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      11-26-2012, 08:02 PM   #1
thehalcyon
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A terrible sales experience at local dealership

Hi all, (for the phone conversation skip to the bottom)

Been lurking for a while now.

I went to the local dealership to try the new 3 series a couple months ago,
I went for a test drive with an a Sales Associate #1 (a woman) who was extremely personable and very nice.

However during the course of the test drive it was clear to me that she didn't have a solid understanding of the products. She informed me that the 3 series in luxury,modern, or sport line all had adaptive suspension which could be tweaked.

As I was leaving the dealership, I thought I would try the 135i for kicks.

She was busy with a client so another associate went with me, (sales associate #3). The test drive was incredible. That first impression as I put my foot down, put a huge smile on my face. From that moment I knew what I was getting - I was hooked. Not only that but I was really impressed by this Associate, not pushy, knowledgeable, polite and professional.

After that test drive I returned to the dealership on a different day and requested that I deal with someone who has more knowledge on the products. After all I wouldn't want to have an order put through with the wrong options ticked off (its happened before).

They said no problem and introduced me to sales associate #2. This fellow was was very knowledgeable but extremely hasty and pushy. He insisted that I get the DCT 7 speed auto. Saying that it could shift faster than me, yada yada... I didn't care for it, I made it clear that I was after a manual trans. Very direct and forward, I'm sure many would appreciate his style of salesmanship but it wasn't for me.

This was my initial researching phase where I was getting familiar with the cars and doing mostly test drives at various dealerships.

Fast forward a couple of months. I wanted to return to that dealership and deal with Associate #3, who at the time seemed like the right choice. I put in a request to be transferred to deal with him directly, no disrespect meant to the others.

I got in contact with him and he was was excited and right away we agreed to come in this past Saturday and look at some options.

After explaining what I was after:

Wanted:
135i
Manual
Msport

He mentioned they had great deals on 2012 models but no manuals.

In the end he insisted he had such a good deal on a test drive car they had that I would wanna go for it.

It was a white 135i with red boston leather (987km on it)

Here is the deal I managed to negotiate:

43,200 MSRP of CAR

+$2,000 Navigation
+$1,950 Premium Pkg
+$3,700 Executive Pkg
+$1,950 7sp DC transmission

$52,800 Total MSRP + Fees + Taxes

- $5,016 Discounted 2012 Model 9.5% off
- $2,400 Discounted Demo with 900+ km


Total Sales Price $ 48804.36 (with PDI & Fees) TAX EXTRA


A great deal? Maybe. After some thinking sat/sunday I decided against it since it wasn't the right car for me. It didn't have the 2 main things I was looking for: Manual & Msport.


Today I phoned him back to let him know that I was going to pass on it. I mentioned I wanted to look at a 2013 model in manual.

The phone conversation went something like this:

Me: "I want to look at a 2013 instead since there doesn't seem to be any 2012s close to that spec in all of Canada."

SA: "Ok well what we can do is have you come in and we can put an order for one and we'll have a look to see what we can find."

SA: "That way we know you are committed."


Me: "Order one? I want to know if you can find one close to what I'm looking for."

SA: " Yes the only we can go forward is if we get some sort of commitment from you. "

SA: "If you come in we can place an order an proceed from there."


Me: "I want to know what you have available before I do an order up.I don't care if its exact as long as its close."

SA: "If you come in and put a deposit we can do a search on our system to find the right car for you"


Me: "wait you can't do a simple search to see if there's any 2013's in manual available or on their way?"

SA: "I can't do that its on a separate system that only our manager has access to, and to do that we gotta call every dealer and see what is available."

SA: "If you come in and put a deposit down we can find the right car for you and go from there."


Me: " I'm sorry but I've NEVER been asked any dealership to do up and order and put a deposit to simply find out if there is a car in the spec I'm after coming in."

Me: "This sounds very shady. I know you're looking to sell the car but I'm quite disappointed."

SA: "You'll find this is quite normal, its not shady at all."


Me: "ok thanks ------ , thank you."

Click.


I called up BMW Canada to let them know what happened. The guy on the phone was as puzzled as me. He said it was not normal thanked me for getting in touch and that my complaint will go to the right person(s).

Its a shame because there is only one other dealership in Ottawa and its farther away. Limits my options since I don't really expect to go back there after this experience.

Its clear he didn't understand my needs as a customer. I hope I wasn't to unreasonable in my requests. I'm sure they are used to having cars fly off the lot with quick easy sales from business folk.
For me its a huge decision and I've been saving money for a long time.

I want to make sure I get the right car, and not regret my decision.

Thanks for reading.

Sorry for the long post... Just wanted to vent.

Ed
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      11-26-2012, 08:35 PM   #2
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Sad reality for some of these dealerships. Sorry you dealt with that - sounds like you were fair and reasonable, and let's not forget, you're the customer. The best salespeople can tell right off the bat what type of owner/buyer you are, and they treat you accordingly. Hopefully you'll find better service at the other dealership - hassle be damned, the first one wouldn't see a dime of my $.

Good luck.
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      11-26-2012, 09:38 PM   #3
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Lemme chime in here and help clarify a few things. Just being factual, and I do agree with you, he was being a little difficult by not offering an explanation. Not being argumentative or taking sides, just maybe offering a view from their perspective. Hopefully this clears things up for you:

Finding a car for a customer is called a Locate. Locate deals are much the same in the states as they are in Canada, sounds like. Commitments are generally a requirement, because once we find your car, we have to purchase the car from that other dealership, and the dealership we purchase the car from usually charges us for "adds" (minor options placed on the vehicle to add value and add profit, like mudflaps or paint protectants), as well as the invoice, not including Holdback. A car purchased from another dealership doesn't have the Holdback (small amount of profit the dealership would make if the car is sold at invoice) to fall back on, which helps make the best deal possible. For us to Locate a car just for you to look at, and then have you back out of the deal can result in alot of lost money. And yes, the Locate database (at least the one my dealership uses) does cost a fee to use per search.

Basically, in your situation, with the deal you're getting on the 2012, the salesman may be worried that you would expect the same pricing on a 2013, which has less rebates and to compound the situation, would be a Locate. Salesmen are very vocal with each other as well, and I'm sure every salesman knows who you are, and how many times you've been to the dealership over the past 2-3 months or so, how many hours you've spent test driving, etc. In the car business, people like that who waste many different salespeople's time and never buy are called bogues (not saying you are, just saying what they probably thought you were doing).

So all in all, the salesman, in his view, thought he was being jerked around yet again by the same guy who has been visiting for the past few months. Asking him for a locate probably was the last straw, and he now wants a commitment up front in order to justify possibly losing more time to a person who may or may not buy. Remember, this is his living. A part of being a successful salesman is spending time wisely, as time spent with customers who have a "history" of non-committal dealings takes time away from customers who are ready to buy.

Note the way he repeatedly stated that he wanted a commitment from you.

Hopefully you understand what he is experiencing. Now, that doesn't excuse any pushyness or rudeness he may have displayed towards you, but I would advise you to maybe return to the dealership without calling ahead, and then ask for the salesman. This allows you to put a little bit of inadvertent pressure on him, as he can't brush you off as easily as he did over the phone, and he can't prime his managers by saying you're here to waste more time. If possible, go to a manager and ask politely if there really is a deposit required for a locate deal, as you are a serious and motivated buyer. If you really want to make them treat you like royalty, say something like
"If you guys can find what I want, I'm ready to buy today". (Of course, only if you really are ready!)


Thanks for reading lol. Hope your search goes well, and you become the satisfied owner of a new 1er. Cheers!
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      11-26-2012, 09:49 PM   #4
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Why don't you deal direct with the fleet deal manager? That way he can locate the vehicle with the options you want and the price you want to pay for.
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      11-26-2012, 10:11 PM   #5
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This Ammonia guy thinks he knows how to sell cars or something. Psh.
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      11-26-2012, 10:35 PM   #6
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mb135is: Thank you. I will keep looking for the right car. I don't think they will see a dime from me now... I was very close to placing an order if they had the right car too.

Ammonia:
Thank you for the insightful reply. I appreciate you taking the time to give your thoughts on the matter. It seems I wasn't clear on the locate or search. I was not expecting the dealer to order in a car for me so I could look at it. All I wanted was to know something like:

Yes we have a le mans blue 135, manual with premium and msport package that we could get for you in approx ````days/weeks/months````. That's it I didn't expect them to bring it in so I could test it or have a look at it. I find it incredibly hard to understand that they have to pay to do a simple search like : 135i, manual. I don't know how bmw operates but when I bought my VW I had trouble tracking the right car with the options I wanted. The SA did a simple search and found that I could a) custom build one at a 5-6 month wait or put an order for one that was the same build but a different color. He said it was already built, awaiting to be processed for shipping. SA told me the exact specs/options and that it was still in germany and could get it in approx 3 months.

I think you are spot on in your 2nd paragraph. I'm looking back at the whole situation now and thinking they probably thought I was a "bogues" as you put it. It would only explain the 180* Degree change in this SA's personality, from that first test drive to today. I'm guessing another associate said to close on this client or that he was wasting his time. They made the wrong assumption about me and have probably lost a sale because of it. I don't want to waste his time, but I feel though he has just wasted mine. Another alarm bell that went off was during my visit this past Saturday my GF and I sat down at his desk and he brings up that he has a client coming in at 2:30.. I thought that was strange am I not important enough of a client?

I like your suggestion to confront him at the dealer but this isn't really my style. Many thanks for your thoughts and opinion on this.


Zamboni: This sounds like a great idea, I've never heard of this and it seems like the logical route to follow. Is this a contact I would find at the dealership or directly through bmw canada?


Cheers,

Ed
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      11-26-2012, 10:56 PM   #7
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Look on the internet for the fleet managers number. They deal in volume, but if you present yourself as mature and a motivated buyer, the fleet manager wouldn't mind doing small deals as well. Just realize the fleet manager is there to move volume and will not spend as much personal time as a regular salesman. On a side note, most fleet managers also are finance managers as well so you get to complete the deal with just one person.
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      11-27-2012, 12:46 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thehalcyon View Post
mb135is: Thank you. I will keep looking for the right car. I don't think they will see a dime from me now... I was very close to placing an order if they had the right car too.

Ammonia:
Thank you for the insightful reply. I appreciate you taking the time to give your thoughts on the matter. It seems I wasn't clear on the locate or search. I was not expecting the dealer to order in a car for me so I could look at it. All I wanted was to know something like:

Yes we have a le mans blue 135, manual with premium and msport package that we could get for you in approx ````days/weeks/months````. That's it I didn't expect them to bring it in so I could test it or have a look at it. I find it incredibly hard to understand that they have to pay to do a simple search like : 135i, manual. I don't know how bmw operates but when I bought my VW I had trouble tracking the right car with the options I wanted. The SA did a simple search and found that I could a) custom build one at a 5-6 month wait or put an order for one that was the same build but a different color. He said it was already built, awaiting to be processed for shipping. SA told me the exact specs/options and that it was still in germany and could get it in approx 3 months.

I think you are spot on in your 2nd paragraph. I'm looking back at the whole situation now and thinking they probably thought I was a "bogues" as you put it. It would only explain the 180* Degree change in this SA's personality, from that first test drive to today. I'm guessing another associate said to close on this client or that he was wasting his time. They made the wrong assumption about me and have probably lost a sale because of it. I don't want to waste his time, but I feel though he has just wasted mine. Another alarm bell that went off was during my visit this past Saturday my GF and I sat down at his desk and he brings up that he has a client coming in at 2:30.. I thought that was strange am I not important enough of a client?

I like your suggestion to confront him at the dealer but this isn't really my style. Many thanks for your thoughts and opinion on this.


Zamboni: This sounds like a great idea, I've never heard of this and it seems like the logical route to follow. Is this a contact I would find at the dealership or directly through bmw canada?


Cheers,

Ed

Not so sure in Canada but in US we have fleet manager on most of dealership which make it so seay to purchase a vehicle. You won't need to go through the hassle straight to the invoice plus a few hundreds dollars mark up and you are done.
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      11-27-2012, 07:34 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zamboni View Post
Not so sure in Canada but in US we have fleet manager on most of dealership which make it so seay to purchase a vehicle. You won't need to go through the hassle straight to the invoice plus a few hundreds dollars mark up and you are done.

I see, I hope some of the Canadian members can chime in and provide a contact. I wouldn't mind traveling as far as Toronto if it means getting the car I want for a lower price.

Thanks
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      11-27-2012, 07:49 AM   #10
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Can you wait and order one? That's what I did. Manuals are hard to find. I looked at 3 dealerships and gave them the first chance to give me an acceptable price. When they didn't I added 2 more dealers who were both more than 1K under the first 3. My order went to the one with the earliest build window. I've purchased several new cars and this was by far the least painful. All the price negotiation was by email.

It helped a lot that I knew exactly what I wanted. I gave them all my specs and asked for their best price. I arranged to go in an sign the papers and put money down within days of getting the price I wanted.

Jim
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      11-27-2012, 08:24 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimD View Post
Can you wait and order one? That's what I did. Manuals are hard to find. I looked at 3 dealerships and gave them the first chance to give me an acceptable price. When they didn't I added 2 more dealers who were both more than 1K under the first 3. My order went to the one with the earliest build window. I've purchased several new cars and this was by far the least painful. All the price negotiation was by email.

It helped a lot that I knew exactly what I wanted. I gave them all my specs and asked for their best price. I arranged to go in an sign the papers and put money down within days of getting the price I wanted.

Jim
This is a really good method, I'd suggest doing this. Alot of dealerships have internet departments or fleet managers, or both, that can readily handle email correspondence. That way no one is feeling like they're wasting time, and the process becomes alot smoother!
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      11-27-2012, 10:17 AM   #12
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OP I understand your situation. Ottawa isn't really the haven for multiple car dealers of any kind! There is like one or maybe 2 of each manufacturer!

When I was shopping for my 1er in 2011, I guess I had the luxury of simply calling a variety of BMW dealerships on my own. I told them what I was looking for on the phone, and they checked their "on the lot" inventory. In Quebec there are 9 dealerships- 6 of which are within 50km drive of where I live. The second dealer I called had what I was looking for, hence I found my car within 24hours. Yet I must say that I was not picky when it came to options.

my criteria was:
- 6MT
- Moonroof
- HIDs

Needless to say I ended up selling myself. lol... As I found a car fitting my criteria, with even more options than I would have ever ordered : Sports pkg, boston leather seats , powerseats, cold weather pkg, premium pkg, comfort access, Harmon Kardon Sound!

I used this as a bargaining chip - saying "Mr. Bmw dealreship , you have this car on your lot, it has more than what I want, im ready to buy it, maybe even ready to pay a little more than I initially intended to, but not anything near your advertised sticker price, what can you do for me?" (keep in mind, I called you this morning and now I'm here sitting in your office talking numbers) sell me this car!

Ok, I went a little off subject there... but ya! How difficult would it be to buy a car in Quebec and have it plated in Ont.? As its obvious you have a better chance of finding something here rather than in Ottawa. Also you know what you want, hence in theory the only time you will actually have to come into town is when you come and pick up the car. Although negotiation in regards to price is always best in person! just saying, as we are closer than Toronto!

Hit me up with a PM , I'll be glad to help you out/ referring you if purchasing in Quebec is an option for you!

GL!
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      11-27-2012, 10:31 AM   #13
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Don't laugh, but I bought my car on overstock.com.

Well, kinda.

You can configure your car and they'll generate a price and give you the local dealer who will commit to that.

Well, sorta.

I was called back by an Internet Sales Manager who (and this is why my response is relevant) did a Locate over the phone for a MT/M-Sport/135i and found four on the entire East Coast (she said).

I hung up, weighed the options, called back and bought a BSM/M-Sport/Leather/MT/Etc. for a simple $299 over Dealer Invoice.

I am not affiliated with Overstock.com. I tried carsdirect.com initially (had a good experience with them in 2001) but the CSA was irritating and unhelpful.

Last edited by Xtian; 11-27-2012 at 10:33 AM. Reason: disclaimer
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      11-27-2012, 11:28 AM   #14
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For those who are eligible for USAA, the car buying service they have is a great asset. I bought my 2012 128i thru them and it was smooth as glass. They gave me a list of dealers,who then responded with a commitment.
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      11-27-2012, 01:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xShadows View Post
This Ammonia guy thinks he knows how to sell cars or something. Psh.
I've sold cars before and I would never ask for a deposit just to look for a car. There is a system that dealers use to check what's in transit and what's on others dealers lots. Once a possible match is found it's discussed with the customer and if he wants to proceed with bringing in this match, a deposit is requested from $500-$1k. I used to love searching for cars with a customer onsite, it usually takes a while but it would allow me to bond with the customer and form a rapport with them.
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      11-27-2012, 02:07 PM   #16
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I obtained the 1er I drive today via a dealer search. It was done willingly, no hassle, no cost, and the SA and I found the one I wanted. It was in the port in Vancouver, and the local dealer talked to dealer who owned the car, it was an "inventory" car (ie not sold) and my dealer was able to get it shipped to this dealership instead of the ordering dealer. No problem. I paid an extra couple hundred for "extra shipping" and I was OK with that in that it avoided the long wait time of an order (which was the next choice). I did not pay any deposit. I paid for the car when it was delivered to me.

I do have some sympathy for the dealer in the OP's case, as it seems the OP was there 3 times without doing a deal, and the dealer might reasonably be cautious in asking for a deposit to show "intent". Dealers do get abused on occasion, not saying necessarily in this case.
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      11-27-2012, 02:11 PM   #17
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What the hell? Seriously? I'm 6 months away from my lease trade up, but if I walked in and sat down with my CA and asked him to search for a car, it wouldn't even be a conversation. He's just sit down and run the search. Hell, I wouldn't even have to go in there. I could just email him and he'd reply with a list.

I went to three dealers before I found my current CA though. I suggest shopping around. I used to drive 2 hours to a VW dealership just to go to a decent one. It's worth the drive to deal with people who know what they're doing.
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      11-27-2012, 02:15 PM   #18
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Quote:
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I do have some sympathy for the dealer in the OP's case, as it seems the OP was there 3 times without doing a deal, and the dealer might reasonably be cautious in asking for a deposit to show "intent". Dealers do get abused on occasion, not saying necessarily in this case.
I don't. I'm sorry, but the guy who puts the customer first wins the business. We actually negotiated and ordered a car from my current CA at one point, but then had to back out before the car arrived because of an unforeseen financial issue (I was sued out of the blue). I can't imagine a worse move from a customer.

Fast forward 8 months and my CA managed to put an almost identical deal together on another car and didn't even bat an eye.

Needless to say, he pretty much has my business for life.
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      11-27-2012, 04:13 PM   #19
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Sounds familiar. For some reason there are the dealers that feel they are special.
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      11-27-2012, 04:35 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doublevanosrc View Post
I've sold cars before and I would never ask for a deposit just to look for a car. There is a system that dealers use to check what's in transit and what's on others dealers lots. Once a possible match is found it's discussed with the customer and if he wants to proceed with bringing in this match, a deposit is requested from $500-$1k. I used to love searching for cars with a customer onsite, it usually takes a while but it would allow me to bond with the customer and form a rapport with them.
I was being sarcastic. Ammonia is a buddy of mine. :P
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      11-27-2012, 06:56 PM   #21
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When I bought my car back I had to deal with a few crappy salesmen/dealerships.

Salesman/Dealership #1: My parents had literally just signed and bought a 320i and we spoke to the same salesperson to ask him to give us the best price on a 135i vert and he wouldn't budge past $1000 stating that unless I had a cheque in my hand to commit on the spot he wouldn't give me a better price. Mind you, $1000 off a $90,000+ car is a pretty poor discount.

Salesman/Dealership #2: I called up another dealership on the phone and asked them what spec 135i they had on the lot. He said they had a test drive car that hadn't been driven at all and he could do a really good deal on it. Gave me probably a $6-7k discount over the phone without ever meeting me. I called him up shortly afterwards and even managed to bargain down a littler further.

Salesman/Dealership #3: Went into another dealership to check out what they had on the floor and sat down with a salesperson and asked him what the best price he could do on their floor model. He was flat out very hostile and kept on giving me the listed price. When I asked him why he said that he wasn't going to play "Dutch bidding". When I asked him what that meant he said it was when I "played one dealership off against another".


Needless to say I test drove the car from dealership #2 that weekend and called up to put down a deposit on it the following day. I didn't actually get that exact car as it had already been sold on the same afternoon I test drove it but luckily another car was just delivered. I went in and looked at it and committed on the spot.


I understand that time is money, but the other 2 salesmen basically guaranteed themselves out of a sale by disregarding me as a genuine buyer. They even called up the following week to ask if I was still interested. I bet they felt stupid. Really stupid
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      11-27-2012, 09:33 PM   #22
Bimmer13
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Normal practice I GUESS. Similar thing happen to me here in Florida at Fields BMW. Sales guy very unconcerned about MY needs and only wanted me to place a deposit to "LOOK" for a car. Said what I was looking for was impossible to find!! Really? I asked my youngest daughter to do a search on the NET. Within a few hours I found my car IN MY STATE in a Toyota Dealership!! Bought the car sight unseen. Only thing i DID NOT get was the performance steering wheel.

Good JOB BMW dealership for loosing a sale.
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