Due to the gasoline prices I started to research cars that offered gas savings. I considered hybrids and the mini cooper. I used to own a four-door Toyota Tundra V-8.
I called mini dealerships and the most important aspect of the conversation was to be absolutely clear that there would be no ADDITIONAL fees added onto the car after the negotiated price. I also made it clear that I was going to lease the vehicle. Some dealerships basically told me over the phone that there would be no additional fees, however, once I faxed my information, credit report, then I was told "" I would love to do business with you, but my manager said that since these cars are in high demand, we are going to mark up the price $1,000.00. "" So, I said - goodbye.
Finally I spoke with a salesman at ASSAEL BMW Mini of Monrovia 1425 - 1451 S. Mountain Avenue, Monrovia, CA 91016. My sales man was Rajai Bader (Roger Bader) and a wonderful man on the phone and in person. He assured me there would be no additional fees and he was well aware that some dealerships were adding on last minute charges. He gave me his word and he was on the phone regularly with me to assure me that my designed car from England was on its way - salt of the earth. This was in May of 2008 and the car arrived in July. This was normal and still no surprises. A friend drove me to pick up my car and the salesman had kept his promise. I walked into the leasing area and met the finance manager Kitty Cole. She added a $350.00 charge if at the end of my lease I decided not to either keep the car or lease a new one. That was surprise #1. Document preparation fee $45.00, surprise #2. An acquisition fee of $825.00 - big surprise #3. I was told there was nothing that could be done by the dealership and these were fees from the leasing company ""Mini Financial Services."" There it is over $1,200.00 in fees and nothing I could do but just walk away from the car I designed and waited for 3 months. So, against my better judgement and because my friend who had driven me to the dealership had to go to work - angrily, I signed the papers.
A month goes by and I get a call from Mini Financial Services welcoming me to the leasing company. I explained that I was not happy with the extra fees issued by the leasing company and then the representative told me that not one of those fees came from the leasing company and they were all negotiable fees added on by the dealership.
I called the general manager ( Mike Antzas) of ASSAEL BMW MINI OF MONROVIA and explained the situation. He told me that Kitty Cole was a new employer and did not understand how to explain the charges and that I should be lucky to have such a good car for such a great price. Unbelievable how this man raised his voice at me as if he were scolding his son. I explained to him that leasing agent business card identifies her as the Finance MANAGER. And if she did not understand how to explain the structure of my agreement, then the sales manager Willy Chia or himself the general manager should be sitting in the leasing office until she learns how to do it right. Bottom line I wanted him to reverse those charges and he explained that it was only $1,200.00 and it should not be a big deal. I explained that if he felt that way about such trivial amounts, then he should not hesitate to send me the amount for the sake of customer service. He became agitated told me that I did not know what I was talking about until I just had to hang up the phone.
I strongly recommend that any new customers avoid this dealership unless they don't mind giving away a trivial $1,200.00 to the dealership. If you have money to burn, then don't worry, they will sell you a car.