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A tale of two dealers in Southern California: Caveat Emptor!
|02-18-2008, 01:49 AM||#1|
A tale of two dealers in Southern California: Caveat Emptor!
Before I begin my tale, I want to say much thanks to Will Shaw of Long Beach BMW and Phillipe Kahn of South Bay BMW for taking the time to answer my questions and speak with me regarding the purchase of my BMW. Folks, these two are no-BS and very straightforward to deal with. I would have bought my car from either one of them, but circumstances dictated otherwise.
The Bad Dealer
I started my search for my car. 2008 328i E90 6MT w/ ZSP-Xenon-Heated Seats-Folddown Rear Seats-Mtech Body Kit-Alarm System. For every 100 cars that I saw on an online inventory, 98 were Steptronic, 2 were MT. Such is the market in California, I guess, the preference was for Step due to the traffic, etc. No problem, ordering it would ensure that I got the exact car I wanted.
Fiancee had a friend who recommended a dealer in Newport Beach who would give a good deal. After test driving a couple of E9x cars, I looked at their used car lot and saw a '06 E46 M3 w/ Competition Package that was absolutely cherry. 14.8K miles and CPO. Asking price was $48.5K plus tax, etc.
Offered $44K OTD. The CPO salesguy laughed and said "No." Claimed the value would rise because the '08 M3s would sell at 5-15K over MSRP. I tried to explain to him that what he just said was completely irrelevant and said that the price would drop to $43K asking in about a month.
We were in the process of moving so the order was only placed today by my fiancee. She looked at used car lot and M3 was gone. Too bad, it was a nice car but not at $52K+ OTD that they were asking. Some strange things about the order placing process:
1) Initially said over phone that deposit was going to be $1K. I thought, hmmm, most dealers usually ask for $500 but what the hell, fine. When she got to dealership, the deposit became $2K. The reason given was that I was ordering the car with the M-tech body kit and alarm, and it's very hard for them to sell it with that particular configuration. WTF???
2) CA (Client Advisor, aka salesperson) needs some ESL classes along w/ basic etiquette lessons. Smiled a lot but didn't know shit about what he was selling & kept pressuring my fiancee to add ZPP to the car. WTF???
3) CA said that he would need to run a full credit report (even though we were paying cash for the car). This contradicted what he said over the phone, saying he would just run a "soft" check, just to verify identity due to new Homeland Security rules. Consequently, he almost made my fiancee late for her appointment at the pharmacy to pick up medication, because the credit application was four pages long. It was even longer than the application I filled out to get the security clearance I need for California Dept of Justice for my work. He even made fun of her because she left out names of family members as part of references for the credit report - there was a series of tragic events in her life where she lost all of her immediate family. To say that she was upset over this transaction is an understatement.
4) Their computer system was mysteriously down that day. The CA was so clueless that one of senior Finance managers even had to order him to get a form and fill out the information manually, so my fiancee could get a receipt. He didn't even fill out the form properly. Left out name/address/car config/etc. He said my car would be placed in an existing order slot and it would be here in 6 weeks, no later. He wrote "No floor mats" in large type on the manual receipt. My fiancee asked him why and he said it wasn't part of the order. She explained to him that he said the $380 MACO fee included BMW floor mats, wheel locks and key chains plus other BMW swag. He acted like he had never heard it before. This was pretty major because we were with another CA at that time (more senior CA, I think) and she was witness to him saying it.
Kept calling to get confirmation of the order and to schedule time to pickup the computer-generated receipt. No answer to voicemails or emails. Spoke to receptionist and another CA, and they verified he was at work. We made the decision to cancel the order (I was very reluctant but hated the way my fiancee was treated). We called his boss, left a voicemail and an email to communicate to him our displeasure in how we were treated.
Got an email from the CA with the order number. Called & left him a voicemail, saying that we had cancelled & that he should talk to his boss. No answer.
Began getting calls from other CAs at same dealership. Wanted to make it up to us and expressed their apologies about how we were treated. I said fine, what are you offering? They said they would get my car in the next production slot as quickly as possible. I said, how could that be when my car is already waiting for a slot on the shipping vessel? They back-tracked and said they would throw in wheel locks and free car washes, instead. I said, what about floor mats? They said, no problem, we'll give it to you at our cost, $90. Folks, this was almost too comical to be true. Tischer sells the floor mats at $90 and they must be making some money at that price. The final call was that they would throw in the car alarm for free (I just had to pay for three hours labor for the install) if I would just reconsider. I said fine, what about the floor mats? (I asked this just to see their reaction). They said, sorry, but we wouldn't make any money on this deal.
Enough of this dealer & their BS. They lost the sale of my car and my fiancee, who wanted to get a fully loaded X5. May the folks who are reading this never have to put up with this kind of shady transaction. Run, don't walk, if anything like this ever comes your way.
Looked at the CPO inventory page and the '06 E46 M3 was relisted at $42K! I was LMAO.
The Good Dealer
A few days before, I began looking through a number of posts, looking to see if there were any other BMW dealers near our new place (Irvine, CA). Found out that Irvine BMW was nearby. Looked them up, not only on this site, but also on www.bimmerfest.com - strange, saw some mixed reviews. It's interesting how one bad CA at a dealership can make that dealership receive a negative perception.
My fiancee got a call from an old friend and while she bitched about our experience, her friend told her to contact the fleet manager at Irvine BMW. She called and spoke to Brandyn Harris. She told him what happened and he listened. He offered some advice and followed up with some emails to her. I called him and told him what I wanted. He said no problem, we can do all of that for you. After I hung up, I was still skeptical.
Got an email from Brandyn. Confirmed prices, equipment specs and some little things I wanted. I'm even getting BMW floor mats - you guys know how huge this is! Talked to the fiancee and we're going to drop by, meet Brandyn and give him a $500 deposit for the car. One thing about Brandyn, he speaks English - good English, at that! I know, one would take it for granted, but remember, in California, English is *not* the first language.
I'm in shock. Irvine BMW placed the order today. I have a production number and everything. The deposit amount didn't increase. I get to keep my BMW floor mats. No upselling of anything. Will even take delivery of my aftermarket wheel/tire set, and mount it on the car as part of PDI. That means I will have brand-new Style 161 wheel/tire set to sell in the marketplace here and some lucky buyer will be very happy to get a good deal on them.
The best part is I got a great deal on the car from an awesome fleet manager!
<reserved for updates as they develop - stay tuned!>
Last edited by 1WickedE90; 02-21-2008 at 01:45 AM.
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