This is a cautionary tale and one that anyone seeking to buy a used vehicle from Big Motoring World should take note of and give due consideration to.
Having attempted to purchase a vehicle from BIG, as they are ‘affectionately’ known, I am speaking from experience, an experience that I never wish to repeat or would want anyone else to endure. I am also fortunate that for many years I have worked for Trading Standards and although I am fully aware of many of the scams associated with used car retailing I foolishly thought this was something that only existed in the past, how wrong I was!
This company is what is generally referred to as a ‘rogue’ trader and as already indicated used to be prevalent in the Jurassic period, a time when there was no legislation to protect us, the poor consumer, from allegedly large corporations who were able to exploit consumers vulnerabilities. To continue the Jurassic analogy and in an attempt to spell it out to the obviously ignorant and badly educated owner of the aforementioned business who I had the misfortune to meet, it’s akin to pitting a T-Rex against a man with only a club for protection! The man, or you the consumer, have little hope of winning any battles against this dinosaur!
Please indulge me a while longer and let me recount my personal experience….
Once upon a time I was looking to purchase a used BMW, having searched high and low on the internet I finally found what I thought was the answer to my quest, a car advertised at BIG at an extremely competitive price, so competitive I though it prudent to contact BIG and ask if it was still available. I spoke to someone at BIG (they didn’t give me their name) and was assured that this car was available.
I booked an appointment and duly set out on my long, long journey from Norwich in eager anticipation of buying what seemed to be a really competitively priced car. On arrival at the site, and bristling with excitement, I met with the salesman (name withheld for data protection reasons) only to be told straight away that the car I had travelled a distance to view and ultimately purchase had been sold.
As you can imagine I was less than pleased, to placate me the salesman then tried to show me a few other similar cars but all were at a far higher price – some £3,000 more than the car I had wanted to test drive even though they were the same age, make, model and a similar mileage. I asked how this could be, was there a pricing error on the original car? No reason was given. Suffice to say I left, downhearted, crest fallen, somewhat annoyed that my time had been wasted and I had been ‘done up like a kipper’.
Now, this is where my Trading Standards training and experience kicked in, this was similar to a tactic I had come across within the motor trade industry a number of years ago known as ‘Bait and Switch’ which is highlighted in the Unfair Commercial Practices Act – Sections 5 & 6. Basically, a car that doesn’t exist or has previously been sold is advertised at a rate far lower than market value as ‘bait’ to lure the customer in, once the customer is on site they then attempt to switch you to a higher priced car by using the ‘this car has just sold’ line.
Now, having read other reviews posted about BIG (of which there are hundreds and all bad – excepting those that appear to have been posted by the owner themselves as they all suffer from the same basic spelling mistakes and are without exception all grammatically incorrect) it appears this is BIGs only marketing strategy and the only way it is able to conduct business which is wholly at the expense of us – the consumer. Worse still drilling down further into a number of these reviews and also conducting some research myself using my contacts in this area it is clear that not only is BIG using this tactic but it is also advertising cars it has sold in the past few months which are now owned by its customers. Feel free to review these reviews online by searching for Big Motoring Reviews in Google and you’ll find many from its customers querying why their car is being advertised online at many thousands of pounds less than they paid for it a couple of months earlier.
So, the moral of the story is this, take it from one that know, do not grace this company with your time and certainly do not give this company your business. Pay no attention to the prices on their online advertising as it cannot be trusted.
If you are still tempted to deal with this company because it looks ‘too good to be true’ then it probably is but protect yourself, ask for documentation relating to the vehicle to be emailed to you so you can check the validity of the vehicle, do this before you travel. If they refuse to do this then they have something to hide. If you’re still tempted then at the very least carry out a vehicle history check and make sure this doesn’t show a change of ownership on the vehicle in the past couple of months. I did this when I returned home on the vehicle I had booked to see and sure enough it had a change of ownership two months earlier.
Having scoured the forums I also found the attached cartoon, which is very apt!
Finally, thanks for taking the time to read my tale of woe and remember if it looks too good to be true then it most probably is – especially where BIG is concerned!
Reason of review: Not as described.
Monetary Loss: $100.