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BMW Bait and Switch?

Discussion in 'Other German' started by JChoice, Apr 13, 2009.

  1. JChoice

    JChoice Formula Junior

    Jan 20, 2004
    571
    Southern California
    Full Name:
    JC
    One of my employees- a young, honest, very hard working guy- went into a local Southern California BMW dealership after signing up for a test drive of a pre-owned BMW through BMW's web site. He got an email from the dealership saying, "This car is available- schedule a test drive with us.". Instead of replying to the email, he went straight into the dealership (same day).

    When he got there and asked about the car, the salesman said, "It's not ready for a test drive.". OoooooK.... so my employee asks about another car he saw on the dealership's web site. The car salesman looks up the stock number and says, "it says it's here but I can't find it anywhere." So he asks him to pick some other car on the lot.

    Of course, the two cars that my employee asked about were good deals that happened to be inexplicably, "unavailable".

    Is it just me, or is this an illegal bait and switch?
     
  2. texasmr2

    texasmr2 F1 World Champ
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    Oct 22, 2007
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    #2 texasmr2, Apr 13, 2009
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2009
    I doubt it is illegal but it say's alot about the dealership.
     
  3. elpadrino

    elpadrino Formula Junior

    Aug 29, 2005
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    Bogota NJ
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    Gabriel
    dont quote me on it but i believe the legality of it depends on the state but sounds like a pretty straight forward bait and switch deal.
     
  4. Buzz48317

    Buzz48317 F1 Rookie

    Dec 5, 2005
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    These are USED cars guys. They are unique, one of a kind products. Maybe it sold, maybe someone else was driving it at the time that he went in to the store, maybe the owners daughter saw it and HAD to have it...who knows. If it were a new car that they could reorder in an instant then it would smell fishy to me, but on used cars, it could be anything.
     
  5. agup48

    agup48 Two Time F1 World Champ
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    What car was it?
     
  6. technom3

    technom3 F1 Rookie
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    Mar 29, 2007
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    you would have a hard time proving bait and switch. They may not have let you drive the first car because it hadn't gone through its safety inspection yet (a state requirement in many states) if they had let you drive it... you would be trying to sue them for differnt set of reasons. The other car could have been on a test drive... at a vendor getting tint, wheel repair, leather repair, at detail... getting a scratch buffed etc... if the salesman honestly looked around for a considerable period of time... believe me he is as frustrated as you are. He isn't going to waste his time looking around for something that he knows doesn't exist. Also, with this kind of economy the sales person is going to be pissed because he waited for a viable "up" all day... he got it... they knew what they wanted and he failed to deliver because he couldn't find his own damn product...

    just my two lincolns worth
     
  7. sparta49

    sparta49 F1 Veteran
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    Mar 3, 2001
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    Maybe he could have scheduled a test drive like the email said and then the car would have been available.
     
  8. Bullfighter

    Bullfighter Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Jan 26, 2005
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    This is probably the right answer.

    I would use the phone next time and schedule a specific car and time with a sales person. I haven't found dealer Internet sites to be all that up to date or helpful, in general.
     
  9. ScuderiaShield

    ScuderiaShield Karting

    Sep 20, 2008
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    Matt
    Inventory listings on a dealers website often feed from their dealer mangement system. So a car may be instock, but it could be at the body shop getting a bumper retouched, or especially true for a BMW store, could be held up in service getting certification work done.

    Plus if a car sells it can take 24-48 hours after the deal has been finalized in the DMS for it to fall off the website. Always call ahead and make sure the car is physically there. Ask the sales guy to run out and touch it for you.
     
  10. Leilani

    Leilani Karting

    Mar 26, 2009
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    Hither Thither & Yon
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    Trouble in turn 3
    the only tip i would add to the above, would be to ask the salesman , after he touched the car- go put his/her hands on the key/fob and hold it for you (if possible- and if they can -it is only usually for a couple of hours to allow you transit time to the dealership).
     
  11. 62 250 GTO

    62 250 GTO F1 Veteran

    Jan 9, 2004
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    A "bait and switch" complaint would only carry water if he bought a car thinking it was another and could prove it. This is classic poor dealership tactics. If the cars were sold, they should have changed the website and if the cars were out on a test drive the salesman should have said so. What kind of dealership "loses" a car? Especially a car they are using to draw buyers to the lot? That place is either a sideshow or a salesman took it upon himself to lie.
     
  12. 62 250 GTO

    62 250 GTO F1 Veteran

    Jan 9, 2004
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    Yeah, find the key on the board and tell me it's here and what lot it is on. No BS about not being able to find it.
     
  13. ryalex

    ryalex Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Aug 6, 2003
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    #13 ryalex, Apr 17, 2009
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2009
    No.

    They would have to intentionally advertise something that wasn't available. There's a local Hyundai dealer that has infamous billboards for $6,999 Accents yet if you go there is NEVER such a vehicle on the lot (and people post about it on the internet... one of the few car dealers with a "****sucks.com" hate site.

    This sounds like a) your guy didn't follow the instructions to schedule the test drive; and b) someone was either testing or working on the other car on the lot and it was temporarily unavailable. But, because car sales are "now or never" proposition for the salesman, he was trying to get your guy into another car right there. I've been to several dealerships looking for X vehicle and the salesperson walks around clueless and then tries to sell you some unmoveable, off-brand junk.
     
  14. Buzz48317

    Buzz48317 F1 Rookie

    Dec 5, 2005
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    Dealers don't loose cars, but you have to realize that there is a LOT of inventory (new and used cars) and the salesperson is always the last to know when something gets moved, loaned, transferred, smashed, broken, bought, sold, traded, washed, or upgraded. His/her job is to sell cars, not worry about what car needs to be brought in to the service department for certification or to the paint shop for road rash removal or to the audio store for an upgrade in the radio, or to the tint shop for application of tint, etc.

    Perhaps if the person had called in first the salesperson could have done a little research and found the car. Whether it would be available for sale....now that's a different story altogether. I will say that there are some shady dealerships, but I will also say that generally the good ones outnumber the shady ones.
     
  15. GG

    GG Formula 3

    Feb 21, 2008
    2,137
    My local dealer had a demo E90 M3 that they were leasing for $580 a month with $5,000 down (according to the advertisement). Decent deal. Trying to find physical evidence that the car actually existed was another story. "But, we have this brand new M3 over here, it'll only cost you $1,300 a month."
     
  16. Buzz48317

    Buzz48317 F1 Rookie

    Dec 5, 2005
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    that's quite a bump.
     
  17. JChoice

    JChoice Formula Junior

    Jan 20, 2004
    571
    Southern California
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    JC
    There was an article on Edmunds about this sales tactic from an insider- it happens all the time and it IS bait and switch.

    The salesperson spent 20 mins supposedly looking for the car. They had the car, they just didn't know where. Of course, after he left without buying anything they "found" the car (it was in detailing! wow, impossible to find!).

    When they don't want to show you the car that is being promoted at a special price and show you more expensive examples, it's a classic bait and switch.

    http://www.edmunds.com/advice/strategies/articles/55744/article.html
     

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