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Helpless in Seattle...

Discussion in 'BMW' started by danbrown1010, Feb 3, 2009.

    danbrown1010 guest

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    Let me start by saying I chose BMW for 2 reasons...Performance and Service. I have always felt that BMW valued their customers and their time. However, my latest experiences have really shaken my confidence. Last week I decided to go with a 2006 530i that has 45k miles on it. I had narrowed it down to this car or the Audi A6. I remember thinking that the deciding factor for me is 'Service' since I really enjoyed both cars. Within days of my purchase I notice the car having problems starting and then finally it wouldn't start at all. All that time I noticed some issues with closing the sun-roof and figured I would get that looked at in due time. So I finally could not even get the car started without a jump so I decided to take it in earlier than my service appt for fear if I waited much longer I wouldn't be able to get it in at all. While pulling out of my garage for the trip into the dealer I noticed a pretty substantial leak (6-8oz) in the very front edge of the engine. I decided to to soak a little on a paper towel so they could see that it was not water. I really wasn't worried since I really believed BMW would take care of me.

    I got the car there 2 days earlier than my appt, hoping they could get a head start on it. While 'checking in' my car I explained the scenario and my 3 issues: the battery, the sun-roof, and the leak. I explained the leak was very near the radiator and could very well be a coolant leak. While I was checking the car in the service rep began to tell me that the battery may not be covered since it's life is really determined by driving habits. I was really kind of surprised. I have never heard this with any other car?? Clearly this car had been driven since it had 45k miles on it. So I really thought this shouldn't be an issue. Never the less I got a call 2 days later saying the battery wasn't going to be covered and it would cost $500+ to replace the battery. I really needed my car so I reluctantly agreed and asked about my other issues. The rep mentioned that the sun-roof was because of the battery and they would fix that and they could find no leak. I said there is definitely a leak and please check all the fluids to see what may seem low. They moved forward and fixed the battery and called me when the work was complete (still claiming there was no leak). I picked the car up, paid my $500 (for a battery change!) and drove to the first stop light....played with the sunroof and replicated my exact issue on the first try! I called the rep and he told me that they must have forgot to run the reset procedure and he told me how to do it. This made me wonder how hard they really looked for the leak??
    So I drove it for exactly 4 days and then got a 'Low Coolant' message on my idrive. So I called today to get an appt and I explained that I really can't go without my car for another 3 days so I would need a loaner. They called me back and told me they couldn't get me in for 2 weeks if I needed a loaner!! What am I supposed to do until then ? I really believe this is an extension of a prior reported problem and they are asking me to go to the back of the line.

    I am really disappointed in this entire experience. The battery issue seems rediculous considering this is a premium automobile. If these cars are engineered to eat batteries like this BMW should atleast be willing to replace the battery under the normal warranty. Or atleast split the cost?? I have never heard of such a crazy response. The rep actually told me if they sit for more than 3 days they should have a tender attached!! How can I go on vacation or a business trip and leave my car at the airport?

    I plan on calling BMW NA to discuss but I thought I would post here first to get any feedback from a more educated audience. Am I asking for too much here? Am I being a 'high maintenance' customer? This seems like a bar that BMW should be able to meet....

    Any feedback is much appreciated.

    Thanks in advance..

    Devilsown guest

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    What dealership, if its BMW Seattle, ask for the GM Steve Bates, he's a Brit and a good guy, he has worked there for many years and should be able to help.
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    NASADeac

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    How in the world does even BMW charge $500 for a battery replacement? Did you ask why this cost was so high?

    danbrown1010 guest

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    Parts and Labor added up to over $500. Luckily they offered a BMWCCA discount wich helped a little..final total (with discount) was $471.00. Crazy!

    UPDATE: I decided to give the other dealer in town a shot at my business. BMW Seattle is a much longer drive for me but it is worth it if I get the proper service. The above story was all taking place at BMW of Bellevue. So far so good...I just called their service department to try to work through their normal process. I called this morning and explained my situation and they got me in quickly, got me a loaner, and seemed to sympathize with my situation. They seem to have a lot more focus on customer service. More details to follow....

    JackinMidtown guest

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    I had a similar situation back in the early '90s with a 525. Involving mainly small items, though (a faulty turn signal, weatherstripping falling off the car, etc.). As I drove off of the lot, I realized that the turn signal still didn't work. So, I turned around and went back to the service center. When I opened the door, the just-replaced weather stripping fell off of the door.

    The service department was full of customers. The rep could see that I was obviously agitated and asked me what was the problem. I responded that "If I had wanted Chevrolet service, I would have bought a Chevrolet." It certainly got his attention as well as the other customers in the area. The car was immediately taken back into service and all issues were then promptly and adequately repaired. Never had another problem with them.

    danbrown1010 guest

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    UPDATE: BMW Seattle called me back later that same day. Which I thought was awesome! Remember I had no appt. I called them at 7:30 am that morning. I really dropped it off hoping they could get me in sometime in the next 2-3 days. They found all my issues (I had a minor seat issue too) and said they would have it fixed and ready to go the very next day. Clearly this is a dealership that understands the importance of good service. It turns out the other dealership (BMW of Bellevue) replaced the radiator and never told me! In the process of replacing the radiator, they didn't connect everything back up correctly. Hence they made the leak even worse. So my intuition was correct, these guys were dishonest and incompetent. Needless to say I won't be returning to this dealership, and hopefully anyone who reads this will pay close attention to the work these people ‘say' they are doing to your car.

    Thankfully, BMW Seattle has helped restore my faith in the brand. They have been prompt, attentive and empathetic. They even rented me a Mercedes (since they were out of loaners) while they diagnosed my issues. So if you live in the area please consider sending your business to Seattle vs Bellevue it will save you a lot of headaches in the long run!!

    Thanks to Rebecca and Jeff for helping me out.

    Thanks to all of you too for your advice.
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    Jeff Gomon

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    Unless I am missing something, isn't the 2006 covered under the 4 years from in service date or 50k mile bumper to bumper warranty? The "Ultimate Service" factory warranty should cover everything. I looked at the online Warranty pdf and so no exclusion for batteries. I know a few members who have had their batteries replaced under warranty. One had a vehicle security component draining his battery in 2-3 days and he went thru 3 batteries before they found the problem...all at no cost.
    Might want to call up BMW of Seattle and run your scenario by them and see what they say.

    Just FYI, I bought an OE BMW battery for my M5 last year and it was only $125 after CCA discount. Unless they are taking you car apart to install the battery, and even then, that price sounds outrageous. Again, ask Seattle what they charge..you might be surprised, maybe not. I do all my own maintenance, so shop rates just flabbergast me!!!!

    Let us know what you find....

    Devilsown guest

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    Good ol Bates, sounds like he is running the place top notch as always, did BMW Seattle open their new store yet?

    danbrown1010 guest

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    DJGomon - All good points, I will check into it....and report back.

    Devilsown - Yes you are right on - clearly they 'get it'. I looked at the pictures of the new place on the wall. Looks like they are targeting Sept of this year for the new place.

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