't actually own yet. This isn't unheard of for desirable, limited-production cars on eBay." So, it remains to be seen if Tesla will honor those reservations, or not.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Yes, that's right. Once you have a car you can sell it. 'That said, the car itself can be sold as soon as the reservation holder takes possession of it.' This whole article is about eBay reservations, not delivered cars.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Because they'd rather have $2500 more by people ordering after the end of the year. Heck, they weren't happy even before the price hike, there were already reservations on eBay from earlier and Tesla had them removed because they are against eBay rules. Tesla doesn't want their car to be speculated on apparently. Given they won't even work with dealers, I'm not at all surprised they want to control this aspect too.
          Grendal
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          "their 25% profit" They wish. Why raise your price only $2500, if what you need is something more? Certainly that is gross profit and Elon has said so. The net profit is around 8% to 12%, if I remember correctly.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          You call it redundant, I consider it restating known facts. A reservation holder can do whatever they want with their car. A reservation holder can list a car on eBay, even if they don't have it yet. The legal issue is what will happen to the winner if the eBay auction, if Tesla decides to cancel the reservation? Under what conditions can Tesla break a reservation with a paid deposit?
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          If Tesla refuses to deliver because a buyer is planning on reselling the car, they'll get their pants sued off. They will also refuse to transfer the reservation to someone else. So I guess the only way to avoid paying taxes on the car sold as used would be to convince Tesla to sell it to a trust (corporation) and then to transfer the trust to someone else after you get the car. While Tesla might be reticent to sell the car to a trust, some of their more monied clients may insist upon it even if they don't plan to resell the car.
          Grendal
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          I agree, Rotation. It sounds nice on paper that they don't want reselling of reservations. But what they, and any person selling something, wants is for more people to be buying their product. They might bark but they will coveniently not do anything about it.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          But they won't be able to control the second-hand (used) market. Which is effectively what eBay is.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          "This whole article is about eBay reservations, not delivered cars." Well, it's about the nuances of an eBay reservation, regarding ultimate delivery to a final customer. Twice in the article it makes the same point I just made, so the author thought it obvious enough to include. If Tesla wants to terminate a reservation because they decide it is being improperly "sold", then Tesla has every right to do that. They actually have a profit motive to do so, because then they get to keep the non-refundable deposit. OTOH, how many reservations has Tesla terminated?
        ElectricAvenue
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        It's not a pointless hair split, as there are costs to register the car and, in many locations, to sell it. Where I live, for example, there is sales tax on sales of used cars. So someone taking delivery would have to pay for all the extra costs (delivery charge, sales tax, perhaps a luxury tax as it's an expensive car), then have to try to recoup all of that while the buyer then has to pay tax yet again! You'd have to be desperate to get the car to pay that much of a premium.
        Naturenut99
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        There are several reasons it doesn't make financial sense (buying the place in line... not the car). But the kicker would be... since you wouldn't be the original buyer, you would not be able to use the (up to) $7500 deduction. So someone doing it this way would be paying a huge fee just to be at that place in line when all they need is to wait roughly 6 months. Then they wouldn't get the deduction. I never agree with the idea of well if they are that stupid/naive then it's ok for them to get ripped off. But this comes close to pushing me to that side.
      Roy_H
      • 2 Years Ago
      I don't see why Tesla wouldn't go along with this. All the agreement says is that a transfer has to be approved by Tesla. Why would Tesla care who the end customer is? Maybe they wouldn't want it to go where they couldn't service it.
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Roy_H
        they care about accurate reservation lists. if they allow transfers, scalpers would inflate the numbers.
      bluepongo1
      • 2 Years Ago
      Scalper economics + rockstar ride = the music industry had little luck stopping this.
      imoore
      • 2 Years Ago
      First, Factory-owned showrooms, and now holding the potential clients to their resevations. Looks like Tesla is fast becoming the next Bristol. No wonder the traditional dealers were upset. I'm guessing their next move will be screening applicants to see who will allowed to buy the cars.
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