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      03-21-2008, 11:40 AM   #1
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Thumbs down Won ebay auction at 60K for E90 M3, BMW of Lincoln refusing to honor

This was originally being updated in another thread but I wanted to get some additional opinions so I am posting this here. Sorry if its the wrong section.

I’ve been looking to get an E90 M3 sedan, and was cruising ebay when I came upon this auction. Its for a Jerez Black sedan with FR interior, loaded with everything except extended leather.
The car advertises its title in CAPS “LOWEST PRICE ON EBAY”. The auction started at 60,000 and had a BUY IT NOW for 66926 K. NO RESERVE.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...ksid=p3907.m32


Jerez black on Fox red was not my first choice (I have a deposit for AW/Silver interior with DCT at a local dealer) but I was willing to live with it at a 60K price point, so I bid on it with the intention to pay if I won.
I wasn’t sure if I would win or not, but I went ahead and secured financing prior to the auction end so I could arrange immediate payment.
I ended up winning the auction with a bid of 60K (my max was 61K).

15 minutes after auction end, this guy Michael Barett (At BMW of Nebraska) calls and nervously tells me the auction was a “mistake”.
I reminded him of his contractual obligation to complete the transaction, to which he continues to reply “it was a mistake”, and refused to honor the deal.
He then offered to call his manager and confirm what they could do, but same response. When I pressed the issue and raised the possibility of legal action, this guy had the nerve to condescendingly laugh and say we are a multi-billion dollar company, ebay will definitely side with us.
I corrected Michael, and told him your company may have revenue in the millions, but you make 35K a year, screwed the pooch on this one so lets not get carried away.
But to make a long story short, he is refusing to honor the deal.

This morning (Mar 21, 2008) I left a message with the GM (Fil Catania - He didn’t pick up) to call me, so we will see what happens.

But this whole incident just stinks, and sets a bad example for ebay auto sales in general.
Can sellers, especially dealers (which you would think are held to a higher standard on ebay) just decide they don’t want to honor a price? I know not all dealers are like this, but its pretty unethical, on both sides to back out of an auto auction because you dont like th eprice.

Im convinced this dealer went into this auction intentionally setting a low price, with no reserve.
The title, 08 M3 LOWEST PRICE ON EBAY says it all and me thinks they were hoping to generate bids, which didn’t pan out.
Also, the pricepoint at which they started the auction, 60K is no small amount.....its not as if the auction started at 0.01 and ended there, it started at 60K.
Obviously, they set it to attract serious buyers with the money to complete the transaction.

In this case, this dealer wasn’t happy with the ending price, a 7K difference from his BUY IT NOW (which he adjusted twice, so I assume they watched this auction). Had the auction ended at 64K, would they have still refused?
But I know had the auction ended at 90K, and I refused to pay, Im sure their lawyers would be all over me.
Not sure what Im going to do, but part of me feels I should pursue this on principle alone. But at the same time, I dont want to get too worked up, as these things might drag out, take time/money and make it a negative experience overall. I want to be happy getting a new M3 like some of the others on the board, ya know?

Anyone ever experience anything like this on ebay?
Please feel free to chime in.
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      03-21-2008, 12:07 PM   #2
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I'm no ebay guru but I do recall ebay's legal notice that states bidders are entering into a legal and binding contract . However, you always hear ebay stories of people bidding on stupid things (heard about the $200k cornflake?) and these "contracts" not holding up.

I see you are in CA and car is in NE so it's not exactly easy to walk down there and get the car. Have an attorney right a letter saying they have 48hr to comply and if they don't you still have your options. They are only out $2k since its below invoice and they could be hit with $2k in legal fees pretty quick so I don't see the incentive for them to go the legal way.

One thing is if they sell the car to some else (ignoring you) it could get very messy legally if you win (ie selling the car twice). You have the upper hand, and I think they will honor the deal eventually but you might need to twist their arm a little. Good luck...
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      03-21-2008, 12:07 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dooma350 View Post
This was originally being updated in another thread but I wanted to get some additional opinions so I am posting this here. Sorry if its the wrong section.

I’ve been looking to get an E90 M3 sedan, and was cruising ebay when I came upon this auction. Its for a Jerez Black sedan with FR interior, loaded with everything except extended leather.
The car advertises its title in CAPS “LOWEST PRICE ON EBAY”. The auction started at 60,000 and had a BUY IT NOW for 66926 K. NO RESERVE.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...ksid=p3907.m32


Jerez black on Fox red was not my first choice (I have a deposit for AW/Silver interior with DCT at a local dealer) but I was willing to live with it at a 60K price point, so I bid on it with the intention to pay if I won.
I wasn’t sure if I would win or not, but I went ahead and secured financing prior to the auction end so I could arrange immediate payment.
I ended up winning the auction with a bid of 60K (my max was 61K).

15 minutes after auction end, this guy Michael Barett (At BMW of Nebraska) calls and nervously tells me the auction was a “mistake”.
I reminded him of his contractual obligation to complete the transaction, to which he continues to reply “it was a mistake”, and refused to honor the deal.
He then offered to call his manager and confirm what they could do, but same response. When I pressed the issue and raised the possibility of legal action, this guy had the nerve to condescendingly laugh and say we are a multi-billion dollar company, ebay will definitely side with us.
I corrected Michael, and told him your company may have revenue in the millions, but you make 35K a year, screwed the pooch on this one so lets not get carried away.
But to make a long story short, he is refusing to honor the deal.

This morning (Mar 21, 2008) I left a message with the GM (Fil Catania - He didn’t pick up) to call me, so we will see what happens.

But this whole incident just stinks, and sets a bad example for ebay auto sales in general.
Can sellers, especially dealers (which you would think are held to a higher standard on ebay) just decide they don’t want to honor a price? I know not all dealers are like this, but its pretty unethical, on both sides to back out of an auto auction because you dont like th eprice.

Im convinced this dealer went into this auction intentionally setting a low price, with no reserve.
The title, 08 M3 LOWEST PRICE ON EBAY says it all and me thinks they were hoping to generate bids, which didn’t pan out.
Also, the pricepoint at which they started the auction, 60K is no small amount.....its not as if the auction started at 0.01 and ended there, it started at 60K.
Obviously, they set it to attract serious buyers with the money to complete the transaction.

In this case, this dealer wasn’t happy with the ending price, a 7K difference from his BUY IT NOW (which he adjusted twice, so I assume they watched this auction). Had the auction ended at 64K, would they have still refused?
But I know had the auction ended at 90K, and I refused to pay, Im sure their lawyers would be all over me.
Not sure what Im going to do, but part of me feels I should pursue this on principle alone. But at the same time, I dont want to get too worked up, as these things might drag out, take time/money and make it a negative experience overall. I want to be happy getting a new M3 like some of the others on the board, ya know?

Anyone ever experience anything like this on ebay?
Please feel free to chime in.
Have you contacted eBay? If so, what eBay says about all this?

eBay rules for sellers: http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/...-overview.html

Quote:
Violations of this policy by a seller may result in a range of actions, including:
  • Listing cancellation
  • Forfeit of eBay fees on cancelled listings
  • Selling fee schedule adjustments
  • Requirements regarding payment options and potential holds on payments made through PayPal
  • Limits on account privileges
  • Loss of PowerSeller status
  • Decreased visibility in search results
  • Account suspension
  • Referral to law enforcement
Just by reading the "rules" it seems to me that, although there is a contractual obligation once the auction ends between the seller and the winning buyer, this "obligation" stays within the eBay domain. Outside of that domain, there is no declared legal obligation that you can plainly see in this section other than what eBay -again- can perform.

I would stop contacting the seller and proceed with the eBay policy violation report. After all, you already tried on your own to resolve this issue with the seller -caused by the seller according to you- and simply did not work. So before this situation escalates to nastiness just follow the eBay rules and hope for the best...
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      03-21-2008, 12:08 PM   #4
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Well, I'd say "Congratulations" actually. Ebay is a very serious market place, and auctions do have the actually legal consequence of bying and selling for a certain price. The dealer has no right to simply terminate the auction because they were hoping for more profit.

I recommend that you contact them and ask for either a compensation (some $$) or you contact ebay directly and tell them about the unjust treatment. Lawyers are expensive, but if you are determined to get the car for 64-65k, another thousand dollars in lawyer fees might pay off.

From a legal point of view, you have all the rights in the world to claim your M3, unless you reach an agreement with the dealer outside of eBay. Best of luck, and keep us updated.

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      03-21-2008, 12:16 PM   #5
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Wow, I'm infuriated for you. I would definitely look into taking some sort of legal action. Contract formation is based on an objectively reasonable standard and, based on the facts you've described, you (in my opinion) had every reason to believe that the dealership would honor its offer price (no reserve). Check into the terms and conditions of ebay first, though, to see whether or not there are any alternative dispute resolution methods that you must exhaust or go through. Good luck.
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      03-21-2008, 12:19 PM   #6
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This makes my blood boil. There is no doubt that this dealer would've honored this transaction had it sold it for the premium they desired. I would definitely take legal action merely on principle! You have a strong case. When you won the auction, you entered into a contract allbeit digital but just as binding as signing a paper contract. Also, make sure you take screenshots of the listing and the seller's feedback score while it's still there! Start making a file.

What a bunch of sleezeballs! They fucked up, they should take the $10,000+ hit and follow through. You learn from your mistakes. Honor the transaction and move on. This should be easier for a "multi-billion" dollar company

Keep us updated!

I'm going to go stick my head in the freezer now.
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      03-21-2008, 12:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Technic View Post


Just by reading the "rules" it seems to me that, although there is a contractual obligation once the auction ends between the seller and the winning buyer, this "obligation" stays within the eBay domain. Outside of that domain, there is no declared legal obligation that you can plainly see in this section other than what eBay -again- can perform.
eBay does not exist in a vacuum. Those rules are the actions that eBay can take against a person/entity for violating its policies, which is separate and independent from the actions that can be taken in a court of law.
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      03-21-2008, 12:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viobruin View Post
eBay does not exist in a vacuum. Those rules are the actions that eBay can take against a person/entity for violating its policies, which is separate and independent from the actions that can be taken in a court of law.
The issue is not eBay being in a vacuum, IMO. The issue is following the established procedure within eBay for cases like this to have a better ground to stand for ultimately winning the case. Is not the same as saying that whatever eBay decides is the actual law and it's finished, end of discussion. If you read the eBay rules they simply state their actions against seller violations, not the buyers actions against seller violations. Therefore, the OP response should be first going thru the eBay violation process and wait for a response.

Now, if eBay response ends up to be unsatisfactory for the seller then a possible legal action could be initiated at the discretion of the buyer. That is still the buyer right and prerrogative.

Personally, I think that the OP will have his car for $60k if done right and everybody in this forum will hate him for it.
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      03-21-2008, 01:07 PM   #9
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congrats, i think you just got the biggest discount ever.
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      03-21-2008, 01:12 PM   #10
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this sucks, I don't want to sound like a broken record, but definitely take legal action and contact BMWNA regarding the issue...and provide the screen shots as evidence...see what they say b/c even though every dealer is owned by a individual BMWNA is "suppose" to set the rules...I would contact BMWAG also....goodluck
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      03-21-2008, 01:20 PM   #11
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I would contact both Ebay and BMW NA. Make sure you have full documentation of the bidding and the original ad.

This is a BS move by the dealer. Someone should be fired if the deal doesn't go through.
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      03-21-2008, 01:24 PM   #12
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1st, Ebay isn't going to do anything. They try to give the perception of oversight and safety, which isn't there. If this were a sale with an individual, you are screwed. But it wasn't.

Call the Better Business Bureau and see what to do next. The Bait-and-switch routine is used all the time by dealerships, and is illegal. Then call the sales manager and give him/her a chance to fix it. It sounds like this price is above invoice so it isn't unreasonable to expect them to honor it. IF that doesn't work, try BMW NA and follow through with the BBB.

Good luck!
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      03-21-2008, 01:34 PM   #13
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Thanks for the support guys.Here is an update.

I got off the phone with a sales manager at BMW of Lincoln, who again confirmed that they wont sell the car at the Ebay auction price. GM has not called back, and I dont expect him too.


I just got off the phone with Ebay and started the dispute process.
The ebay rep said its pretty rare to see dealers in this position, considering that they stand to lose their dealer sales account on ebay if everything is true. He too agreed, that this is total BS. I hope this is a big enough deal for BMW of Lincoln to reconsider, as the Husker auto group also has Chevy,GMC,pontiac, corvette,cadillac,MB dealerships.

Im going to contact BMW NA, as some of you mentioned.
Also Cars Direct, Edmunds and some other publications to see if they would be interested in publishing this story, if things dont work out.

Will keep everyone posted.
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      03-21-2008, 01:41 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickc View Post
This makes my blood boil. There is no doubt that this dealer would've honored this transaction had it sold it for the premium they desired. I would definitely take legal action merely on principle! You have a strong case. When you won the auction, you entered into a contract allbeit digital but just as binding as signing a paper contract. Also, make sure you take screenshots of the listing and the seller's feedback score while it's still there! Start making a file.

What a bunch of sleezeballs! They fucked up, they should take the $10,000+ hit and follow through. You learn from your mistakes. Honor the transaction and move on. This should be easier for a "multi-billion" dollar company

Keep us updated!

I'm going to go stick my head in the freezer now.
+1 you have every right to have that car.
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      03-21-2008, 01:53 PM   #15
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I would take it a step further and send a letter to BMW North America and explain your situation. Ask them the question "Is that the way you want a dealership representing your products". Send the letter overnight ( requires signature ) to their legal department. I can promise you that you will in fact get a response. You may not get the car but I can promise you that the GM of that dealership will at the very least get a phone call.
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      03-21-2008, 01:53 PM   #16
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Seriously, the BBB may already have files on them? Then I did a search.

LOL, check this out!

http://nebraska.bbb.org/WWWRoot/Repo...firm=216001371



It looks like they help to resolve issues. You don't seem to be the first!
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      03-21-2008, 01:54 PM   #17
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Ebay can't legally do anything except "repremand" the seller, which means reducing any privledges they have for their Ebay account. Outside of that, with contracts and such, you need to contact a laywer and have them go after this "mistake" that was made, as it would need to be proven beyond content that it was a huge error rather than the dealership using that excuse as a scape goat (I work in a law firm - never dealt with an Ebay case yet though).

You should bid on another car they have, go $20k over their asking price and when you win the auction with that huge mark up price, just tell them "it was a mistake" and you won't buy the car, just like they wouldn't sell you the car due to their "mistake."
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      03-21-2008, 02:03 PM   #18
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I just got off the phone with the dealership and I told them they have to sell you the car. I threatened legal action against them should they try and give you a runaround. The man I spoke to was named Sean Holse (sp?), and he said he's been trying to call you. Call 402 479 7500 and ask for him. Tell him "Fred" spoke to him earlier to try and help and you want your car at the eBay price: nothing more, nothing less. Hope this helps and definitely go get your car.
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      03-21-2008, 02:17 PM   #19
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Xcellere, thanks for that!
I just got off the phone with Sean, who is the general sales manager at Lincoln BMW. He stood by his price for now, but is awaiting contact from Ebay Dispute resolution.

I am hoping that Ebay tells them what I expect, which is you need to sell the car at the auction price.

Sean is supposed to get back to me today. We'll see.
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      03-21-2008, 02:20 PM   #20
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I hope you get the car for the winning bid price.

Just one thing to look out for if the dealership abides by the price. Make sure they don't gouge you on hidden fees (so they can recoupe on the money lost on their part) or extra shipping fees on the vehicle if you leave the transport up to them (which from Nebraska to CA should cost around $400-$600 max by open transport, and not $4000-$6000 if they happen to quote you that to make up the difference on their end).
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      03-21-2008, 02:24 PM   #21
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Good luck. The dealership is probably going to play hard ball hoping that you don't invest your time/money into pursuing this. Try contacting some newspapers in their area.
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      03-21-2008, 02:36 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dooma350 View Post
Xcellere, thanks for that!
I just got off the phone with Sean, who is the general sales manager at Lincoln BMW. He stood by his price for now, but is awaiting contact from Ebay Dispute resolution.

I am hoping that Ebay tells them what I expect, which is you need to sell the car at the auction price.

Sean is supposed to get back to me today. We'll see.
Now we are talking...
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