Corvette Z06 eBay Buyer Thwarted Despite Winning Bid, But Is Dealer Wrong?

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2009 Corvette Z06 GT1 Edition for sale at Lund Cadillac

2009 Corvette Z06 GT1 Edition for sale at Lund Cadillac

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In what has become an all too common scenario, yet another eBay sports car buyer has met with a dealer's refusal to sell a car bought in a no-reserve auction. The matter is more complex than it might seem--or than some might make it out to be--and we have the inside story, from both the buyer and the dealership.

First, the situation, as related to Motor Authority by the buyer, John McKee: a 2009 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 (note: link is to closed eBay auction, which will disappear eventually) with the 3LZ package and the GT1 Championship package was offered for sale on eBay by Lund Cadillac, a Phoenix, Arizona dealership. The car was listed with no reserve price. When the auction's time was up, McKee was on top at a price of $56,600. But when McKee called to pay his winning price, the dealership refused.

Not just another case of buyer-done-wrong

After at least two phone calls, sales manager Matt Kinder told McKee the Corvette would cost him at least $69,500--they wouldn't let go of it for less. McKee, however, had done his homework, and knew the car had been purchased by the dealership at an auction in Orlando for just over $60,000, and refused to pay the inflated asking price.

So far, so well--just another case of an eBay buyer bilked by a dealership, right? Actually, it's not so simple. In fact, it's rather complex, thanks to the laws that govern such transactions.

Arizona, like many other states, has a statute that presumes all auctions for the sale of goods (i.e. cars) are with reserve unless explicitly stated to be without reserve. Though the eBay listing had no reserve price set, neither was there an explicit statement that the auction was without reserve, either in the title or the item description itself.

Score one for the dealership, then--as even eBay itself notes, bids for vehicles are non-binding, unlike other types of eBay auctions. A bid on a car essentially amounts to a buyer's statement of interest in purchasing a vehicle, rather than a legal commitment to do so. Why? As eBay puts it in its help pages, "Due to state laws and the complexities of real estate and vehicle transactions, bids in those categories are non-binding."

So McKee appears to be back at square one--the eBay listing and bidding process having served as nothing more than an elaborate classified ad so far. But there's another hitch in the law, brought about by the dealership's response to McKee's "winning" bid.

But should the dealership be held to its word?

It's part of contract law, called "offer and acceptance." It sounds simple, and on its face, it is: a buyer makes an offer to buy something, the seller has the choice to accept the offer or not. If the offer is accepted, the contract is formed, and the seller is obligated to sell the item for the price agreed. In practice, it can be much more complicated than that, but that's the general idea.

Here, McKee's winning bid amounts to an offer to buy the Corvette for $56,600. But did the dealership accept that offer? Perhaps. In response to the close of the auction, the dealership sent an email to McKee, stating in part, "Congratulations on the purchase of your 2009 Chevrolet Corvette!"

That sure sounds a lot like an acceptance of the offer and the formation of an agreement, or contract, to sell the car. The law requires (depending on the circumstsances and jurisdiction, of course, but generally speaking) only objective manifestation of assent, i.e. the email in question, which congratulates McKee on his purchase and instructs him to fill out various forms and paperwork to complete the transaction.

So, on the face of things, we have a contract to sell this car to McKee for the price offered--$56,600. How does the dealership explain its insistence on an additional $12,900 on top of the agreed-upon price?

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Comments (38)
  1. Do they realyy need to make a 9k profit, seems way to much to me.
    And the 69k asking price was only a asking price whic no one in thier right mind would have paid. I think they should split the difference and offer to the buyer somewhere around 64k. Seems fair to me. I would be happy with that kind of profit on a sale of acar.

  2. don't care how much dealership was going to make not our business what is our business is that Mckee won an no reserve auction on ebay. if you shop ebay looking for deals it is work, hours and hours searching for a deal and when you find it outbid every other bidder then you rightfully win the item weather it is $1 or 100,000. as a buyer and seller on ebay i believe it is my responseablity to watch out for myself and not commit fraud toward my buyer. NO RESERVE MEANS BE ON TOP AND WIN no question. good luck Mckee

  3. Also, when you search for No Reserve auctions it shows up all auctions without a reserve, not ones that have a FORGOTTEN RESERVE.

  4. I agree... if you are using a no-reserve auction and do not intend on selling the item when the auctin closes then you are misusing the system by placing it in that catagory!

    Very disapointing but I expect little more from a dealership... When purchasing items on e-bay I NEVER purchase from dealerships becuase the always pull shady stuff like this!

  5. Did any one bother to see if anyone else bidding knew the reserve was or wasnt there, my opion is that if the reserve is not in the listing then he should get the car, thats like if i had sold something for 100.00 then didnt put the . or $ sign then im hurting myself in sales, NO its to hard to not write whats going on. I am a new seller, It took me 3 days to list one thing correctly they ask so many times to reserve, bid, buy now, make an offer, etc... the lot made no mistake, who wants to bid when the car has a reserve. Thats like buying and knowing Ebay has thrills, thats the not knowing did you win. Im for the BIDDER.

  6. I feel that the bidder won the car. Even if the dealership made a mistake, it is a mistake that will cost them 9k. Fire the saleman that posted the car up for auction. When you sell cars, by default you are considered shady, this will only give the dealership a worse name than it probably already has.

  7. Sorry. Pressed the wrong button. I completely agree with you. It's the dealers mistake. Take it and save face. You lose 9k. Big deal. If you handle it like this in the future there going to loose a lot more that 9 grand.

  8. Lets cut to the chase here. This is PURE b/s. over and over and over we here of these dealers that "made a mistake" Yea well your a moron and should not touch a computer then. I don't care who or what made the listing. As far as I'm concerned its a legitimate offer and they put it on there for no reserve. Most of these morons want to save a buck and don't want to pay for the reserve fee or they figure the car will go past what the reserve is. Well if you make that assumption you have to live with the results. Oh no....they pull out all the legal b/s to cover there dumb azzes. As for ebay these morons don't care about what's moral or not, they get paid one way or another.

  9. NO delaership should honor the price. They ran actions before and know the score. Everyone should avoid this dealers ship and Matt Kinder is an idiot for suggesting the customer did something wrong.

  10. What about false advertising? Isn't that punishable by law?

  11. If the dealership salesman or eCarlist as the dealer website provider that posts cars from that dealer's inventory on EBay did not list a reserve price or a buy it now price, and put the Vette up for auction for a limited period of time,(i.e.7 days), then the highest bidder when the auction closes should be able to purchase the vehicle as the winning bidder. Dealers buy their inventory weekly at dealer auctions run by companies like Manheim, and if a dealership was the winning bidder at auction and the auctioneer acknowledged verbally or in the case of on-line auctions via an email that the dealer buyer was the winning bidder, they would expect to take possession of the car to sell. So why did they refuse to sell to the winning EBay bidder?

  12. The buyer is not responsible for the seller mistake. So buyer is in winning position otherwise seller must agreed with buyer to resolve his mistake. Not just refused to sell.

  13. Its like a contract not a joke.

  14. Ebay Motor is taking a hit on this. If "non-binding" is true, their service is a joke. This dealer is the worst--turning the tables and making the bidder the villain? Disgusting! His bid was a reasonable price.

  15. The dealership have a point, 10% is a big discount. However the fact that I will never use that dealership based on how they have acted they are now going to lose a lot more than $6000 through bad publicity.

    What they should do:
    Acknowledge the mistake but fly the buyer in, make a show of selling him the car cheaply via their auctions and turn it in to a positive publicity spin. More interest in their auctions from here on out.

  16. I've seen this before, the Dodge Challenger with "Hitman" in Long Beach and that case ended up with him hiring a lawyer and getting the car for the winning bid. And I expect this Arizona dealership to live up to their word too.

    Three things:
    1. eBay needs to step in and fix these problems because its making them look bad too.

    2. The dealership will pay one way or another even if the buyer doesn't get the car. Consumers buy cars, if consumers caught wind of this practice and they have doubt, this dealership will lose business in the end.

    3. Personally its a long shot that requires a lawyer and the media (local TV station) to get involved and maybe, just maybe he might get the car. But too many times this has happened and this must stop.

  17. if u post an auction anywhere, whether you win or loose you should be obligated to the final price... they wouldnt of had a problem if the bid went up to a 100,000. so they stood to loose 4k on the car to someone who won the bid fair and square.... the dealer lost that time.. they should own up to the situation and give the man what he rightfully won. that dealer shouldnt be putting anything up for auction if they arent gonna play fair! i say boycott lund cadillac!!!

  18. Boycotting Lund would do no good. What should be done is look for every car they list on eBay and bid the price up to the stratosphere. Then just back out of the deal as it is a 'non-binding' bid.

  19. Lets say you wanted to sell your car in the paper and the ad was misprinted due to a typing mistake either by yourself or the newspaper company resulting in the price to be 10,000 less than you wanted. The ad comes out and you get a buyer that calls and agrees to pay the full price you had listed in the ad. You are elated and agree to sell the car at the ad price. He arrives at your door with cash totaling 10,000 less than what you thought you had posted on your ad. How many of you would sell the car at the price of misprinted ad? Would you try to come to a comprimise? Or would you just flat out refuse to sell your car at that price? Oh and you had inherited the car from your sister which recently passed away and the car was free to you.

  20. That's apples and oranges.
    When an ad is put together for e-bay YOU put all the the info in.It's your problem if it is wrong and you do not cancel the offering.
    A want ad in the paper is usually generated by someone on the staff of the paper making it their mistake. If you do not check the paper when it comes out with your ad to catch any mistakes then I suppose you would be a nitwit.
    The guy should get the car plain and simple.
    I can imagine how many "winning" bids will be tossed aside now by sellers that did not get what they really wanted for what they were selling.
    E-bay better get a handle on this pretty quick ..or...LET THE GAMES BEGIN!

  21. This is a good example of why we should write (type) out the words as well as the numbers when doing business. You want $26,745(twenty six thousand seven hundred fourty five) for the car.

  22. Didn't the car dealership check their ad with ebay for mistakes-I say the guy won the auction fair and square-the dealership needs to suck it up and pay attention to the ads that they post through someone else! And i loved the way the one guy passed the buck to the saleman and ebay taken no responsiblity for himeself--LOVE IT!!!

  23. ** even eBay itself notes, bids for vehicles are non-binding, unlike other types of eBay auctions.**

    I think everyone who reads this should go to EBay and bid like hell on every car they think they'd like and, since it is not legally binding to actually make the purchase, you can just say "Oh well, I changed my mind, I don't want the vehicle after all". YES, this would a little chickens_it to do the reputable dealers that sell through EBay, but it might get EBay to actually NUT UP and do the right thing by their bidders. And I guarantee the reputable dealers will have something to say about scumbags like Lund Cadillac and their pinhead sales manager for screwing up a really good system for selling cars.

  24. If te dealership has put cars up on eBay before, then they had only themselves to blame for allowing the the ad to be posted without someone who knew what should be in the offor proofread every ad before committing the dealership to a sell they would be sure to contest..

  25. "Ohh, sorry buyer I made a mistake and didn't put a reserve on the auction. I can't sell you the (whatever), I bought at a yardsale for $1.00, but I can sell it to you at $5.00 to cover Ebay fees and my gas gas I used to get to the garage sale." Please!!! Save the excuses. I don't want to belittle the dealership, I'm sure there are excellent employees working there. But. "I would never buy a car from that dealership."

  26. this is pretty old, but from what i learned, is i can sell cars on ebay and not sell them even if its no reserve if i didnt get what i was wanting. or just never deal with stealerships

  27. I have won e-bay bids just to be told that it isn't up to the reserve. the seller then expects me to guess the reserve with a higher bid. I didn't play the game and he kept the stuff only to sell it again in a few months. I bid again, won it and since no one else bid, it still didn't meet his "reserve". In my opinion, the high bid is what something is worth and the seller should tend to honor it.

  28. The reserve is a part of Ebay rules. If you didn't meet the reserve then you didn't WIN it. Why is that so hard to understand?

  29. Mike, that's the point! The Reserve wasn't on the Ebay posting, and Arizona law (which most of us whether we live in arizona or not wouldn't know without it being on the listing) specifies that the sale isn't without reserve UNLESS it is specifically noted in the auction listing. Now if I'm from Kansas am I expected to go thru all of the legal precedents in any state I might want to bid on a car from to find out "hidden" information like this - any lawyer will of course say yes. But the common man would expect that a positive notification would have to be there, but what we have here is a stipulation that takes effect without a notice - a negative notification. They should take their lumps and sell him the car.

  30. I believe the eCarlist should have to be the ones to make up the difference if they are the ones who screwed up the ad. If not, then the dealer should eat it. That is the price of doing business, live with it or close up,.

  31. dealer should sell the vehicle to the highest bider per the on line auction! The dealership is in buss. of car sales and should have had all its ducks in a row before listing if not it is their loss, no fault of the bidder.

  32. whats interesting about the article is they never mentioned the ebay posting charge. though they refused the offer which is blatently wrong they still have to pay for getting it posted so he does get some satisfaction. a posting like that could cost up to 2000 dollars. i am sure when they posted the car they were going to put a reserve price. the person who posted it forgot to click it. another reason for satisfaction as the person will be fired for stupidity or they will have to pay for the posting fee.

    Advertised false price/Lund Cadillac Complaint by Lone Ranger
    Lund Cadillac advertised a car for under $6000 on It was a 2005 Cadillac DeVille and there was a picture". When I called to enquire about the car the first time, the salesman said it did not exist'. When I checked back with another salesperson, he said it was in the "reconditioning" department and the price was $8000 higher than the ad.. The salesman was rude and did not deny that they had changed the selling price". He became belligerant and ended the online chat/. I think his name was Williams'. It is obvious they purposefully misrepresented the price and then LIED about it'....

  34. The seller has the option to close the auction at any pooint... so instead of letting the auction end the dealership could have done one of two things here to make things better:

    1) ended the auction to prevent any confusion for the potential buyer.

    2) Placed a reserve on the auction instead of intentially placing it in the no-reserve section!

    I have a hard time believing this was an innocent oversight on behalf of the dealer and I hope local car buyers see this article and boycot them!

  35. What if the winning bid had been $75,000? Would the dealership still sell at $69,500? The dealership can't have it both ways.

  36. Did anybody copy the auction link above? The link goes to ebay and states that "auction number 220910299157 is no longer available"... but the ebay link is ""... notice the "NO-RESERVE" in the link... looks pretty explicit to me, but I'm not a lawyer.

  37. The eBay auction set the Market price on the car, as noted brand new are only $75,000. 3 years old is really a lot of depreciation, and the Blue Book is only $55,714. And if it's listed as NO Reserve, even if that was a mistake by the salesman, doesn't matter. He should know better.

    It's his and the dealer overpaid for the car in Fla, end of story!

  38. BTW, want to know how a Used Car Dealer is lying? HIs lips are moving, just like lawers & politicians!

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