Ferman MINI Of Tampa Bay Deceptive and Dishonest Trade-in Vehicle Appraisal, ripoff Tampa Florida
I recently had a very bad experience with Ferman MINI of Tampa Bay and almost became the victim of possible deceptive sales / trade practices.
I went to buy a new MINI from Ferman and was going to trade in my low mileage 2001 Mercedes Benz SLK 230. During the transaction my sales person Sheri returned from the manager's office say that there was a problem with my trade-in. I was introduced to a gentleman (appraiser) who said that they would not be able to properly appraise my vehicle because of the mechanical issues.
Becoming alarmed I asked that they explain what mechanical issues that they were speaking of (as my vehicle is in perfect working order). The gentleman who was doing the appraisal walked me out to my vehicle, opened the hood and pointed to an area of the engine and asked that I listen. Which I did -- not hearing anything unusual.
He explained that there was a noise coming from my supercharger (Kompressor) and that this was a huge issue. He asked if I knew that there was an issue with the engine -- almost making me feel as though I was trying to sneak a broken vehicle past them. It was embarrassing to be made to feel as though my current vehicle was not worth accepting as a trade.
When I asked what this meant financially to my trade-in value he said that he would obviously have to reduce the value of the trade for the repair. I asked the cost of replacement and he said these types of repairs are VERY EXPENSIVE anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000! This would be the amount he would reduce the appraisal for repair before they could sell it.
Of course, I was blown away and very upset that I was being told that my current vehicle had a MAJOR mechanical issue. My vehicle is in excellent condition and only has 33,000 miles and a full service record from Mercedes Benz of Tampa. It just recently had a full set of new tires and brakes placed on it by my dealership.
Standing by my vehicle with the hood opened, I was told by the Ferman appraiser that the value of my trade would be reduced if I continued in the sales process. He never gave me a figure for trade value -- just that it would be much lower that I had expected. Of course, I immediately said that I would not trade my vehicle for less than its trade value -- I said that I would research this.
When I said that he turned and walked away and the sales person handed me her card. The transaction was over. Very bizarre.
The next morning I took my vehicle to the Mercedes Dealership and asked for a full investigation into the noise, a complete check of the supercharger and overall engine performance. After waiting several hours for this emergency diagnosis they were happy to report that the supercharger was in excellent condition, the engine was running smoothly and still performing at peak performance for the low mileage.
I was told that the sound coming from the supercharger (Kompressor) was absolutely normal. I was told that these supercharges make different sounds depending on the engine and very rarely need replacing. I asked to get a quote on replacing this supercharger to compare to what I was told at Ferman MINI. The quote from Mercedes was $1,000 for parts plus a few hours of labor. NOTHING near to the $3,000 - 5,000 quoted off handedly by the Ferman appraiser the day earlier.
Mercedes issued my vehicle a clean bill of health and documented this on a service receipt that I could show to Ferman.
This made me very suspicious as I had heard that dealerships try to devalue trades through declaring mysterious engine issues. But, trying to give the benefit of a doubt to Ferman MINI, I called the next day and spoke to the salesperson Sheri Iten whom I had dealt with. I explained the results of the Mercedes mechanical checks on my car and that I was feeling a bit uncomfortable with the validity of the information they had given me during the appraisal. She said that she too felt uncomfortable with what I had been told -- although she admitted to not really knowing much about engine sounds.
This is what confirmed my decision to not continue doing business with Ferman MINI of Tampa Bay. The salesperson (Sheri) asked me to take my car to the local ---- and have it appraised. She said that they would give me a free appraisal without having to buy anything from them -- and then I should bring her the appraisal so that she can have it compared to their appraisal of my vehicle.
I said that I had never seen an appraisal amount for my vehicle and she seem surprised -- and then said well when you bring the ---- appraisal we will then get your appraisal completed here. I asked if she was serious that I should go to another dealer and get my car appraised and she said absolutely. I wonder what the President of FERMAN AUTOMOTIVES what say if he knew his sales people were sending customers to other car dealerships for appraisals?
Well, the whole incident with Ferman MINI reeked of insincerity and dishonesty. I was told that the new vehicle that I was interested in (2006 Mini Cooper Convertible -- Red) had been sold and that they would contact me with more details about my trade issue. Of course, no one has every called back. ---- by chance had a loaded 2006 Red MINI Cooper available for transfer to me. My vehicle was appraised in perfect condition by ---- and I was given more than the trade value due to the demand nationwide for my Red Mercedes SLK. So it worked out -- just not for Ferman MINI.
Buyers beware of Ferman Mini Cooper of Tampa Bay.
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