eBayed BMW M3 Resolution Hits Pothole

The guy who won a BMW for $60k on eBay only to have the dealership back out is chaffing at the conditions the dealership imposed after the two, following an international onslaught of criticism, came to terms. The two conditions the dealership asked for were 1) That Ken not sell the car for a certain number of years after he bought it and 2) That Ken has to go around to all the internet sites that picked up his story and tell them that the dealership worked out the deal. Ken’s lawyer was able to get the first one struck but Ken really doesn’t like the second one, especially after the following quote from the dealership appeared in the Journal-Star, “These bloggers out there, they have lots of time on their hands to do this.” To this, Ken wrote, “I got placed under the impression that the dealership really isn’t sorry for anything they have done here. Their attitude, it seemed was that I am to blame for the firestorm that culminated, implying that I wasn’t being proactive enough in getting the word out…I had no intention of becoming a pawn for this dealer, not after the way they treated me!” For their part, the dealership says they are ready to sell the car at the agreed-upon price once they receive payment from Ken.

It’s not up to Ken to do the dealership’s PR. Any new impositions by the dealer are moot. You can’t add on conditions after the fact.

Won ebay auction at 60K for E90 M3, BMW of Lincoln refusing to honor [m3post]
PREVIOUSLY: Facing Online Onslaught, Dealership Honors eBay Sale
BMW Dealer Refuses To Honor eBay Sale


Edit Your Comment

  1. b612markt says:

    Easy – the dealership should just contact the pros at complaintremover.com


  2. Blackneto says:


    you win man.

  3. Hiphopopotamus says:

    This is part of the game when you try and play Gotcha with people. You want to try and hold the dealership to an offer no reasonable person would accept, then you need to expect them to try and make the deal as unappealing as possible to you as well.

    Wait ’til he starts getting the 2 AM Customer Satisfaction phone surveys…

  4. raleel says:

    tell them no, that it wasn’t part of the original conditions of the sale. ebaying is a contract, after all. they really can’t win this, because if they don’t pass it over under the original conditions, they’ll still have bad press, maybe even worse.

  5. APFPilot says:

    @Hiphopopotamus: How the hell is that a price that no reasonable person would accept? It is slightly under sticker.

  6. Ben Popken says:

    @Hiphopopotamus: The dealership said they meant to set the reserve price at $67,800. Not a big dif from $60k.

  7. DeafChick says:

    Again, why are they offering conditions? Honor the ebay contract and move on.

  8. marsneedsrabbits says:

    Time to contact eBay to let them know that the account holder is trying to impose new restrictions outside of the contract; and the attorneys general of both states to report fraudulent dealings.

    And whatever news sources he can get hold of in Nebraska. I’m sure they’d love to know that a company in their midst re-writes contracts after the fact.

    Oh, and lawyer up.

  9. evslin says:

    @Hiphopopotamus: Maybe if he had completed the sale for $600 and not $60000.

  10. johnva says:

    @Hiphopopotamus: First off, it’s not unreasonable. Second off, they can’t just unilaterally impose conditions after the fact.

  11. RandoX says:

    Maybe he should impose some new conditions of his own, like free oil changes and tires for life?

  12. SonicMan says:

    @evslin: Ya, or even $6000.

    What he got it for is not unreasonable. It was an Auction buy after all. You would hope to get something off of Ebay at lower then MSRP.

  13. William Mize says:

    Maybe I’m one of the few that think that $60k is about $30k too much to pay for ANY damn car.
    This thing better fly, turn invisible, or come with an inexhaustible supply of free hookers for that money.

    Better yet: Cancel the deal, buy a reasonable car and give me the difference. I drive a Saturn and would like to buy a new one :)

  14. Darkwish says:

    I’ve sent this to the eBay Motors team to investigate the seller. :)

  15. bradanomics says:

    They really aren’t in a position to negotiate

  16. No_Pants says:

    Can we add BMW of Lincoln into the worst company bracket as a late darkhorse entry?

  17. unsunder says:

    It doesn’t really matter if they do the right thing now. They still look bad for dragging it out this long.

  18. MikeB says:

    Actually, this is a little outdated, as of 5pm (not sure time zone) both conditions were removed, [www.m3post.com] and it was cleared for him to place a deposit, which he planned to do using his credit card. But when he went to do so the GM refused the deposit.

    [QUOTE]Ok, here is where we are. My lawyer has been working on my behalf.

    He got the dealership to remove two conditions Fil Catania tried to impose on the deal on Monday. The first condition was that I agree not to sell the car for 2 years. They agreed (through their corporate counsel in Arizona) to drop that one. The second condition was that I agree to confidentiality and that I do something to stop the press from contacting the dealership and say something nice about the dealership. We got that one dropped, too.

    I was told to arrange to make the deposit with Fil Catania at the dealership today (and was given a 4 hour deadline). To my dismay, Fil Cataniam, the GM, used my call as an opportunity to berate me, telling me CSNBC, etc.,. etc., were calling the dealership again. In my call to him, he also refused to take my credit card! In essence, he has rejected the deal corporate counsel for the parent company had worked out with my lawyer last night.[/QUOTE]

  19. And now, sports fans, we’re at the point where the customer wants the dealership to be sorry. I think I underestimated them…

  20. MikeB says:

    @mbouchard: Bah, can never remember how to quote something.

  21. MikeB says:

    @Hiphopopotamus: What would have happened if he made a bid of 80k instead of 60k?

  22. Traveshamockery says:

    I predicted in the last post about this that the dealer terms would derail the sale.

    I can’t believe these guys are willing to undergo all this negative publicity over a difference of about $8,000.00.

    I hope this guy kicks their butt in court. No business should behave this way.

  23. Maybe we need to tag this one “we are not taking this seriously.”

  24. scoosdad says:

    @mbouchard: the html command to surround the quote with the darker background here is “blockquote”.

  25. badgeman46 says:

    Whatever, just goes to show you that all car dealers are smarmy, whether they are selling used clunkers on a small time basis or hiding behind the facade of prestige at BMW.

  26. oakie says:

    what kind of loser luxury car dealer puts cars up on ebay anyways? obviously this kind of treatment should be expected when they cant even sell a car in the traditional fashion.

    but in no way am i berating the OP. sounds like he’s really getting the shaft here… bummer for him, and i hope his lawyer’s fees arent going to push the cost of this ordeal beyond simply buying the car at full pop.

  27. rolla says:

    the bullshit…a dealership cant tell me what to do with something that i bought with MY money. Plus, its the dealership’s prob to correct the online sites…if it wasn’t for their stubbornness, this wouldn’t even be an issue!

  28. privatejoker75 says:

    i would buy it and list it on ebay 3 seconds later if i was him

  29. Murph1908 says:


    I just went to look at the auction. Some pieces that stood out and made me laugh:

    In scrolling text “Buy with confidence. Call Michael at 402-802-2272”
    So much for confidence, Mikey.

    In a Title field in the auction, “Lowest price on eBay.”
    Seems the low price was meant to be a draw to the auction.

    In the About Us “Our Dealership has built a reputation on providing courteous, honest service. Our customers appreciate the way we do business, and we know you will too.”
    Ha! That’s classic.

  30. bobblack555 says:

    The guy bought a BMW for $60,000? I dont feel sorry for the guy. He’s wasting his money.

  31. AbsoluteIrrelevance says:

    I’ve been spamming the emails of the people that work there, especially customer relations. If you have some time to kill, give them a call or email. Here is a page with all their emails and direct lines, because for some reason, their “Contact Us” page is down….


  32. axiomatic says:

    I would be sicking ebay legal on this dealer by now.

  33. consumerd says:

    I dunno, I am 1/2 tempted to call the dealership and see if I can buy a BMW m3 and see if I can ask if I can buy it on ebay. :D

  34. I love how the dealership is just now trying to attach conditions to act as damage control. BMW of Lincoln, whom I never heard of before this but am now convinced are assholes, I gotta let you know that genie escaped the bottle along time ago. The Streisand effect is definitely in play and they’re just making it worse.

  35. alexanderpink says:

    I think this is one of the funniest stories I have read. It’s absolutely absurd that not one person at the dealership has the sense to see that a measly few thousand dollars is going to cost them much much more in negative publicity. If they lose just one sale from this, which undoubtedly they will, they probably will have lost more than that. I am surprised BMW corporate hasn’t come down on this dealer and the prick GM to let this go. It is harming their reputation as a company.

  36. qwickone says:

    @William Mize: congratulations! you’ve managed to contribute to the discussion not at all!

  37. bigvicproton says:

    even if he ever gets the car, his problems i’m sure have merely just begun…probably all sorts of things wrong with it given the type of people trying to sell it…no wonder they dont want him to sell it, they want him suffer…

  38. snoop-blog says:

    i’d be afraid of them purposely sabotaging the car. there are ways that they can do so it wouldn’t be noticed right away.

  39. Darkwish says:

    @bigvicproton: If the car isn’t in the condition described in the auction, that could be considered fraud, and that’s a whole new set of problems for them.

  40. AbsoluteIrrelevance says:

    @alexanderpink: You (or anyone else reading this) should get a list of BMX exec emails together and EECB them with this story. It’s possible that they don’t know yet. It doesn’t come up on the first page of a Google search for “BMW.”

  41. nursetim says:

    I wonder if at any point Fil Catania uttered the phrase “I am altering our agreement. Pray I don’t alter it further.”

  42. @BayStateDarren, alexanderpink: I think they’re just fucking the guy around. It’s a fun game called, “How can we really mess this guy up? Can we achieve public humiliation? Make him beg for his car he thought he was getting scot-free? Get him to cry like a baby?”

    Remember that their first move was to laugh at him when he called to get the car. They’re having a field day.

    @marsneedsrabbits:Our friend is 100% ahead of you: “On monday, everything culminated into a huge firestorm at the dealer. Channel 8 news was calling for a interview, in addition to the BBB, Ebay, CNN and MSNB”. He has a lawyer too.

  43. William Mize says:

    @qwickone: You’re welcome! Join the club!

  44. @AbsoluteIrrelevance: Everyone knows. That’s an apropos name here, I might add.

  45. modenastradale says:

    Wow, that’s really outrageous. Both of those conditions are just outrageous. Why did the dealership even bother to reverse its position in the first place? Clearly, it isn’t concerned with the fact that it’s alienating prospective buyers left and right.

    I believe car dealerships have to be a lot more careful in the Internet age. Years ago, from the other side of the continent, my occasional exposure to automotive message boards made particular dealers stick in my mind as unworthy of business. Now I’ve switched coasts, and those same dealers are right here where I live. Guess what? I still remember how you screwed over those message board users, and I’ll be damned if I ever set foot in your showrooms!

  46. bbagdan says:

    Has anyone contacted Dateline about this?

  47. howie_in_az says:

    @William Mize: Hello, it’s an M3. Lots of racing history behind it. The engine itself is pretty advanced.

  48. TPS Reporter says:

    @William Mize…LOL. Couldn’t really agree more.

  49. Buran says:

    @Hiphopopotamus: Excuse me, but how is a legal contract unreasonable? They agreed, when they listed the auction and allowed it to close without changing or cancelling, to sell the item for the winning bid amount. You haven’t ever used ebay, have you?

    I can and have eaten the cost of my mistakes, and I expect others to do the same, but woe to you if you try to weasel out of what you agreed to — no matter whether you bought or sold.

    This guy deserves his car and no more bullshit. Period. Their only question needs to be “How will you pay, sir?”

  50. EBounding says:

    It’d be awesome if a competing dealership offered him the car at an even lower price.

  51. Buran says:

    @modenastradale: Because they think they shouldn’t have to hold up to their agreement. They don’t like that they gambled and lost on not having a reserve and are trying to pin it on the innocent buyer who’s done absolutely nothing wrong and is merely asking the seller to abide by its promises and sell the listed item, as described, for the winning bid price.

    He is retaining a lawyer because they not only are fighting that simple thing (and ebay does warn you multiple times that you are entering into a contract) but they are trying to illegally change the terms of the deal. A contract can only be modified if both parties agree. The buyer is not agreeing, and the dealer is therefore in breach and can be sued to force compliance.

    It’s simple, really.

  52. Buran says:

    @EBounding: They won’t, since that’s $2500 or so below invoice. The dealer screwed up, but that’s no one’s problem but theirs.

  53. mienna says:

    @William Mize: The hookers aren’t free, sir. They are included in the price of the car.

  54. sprocket79 says:

    The hysterical thing is that the lawyer for Husker Auto started posting on the original messageboard. He just seems so misguided, it’s sad. His clients seem to be telling him a completely different story.

  55. AbsoluteIrrelevance says:

    @Michael Belisle: I apologize for my ignorance. Of course BMW corporate knows about a story that is only covered by auto blogs and local news in Nebraska. Obviously I should have known that considering I work at a nationally known and publicly traded company, and we always know when people talk about random crappy experiences they’ve had with our company.

  56. @AbsoluteIrrelevance: Sorry about the snarky response. It’s what I do. But he’s already contacted the BBB, eBay, local news, national news, the parents, and “hundreds” have been calling the dealership.

    The story reached critical mass on Monday. These are just the aftershocks.

  57. @bbagdan: To do an episode of To Catch an eBay Scammer? It did start off with an online communication.

    Have Chris Hansen do burning-eyes-of-shame eyes and ask the dealership to have a seat right over there.

  58. chiieddy says:

    Looks like (from the original posting), he’s since had his lawyer and their lawyer exchange words on the posting, plus the conditions were dropped.

    He’s in the process of getting the paperwork done by his bank.

  59. dieselman8 says:

    As 3rd year law student, I can point out a few things for you folks.

    First, the 2 conditions the dealer have imposed would not be enforceable even if agreed to. Courts generally won’t enforce any provision which restricts alienation of property. So if this guy gets the car and decides to sell it, the dealer won’t be able to stop him even if it’s in some contract.

    Second, this is a fairly strait forward breach of contract issue. The dealer may choose not to sell, and a court won’t likely compel the dealer to sell either. But if it chooses not to sell, it faces a breach of contract claim and will likely have to pay damages. (i.e. the difference in cost the ebay purchaser would have paid had he gone to the dealer).

    Third, if the dealer decides to sell anything but a brand new car in brand new condition to him, it would also constitute breach of contract for a nonconforming good. (not fraud).

  60. marsneedsrabbits says:

    @Michael Belisle wrote:
    I think they’re just fucking the guy around. It’s a fun game called, “How can we really mess this guy up? Can we achieve public humiliation? Make him beg for his car he thought he was getting scot-free? Get him to cry like a baby?”

    I agree that that is what they seem to be doing, but to what end?

    They only have to lose one sale to have this cost them money, and I’m sure this has already cost them more than that due to their terrible, scummy behaviour. And that was before all the lawyers started to get involved, before eBay got involved, and before the international publicity.

    The brain trust at Husker BMW of Lincoln, Nebraska seem to be seriously lacking when it comes to understanding the internet. John Gilmore’s observation that the internet sees attempts at censorship as damage and will route around it is painfully true (well, painful for the BMW jerks.

    This has gone from a minor embarrassment to a public relations nightmare for BMW, and to what end? I still don’t “get” what they think they can possibly win at this point.

  61. grumpygirl says:

    i think we’re a few hours late on this one, b/c last i read the dealer reneged on the deal the guys lawyer and corporate agreed to.

  62. BigBoat says:

    @qwickone: Actually I think his idiotic comments negatived the discussion. Someone say something brilliant to balance the universe!

  63. synergy says:


  64. azntg says:

    Can the guy just sue the dealership since they cannot maintain a contract sale in good faith?

    Seriously, if they’re not willing to sell it to him and play games with him, he might as well start playing games back with them (the legal game).

  65. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

    I want to see a “Husker BMW of Lincoln, Nebraska” vote button on all the Worst Company voting from now on!

  66. modenastradale says:


    Actually, it’s a safe bet that BMW North America does know about this incident (apart from being directly notified by the consumer). For years, BMW NA has kept a very close watch on Internet message boards.

    In fact, they’ve done it to an extent that’s slightly creepy: I’ve known anonymous posters who, after describing their problems in some detail, were immediately telephoned by BMW! So, the company obviously took the complaint seriously and then researched who the consumer was.

    In other cases, BMW has had a representative comment directly in the forum, to provide information or clear up misinformation. (I’ve seen this accompanied by a statement from the forum moderator, assuring readers that the poster is legitimate.)

    With all of that said, I believe BMW’s commitment to customer service has diminished, and will continue to diminish as the manufacturer grows. Just a few years ago, BMW was a small manufacturer with a carefully chosen product line and an enviably loyal follwoing. Now, they’re huger than ever, with a model lineup so vast and ever-changing that one is hard-pressed to keep up with it. History tells us that when companies grow to a certain size, everything consumers once loved about them vanishes.

  67. sprocket79 says:

    @modenastradale: The OP’s lawyer contacted BMWNA’s corporate counsel, so they definitely know.

  68. AbsoluteIrrelevance says:

    @modenastradale: Thanks for the info; I had no idea the extent to which BMW had its creepy ear to the ground. Even if its interest in customer service has diminished, its good to see a company care even a tiny bit about what its customers have to say. That’s more than we can say about most of the companies that show up on this site.

  69. Simpoleca says:

    I have been following this story for awhile now.. Before it broke on Consumerist…

    I know I am going to take some flak for this… but…

    The odd part about all of this is this fellow CANNOT afford the car and has asked to lease it now..

    He claimed he had 60k set aside for it.. now he is scrambling for financing.

    I was supporting Ken, but in life there is always two sides to every story and I do not think the dealership has been given a chance…

    Alot of what Ken has said in his first posts are now negated by his follow up posts. Looks like he may have finally secured financing through Capitol One….

    The dealerships lawyer has even chimed into the conversation over there..

    Sure most car dealers are douchebag scum…

    But something is not adding up here..


  70. sprocket79 says:

    @Simpoleca: I don’t think you read the posts very well. He never said he was going to pay in cash, he always said he was going to finance it. He had financing arranged the day the auction ended because if all had gone according to ebay rules, he would have to pay for it immediately.

    As for the leasing thing, he is doing private leasing, which means that the dealership gets their $60k and the OP deals with the private leasing company himself. He’s also been approved for that.

    So now he has 2 methods of financing the car at his disposal. He can pick either or, it’s just a matter of if the dealership will stop screaming at him for the hole they dug themselves and accept his deposit.

  71. volenti non fit injuria says:

    if he lived in the new york area, he could call Help Me Howard, lol

  72. Mr. Gunn says:

    RandoX: You really think he’s stupid enough to bring that thing in there for service after all this?

  73. MeMikeYouNot says:

    I wonder how their sales have been this week, since this came out? Have they had lots of regular customers beating down their doors? Has the bad publicity cost them sales? Was all this hassle worth it? I wonder?

  74. LUV2CattleCall says:

    What’s the difference between a porcupine and a BMW? The pricks are on the outside of a the porcupine!

    If you want an example of BMW’s Customer Service gone down the tubes, look up BMW Pixel Failure

    It’s 1) Ridiculous how most of the pixels on my car and the Bimmers of many others have burnt out (especially since I’ve seen many cars that are much older with perfectly working displays)


    2) How many hoops people are having to jump through to get BMW to do something about it…. The cars are great off the showroom floor but the service is TERRIBLE. BMW is also the only car company I’ve dealt with that raises hell to cover an item that’s been acknowledged with a TSB under warranty….

  75. firefruze says:

    If I were in that position I would tell them to take at least $10,000 off the price or they can bite me and give me whats due to me.

    If I were BMW I would get this whole ridiculous situation fixed as their name is being trashed even more the longer this situation goes on. Loosing a few thousand dollars is much less than the many possible future sales that are probably being lost now.

  76. zebtron says:

    So many of these problems would be avoided if eBay cared at all about people who buy things off of the site.

  77. Hopefully this guy gets his M3. I’ve been driving an ’04 X5 4.4i for a while and absolutely love it– the price tags on Bimmers may be high but the vehicles are definitely worth every penny. Just drive one and you’ll know what I’m talking about…

    As for this dealership… Well, if they don’t honor the sale, are taken to court, and forced to pay the difference between the $60K eBay price and whatever this guy pays for an identically equipped M3 elsewhere… If I were the guy I’d take ’em for all I could. I’m sure he can find a BMW dealership somewhere that will sell him the identical M3 for $10-$15K over MSRP. Why not buy it there, and stick BMW of Lincoln with as large a bill as possible? Heck, he could probably even make a deal with that dealership to give him part of that difference back in cash “off the books”, so he’d come out a bit ahead. Nothing like sticking it to someone who’s trying to stick it to you.