UPDATE: BMW North America notified of eBay winner's plight
Ken came this close to receiving the Bimmer today after his lawyer negotiated away the conditions that were demanded by the dealership. The first was that he not sell the car for two years, and the second was that he somehow "control the press" and end the onslaught of communiques sent to the dealership by phone, fax, email and flaming bags of pooh. (We're kidding on that last one. No one send flaming bags of pooh to BMW of Lincoln. Seriously.) After the lawyers wrangled for a bit, Ken was instructed to call BMW of Lincoln today and arrange his deposit over the phone by a certain time, but according to our distressed interlocutor, was instead lectured by the General Manager, one Fil Cataniam, for failing to stop the press from contacting the dealership. He refused to take Ken's credit card info over the phone, in effect reneging on the resolution that had previously been reached by the lawyers.
Ken's lawyer has now drafted a letter to BMW of North America (check it out after the jump) informing the big brand of what's been going on and simply asking for help. It must be noted that BMW NA likely does not have any jurisdiction here, as dealers usually operate on a very long leash from the mothership. Still, what has become a PR nightmare for this particular dealership could easily leave a bad taste in the mouth of many potential BMW customers. Perhaps it would behoove BMW proper to get this guy his M3 sedan prompto and slap the wrists of these knuckleheads in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Adding yet another facet to this gem of a story is news from Ken that other BMW dealers have contacted him offering great deals on an M3! Man, there must not be much brotherhood among BMW dealers. Ken states that rather than getting a different M3 and letting this dealership off the hook, he'd like to see BMW of Lincoln live up to its obligation.
We now return you to your regular posts...
Herbert L. Klein, Corporate Counsel
BMW of North America
I represent Ken Tanisaka in connection with his dealings with BMW of Lincoln.
No doubt you have heard of the controversy that became viral on the Web this weekend.
Ken and I had worked out a "no preconditions" deal in which BMW of Lincoln
was going to treat him as any other customer and sell him the M3 sedan at the winning
bid made by Ken on eBay. ($60,000 plus a $399 title or document fee.) Mike Maledon,
counsel for the parent company that owns BMW of Lincoln, instructed me to have Ken
call Fil Catania, the general manager of that BMW store, to provide credit card
information and place the deposit. Mike had told me that Ken had 24 hours (from last
night) in which to make the deposit.
When Ken called Mr. Catania, Ken was subjected to an abusive lecture and told
it was his (Ken's) responsibility to make the press go away. Mr. Catania refused to take
a deposit from Ken, effectively reneging on the deal that was reached yesterday, in which
BMW of Lincoln, through Mike Maledon, had agreed not to impose an impossible
condition that Ken "control the press."
Can you help us? As you may be aware from the blogosphere, thousands of
BMW afficionados are asking "What is BMW NA doing about this?" I think that's a fair
question. And, once we get this straightened out, perhaps BMWFS can also step up to
SCOTT J. TEPPER
cc: Ken Tanisaka
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