BMW dealer refuses to honor M3 Ebay auction

BMW M3 | March 23rd, 2008 by 15

Update: BMW of Lincoln has agreed to sell him the car at a price of 60K but… with certain conditions. Update #2: The story has …

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Update: BMW of Lincoln has agreed to sell him the car at a price of 60K but… with certain conditions.

Update #2: The story has evolved into a more complicated issue

The buyer will go over the conditions tomorrow morning. I'm wondering what these conditions might be. A post on saying how great that dealership is??!! Stay tuned, we'll keep you informed. The story has become so big that it's not even funny(for the dealership, of course). 

BMW of Lincoln, Nebraska, posted an auction on eBay for a brand new BMW M3 Sedan. The starting price was set at $60,000. Since everyone knows that the new M3's are apparently the hottest thing sitting in the dealers' lots, I'm assuming the BMW dealer in this case hoped that an Ebay auction will help them sell the car at a higher price. We all know the story from last week, when a BMW dealer in California decided to mark up the M3's price at $100,000, 30k over the MSRP.

Well, it seems like the dealer's expectations were too high and a gentleman in California won the auction at the initial price. To his surprise, the dealer refuses to sell him the car and in a phone conversation, he was told that the auction was a mistake. Ebay's rules are pretty simple and once the auction is over, the dealer needs to finalize the transaction. 

Here is the story that has been posted on If you have any legal advice or you would like to chime in, please feel free to drop your comments in here and everything will be forwarded to the right person.

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.…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?  

Update: We have added a poll