Where to start? Well, the original auction was canceled by eBay after bids had risen as high as $150,000. The car was reposted, then taken down again. It's currently not listed. And now, CarMax is stepping into the fray — more on that in a moment. Here's what Max Lanman, the seller and director of the "Luxury is a state of mind" commercial, which currently has more than 5.2 million views, told me Thursday night via email:
"The original auction had reached $150,000 with over 100 bids by Sunday. Ebay's customer service had called us earlier in the day to reassure us that they were monitoring the listing and actively removing fake/illegitimate bids. Sunday night we got a call from Ebay and we were told that Ebay had removed the listing in error. Ebay asked us to re-list the auction, which we did, back at the original starting price of $499. The most recent one was just canceled in error this morning. We haven't heard from Ebay, so don't have any updates right now. We hope they can straighten this out, as people clearly want to buy the car!"
We've reached out to eBay for comment and will update this if we hear back. The company told Jalopnik it canceled the listing because it violated its listing links policy by including Lanman's email address. Lanman also told the outlet that someone on eBay's fraud team, who was not aware of the viral ad for the car, ended the first auction early, believing it to be illegitimate, then removed the auction in error a second time.
Then Wednesday, on what was supposed to be the last day of the original eBay auction, CarMax tweeted at Lanman with its own offer, delivered by video: $20,000 for the Honda and its contents, including $5,000 for the cat, the Internet-famous Papa Puff Pants, and $2,000 for the coffee mug.
"Believe me when I tell you that your commercial has made a 1996 Honda Accord-size hole in our heart, and we will not rest until we've filled it," the man in the video says.
After going this far, it'd be difficult not to take CarMax at its word on this offer — check out the written disclaimer at the end of the video. It says the offer is redeemable at any of its 188 locations for the next seven days. "The Mexico mug is non-negotiable. The cat's optional."
Meanwhile, Lanman said he's been inundated with requests from the news media, including an appearance on "Good Morning America" yesterday. "Carrie (his fiancee and the car's owner) has been out of town on business this week, and I have been doing press nonstop since Thursday, so we haven't had a time to even breathe, let alone figure out what we're going to do," he said.