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Strange behaviour by dealer when trying to buy a car

isysman

Daytona
Joined
22 Apr 2011
Messages
6,647
Gents,

I wanted to talk about this, as I found it very odd and somewhat troubling. I am in the market for a Macan and have been looking at ebay and Autotrader etc. I found a car that kind of suited me (always buy on spec) and I made contact with the company who call themselves Auto100.co.uk on ebay.

They had a low mileage Macan with one owner and unusual but nice colour combo.

I called them and chatted about the car, then I asked to see it, I was in a hurry as I'm about to go on a road trip and wanted the car for it. However they told me the car was 'not onsite' and that to prepare it they would need me to reserve the car. Initially I believed they wanted a £99 deposit.

However I told them that it was not going to happen, and that their practise of asking for deposits up front was shady. They tried to tell me that this was now the norm as when covid was here this is how people bought cars and they liked this practice.

I told them that refusing to let someone see the car until they put down a deposit was not a good business practise and it made them seem like it was a scam. Of course they tried to convince me it was all normal and that I was the crazy one for not wanting to do it.

I told the guy I was serious and would put down a deposit once I had seen the car and was happy. He said the car would 'never be ready to be seen until a deposit was put down on the car'. He said that cars that are reserved are always bumped up over cars that are not reserved, therefore it wouldn't be ready until I reserved it.

In the end I said I was out because I was never going to place a deposit on a car I hadn't seen or that did not have an independent inspection carried out.

I said why are you so hot on a £99 deposit? He said oh on that car you would need to put down a £500 deposit.

auto100.co.uk buy with caution
 
I recently bought my car from a large non Porsche dealership, they too wanted 99-00 deposit but the car was on site. The service history however wasn't so i held back from sealing the deal until i got to see the car fully prepped and getting a check with Porsche re the history. but i did pay the 99-00 as it didnt seem like a huge amount in relation to the car price.
Pretty certain its 100% refundable if it hasn't been seen, aka distance selling,if you don't proceed and I guess it at least secures the car and gives you the advantage over other potential buyers from "gazumping" you in the case of it being a bit of a bargain. that would give you a good cooling off period so you'd have the upper hand in some ways?

Having said all of that, i would of course be like you and want to to see it.
Could it be that it could be SOR and they want to see commitment before getting the owner to bring it in to them?

Caveat: I'm the bloke that takes risks and askes questions after so possibly not the best person to advise. :dont know:
 
That's funny, as in the last couple of weeks I had similar experiences while talking to Mini, and then BMW about used vehicles. Dealers seem to have gone mental about deposits. I contacted one Mini dealer about a car I wanted to view. Almost immediately I was asked if I wanted to put down a deposit, to which my reaction was sorry, no excuse me, what? I was then told same as you, it's normal and that "everyone" puts down a deposit now. Then, few days later pretty much the same thing happened when I spoke with a BMW dealer. Then there was another Mini dealer who pushed pretty hard to get me to put down a £500 deposit. I said no way not giving a deposit on a Mini maybe a Ferrari, he then said he can try to get this down to 250 but I still said no. Then I got a chunky email back explaining the reasons why I should give a deposit. Similar happened with respect to the BMW I've ended up buying - when discussing the car the sales lady asked me to put down a deposit a number of times. I said no I'll put down a deposit after I'd seen the car and was happy, which is what ended up happening in the end. Sales staff must now be on some kind of bonus re how many deposits they can get off potential customers. Something seems a bit more off in your particular case though if I'm honest, sounds bit more shady than what I experienced
 
Sounds a bit weird. Bought a car recently from a small dealer, the only point at which a non-refundable deposit was requested was when I agreed a deal following test drives etc and the car was off sale.
 
One of my friends recently bought his S Class convertible at Auto100 and loved dealing with them. He wouldn't have been bothered about the deposit.

They gave a good honest description of the S Class and gave him a decent p/x on his car.
 
This happened to my friend in January.

A company who import vehicles from japan had a 5 series BMW for sale and i took him to look at it.

Nice car, test drive etc but undecided.

2 weeks later, after illness called them and the 5 was gone but they had another which was not prepped for sale. Asked for a deposit before he could come and see the car.

He said no and bought a similar bmw from a 'normal independant dealer'

Sellers market perhaps?
 
I would not have an issue so long as I could put the deposit down on credit card for the added consumer protection, basically nothing to lose :dont know:
 
It's a very strange thing, possibly because of covid and the pay and collect thing they did.

I bought my Kia that way and to be honest had I seen the car I would have asked for more money off, it had a few scratches I didn't see until I got it home and the preparation of the car was shockingly bad. Dirty seats, and papers stuffed down the seatbelt holes most likely by a kid of the previous owner.

If this is the new norm I won't be buying many cars in the future.
 
I had something similar with a recent enquiry on a 987 boxster at a well known prestige dealership.

Sent an email enquiry with a some very reasonable questions ( given most adverts online are devoid of almost any useful information),all my contact details and saying I was very interested in the car.

They called me back but the salesman was clueless when I asked a few questions about the cars history. It was hard work. All this GDPR nonsense just gets in the way nowadays!

Half an hour later I received an email to say they had taken a deposit and the car was sold.. brochure brush off, they used to call it back in the day.

Guess what. Car is £1000 cheaper than it was a month ago and still for sale !!!

I've had some good dealer experiences and some painfully awful rigid showroom procedure ones ( I don't do this ) on balance I much prefer to buy privately nowadays.

Im a firm believer in getting a gut feeling about a seller and a car and usually after a quick phone call ( asking the right questions)I think you just know whether the journey is going to be worthwhile.
 
It's pretty common to pay a holding deposit and then turn up and see the car. I've done it plenty of times over the years. It's not a new thing for COVID.

Auto100 are probably selling a million quids worth of cars a week. Not my idea of a shady outfit. I've seen the Mercedes and it's a great example.
 
If I really wanted the car I'd have put one on. But it's now turning back into a buyers market very quickly.. I think the post covid car buying party is now over..
 
I assume its to weed out weekend test pilots, I remember back in the 90s I used to drive loads of hot hatches on test drives before I saw the one I wanted. If I had to put down a deposit before I even view the car then it would have deterred me looking. Having only bought one car myself in the last 15 /20 years, this new practice is an anathema to me too.
 
Conversely I recently bought a car from BMW main dealer in Barnstaple part of a large group. When I reserved the car I asked them if they required a deposit as they hadn't mentioned it which in itself was a request I thought was coming. No thanks was the answer which really threw me, was I back in the ninetees? They were happy to take my word and they didn't know me from Adam! Who ever he is.
Just goes to prove that not all dealers are the same but I suspect most would reasonably want a deposit to hold a car they already have in stock or have to prep up so long as it's easily refunded should the customer not proceed for genuine reasons.
Auto 99 quid well if that's their chosen policy that's their right I suppose even if it feels a bit sharp. It must work for them to deter time wasters but the down side is it possibly deters customers too. There's a large German branded main dealer near me that used to be so unwelcoming to its walk in potential customers (and this was pre Bat on Wuhan Menu) that it was nicknamed A*** Anti sales department.

If it don't feel right walk away has been a mantra I've tried to follow, the right car will come along
 
isysman said:
Gents,

I wanted to talk about this, as I found it very odd and somewhat troubling. I am in the market for a Macan and have been looking at ebay and Autotrader etc. I found a car that kind of suited me (always buy on spec) and I made contact with the company who call themselves Auto100.co.uk on ebay.

They had a low mileage Macan with one owner and unusual but nice colour combo.

I called them and chatted about the car, then I asked to see it, I was in a hurry as I'm about to go on a road trip and wanted the car for it. However they told me the car was 'not onsite' and that to prepare it they would need me to reserve the car. Initially I believed they wanted a £99 deposit.

However I told them that it was not going to happen, and that their practise of asking for deposits up front was shady. They tried to tell me that this was now the norm as when covid was here this is how people bought cars and they liked this practice.

I told them that refusing to let someone see the car until they put down a deposit was not a good business practise and it made them seem like it was a scam. Of course they tried to convince me it was all normal and that I was the crazy one for not wanting to do it.

I told the guy I was serious and would put down a deposit once I had seen the car and was happy. He said the car would 'never be ready to be seen until a deposit was put down on the car'. He said that cars that are reserved are always bumped up over cars that are not reserved, therefore it wouldn't be ready until I reserved it.

In the end I said I was out because I was never going to place a deposit on a car I hadn't seen or that did not have an independent inspection carried out.

I said why are you so hot on a £99 deposit? He said oh on that car you would need to put down a £500 deposit.

auto100.co.uk buy with caution

This does seem like a strange one & I certainly wouldn't be putting a deposit down without seeing a car...

On the other side of things, I may be a bit late to the party, but my Macan will be up for sale soon if you're interested?
2016 turbo with less than 20k miles on it...
 

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