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If you saw a 2008 Bentley Continental GTC convertible advertised for $13,900 you’d probably think something was up. Andre Souang, who who encountered this situation on Ebay with “a buy it now” incentive no doubt thought the same.
Nonetheless, the experienced Ebay user clicked his mouse and his offer was accepted.
It was then that things started to unravel, fast. The dealership that was selling the car, Bentley Scottsdale in Arizona, started sending him emails after the auction ended ranging from “we need to find a solution” to accusing Souang of trying to damage its business. It turns out that the true listing price for the car should have been $139,900 and the dealer had made a mistake. Nonetheless Souang replied stating he was willing to negotiate a deal on the car or perhaps a settlement.
His offers were declined, followed by a message from Ebay stating the auction had been canceled for “unspecified reasons” and Souang was left nothing. It turns out that automotive EBay auctions unlike those for other items are not legally binding contracts and at any time during the process, so both the buyer and seller can rescind if they so choose.
In this case, having been contacted by the seller, Bentley Scottsdale, Ebay elected to side with the dealership, insisting that proper procedure had been followed; that the car had been listed for an erroneously incorrect amount and the only appropriate thing to do was to remove the listing altogether.
This isn’t the first time something like this has happened on Ebay Motors. Motor Trend magazine has reported several cases where a number of vehicles, advertised way below list, appeared on auctions listings. Buyers made bids and then the dealers selling the vehicles claimed pricing mistakes causing the auctions to be withdrawn.
However, in one instance concerning a Nissan GT-R, the vendor did end up claiming responsiblity and negotiated a deal with a buyer for the vehicle.
In Souang’s case Bentley Scottsdale remains decidedly unapologetic, which has led the Washington State native, who has many years experience buying and selling items on Ebay to become deeply suspicious of EBay’s operating practices when it comes to vehicle auctions.
“Ebay, which describes its job as bringing buyers and sellers together, did not take a neutral position, instead it acted as if it had a stake in the outcome of the car sale, deciding that it’s big client needed to be protected,” Souang stated.
[Source: USA Today]
Shawn Esfahani, who owns and operates Eastern Shore Toyota in Daphne, Alabama has been awarded some $7.5 million in damages by a state jury, following some rather vicious remarks made about him by a rival dealer.
They center around comments made by the manger of Bob Tyler Toyota, located just across the state line in Pensacola, Florida.
Bob Tyler Toyota manager Fred Kenner reportedly told some of his customers that Esfahani was “un-American” as well as labeling his store “Taliban Toyota,” and accused him of being an Iraqi who was “funneling money back to his family and other terrorists.”
Kenner also stated, in reference to Esfahani that “I have a brother over there [meaning the Middle East] and what you’re doing is helping kill my brother.”
However, the fact that Esfahani was born in Iran, not Iraq and is a naturalized US citizen, seems lost on Kenner. The owner of Eastern Shore Toyota is also a naturalized US citizen who’s lived in the country since 1980, having left his place of birth in the wake of the Iranian revolution when the Shah’s pro-western government was deposed in favor of a radical Islamic regime led by Ayatollah Khomeini. His Toyota store has been in operation since 2007.
Esfahani originally sought some $28 million in damages, but nonetheless was pleased with the verdict. “The feeling I received in the courtroom for the truth to come out was worth a lot more than any money anybody can give me,” he said. He also went on to say that he hopes the verdict will send a message to “any other business that resorts to those kinds of actions to win at their game unfairly.”
[Source: CBS News]