Industry News & Trends

Statement from Husker BMW – the other side of the story

In the Dealer Refresh article “Wrath of the Net – talk about Ouch!” we told you a one-sided story about how one small incident can go completely awry for a single dealer. Our intentions for the article were to help other dealers understand how strong the Internet can be and realize how important it is to take reputation management seriously. We linked some things simply to help show how far things can go. Since posting the
article we have been made privy to the other side of the story, and now also know there is a larger group behind things. This is a group we have the utmost respect for, and would like to help them tell their side of the story. Here is a release from them:

On behalf of Husker BMW, the following is an update on this situation.

Per the conditions of the eBay auction, the successful bidder is required to purchase the vehicle within 72 hours. After acknowledging its initial mishandling of the situation, Husker gave Mr. Tanisaka another fresh 72 hours to consummate the transaction at the $60,000 bid price. There were absolutely no conditions attached to that offer.

This 72 hour period has now expired. Husker BMW will agree to extend the time period for Mr. Tanisaka to purchase or lease the vehicle until the close of business on Monday, March 31, 2008, which is now the dealership’s second 72 hour extension of the time period.

There have been baseless details reported concerning the dealership’s handling of these negotiations. The fact of the matter is that Mr. Tanisaka has supplied the dealership with no financial information, and contrary to statements made, Mr. Tanisaka has never presented the dealership with pre-approvals from Capital One, BMW, or any other financing source. For any pre-qualified buyer, Husker would, as it does on a routine basis, make delivery the same day of purchase.

At no time has Husker requested Mr. Tanisaka to fund his purchase through the dealership. But unless and until the dealership receives the agreed upon funds, the transaction is not complete and the vehicle cannot be delivered to the buyer.

Mr. Tanisaka has refused to accept Husker’s assistance in obtaining financing, and has chosen to seek leasing terms through a financial institution of his selection. Husker has
attempted to accommodate Mr. Tanisaka at every turn, including providing everything requested by his outside financing company in a timely manner, but no funding has been received. While Husker does not intend to suggest that Mr. Tanisaka does not have the financial wherewithal to consummate this transaction, any inferences that Husker has been delaying his consummation of the transaction are entirely unfounded. In fact, Mr. Tanisaka has routinely been dealing very cooperatively with Husker’s sales manager and has been very complementary toward him. Another unreported fact is that, as a gesture of
goodwill, Husker offered to pay to fly Mr. Tanisaka to Lincoln to take delivery of the vehicle, and also offered to pay the costs associated with shipping the vehicle in a covered truck from Lincoln to California.

Husker does not seek to silence or in any way limit the rights of those who wish to express their opinions on this now widely publicized ordeal. But based on several reckless distortions and omissions of fact, the dealership and its employees have been grossly mischaracterized. Husker acknowledges and commends the comments posted by Mr. Tanisaka, his attorney, and the many others that have requested the personal attacks to cease. Husker would ask Mr. Tanisaka to go one step further and provide his truthful commentary on his agreement, or disagreement, with the statement of facts set forth above.

Husker will hold the vehicle in inventory for Mr. Tanisaka until the end of business Monday. For the sake of all involved, Husker BMW would like nothing more than to have this saga end with Mr. Tanisaka proudly driving his new E90 M3 and showcasing his “Husker BMW” plate frame throughout Southern California.

Thank you to the Husker Automotive Group, your corporate leaders, and representatives for enlightening us. We hope you continue to allow other dealers to learn from your unfortunate example, as we would expect you to learn from any of ours. We will continue to honor our invitation to give you a forum on Dealer Refresh anytime you like to help us make the car industry a better place for everyone!

-Jeff & Alex

P.S. There may be some varying opinions on the time constraints put forth in this letter against what has been posted in other areas. That is something between the Husker BMW store and Mr. Tanisaka.   To further clarify, Dealer Refresh is not taking sides in this debate.  As dealers ourselves, we sympathize with the situation, but we are simply posting what was given to us.

Founder of DealerRefresh - 20+ Years of dealership Sales, Management, Training, Marketing and Leadership.
  • L
    Lao Shi
  • March 29, 2008
Well done Jeff and Alex. These past two days you have shown many the benefits and power of the Internet. Thank you for having the courage to follow through. It also shows us the a path to policing our industry and making us stronger and better for it, the consumers will notice.

Well done also to Husker (HAG) for standing tall, setting a great example of “Reputation Management.” and doing the right thing. This is an example we should all remember in our own areas of influence as a process to adhere to.

They should be proud to display this interaction on their web site as they have earned the right to let the public know they take their commitment to excellence to heart and not just talk about it.

Good for Husker. Sounds like they did all the right things. They are credit to car dealers everywhere for taking care of this like gentlemen.
Props to Alex and Jeff on this one. They did all of us a great service in showing how we can all learn together.
I just looked at the eBay listing for this automobile. At the bottom of the page it mentions that full payment is required within 7 days of auction close, not 72 hours.
  • S
  • March 29, 2008
If "standing up" means continuing with the "72 hour" statement, then I'm shocked by this forum and its members. Does this industry not understand the very basic statement that "one's perception is one's reality?" Thanking Husker for posting something that has already been displayed elsewhere and giving a statement that says you're 100% behind them is continuing to give a negative light on your industry to those you hope to make money from. You are continuing to erode our perception.

To the meat of the rebuttal: the auction also clearly states, (in two places), that the buyer has "7 days" to complete the purchase. And since when does time not stop while there is a dispute over how to move forward? The Husker group clearly stated at first they would only sell the car "with conditions" until the buyer sought representation from a lawyer. The clock stopped right there and could not continue until an agreement was made. An agreement that didn't happen until this past week.

The Husker group isn't being generous with their time extensions -- they initally delayed the proceedings and now they're looking for sympathy by extending a timeframe that hasn't even expired!
Thanks for pointing that out Blaine. Regardless of the varying time-constraints, the auction ended on March 20th and Husker BMW has given the winning bidder till March 31st to finish things up. It sounds as though there was an agreement made between both parties on that closing date.
Thanks Sean. I think you misinterpreted the intentions here. Dealer Refresh is simply posting a statement from Husker BMW. It is not defending Husker BMW.

You are absolutely right though: perception is everything!
  • D
  • March 29, 2008
According to the buyer's lawyer, the auction states that payment is due within 7 days is displayed twice, and 72 hours is displayed once.
  • T
    Tre Martin
  • March 29, 2008

You don't know which way to go on this, do you? I thought I'd give your blog another try but it's pretty weak.

Your handling of everything from the hysteria; to the video; to taking down the video; to supporting the bidder; to kissing up to the dealership - I don't know - it's just all so.... weak.

If you're a blogger with a blog that has a philosophy - stake out a position and stick with it.

If you're trying to report on things - do that well.

But do something one way or the other - not just flip and flop.

You probably won't post this either. hahaha


Tre just out of curiosity what would be your position? Troll sites and post negative comments? I am not trying to flame you but you have to remember most of us here (unlike you) use real names and urls that can be linked to our livelihood. This has been a touchy subject for all those involved directly and indirectly. I am actually ashamed to be calling you out on this and even acknowledge your "insightful" posts but I think it would be very "G" of you to state your position and what you hope to gain by visiting dealer refresh? Is that asking too much?
thanks in advance for your reply.......
  • J
    Jeff Kershner
  • March 30, 2008
Tre, you offer no value to this site. If you read our first posting and comments, you would see that we were staying neutral and not taking positions. It's obvious that you do nothing more then look for opportunities to pounce on people.

I have removed your others comments in the past because you have done nothing more then ridicule others, including myself.

We would all love to know who you really are since you hide behind your alias. I'm thinking you are in the business and maybe even a vendor and could risk a lot if your front yourself.

At the end of the day, it really doesn't matter but I appreciate that you place so much importance on dealerrefresh that you are compelled to spend your time here.

  • R
  • March 31, 2008
While it would be nice to assume that Husker automotive group is doing the right thing, many dealerships have a bad reputation when it comes to sales. It is a high turnover industry with regard to managers and sales people.

I have worked at automotive dealerships in almost every department, and at numerous marques of vehicles. The way Husker automotive is spinning the issue is exactly what I would expect.

Unfortunately, the time is already upon us where individuals and corporations do not take responsibility for their actions. An employee of BMW of Lincoln posted an Ebay add for the wrong amount, and didn't bother to retract it. I don't think he did it by accident. It makes perfect sense. A highly coveted car up for a low starting bid with no reserve. These cars commonly have a waiting list, and go for more than sticker, which is another reason why dealerships are not trusted. Unfortunately, the car was not highly visible on Ebay because the internet sales guy posted it in the wrong section. So, the entire thing backfired on him, and thus the car was sold for a low price to Mr. Tanisaka.

Even if that was not the story, a guy won an Ebay auction for $60,000. The more the dealership resists selling the vehicle for the price listed, the more negative press the dealership will receive. The business mentality of the dealership doesn't fly real well with the public, who commonly make emotional purchases regarding automotive.

High end automotive customers are also treated differently. When I worked at Porche/Lambo/Lotus if a customer was debating on a vehicle around dinnertime, it was common practice to reserve a table at a resteraunt so the person could go out to dinner on our dollar and think about it. So, flying the guy out to pick up his new car does not exactly ring bells.

This automotive group makes millions, and possibly as a conglomerate, in the billions. Loosing 8-10k on a car purchase is nothing. The best thing they could have done was say yes to begin with, eat the cost, and be done with it. THAT would have been the right thing to do. This isn't rocket science, its selling cars and keeping people happy. One angry high end customer can have a huge negative impact on sales.

The dealership chose the route that is typically seen in automotive. Unfortunately, this didn't work out the way they thought it would. Attempting to post different views of the story, and make themselves look better is just not the way to go about this. The public wants someones head on a plate. Give it to them. The more Husker fights this, the worse it will get.

The worst part is now the attorney for Mr. Tanisaka is having to post that the dealership is now upset for using copywrited material on the forums. Again, this is not the way to make this situation any better. Terms get thrown around like "epic thread," and "thread of the year" only get perpetuated when the dealership tries to lash back.

There are two sides to this story. Unfortunately, not many are interested in the side that includes the dealership.
Before anyone reads the rest of this post, please don't take this as me supporting either side of the story. This is just what I think may have happened at Husker.

the Husker BMW Internet Manager listed the M3 on eBay hoping to find a buyer outside his local area. He accidentally listed it in the wrong part of eBay - that ISM might not have been too familiar with eBay. Mr. Tanisaka became the winning bidder just before Easter weekend (March 20th). The ISM tried to cover things up from his GM, so he worked with a salesmanager. In the meantime, the GM probably took some extra time off to spend the weekend with his family, or he was busy trying to make other business happen. If he knew about it before the weekend, he probably brushed it off as a problem to take care of on Monday (the 24th). Between the 20th and the 24th the ISM and salesmanager did everything they could to either get Mr. Tanisaka to bump up in price or to stall him. Because perception is king, Mr. Tanisaka's perception led him to believe the dealership was trying to weasel out of the deal, so he posted the story on the M3 forum (evening of the 21st). The story spread quick while dealership personnel were working on selling more cars over the weekend or enjoying time with the family. People, from all over, became outraged and began to threaten people at Husker BMW - the mess turned into what we have here now.

Now that I've heard Husker's side of the story I can see how this happened. I can honestly say I don't agree with how they initially handled things, but it sounds like they're trying to do the right thing now; while keeping with regular business practices. I can also understand where Mr. Tanisaka came from, and think he was right to do what he did.
Seems this is an obvious mistake by the dealer. There is nothing to gain by doing this intentionally unless the ISM initiated it without anyones knowledge.

What is the Ebay policy here? Who knows the legal issues? Please comment. Would like to learn more....

Rand Smyth
Don't think the legal issues really matter, I am quite sure if they wanted to they could win a legal battle and keep the car. I think it has more to do with the bad press and not fulfilling their commitment in the eyes of the consumer.
  • L
    Lao Shi
  • April 1, 2008

I wonder how the events would have unfolded without the exposure on line?

Regardless as it is a mute point as it did go online. I believe it was a positive note and this type of action will have positive impacts on the industry. The consumers (some may abuse the process) will have more influence on the buying process and policing the industry.

  • C
  • April 1, 2008
I found this story late, but it hasn't been handled well by anyone.

Neutral this, neutral that. Censoring content you have previously published isn't a neutral move, that's a retraction of a previous statement. Besides, if this was a muckraking video I want to see it : )

Now, with the dealership's rebuttal, they have violated the privacy of this potential buyer by discussing where he does his banking with the whole world. If customer was to take legal action this web page could be evidence.

If the dealership f*cked up they should continue to own up to their mistake instead of trying to lay out a new argument against the customer because of his financing options.

1. customer tries to buy car
2. customer is laughed at
3. customer seeks advice from other consumers
4. seller insults customer for emotionally describing how he was offended

Everyone loses.
CS -

The video named someone and ridiculed him. Although it was posted on DR to show how far things can go, it also broke site rules. I think the retraction note says it all. If you want to see it so bad, I'm sure you know how to use Google or YouTube ;)

I've been watching this whole thing for a while. The customer posted the whole scenario on the M3 forums. He even posted his approval check with his name on it. The dealership wasn't posting any of the customer's information he hadn't already done himself.

Mr. Tanisaka got his car, and things have settled down. I'd just view it as a what-not-to-do thing at this point.
  • B
  • April 2, 2008
I wouldnt want that car after all this... that beamer is probably cursed now, and he'll come out every couple of weeks to find it leaking oil on the driveway, etc. I guess I'm superstitious.
  • B
    BMW Seller
  • April 4, 2008
Husker BMW is not to be congratulated for its public relations work. It has now posted on its website, and elsewhere, that it "honors all contracts" -- so it admits this was a contract with the buyer -- and that the buyer's "bet" on e-bay lead to the winning price. So now e-bay is a place where gamblers go.

And it has patted itself on the back with a totally false description of what went on, claiming the customer "knew" there was a "mistake" on e-bay (he asserts the opposite), and that Husker went the extra mile to make him happy. That's not spin. That's lying.

Also, Husker had an attorney not associated with VTAIG write a letter threatening the buyer and everyone posting on the 'Web with a defamation lawsuit.

It's been amateur hour all the way, bringing disgrace to dealers everywhere.

At every step the dealer did something wrong or stupid. It let this go on too long. It should have unconditionally agreed to the sale. It should not have started to brag about how it honors "all contracts."

Somebody needs to set the record straight as you guys want to spin this, too, and in doing so you make it harder, not easier, for good dealers to learn from this cacaphony of mistakes, lies and frauds.