Got Tricked By BMW Dealer in SoCal



you know, I really thought so too. But why lie about an email never sent? Just tell me straight up it was sold. Instead I felt like I was going through some sales training exercise.

I think when I shook their hands and thanked them for their time and left; they realized they weren’t dealing with a random online dude who had no prior experience to buying cars. From our brief conversation, it felt as if they didn’t have the car at all, because it switched really fast to we have a M sport version, and oh don’t worry we have your credit on file now, you can get any car. This last part made me think, maybe they doubted who I was and was simply attempting to get my credit history to determine if I could even lease a car from them. Again to do this to a returning customer is just unprofessional. They have me on file, they have my phone number that I text with them on file. I went in for a service like a month ago.


Why not say which dealership this was so others in your area don’t run into the same issue?


@mrpanda we have some guys that work for SoCal BMW dealers on this forum, they might be able to assist if it’s the same dealer.

As @senwia already said, let them try to make it up to you by finding you a similar car. From what I’ve read, it doesn’t look like you’ve allowed them to “make it up to you” with a similar vehicle.


Did they in fact pull your credit? I mean, have you seen an inquiry on there?

If this was the case and the SM didn’t know the car was sold prior to asking you to fill out the app, they may not have pulled the credit at all once they realized it was sold. You should ask. I wouldn’t bother pulling credit unless I had the car to sell. A waste of my time and dealer money.

On the other hand, he may not have realized it was sold until AFTER he pulled the credit, so…

And stop saying you are a “seasoned veteran” or “can’t believe I got tricked.” :slight_smile: You may have bought/leased 5, 10 or even 50 cars in your lifetime but these guys, if they have been in the business a while have sold HUNDREDS of cars and have dealt with THOUSANDS of people. If they want to trick you into showing up for a stroke job, they will. Sneaky bastards are crafty that way and have come up with schemes to mess with people for sport. If, as you said, you were not abrasive or a jerk during your negotiations, then they have no motive to “trick” you. What you described did not sound like a bait and switch.


I had the same happen to me once - which is why I now never fill out the application until I see the final number and the vehicle.

However, when it did occur, the dealer had to match it/make up for their sell of the car (and did without any issues). Everything was in writing and documented throughout. Deals are fair when they work both ways. If I commit to purchase or lease from a specific dealership/salesperson, I expect them to do right by me and hold the vehicle. If that does not happen, find me the same make/model (or better) at the number we agreed.

I am surprised they did not offer to make it right, there on the spot.


@Jon I did not want to come off as someone who has a vendetta. I purposely left their name out in my original post because from my point of view what’s important was the experience. I’m sure this happens at other dealerships across the nation. The one I dealt with was SouthBay.

@305Hackr Thanks for the input! There was no way they could “make it up” to me right then and there. I searched high and low for a car with premium package in white. That car we were negotiating was the last one they had in that combo. I wasn’t about to take delivery of a car I don’t want, no matter how cheap.

@Irongunner Pretty sure they did. My FICO score dropped from 812 to 795, I haven’t checked other apps. I honestly don’t want to find out and get more angry, I’m moving on, what’s done is done. I have to agree with you, it was extremely maddening how crafty they were. And no, I was never hostile or impolite. I treat them as professionals and I feel like I should be treated the same way. Obviously that is not what went down.

@BPitch They half heartedly tried and once I mentioned premium pack and white was a must, let’s just say it became apparent that they knew and I knew they weren’t going to pull a rabbit out of a hat.


Calm down … one inquiry isn’t going to effect anyone that actually should be leasing a BMW. The credit reporting bureaus of gotten much more sophisticated in there algorithm and take into account credit inquiries surrounding a major purchase car loan, lease, home mortgage you can shop rates and are entitled to. Basically if you shopped 5-6 banks and then a new account/trade line is opened the effect on your credit is the new account. Where multiple inquiries really hurt is if they are for revolving or if you also carry a high debt to income ratio.


While it is supposed to count as one inquiry if pulled in a specified amount of time (a few years ago, mine weirdly did not), I have experienced approximately 3-4 people who went rate shopping for a new vehicle and then there were denials after applying for a new credit card or mortgage soon after. The reason for all of them was not the drop in the score but the number of inquiries. The lenders looked at that and denied them. Because while the score does not change much (or, is not supposed to), you can still see the individual inquiries. It does not look good to see a high number. If a new account was not opened (even if it was), they could assume the worst (i.e., you were merely not approved).

I cannot (and will not) tell someone in the OP’s position how to feel. If I were in the same boat, I could be okay with it or have the same reaction. And if we are honest with ourselves, unless you just never let anything get to you, most are going to be upset if placed in that situation.


I get where you’re coming from. Seems a small thing. Honestly my reaction probably stems from complaints I field at work. I work for an RV dealer and can tell you that 99% of compliainers about bureau pulls have a credit score in the 500 range. (OP please don’t read into that I’m not making a judgement or guess as to your score or personal situation)


If BMW is like Mercedes, they won’t care b/c the dealerships are individually owned. They’ll simply tell you to contact the sales manager or GM.


Somebody screwed me too, last September I got a confirmed deal with a salesman and his manager from National City (south of San Diego) Alfa Romeo dealer, salesman kept the car for me, and I drove down there in 3 hours (long weekend traffic), and online credit app all done, and I test drove the car, and after handed them the ID and for them to prepare the paperwork for around 20 minutes, the sales manager came, and told me "the computer made a mistake, and we can’t sell you this car unless you agree to pay $60/month more for the 2-yr lease deal. I was very mad and they don’t care if I leave, and the salesman was not found. So I left and drove 3 more hours back to Los Angels.
Good thing is that I had a plan B, I made a confirm deal with another deals next day, which is way more reputable – Westlake O’Gara Alfa/Maserati/Bentley/Rollls Royce in Thousand Oaks. They had the car ready, all paperwork done in 30 minutes, and I paid the price we agreed upon. The different is I got the 2017 new car with more futures instead of the 2018, and I don’t really care because it’s only a 2-yr lease.
And it’s been over 3 months now, I had to go to my local Alfa dealer to replace a new batter and headlamp (because this car was parting in a dealer lot for about 1 year, so I didn’t mind, and I was very happy with the service with a loaner car)
I think there is nothing we can do when a car dealer screw us, except to post the bad experience on their social media.


I might be missing something here but my previous understanding of filling out a BMW credit app is that it lasts for 30 days and can be used at any BMW dealership since it’s a lease through bmwfs. Hit up one of the reputable SoCal dealers and try to make a deal.


Didn’t read everything here, but I will comment.

If you negotiate a car to the point where you like the deal you should then give them a deposit. Never do a credit app unless you have fully secured the vehicle.


Same thing happened with me last year at a Mercedes dealership up in NorCal. Other than the credit check, the part that pissed me off the most was the 2.5 hours it took us just to drive there, on the last day of the month. My father was with me and wasn’t having it, so he decided to cause a fuss in front of other customers, and only then did they honor the same deal on another loaner they had in inventory.

There is no shame on calling it what it is — a bait and switch.

Good luck and hope you find another vehicle that fits your needs!


Beware…Mckenna attempted to pull my credit as well…claiming they would honor my sell price offer(before any incentive), only to find out that sell price offer they were going to give me INCLUDED all the incentives.


I doubt they would change the numbers like that. Did you ask to see the lease worksheet first showing the sales price was before incentives?


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


$600 range for an i3? Yikes. Run.


If you’re in SoCal, why not use one of the helpful bmw dealers on this forum? They’re always putting up great prices and you don’t have to waste time with sketchy dealers.


Inventories are low with them.
Yes for an i3!!! (I had an i3 and car was totalled couple weeks ago…so I know where I should be at in payments…on top of that, for my X5e, I don’t even pay that much!)
Never done business with Mckenna and looks like I will never ever…