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Advice from the new BMW CCA ombudsmen

Discussion in 'Warranty questions' started by Bill Howard, May 27, 2008.

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    Bill Howard

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    John Gamel and Christopher Basner in May 2008 joined Dwayne Moseley as Club ombudsmen. Here's some general advice from John about avoiding disputes, minimizing disputes, and making the best of issues with dealers. If you've got questions for the ombudsmen, this is a good place to post them. See the Contact Us page for how to reach them privately.

    "I think there are a few key points: 1) We aren't lawyers [Chris is but he's not representing the Club], and can't offer legal advice; and flowing from that: 2) if a member has filed a lawsuit over an issue of contention, it's out of our hands. That said, I've drawn the conclusion than we can try to help when a member has a problem with a dealer, supplier, or possibly BMWNA (although Dwayne said that last is a rare event). The types of problems could be pretty wide-ranging, it seems, from failures to perform as promised, to mechanical issues, to personnel issues in a dealership.

    "I think the general rules which might apply to a person dealing with any issue involving a BMW (or any vehicle for that matter) are:

    "1) hold on to, and be able to produce all documents regarding the issue in contention (also, photographs in some instances make powerful tools);
    "2) make notes regarding persons with whom you've spoken, and the nature of the conversation; and
    "3) always attempt to remain calm, reasonable and non-argumentative.

    "In my former life, I had to testify in Federal Court with some regularity. The documents I produced, the notes that I made, and my calm demeanor always served me well."
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    Dealer service issue

    I went to my BMW dealer for a fast oil change since it was offered as a freebie due to their first encounter with me that caused them embarrassment. No problem got there about 7 AM and waited for the job to be done.

    About a half hour into my wait the SA comes out to tell be bad news. My oil drain plug is stripped beyond repair and it will need to be replaced along with the oil pan.

    Wait a minute!!! I brought the car in with no defects and now I have one!!! You gotta be kidding. The SA brought me into the shop to show me the spinning drain plug and what a correct plug looked like.

    So they gave me a loaner and told me they would let me know what the cost to repair was.

    A little later I get a email with an estimate of $474.00 to fix it!!! They claimed I did not have the correct oil plug and that is what caused the problem.

    I advised them that I had done some investigation on the internet and what they called as a correct oil plug was NOT available in 1999 and that what was in the car was the correct BMW part.

    I emailed back stating that was unacceptable since it was not that way when I brought it in.

    After some dialog that included causing me emotional distress they decided the fix it for free. Imagine that!!!

    This is the good part. They gave me the old parts to keep. After about 15 minutes I had the old drain plug out and saw no damage to the threads on the oil pan bung.

    I had a friend who owns a metal fab shop take a look at the damage and it was evident that some extreme force was put on the plug way beyond the torque specs. He estimated at least 100 or more ft-lbs was used since there was not a bit of thread left on at least half of the plug.

    Cleaned everything up and put in a new plug to check seating and torque. Was able to torque plug to 20 ft-lbs with no issues. So now I have a replacement oil pan and they are out money and a customer.

    Moral of the story. DO NOT TRUST DEALERSHIPS…they will screw you. I don't know the IQ of the mechanic involved but I figure he is the guy who CAN put a round peg in a square hole. If they had taken the time to evaluate the situation I could have had my car back the same day and not be put through such an ordeal.

    I figure there is no use in sending more complaints to BMWNA since they don't listen anyway.

    I would like to hear your comments on this situation.


    ThatOneGuy guest

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    I posted in the Maintenance forum about an issue with BMW's new policy regarding extended warranty.

    I was always told by dealers that as long as I was still under the original factory warranty that I could purchase BMW's expended warranty. They quietly changed this policy last month without warning. The new program excludes new cars still under warranty if the in-service date is more then 45 months, even if the car is still covered by the original warranty. Now I find myself in the unique position of wanting to give BMW my money but they won't take it. I can't be the only person that put off buying the policy and is now excluded.

    How 'bout a little BMWCCA help?

    M6ayreclay guest

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    M6 (07) Engine Compartment

    I'm seeking advice were I can purchase this part rather than going to the dealer.
    Part; E63 M6 Shielding, engine compartment/air ducts. I'm not happy with the dealers prices.
    Any extend warranty suggestion, my warranty runs out in 2000 miles. I'm planning to purchase an ext warranty soon. thx
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    steven s

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    There are BMW dealers that advertise in Roundel that offer between 15% and 20% off list price. If you want a genuine BMW part, you need to go to a dealer.

    You can search for part numbers at realoem.com or bmwfans.info and google the part number to see if anyone has a substitution.
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    To anyone who has a dissatisfactory experience at a dealership

    I recommend this only if you have an ongoing issue with a dealer that has not been resolved, and if your vehicle is still currently under warranty:

    Inform the dealer you are going to request a customer satisfaction survey DIRECT from BMW North America. Do not request this from the dealer -- they're not likely to provide you with the rope you intend to hang them with. You CAN however, inform the dealer you will score them with unsatisfactory marks if the issue is not resolved to your satisfaction, upon receipt of the survey in the mail. Be calm, courteous when informing them of this.

    Talk to the general manager of the dealership if the service manager doesn't give you any satisfaction.

    Above all else, keep your temper in check -- the last thing you want to do is undercut your own bargaining position. Losing your cool doesn't fix the issue and it doesn't make anyone work any faster. Take the high road even if the dealer is a jerk. An unsatisfactory survey will hand out the karma for you, but you want to do what you can to make sure you look and smell like a rose and not a "skunk" in handling it.

    Then stand back and watch what happens. Handle the issue the right way and you may be surprised at the result. :D

    I disagree with this. I believe the majority of BMW's dealerships sincerely care about their customers and presenting a positive image to BMW. I also believe that BMW North America wants a positive image also. By all means, if you have a bad experience with a dealer, and being civil hasn't gotten you the desired results, please follow the advice at the top of this message. BMW can't correct a problem they are not aware of, and the customer satisfaction survey is probably the most powerful tool available to a BMW customer. Be positive, calm, respectful, honest, and keep it professional. As stated before, order the survey directly from BMW North America.

    Keeping BMW North America informed of these issues helps all of us by weeding out bad apples that repeatedly show an indifferent attitude to the rest of the BMW owner/enthusiast community.
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    Your post is pretty vague as it doesn't really relate whether you've owned this car since 1999.

    If not, then how do you know the plug is the "corrrect-in-1999" item?

    Is there any evidence out there that BMW has changed the design on your engine?

    That should be common knowledge and make comparison with the so-called "correct today" plug meaningful.

    Drain plugs really aren't rocket science and it's pretty difficult to imagine anything but operator error--when the plug was installed--causing the stripped threads.

    There's simply no way to remove an incorrect/incorrectly installed plug to avoid damage.

    You seem to suggest the dealer removed a perfectly fine plug and then either incorrectly reinstalled it or somehow attempted to install an incorrect plug? What sort of "incorrect plug" would be laying around this dealer?

    The preponderance of common sense suggests something improper prior to your visit to the dealership. You need more than "I said so" on your side, i.e. some data.

    StoneZ guest

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    Find a good non-dealer shop

    Good repair advice I read in the Roundel, go to www.bimrs.org to find well trained BMW repair facility in your area. BIMRS advertises in the Roundel. I would agree that shop rates approaching $125.00 an hour are a choker.

    I too have had reason to suspect dealer repair issues. Not long ago I decided to make a few checks of my Z4. I opened the air filter box to check the condition of the air filter. Upon removing the filter I found it had a production date of 07/06/06. The date I was inspecting was February, 2010. Going back over my maintenence records I found that, according to the dealer, the air filter had been replaced twice. By the way, the production date of the car was 9/1/2006. So I think you can understand my suspicians.

    No matter what the make of car, NEVER give full trust to the dealers shop. I hate to be this way but the quickest way to get ripped is to believe the dealer is "On Your Side." I have had dealers try to sell me repairs that weren't needed. They can't look at me and know how many engines I have been into before. The number of brake jobs I have done or the many tune-up to my credit. Now days there is more expensive equipment needed to do some repairs which makes it harder for the shade tree mechanic. Many things are getting this way to keep you from doing repairs yourself and saving the big bucks.

    Educate yourself, ask questions and keep your documents in order. That is the best defense.
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    Just because a part has an old production date does not mean that is when it was installed! That is when it was made, a very big difference. BMW produces large quantities of parts and then warehouses them. When I buy new parts for my E30s they often have decades of dust on them with the production dates to match.
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    I am extremely happy with the quality of my dealer's service. Jerry Clayton BMW, Takapuna Beach, Auckland, New Zealand. I am on my fourth 3-series and have taken three of them to Jerry Clayton. Every time, their service, and treatment of me, has been exceptional. Last time, they even saved me some money. The only thing I would say though, is the prices are high. Even with the discount for 6 year old and over cars. However, as my partner keeps saying, they know exactly what they are doing, and I am totally happy with their work, so it seems to make sense to keep them on. I recommend them highly to any BMW owner in the area, so long as they can afford it there. Not much direct use perhaps to most BMWCCA members, but I wanted to say there is one great dealer from a customer perspective.

    rangner guest

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    Looking forward to your assistance.
    You should have PM. Thanks

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