La Jolla Independent: not good

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bill

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In May I needed a pair of strut housings for my ’74 coupe, so I called La Jolla Independent and spoke with Ben. He said he probably had a pair, and put the phone down to get me a price. Came back 15-20 seconds later and said the price would be $125 each and he would call me back when he found a “matched pair.” After a couple of days, he called back and said he had a pair, but the price was $225 each. I said “you quoted me $125 the other day” to which he responded “I can’t sell them for that price.” He was firm and there was no attempt to negotiate.
Knowing La Jolla's good reputation, I emailed Ben later on and asked him to re-consider what I thought was a "bait and switch" tactic. I also said that if I didn’t get a satisfactory price I would let the E9 site know about it. He wrote back with an apology (“it was an honest mistake”), claimed there was no attempt to bait and switch, and added a litany of excuses supporting the price change including that he thought “I was talking about a 2002,” “coupes are approaching $100,000 so parts should reflect that,” and yadda yadda yadda. I asked for his supervisor and got Chris who came back with the same responses, apologizing for Ben’s mistake. He offered no attempt to reach a compromise on the price.
I know this is going to surprise many coupe owners as La Jolla is Mecca for us. Besides myself, I know of four other coupe owners who have dealt with La Jolla and have always received good advice and prices. So, I am very disappointed in this unfortunate situation, and their “screw you we can sell to anybody at any price” attitude. I would suggest that any price Ben offers in the future is useless until it is vetted by his supervisor (and I would wonder about that) before any deal is finalized.
I found a pair of strut housings, much cheaper, elsewhere.
 

Robertsocal

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In May I needed a pair of strut housings for my ’74 coupe, so I called La Jolla Independent and spoke with Ben. He said he probably had a pair, and put the phone down to get me a price. Came back 15-20 seconds later and said the price would be $125 each and he would call me back when he found a “matched pair.” After a couple of days, he called back and said he had a pair, but the price was $225 each. I said “you quoted me $125 the other day” to which he responded “I can’t sell them for that price.” He was firm and there was no attempt to negotiate.
Knowing La Jolla's good reputation, I emailed Ben later on and asked him to re-consider what I thought was a "bait and switch" tactic. I also said that if I didn’t get a satisfactory price I would let the E9 site know about it. He wrote back with an apology (“it was an honest mistake”), claimed there was no attempt to bait and switch, and added a litany of excuses supporting the price change including that he thought “I was talking about a 2002,” “coupes are approaching $100,000 so parts should reflect that,” and yadda yadda yadda. I asked for his supervisor and got Chris who came back with the same responses, apologizing for Ben’s mistake. He offered no attempt to reach a compromise on the price.
I know this is going to surprise many coupe owners as La Jolla is Mecca for us. Besides myself, I know of four other coupe owners who have dealt with La Jolla and have always received good advice and prices. So, I am very disappointed in this unfortunate situation, and their “screw you we can sell to anybody at any price” attitude. I would suggest that any price Ben offers in the future is useless until it is vetted by his supervisor (and I would wonder about that) before any deal is finalized.
I found a pair of strut housings, much cheaper, elsewhere.
I need a pair of caps and front springs and strut hardware for my 1970 2800cs if you know where to find them. I am waiting on Ben :) to get back to me
rob
 

HB Chris

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Ben, Chris and Carl are upstanding individuals and your experience is not what I have ever experienced. $125 for a 74 strut sounded too good to be true to me.
 

Tierfreund

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To me the description of the proceeds sounds fair enough.
Even good people can make honest mistakes, a bait and switch would mean switching and not telling you and then surprising you with a higher bill or inferior goods.
Even the higher prices still seem very acceptable and fair.
Trying to blackmail them in the negotiating with posting here is not very gentlemanly either.

Sorry, Robert, the story would not deterre me from dealing with LaJolla but it would make me hesitant to deal with you as either seller or buyer.
 

bmwmadman

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Bill,

Sorry you feel mistreated by LJ and or Ben. But mistakes do happen. They get many calls and try and help out in any way they can. I don't find it hard to believe that he quoted you based on a different model. I chalk up your post as you are upset, and I get that. But if the going rate is $200+ for the part in question, not sure why you think they will sell it for less. The people over at LJ are good people and the bait and switch comment is a stretch.

Gary
 

verde2002

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I have purchased fro La Jolla and they have always struck me as standup honest guys. I can understand the original posters concern and if an honest mistake was made maybe they should have just kept to their word and let t it go for $125 to keep a customer happy. In the big picture it was not a huge loss for the shop. Regardless I still think they are one of the most honest and best shops around and I will have no hesitation to deal with them in the future.
 

jmackro

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Came back 15-20 seconds later and said the price would be $125 each and he would call me back when he found a “matched pair.” After a couple of days, he called back and said he had a pair, but the price was $225 each. ...... he thought “I was talking about a 2002,”

Bill:

I know you are looking for agreement here, but I'm having trouble seeing it from your side. Yea, I'm sure it was annoying to be quoted one price and then told it would be $200 more for the pair. But this was a verbal quote made by a junior guy. If $125 had been posted on their website or quoted by LaJolla Independent's owner, I could better understand your annoyance.

I found a pair of strut housings, much cheaper, elsewhere.
OK, so just move on. If you feel that LaJolla Independent was asking more than the market price for these parts, then you "dodged a bullet". I'm having trouble seeing how you were injured.
 
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dang

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An explanation of why this thread was "approved"...

All posts/threads in this form are moderated. When the original post came in Matt and I talked about whether or not it should be posted, since La Jolla's reputation has been very good over the years. We decided to keep the forum true to its intent and approved the thread, knowing that there would be plenty of members coming to La Jolla's defense.

The only posts that do not get approved are those that have personal attacks or not relevant to the topic.

Dan
 

dtortoise9

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Lji

Have been dealing with La Jolla for many years and have only had positive experiences. There are always two sides to every story, especially in the repair/parts business.
 

Sooner

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Lji

I also have ordered and received great service and pricing, even visited when I was on the coast.
 

jvrenaudon

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La Jolla

Bill,

Things may be different on your side of the Atlantic but here in UK, in order for a deal to be concluded, there needs to be as a minimum a clear offer to sell at a price and a clear acceptance of that invitation at the price. From what you say, Bill, there was no such acceptance by you and so there was no irrevokable deal on the occasion of the first telephone conversation. My hunch is that this was a genuine mistake on the part of LJ and in the course of the second telephone conversation, they effectively withdrew their first offer to sell at the reduced price (an offer which you had not accepted) and substituted a corrected offer for you to consider, one way or the other. I think, in your shoes, I would put it down to experience and I share the concern expressed by others that the threat of "exposing" established traders on this Forum is not a good way of going about things. Sorry; interesting though, John.
 

rb1971

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Like many other folks on this board I have used La Jolla for many years and have had nothing but positive experiences - and that counts not only as a customer, but just as folks to talk to about cars. In particular, I deal with Ben more than any of the other folks and he has always been a really great guy personally and professionally, so to the extent there was any element of the original post that could be read as impugning his character I wanted to make sure to offer a counter-opinion on that point specifically.

Although I can see how Bill might be a little frustrated, I can't see how this amounts to bait & switch tactics. I'm not even sure it was a mistake so much as a misunderstanding.

-John
 

BMW Pete

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La Jolla

I have also used Carl and the gang for many years and the service I receive has been better than anything anybody could reasonably expect, a very welcome change in the world we live in.

They are all fair honest and extremely helpful, going above and beyond all the time.

All of us make honest mistakes and with the greatest respect to anybody making a complaint on this board. I do not feel its fair or correct for the forum to be used as a threat.

While I have no wish to judge this gentleman or this particular transaction, as anybody who deals with the public knows, there is such a thing as unrealistic expectations or to put it another way…………….

The customer is not always right.
 

Dirk

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La Jolla Independent: GOOD

Dear Bill,

One employee gives you a CONDITIONAL price and calls you back saying that he gave you the wrong price. (He could have not call you back). He apologizes, his supervisor apologizes. You are threatening them (which is stupid). They don't blink because they are honest people making an honest living. Then you go off on a tangent on this site; "bait and switch" (wrongly used expression in this context), accusing them of a "screw you we can sell to anybody at any price" attitude.

You are wrong on all fronts. If it were not for fine people like Carl and his employees, many of us would not enjoy the great classic BMW experience we are having now.

I suggest that the administrator remove this threat all together, or at least remove the "not good" from the title as this is very misleading.
I wish La Jolla Independent good luck and hope that they stay in business forever !

Good luck to you as well in your hunt for cheap parts.
 

rwolak

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In May I needed a pair of strut housings for my ’74 coupe, so I called La Jolla Independent and spoke with Ben. He said he probably had a pair, and put the phone down to get me a price. Came back 15-20 seconds later and said the price would be $125 each and he would call me back when he found a “matched pair.” After a couple of days, he called back and said he had a pair, but the price was $225 each. I said “you quoted me $125 the other day” to which he responded “I can’t sell them for that price.” He was firm and there was no attempt to negotiate.
Knowing La Jolla's good reputation, I emailed Ben later on and asked him to re-consider what I thought was a "bait and switch" tactic. I also said that if I didn’t get a satisfactory price I would let the E9 site know about it. He wrote back with an apology (“it was an honest mistake”), claimed there was no attempt to bait and switch, and added a litany of excuses supporting the price change including that he thought “I was talking about a 2002,” “coupes are approaching $100,000 so parts should reflect that,” and yadda yadda yadda. I asked for his supervisor and got Chris who came back with the same responses, apologizing for Ben’s mistake. He offered no attempt to reach a compromise on the price.
I know this is going to surprise many coupe owners as La Jolla is Mecca for us. Besides myself, I know of four other coupe owners who have dealt with La Jolla and have always received good advice and prices. So, I am very disappointed in this unfortunate situation, and their “screw you we can sell to anybody at any price” attitude. I would suggest that any price Ben offers in the future is useless until it is vetted by his supervisor (and I would wonder about that) before any deal is finalized.
I found a pair of strut housings, much cheaper, elsewhere.
I've never bought from La Jolla but two things strike me as strange: (1) was the salesman specifically told the parts required were for a coupe? Why did he mistakenly think they were for a 2002, and (2) the “coupes are approaching $100,000 so parts should reflect that,” attitude. So what he's basically saying is that, since coupe prices may be going up, La Jolla will charge "what the traffic will bear". Personally, not the kind of establishment I'd like doing business with. Yes, I know, they all do it but it's much easier to swallow when it not thrown into the customers face.
 

HB Chris

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I've never bought from La Jolla but two things strike me as strange: (1) was the salesman specifically told the parts required were for a coupe? Why did he mistakenly think they were for a 2002, and (2) the “coupes are approaching $100,000 so parts should reflect that,” attitude. So what he's basically saying is that, since coupe prices may be going up, La Jolla will charge "what the traffic will bear". Personally, not the kind of establishment I'd like doing business with. Yes, I know, they all do it but it's much easier to swallow when it not thrown into the customers face.
That is not La Jolla's attitude at all, far from it. They will go out of their way to find a part and charge a reasonable price, no extravagant markups, ever.
 

sfdon

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I have to say that ever since Ben started sailing on his days off it has been a little challenging how he asks whether the part is for the Port or Starboard side of the car.
Other than that- no problems!
 

wkohler

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That is not La Jolla's attitude at all, far from it. They will go out of their way to find a part and charge a reasonable price, no extravagant markups, ever.
That's been my experience with them as well over the years, not to mention their support of the community.
 
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