Extra deposit for less-popular color choice? Is this normal?
I placed an order in late December for an 06 MCSC, Chili Red with Green convertible top. Granted, this is not a common combination, but it's a factory standard choice, built right on the MINIUSA site. At the time I placed the order, I paid the standard $1000 deposit for a build-to-order convertible, and no mention was made of any further charge.
Well, I called today to check on the status of the vehicle, and my MA asked "Did you get the e-mails I sent you about the deposit?" Me: "No" MA: "Well, since this is such an unusual color combination, we're going to have to make the deposit a $2500 non-refundable deposit, just in case something happens and we haev to replace the top to sell the vehicle."
So, my question for all of you: has this happened to you? Has anyone had to do an additional deposit for making an unusual choice? My take on this is that it all averages out since they can easily sell most BTOs for which the buyer does not take delivery - they can spread around that standard $1000 deposit to cover the rare instance where a buyer specs a tough sell.
Moreover, if it's a standard option, I should be getting the standard deposit, period.
I'll probably end up paying it anyway, because I know I want the car and I'd rather not sour the dealer relationship further before the car has even been built. But they've already soured it themselves by performing this act of moronic customer disservice, and I have a few choice questions I'll be addressing to the manager as well:
1. If this additional deposit is so important, why did they send e-mails instead of calling me? And why did I not receive these e-mails that were ostensibly sent?
2. If it's an unusual combination, shouldn't that have been apparent when I met my MA to place the deposit and finalize my spec? Shouldn't they have specified any additional charges then?
3. Doesn't our paperwork from the deposit and spec meeting constitute a de facto contract? And aren't they legally required to observe the terms of said contract?
Anyway, more than anything, I'm peeved at them for handling this so badly. The extra cash is just extra cash, but I expected far better customer relations from a company that puts on such a friendly face in its marketing.
AFAIK IANAL the purchase order is a legal contract. There should be signatures on the bottom from you and also an authorized person at the dealer. This is to make it clear that both you and the dealer have reviewed and agree to the deal as written on the purchase order. The should have no legal grounds to back out of the contract after clearly accepting the deposit as sufficient for ordering the vehicle.
By the way I checked the MINI website and that is a rather novel and surprisingly good color combination. Not my favorite combination but I certainly don't object to it.
The dealer's worry is quite understandable since MINIs ordered for stock (when there is stock) are usualy fairly conservative. It can cost a large ammount in floorplan financing to keep an oddball car in stock so they spec to allow fast turnover.
Still looking for input, but meanwhile I want to add that the more I think about it, the more I am inclined to push back on this. I can't think of anything that could go wrong other than my refusing delivery due to an error in manufacturing.
Financing is already in place, and they have seen my letter of credit from the bank, so there should be no concern about my ability to pay. I can't think of anything else that could go wrong from their perspective, except a manufacturing error. And if they want insurance against that, it's BMW they should be asking for additional assurance, not me.
I would agree with that assessment. If they want to change the terms, you can force them to refund the deposit and draw up a new agreement. Have they cashed your check yet? If not, this might be a small point.
What they are saying with their action is that they don't trust you. Not a good start in the relationship. It seems to me that they should accept that they made a mistake (taking on more risk than they intended to), and do the right thing for the customer.
You aren't the first person who's mentioned a large deposit for an uncommon colour combination but yours is the first I've heard where they've tried to increase a deposit already made. If the agreement to purchase the vehicle has been signed by both parties then it is a done deal. If you have not yet signed an agreement to purchase then you probably don't have a leg to stand on -- often you put down a deposit just to reserve a spot in the build list and that is not a legally binding contract on the final sale agreement.
MINI Cooper Cabrio: now the car with go cart handling really feels like an open go cart! "... the only man that can come home at 3 am in the morning without getting into trouble with his spouse is the owner of a British sports car!" -- Phil Bailey
While it may yield nothing, it may be worth a call to MINI USA for clarification of the policy. I suspect their answer will be along the lines of - all of our dealers are independent businessmen who set their own terms of business.
Well, it turns out there was one flaw in my reasoning: the standard $1000 deposit is refundable, so my "spread it around, it all averages out" argument doesn't fly.
However, I do think the refundability is actually an important buyer protection. If there's a build error that departs from the spec, I should be able to refuse delivery of the car and get a full refund. If I have to return the car under the state "lemon law", then I should also be able to get a full refund. In both of these scenarios, yes, they are left with a car that is a tough sell, but it's the fault of the factory and none of mine, so I should not be financially responsible. It's part of the risk of doing business as a MINI dealer - build-to-order is part of the business model. If they didn't want to assume that risk, they could have sold Hondas instead.
I've e-mailed my MA explaining all of this as well as my other objections mentioned earlier, and saying I'd be willing to compromise by signing an agreement that if-and-only-if I refuse the car for cosmetic reasons (inexplicably not liking the color choices I spent months planning on the MINIUSA site, and further months anxiously waiting for), then they can treat my $1000 deposit as non-refundable. I indicated I'm not inclined to add to the deposit since any additional deposit required should have been requested on day 1, but I may give in to them on the increase if they agree to throw in a dealer accessory for free (wind deflector, hopefully).
Thanks for the help, and I'll let you all know how they respond.
when I purchased my car in October last year they wanted a $5000 deposit because I ordered my MCSC "fully loaded". They said that if I didn't take delivery it would be impossible to sell it. But at least when it get's delivered I get the $5000 back.
Just for reference, the attached files show my Mini as built on the MINIUSA site. I'm sure the black top is the typical choice with Chili Red, and I considered that at first, but decided I wanted something more unique. It was a tossup between the red/white/blue, which gives an overall feeling reminiscent of the British flag, and the red/white/green, which has more of an Italian flair. I ended up going for the Italian flair, and a name to match: Folgore (Italian for "lightning").
I have to say, I personally find all three of these combinations preferable to the borderline-hideous Hot Orange/Blue they had in all the press when the Convertible launched.
The dealership has agreed to waive their request for an additional deposit. My MINI is officially ordered, and as soon as my MA calls back I should have the production number. Cue the long weeks of anxious anticipation.
That sounds right. They cannot change the contract after you have already signed it. What the dealership should have done was take a $2500 deposit at the time of order, which is very common on specially ordered or "different" cars. Glad things worked out for you!
can't you go to a different dealer? There's no way on earth I would pay that extra deposit. For my order, I didn't need to pay any deposit at all, and on the single day my car was in the dealer's showroom, two different people wanted to buy it immediately.
Ok, I understand the dealer's point - but still, a little more trust would be nice, wouldn't it? And then again, if you want the car anyway, why not pay it.
To answer your questions: maybe the dealer was embarassed to tell you that, so he sent an e-mail (which was either filtered or made up when he called you ). And yes, they should have told you immediately, but probably the realized it too late, thus the e-mail, because it's embarassing. Can't help you with 3), we don't make any contracts, we order and pick up 3 month later (ok, probably only where I live, large cities like Zurich are different). But if both you and the dealer signed, it should be legal...
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