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BMW Corporate - anyone dealt with them?

Discussion in 'Buy, Lease, Finance & Insurance' started by biomimetic, Jun 29, 2010.

    biomimetic guest

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    I have a Z4 that's had some problems. Which I've been arguing with BMW about fixing since I bought the car (it started as lifters, and a few things came to light as the car got dug into).

    In the ten months of having a case advisor at BMW NA I haven't once been able to get them on the phone.

    The short version:

    A rear impact sensor (the BST unit) had to be replaced. I have had BMW Assist since I bought the car. After talking to them about their protocols in the event of a crash they said they would call the car in the event of airbag deployment or the BST unit being broken.

    When the BST was replaced by BMW SF (not where I bought the car) they demanded that I take the unit and in their words 'have it out' with the dealer where I bought the car - the unit had been 'reassembled' with a pair of pliers so it would kind of work - there are little break away tongs in the unit that makes the battery disconnect in the event of a crash, and it had been 'mushed' back into place - there's also a fuse that had failed. I think when codes for the car were cleared, the evidence went away; either at CPO or at the dealer. Eventually the unit just fell apart. The dealer I bought the car from was -to say the least- unresponsive.

    BMW Assist filed a formal complaint with BMW about this. I asked for a papertrail, which I'm still obtaining.

    I asked for reimbursement for the BST from the case agent at corporate (maybe someone slightly higher up than the dealer contract sorters?). Weirdly enough in the middle of this I was also told I was the third, not the second(!?!) owner of the car by the case manager. When asked about this they refused to answer.

    They refused to pay for the BST. This bothers me: either Assist should have called me, if the unit had broken on a pothole or something under my ownership, thinking there was an accident, the only other option is the unit was broken on receipt of the car. Which means my wife and I had been driving around with a safety unit broken. So I have to wonder: do the airbags work? Are the roll hoops bent or fatigued? I asked whether that meant the car was safe, or if they were saying I had broken the unit, and they literally responded with 'the case file was closed'.

    I would like to alert corporate of this shoddy treatment and of the outright negligence - not to mention the friction it has caused for corporate with Assist - but so far any contact has been routed back to this person, whom I think is trying to sweep it under the rug.

    The question:

    Anyone actually called or written corporate? I really expect nothing to come of it, but I really am in this area of negligence. I am in the process of actually getting a lawyer, which is something I have never said before, but it's really not about the money or time to have bits fixed, but the lack of care for safety - and everyone I've talked to outside of the case manager, Elaine Young, seems to take this seriously.
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    CRKrieger

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    Speaking as a lawyer of over 25 years, I've got to ask you:

    What is it you want out of this?

    An apology? Not gonna happen.

    Records on previous owners? Not likely because of privacy concerns. Get a CarFax. So what if you're third instead of second? Do you have any written guarantees or promises you were second?

    An abject admission they were wrong? Also not gonna happen, and so what if they do?

    The cost of that busted part? How much is it?

    If you're only in this for the principle of the thing, get ready to pay. Principles ain't cheap in law.

    biomimetic guest

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    I'm looking to pin negligence on them, pure and simple. Maybe for damages, time spent, plus money outlaid.

    And specifically to deprive the person who is responsible for trying to hide the negligence of their job.

    Hence why I was wondering if anyone had had any experiences calling around at corporate.

    Would you feel safe driving a car you weren't sure had operational airbags or had compromised crash panels? Would you want to just throw your own money at it, when you knew there were a series of protocols to verify the car was safe and sound, and you had logically uncovered that these protocols had not been followed? And that a BMW corporate mouthpiece had disavowed this?

    Seems like there was another car company recently who had a series of safety protocol breakdowns... and it came back to bite them.
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    Zeichen311

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    But...negligence on whose part? BMW NA and the dealership presumed to have mauled your BST are completely separate corporations. BMW NA may have been unhelpful, indifferent and frustrating in handling your case, but in what way were they negligent? They had nothing to do with servicing your car or compromising its safety, and have not endangered the safety of others by trying to make you and your problem go away. Their "crimes" here are those of refusing to reimburse you for shoddy repairs made by a franchisee, and (understandably) ticking you off. It's lousy PR but that's pretty much the extent of it. To paraphrase CR's comment, if there is some less obvious principle they've violated here, finding it and making it stick won't be cheap.

    You have a legitimate grievance against the dealer who made substandard repairs to a safety device and passed the car off as CPO. You have another dealer that can attest to the nature of the defect and whether it justifies a complete review of all crash safety components. With luck, you still have the damaged part and a paper trail to support that claim. You would probably have better luck paying the trustworthy dealer for a few hours' labor to confirm all critical safety components are up to snuff, then trying to recover that expense form the selling dealer, than you would fishing for some arbitrary payout from the mothership just because their name is on the car.

    Don't aim for the deepest pockets--aim for the guilty.
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    CRKrieger

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    Good luck with that - and I can almost guarantee you won't get it by calling and writing letters.
    Look to your left. Tell me how many airbags you THINK it has.

    That's Turn Six at Road America, where all the Nationwide NASCAR Series goobers were piling up a week and a half ago. The short person in the right seat is my daughter. We both felt quite safe.
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    Pyewacket1

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    My opinion is with these other responders. After all, from what I read, I can't tell if this problem was due to an authorized BMW repair or from some shade-tree mechanic... Or, from some poorly-made body repairs after a collision.

    No doubt, you have an issue with the selling dealer...a very valid one, I think.

    However, I really don't see how you are going to "intimidate" BMW corporate into repairing/paying for anything that happened well beyond their control. If anything, the game-plan you have laid out here is totally counter-productive to getting any help from them to lean on the selling dealer on your behalf. You will be viewed as a "crank" and dismissed accordingly.

    Of course, you need to do whatever you feel is right...if for no other reason, than your own personal satisfaction.

    I would only say that, if you go this route, you will in all probability (and by that, I mean Las Vegas odds) fail miserably. While every manufacturer has problems and issues, I hope you won't let a poor individual dealership color your experience with BMW. I can tell you from personal experience, that there are some extremely great dealers that will go out of their way to assist their customers.

    biomimetic guest

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    CPO's are done at authorized service centers, correct?

    Which are authorized by BMW NA? Or is it the dealer network? And if so are you really telling me Na is letting the dealers vouch for the safety of the cars that maybe have been in a fender-bender?

    So missing a rear impact sensor, clearing the code, and sending it out to be sold would not be the dealer, correct?

    So 'Sucks to be you' would not be the appropriate response from BMW NA? Since I assume the dealers take the word of the service center they did the work correctly and aren't required to verify every detail before sale?

    Not that I expect to hear it, but 'Oh, wow, how did this get by?' or 'You told them what?!' behind closed doors would be more what you would expect from a company touting safety?

    One thing someone over on bimmerforums said though, was pre-existing damage from accidents is not covered by the CPO? Any thoughts?

    And if the authorized service center cleared that code, how do I know they didn't clear airbag codes as well, without tearing into the car to see if they were deployed? If the rear impact sensor was not replaced, and codes were cleared, how do I know the car isn't reading 'airbag ok' when there isn't one?

    What looked like someone ran over a curb after someone keyed the hood of the car (big scratch), and had a control arm replaced is starting to look more like a complete total and reconstruction.
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    CRKrieger

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    If true, you're screwed.
    Huh? Have you ever seen an airbag that was deployed? There's no "tearing into" anything involved. They're hanging out there right in front of God & everybody.

    By the same token, and given your obvious mistrust of BMW, how do you know there are any airbags in the car? I mean, the workers might decide, once a week, to build a 'joke' car and send it down the line with all empty airbag containers. Wouldn't that be hilarious?

    What I'm trying to say is, worry about stuff that matters and don't worry about stuff that doesn't matter. This doesn't matter; or at least it hasn't risen to the level that you can do anything about it. If you never crash the car, it absolutely doesn't matter to you, does it? And, if you ever do crash the car, you still don't know if it will matter. For all you know, you'll slide the car off a road sideways, rip out the suspension and tear the oil pan off the engine and total the car without ever triggering an airbag. So at that point, what are your legal damages? Zero, that's what.
    Well, you could go crash it into something as you're apparently planning to do - just to find out. Of course, if you trigger the airbags and they work perfectly, your theory goes right out the window. If they don't, you get your hoped-for "I told ya so!" but you'll still have some - ah - shall we say 'diagnostic expenses' to deal with.
    Did you get a CarFax like I told you to do above? Is that $15 too much to pay to find out what you want to know?

    biomimetic guest

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    Ok, I can tell people are speed reading the first post so here's the deal:

    Bought the car used from a dealer and have had BMW Assist on it since driving off the lot. Found a BST unit that had been gerryrigged (haha) and fell apart, which killed the car on a roadtrip and was a visit to a dealer: I recieved no notification phone-in of a rear impact from BMW Assist which as stated by Assist, would be one of the protocols where they would call the car i.e. broken BST. Therefore I know it wasn't a pothole triggering it - combine with the pliers marks all over the unit showing someone having half-assedly reassembled it. So did the airbags deploy, and get put back in the car or were the covers only put back on? This is what I was getting at.

    I think the airbags and covers are integral - I just spent an hour unscrewing dash bits and feeling around doors and looking into the guts with a flashlight. They are in there. So no code clearing/leaving the car sans airbags. Thank god.

    If they claim they inspected each and every piece of safety gear, which there's a checklist for, which they give to you on delivery; this is what's bothering me about this. They said the car was safe, and gave me a list of what they had checked - but they didn't actually check it.

    Anyone know if the service centers are through NA or the dealer network?

    Annoyingly, this is the first time in 37 years on the planet I have said to myself: No, this is kind of a big deal, and someone will answer for it. I'm not a litigious person by nature, but failure at verifying safety units is not acceptable.
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    Pyewacket1

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    Zeichen311

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    As far as I know, CPO certification is done by individual dealers, following a set of checklists and eligibility criteria (age, mileage, etc.).
    Are you really telling me you believe BMW NA has its own techs double-check every CPO inspection made by every dealer? They are supposed to be responsible, honest professionals else they wouldn't be authorized in the first place. Shysters exist in every business and I truly am sorry that you have apparently found one.
    If I understand you, no, it would be the fault of the dealer who certified the car--which may be different from the one that sold it.
    If one dealer trades the car to another and includes the certification checklist with the car, then no, I would not expect them to re-certify it.
    Because a deployed airbag is a destroyed airbag. These aren't reusable parts.
    Because the vehicle diagnoses itself on every start and you'd have an airbag warning light on the dash. To preempt a couple of predictable challenges: 1) Tampering with the diagnostics to cover up airbag fraud is unreasonably difficult and fails Occam's Razor. 2) Removing or disabling the warning lamp would be immediately evident, because the lamp illuminates briefly at start (confirming the lamp is OK) then goes out on a successful test (confirming the airbags are present and OK).
    I for one am reading your posts quite carefully. We simply disagree with your choice of defendant.
    Impossible to hide.
    Possible for some airbags, not an entirely uncommon form of body-shop fraud in the past (get paid to replace airbags, install covers only, pocket the cash), but AFAIK somewhat more difficult with modern airbags. Insurers hate being defrauded and work with manufacturers to make such scams more difficult to pull off.
    Exactly! Go after the people whose signatures are on the checklist, including the dealership. Not BMW NA. They were not involved, except to set the rules.
    On that we agree. Find some legal rope and a tree and string up the people who lied about the car. But if your lawyer has advised you to name everyone from BMW NA down to the dealership's janitor in the suit...well, to me that just sounds like, "SOMEbody's gonna pay!!"--emphasis on the indeterminate sense of "somebody." :(

    biomimetic guest

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    No, I wasn't saying that NA inspects every car for CPO. I was asking if the 'authorized repair/service centers' are always associated with a dealer, and further if they are a product of the dealer network, or if due to safety and quality control issues, they are an arm of NA.

    BMW Assist actually offered to provide a log of the car at least since my ownership - though I have asked for a complete VIN log. I don't expect they will cough the coplete VIN log. Or at least my ownership and the previous owner's - I got double billed by Assist initially; one bill to me, the other to the previous owner which somehow arrived at my address, addressed to my address. One of those weird mistakes that has turned out to be useful now. This is as close as I can come, along with BMW SF's statement about the part having been put back together which I think appears in the service write up.

    Thanks for helping with the sorting out. Any more input much appreciated.

    biomimetic guest

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    I've done a little fine print reading on BMW's site, and it would appear that the CPO certifying service centers are part of the dealer network. Thanks again for helping me focus down on the who, what, where and how.
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    Pyewacket1

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    After all is said and done, one buys a Z4 for the driving experience and simple "fun factor".

    Its truly a shame that, for the most part, you appear to have been screwed out of a lot of that feeling and sensational experience.

    For that, you have my understanding and sympathy. I hope you succeed in finding an adequate resolution to your issues, and find it soon.... so that you can begin to enjoy your Z4. I have a Z4 coupe (2007), and it really is a great ride!

    Good luck!

    biomimetic guest

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    I really like the Z4, it's great fun. I drove an M3, which I also liked, but the Z4 looked better with my wife behind the wheel, and seemed to have a sweet rather than angry disposition. And it's thankfully easy to work on; the few things I've had to do. Change the oil, etc... (Nope - couldn't get anyone to do that or brake fluid despite having been sitting for a year, in case you're curious.)

    It's just such a ridiculous juxtaposition: terrible experience with NA and the dealers, and the car being so good.

    biomimetic guest

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    Rechecked the Carfax I was given by the dealer at delivery, and yes in fact - there is an owner missing. As a postscript to the story.
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    CRKrieger

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    This doesn't surprise me too much. CarFax is well known for missing information, but on occasion, it can reveal something you didn't already know. So it seems that if you're on a campaign to hold all the negligent parties responsible, you've got one more to go after ...

    biomimetic guest

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    Well, guys, I've decided whoever said life is too short is probably right: I've decided to file an NTSHA complaint and point out to them BMW NA's complete lack engagement and frankly negligence as far as the rear impact sensor goes. And send BMW NA a copy of the complaint.

    It's possible the car was retitled to the dealer I bought it from when they bought it at auction, in case someone's reading and scratching their head about a Carfax. It's also possible that's not the case.

    I wonder if someone at the dealer drove the car, whacked a pothole just the right way, and 'forgot' to alert the service manager. Or if it went off on an overnight pre-sale excursion and then the buyer didn't buy it. Hence dead BST.

    I also had the knocking sticky steering Z4's get over this last week - which is a first. It was also super easy to solve. I posted up the fix at bimmerforums if anyone's got the issue. Same avatar: biomimetic.

    I wouldn't have even thought of filing a complaint with NTSHA except for the sticky steering. So at least for that issue I can be grateful... This way I feel like, since there's a larger investigating already, I can add some framing in some small way from the consumer angle.
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    CRKrieger

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    Not too short to have a beer at O'Fest. You think that worthless bucket o' bolts can make it up here? :D
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    Rennsport1

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    Thank you for posting this thread, as a new owner of a CPO BMW it was very interesting and informative to me. So whom at the dealer network level would handle such complaints ?

    I love my "new to me" '07 CPO 328i coupe. My car is in excellent condition as far as I can tell, except that the dash has a sort of ding in it, I bought the car at night on July 16th, and noticed the mark by the following morning. I immediately informed the dealer via email of the issue and wrote that I would like them to repair or replace the part since I did not expect a CPO BMW to have any damage. My dealer has the car now to buff out a scratch and make a couple of adjustments I requested during the initial buying process, they also said that they "would see what they can do" about the dashboard.

    What are your thoughts and suggestions ? A new dashboard, especially the labor involved is not cheap! Am I wrong to expect a CPO BMW to be cosmetically correct inside and out? This is not a normal wear and tear issue in my opinion, this is a damaged part. If my dealer is not willing to address the issue what are my options to get this made right ? Or am I being unreasonable ?

    Should this be resubmitted a new thread ? I am not meaning to hijack this thread.

    Thanks and regards,
    R.S.

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