We got as far as finalizing the paperwork and about to sign before handing the keys over. I spoke with the used car manager throughout most of the transaction. So the day before, when we were negotiating on the price, Mr. Higginbotham was very willing to discount $500 without much problem. It was a very specific, yet desirable car, so I didn't want to push too far and lose the deal. I agreed at total of $700 discounted. When they were very briefly going over the total sales price, I notice the $500 dealer fee was added on top of the negotiated price. No big deal, right? Wrong! I didn't know it at the time, but when I was reading the fine prints at the bottom of their website classified page, it clearly states that the dealer fee is included in the listed price. So when the used car sale manager, Mr. Higginbotham was very willing to discount the $500, it was just added right back through the dealer fee. This is ILLEGAL! it is an attempted fraud trying to double charge on the dealer fee.
The problem isn't just the fact that the total price increased by $500. It is that the sales manager deliberately double charged on the dealer fee by including it on the advertised price and again in the final value. Dealer fee is a regulated value that the State of South Carolina sets. Hilton Head BMW is allowed to to charge up to $500 in dealer fee.
The craziest thing is that Mr. Higginbotham told me in our last conversation that during his 2 years at Hilton Head BMW, I was only the second person to bring this up! Yikes! How many people have this sales manager and this dealership defrauded?
I understand it is not a large amount, but their nasty (and illegal) sales practice steered me away from signing the papers. I ended up purchasing a very nice M3 elsewhere. For those who've purchased a vehicle from this dealership, I recommend that you check the detailed break down of the final price. If you negotiated down on the price, see if the amount is added back as the second dealer fee.
If you're displeased with their sales practice and wish to take further actions that will have an impact, call BMW North America. Request to provide a survey that reflects their sales practice. Unfavorable surveys through BMW North America will cost them sales bonus that BMWNA provides to Hilton Head BMW. I am honestly disappointed at this dealership. I might have expected these dirty sales tricks from sleazy used car lots, but not from a branch of reputable franchise dealership like Group 1 Automotive Inc.
BMW North America: 1-800-831-1117
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