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      12-12-2007, 06:18 PM   #1
coffeeman
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Buyer Beware

Today I canceled my order for a 2008 335xi Coupe. The following explains why..

The following commentary is true. I am posting this not to gain sympathy, or support, but to alert others who may be unknowingly affected by similar circumstances.

First, some history...If you are familiar with Gore v. BMW, skip the two next paragraphs, if not, read on.

In 1996, a Kentucky doctor named Gore, purchased a new BMW 5 series. Nine months after purchase, Dr. Gore had the vehicle detailed, and during this detailing, he was advised by the detailing shop that the entire vehicle had been painted. Needless to say, Dr. Gore was incensed, as this had not been disclosed to him at the time of delivery. Dr. Gore filed suit against BMW of North America, and the selling dealer, for fraud. During trial, it was revealed that BMW had re-painted Dr. Gore's vehicle, due to acid rain damage. Dr. Gore was seeking compensatory damages in the amount of $4,000.00, for diminished value, and punitive damages based on the amount of unjust enrichment that BMW NA had received from other non-disclosure sales of vehicles.

Dr. Gore was awarded $4,000 in compensatory damages, and $10,000,000.00 in punitive damages. BMW appealed, and the case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court reversed the punitive damage award, and remanded the case back to State Court. The Kentucky Supreme Court lowered the punitive damage award to $2,000,000.00. BMW also agreed to, in the future, disclose ANY damage, no matter how minor, to prospective buyers of their vehicles...It appears that BMW did not learn their lesson.

In April of 2007, I factory ordered a heavily optioned MINI Cooper S, from BMW/MINI of Towson, Md. I have had a long relationship with this dealer, leasing many BMW's from them. M.S.R.P. On my Cooper S was $34,500.00, which was also the agreed upon purchase price.

In May of 2007, I took delivery of the Cooper S, and was not advised of any latent defects, or damage that occurred prior to my taking delivery.

As much as I loved the MINI, my personal circumstances changed, and in October, I was in need of a larger vehicle. In November of 2007, I ordered a BMW 335xi, from BMW of Towson. When I asked my salesman if I should trade the MINI, he advised me that I would probably get the best price for the MINI by either selling it myself, or taking it to CarMax. Not wanting to deal with selling it myself, I took the MINI to CarMax.

CarMax appraised the MINI, and I commented to the appraiser that the vehicle was perfect, with no damage, dings, or other defects. The CarMax appraiser then asked me why the right rear quarter panel had been painted. I was shocked at this statement, and I advised him that I had no idea. He then proceeded to show me a tape line on the passenger side door jamb that ran from top, to bottom. He also demonstrated the texture difference between the door jamb paint, and the paint on the rear quarter panel.

The MINI, with 8,200 miles, was appraised at $18,500.00, a far cry from the $34,500.00 that I had paid just six months ago. The appraiser would not tell me how much the re-painted rear quarter panel had diminished the value, but because I could not detail the extent of the undisclosed damage, I suspect that the diminished value was substantial.

Now furious, I drove directly to BMW/MINI of Towson, for some answers. I approached the sales manager, and my salesman, and explained the situation. They were both stunned, and claimed that they knew nothing about any prior damage to the vehicle. The sales manager took the vehicle to the shop, to show the service manager.

Upon his return, he stated that their inspection of the rear quarter panel was inconclusive, but that he would ask Marc Cohen, the owner's son, and General Manager of the dealership, to contact MINI USA.

Now suspicious, I took the MINI to two different body shops. Both measured the paint thickness of each panel on the car. Every panel except the right rear quarter panel measured 6mm of paint. The right rear quarter panel measured 9 mm of paint. Both shops concluded that the right rear quarter panel had been painted, prior to delivery. The tell tale tape line in the door jamb was additional evidence of this. Both shops advised me that they would testify under oath, of their findings.

I called the MINI sales manager and advised him of my findings. I also demanded that MINI, USA repurchase the vehicle, for full price paid, less a reasonable amount for mileage. I reminded him that in the State of Maryland, it is illegal for a new car dealer to sell a vehicle that has sustained body or paint damage, without disclosing this damage to the buyer.

I believe that the selling dealer (BMW/MINI of Towson) was unaware of this damage. It is my belief that the damage occurred at either the Factory, the port of exit, or the port of entry. In light of Gore v. BMW, it was MINI USA's responsibility to inform the dealer that this vehicle had been damaged, and repaired.

I have retained attorneys to file suit against MINI USA, BMW USA, and BMW/MINI of Towson, for Fraud, Non-disclosure, Diminished value, and Conspiracy.

I would strongly advise anyone considering the purchase of a new MINI Cooper, to reconsider their purchase. Failing this, I would strongly advise anyone purchasing a new MINI Cooper to have the vehicle inspected by a competent third party, PRIOR to taking delivery. Finally, if you have already purchased a new MINI Cooper, I would strongly advise you to take the vehicle to a competent body shop, and have the vehicle inspected for any undisclosed body damage, or repair.

I would also encourage anyone still considering purchasing a vehicle from BMW/MINI of Towson, Md., to consider purchasing from another dealer, as this dealer seems only to be interested in taking your money, and taking no responsibility for defects in the products that they sell.

I have registered the domain name MiniUsaLies.com, to document this incident. If any MINI owner finds that his/her vehicle has undisclosed damage, you are encouraged to submit details of your vehicle to fraud@miniusalies.com.

My attorneys have advised me that if there are other cases of undisclosed damage, these cases may be eligible for certification of class action status.

Finally, to address the concerns of those (including myself) who feel that we are too litigious in the United States, I offer the following: I am only interested in receiving compensatory damages, in the form of a re-purchase by MINI USA of this vehicle. Any and all punitive damages that I may be awarded will be donated to charity. My intent is to teach MINI USA, and BMW USA a lesson...a lesson that they should have learned in 1997.

As a postscript, I've have been a BMW owner/customer since 1971. For thirty-six years, I have recommended the BMW brand to my friends and business associates. I always thought of BMW as a corporation that was above reproach. I was wrong. From this point, I will tarnish BMW USA's reputation, as well as the selling dealer's reputation, at every available opportunity.
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      12-12-2007, 06:25 PM   #2
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      12-12-2007, 06:27 PM   #3
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That really sucked... I really think every BMW owner should inspect their car at a third party shop...
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      12-12-2007, 06:31 PM   #4
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Too much paint? Tempest in a teapot.
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      12-12-2007, 06:41 PM   #5
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do you think others manufacturers dont do the same thing?
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      12-12-2007, 06:44 PM   #6
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As a side note, I've had a similar situation. Not my car but my friend's and it was sold as used so the issue wasn't exactly like yours. I found that paying axtra $500 for this toy (http://www.defelsko.com/applications...-detailing.htm) is well worth it in the long run. In fact if you split the cost with a few of your friends and have this thing around every time you buy a car is a great idea in my mind.
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      12-12-2007, 06:50 PM   #7
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It is common that VDC repairs cars that are damaged during shipping and send them to dealers..... That is also why it is very important to track your car.... It should not spend more than 3-4 days at the VDC.....so do stay longer for other reasons. I am not quite sure if the VDC actually discloses the details of the repairs that has been done to your car to your dealer though.

Good luck with everything and keep us updated. But also keep in mind that BMWNA has bunch of lawyers already on payroll to take on cases like this..... They will just keep delaying the case until you run out of funds to support your claim....
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      12-12-2007, 06:57 PM   #8
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While I agree entirely with your action to recover damages, I really struggle with how a painted quarter panel could cause ~$16,000 worth of devaluation.
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      12-12-2007, 07:06 PM   #9
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i've heard of things like this too, what about if the vehicle is leased? do you guys think it makes a difference?
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      12-12-2007, 07:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Festus View Post
While I agree entirely with your action to recover damages, I really struggle with how a painted quarter panel could cause ~$16,000 worth of devaluation.
+1

... but do keep us posted.
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      12-12-2007, 07:14 PM   #11
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great that you cancelled it.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/94-896.ZO.html
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      12-12-2007, 07:16 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimi_hoffa View Post
Is this gonna be one of those eat granola, buy green mutual funds, and ride a bicycle tree hugging let's buy a diesel that runs on cooking oil and eat fat free far* causing potato chip threads? 2 mil. for a bad paint job?
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      12-12-2007, 07:25 PM   #13
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Unfortunately, I don't really see your point at all. Yes there are different cases like the 2 that you mentioned. And unfortunately you are the owner of that mini. However, at the same time I have trouble understanding your hatred of the brand.

Problem 1 - BMW standing behind their brand has nothing to do with that particular dealer. There are great dealers and shitty dealers. It's just a fact of life, deal with it. You just so happened to have bought one that was crappy. Did you think for the people who got the lemons? Do you actually think the BMW wants to ruin their reputation because of 1 or 2 customers like you? The answer is clearly no.

On top of that, you say that you have had been a BMW customer for a long time, and because of this incident you will never buy the brand nor recommend it again. For some reason I find that you act more like a teenager than an adult. Everyone makes mistakes, and if you would like to think that BMW and associated companies are out to get you, well maybe they are. They are out to get your money, for the purchase of their cars. Not for anything else.

I sympathize with you, but also find that you don't really reason very well.
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      12-12-2007, 07:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Festus View Post
While I agree entirely with your action to recover damages, I really struggle with how a painted quarter panel could cause ~$16,000 worth of devaluation.
Painting the quarter panel isn't necessarily the issue, it's why it was painted. One assumes the worst if the caues can not be determined and documented.
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      12-12-2007, 07:34 PM   #15
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sell the car to privately... private buyers look less into details like how the car was painted before... usually private buyers are only concerned if the car has been in an accident...
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      12-12-2007, 07:49 PM   #16
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FWIW every car manufacturer does this. Ive had other cars where i've found overspray and tape lines when it was fresh off the lot, I saw it, and refused delivery of the car. Happened to me with a land rover.

For you to downtalk BMW USA from now on is a bit ridiculous, because your car had a repainted fender. All manufacturers do it, they're not just going to throw a car away because it had a dent in the fender or a scrape in the paint.

If the customer is too blind and naive too look for tape lines or overspray when they purchase the car, as you were, i see no reason as to why they should buy it back, regardless of what the law says. It's you're own stupid mistake, you should take the hit for it.
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      12-12-2007, 07:52 PM   #17
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Pay attention to the 10th picture.....

It is too bad you were never made aware..... VDC is completely known to repair vehicles at arrival....

See below link.

BMW / MINI VDC
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      12-12-2007, 07:55 PM   #18
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Well, I have a hard time understanding all the fuzz here. It happens that cars are damaged during transport. They are beeing repaired. The Dealer SHOULD IN ANY CASE report this to the customer. IF the dealer is informed. Seeing this from the standpoint of a salesman, I think it is a bit harsh to take it down on a whole dealership for a single incident, but that is up to your choice.

What i do not understand (still in european mindset, just moved here) is how someone could be awarded a ridiculous amount of money for having a brand new paintjob on the car....

Furthermore a professionally done paintjob should not influence the value at all in my oppinion.

Well, so much for my .2...
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      12-12-2007, 08:06 PM   #19
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      12-12-2007, 08:12 PM   #20
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There's another thread on this site that goes into what happens at the VDC (has pics and all). The cars coming in sometimes get damaged, but any damage that happens and is repaired there prior to delivery isn't considered "damage", it's considered factory work/part of normal building process. What I'm saying is that even if a car is damaged and gets repaired at the VDC, it's no different (in the eyes of BMW or legally) than if the car got dinged while being built in the factory in Germany and they repaired it there.

It's common for cars to arrive with scrapes or dents (sometimes cars at the BMW VDC even get entirely new engines installed), but anything that happens to the car before it leaves the VDC is damage that "doesn't count" since it's still considered the factory...at least that's how I understand it.
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      12-12-2007, 08:13 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimi_hoffa View Post
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Frozen grey just says "I'm German, I'm refined, I'm understated, I'm precise, and I'm merciless."
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      12-12-2007, 08:17 PM   #22
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Here's that thread http://www.e90post.com/forums/showth...&highlight=VDC
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