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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I've recently come up against the BMW 'Customer Service' brick wall. I've written a post here that details the happy events.

I wanted to get the message out to other existing/prospective BMW owners still in the BMW franchise system.

I've decided that I don't want to be reasonable with BMW(UK) any more and wanted to highlight some of the major costs in the 3-5 year ownership period.

Is it ok to post the link here?

I thought I'd post this to provide a reference for anyone considering buying a BMW in the UK; highlight how they can expect to be treated and the risks involved.
The headline is that I've spent £9,200 on maintaining my BMW 330D over the past 2 years or 46,000 miles, which is £350/month. This is in addition to the £485/month that's been 'spent' on depreciation and finance charges...
The bulk of this cost (£5,650) is due to the following failures;

  • Xenon controller failure - £860
  • Seized rear calliper - £620
  • Injector replacement - £470
  • Gearbox replacement - £3,700
The car is currently at the Sytner dealership in Coventry where it requires £4,400 maintenance to replace a failed injector, glow plug relay and gearbox.
BMW's goodwill policy sets an upper limit of 6 years and 100,000 miles. A goodwill request was made by Sytner on 30th January 2008, but BMW said that they would not make any contribution to the parts or labour charges and reprimanded the dealer for having made the goodwill enquiry in the first place!
I should point out that the car was bought as BMW approved and warrantied with 36,000 miles. It was first registered in May 2003. All these failures have occurred in the last 10,000 with the gearbox failing @ 82,000 miles.
I have accepted some of the 'unexpected' (non-service related) costs in the context of running a 4 year old car and the eye-watering depreciation as a result of the economic downturn, but feel that a gearbox failure @ 80,000 miles is unreasonable.
We used to durability test Jaguar's to over 125,000 miles and all the Mercedes (I've owned) completed 90 to 120,000 miles without major issue.
I approached BMW Customer Services directly; provided a breakdown of the costs and illustrated the high level of background maintenance. They were unmoved and weren't prepared to consider the case in the context of their own rules.
So what do I do now?

  • BMW don't care.
  • I'm not important to them as a customer and have no way of having a reasonable conversation.
All I can do is publicly state my case and allow others to use the information in their car purchasing decision.
The original intention was to sell the car after the next service and replace it with another BMW. Given my experience of BMW ownership, I am unlikely to do this.
I suggest other people look elsewhere too.
To provide some more detail;
I purchased the BMW from Rybrook in Shrewsbury in December 2006. I had been a Mercedes owner for the previous 10 years (E430 Estate, E280 Estate, E320 Saloon). The Mercedes cars were very good – well made & reliable, despite the press reports, but the dealers were arrogant and customer service was very poor.
I’d had a good reliability and customer service experience with two BMW motorcycles (K75S and K1200RS) and the press reviews of the E46 were very complimentary. Rybrook had prepared the car very well and it appeared to be in very good condition – one owner, low mileage.
During my ownership, the car has been used for business commuting – mainly motorway work; long journeys and light load. As in indication, the rear tyres require replacement every 20,000 miles, the fronts at 38,000 miles and the front pads were only 60% worn after 38,000 miles.
Rybrook or Sytner in Coventry have inspected or serviced the car at the correct intervals.
As an aside, I have also had a number of issues with the level of customer service at Sytner – something for another post. Whilst I am dubious about their claim that the headlight seal failure (that caused the Xenon controller failure) and the work on the headlamp washers are unrelated, I have no proof and have accepted their offer of a complimentary service.
 

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Also, every story has two sides etc etc but it sounds like you have had a raw deal here....

and it wouldnt be the first time BMW HQ have screwed an innocent BMW owner once the warranty period expires :shifty:

Sorry to hear your catalogue of bad luck!! They are normally GREAT cars believe it or not!!

Keep us posted with developments.. in this thread (dont start another for the same topic please)
 

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Nethers, just wanted to convey.... my dismay really - that's putting it lightly.

I too have had similar dealings with other manufacturers on a brand new car, and a separate series of problems with my recently purchased BMW. I had to fight tooth and nail each and every time.

However, my experience seems belittled compared to yours. I can only hope this dark cloud has a silver lining and wish you the best of luck in your pursuit.

Please keep us updated, I am very interested to see how this gets to some sort of resolution.

Good luck mate! Red!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
An update to yesterday's post.

Earlier today, I sent the following e-mail to Klaus Kibsgaard (MD, BMW UK), Chris Willows (Director of Corporate Communications, BMW UK) and Uwe Ellinghaus (Marketing Director, BMW UK)

Dear Mr Kibsgaard,
I am writing to highlight the completely unsatisfactory experience I’ve had with BMW ownership over the past 2 years.

I have suffered from very poor customer experience and excessive levels of unexpected maintenance.

Owning a BMW has wasted many days of my time, the financial costs have been significant and the disruption to my personal and business life has been extraordinary.

Your customer service team have been uncompromising, even though the car falls well within your goodwill guidelines.

I have tried to be reasonable, that hasn’t worked, so I’ll be making my experiences more widely known.

The detail are in the attached document, with a summary blog posting here <link to blog> and forum posting here <link to this thread>. I will be posting more widely later today.

--
Best Regards
etc...
Although I am still waiting for a response to the email, I have (just) received a call from Johnny Comb - Customer Service Manager BMW UK. They have offered to contribute 50% towards the cost of the replacement gearbox. I am now waiting for the full details from Sytner.

As an aside, it seems to me that Sytner have missed an opportunity here to (a) generate a sale and (b) create a product champion.

I would have responded very positively to a call from a (smart) BMW salesman who offered a suitable replacement vehicle with a good trade in value (typical AutoTrader private sale) against mine.

My logic is that the internal parts and labour costs are lower than a customer pays and there is no VAT. The 330D could be repaired and then sold on to the trade. The cost of the repair would be factored in to the discount on the replacement car... especially as I've seen prices drop by more than £3,000 on a £22,000 used BMW in a few weeks.

Sytner would have achieved a financing deal; sold some stock and had a succes story to talk about.

Perhaps there aren't any smart salesmen at Sytner?
 

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Hi Nethers, that is indeed good news, however, I am quite surprised they offered what you have stated. But that is down to my own experience.

I am glad you got something back, I know what you're thinking what you deserve is reasonable but believe me they will never come close to what you expect in compensation no matter how logically / fairly you put it to them.

Good luck to you, please keep us updated as usual. Red :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Have just received the final quotation from Sytner, who have also very kindly reduced their labour rates.

The original estimate for parts, labout and VAT was;

  • Gearbox - £3,700
  • Injector - £470
  • Glowplug control unit - £226
Giving a total of £4,396

The revised quotation is;

  • Gearbox - £2027.46
  • Injector - £450.13
  • Glowplug control unit - £209.67
Giving a new total of £2,687.26, which is a reduction of £1,710.

It is still a massive bill and it has taken a huge amount of effort to articulate my case to BMW.

However, I've learnt my lesson and will ensure that I don't keep a vehicle - especially a BMW, past its 5th birthday.
 

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sounds like you have acheived some some result at the very least! the best of part of £2K is £2K! .....

Hope you your car is finally spot on after this :thumbsup

Also fwiw, I have also found that Sytner only care about selling a car but after that they couldn't care less about you. I honestly believe if dealerships changed their attitudes and geared themselves more towards customer service, more people would happily use them.
 

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..... I honestly believe if dealerships changed their attitudes and geared themselves more towards customer service, more people would happily use them.
I believe DSK is right on the money there (and I know you've said it before) - but I truly believe the statement above should be postered all over BMW franchise garares! Red :)
 

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Funny thing you talking about the attitudes of the dealer network, when i was after my first E46 coupe i popped into Lind at aylesford in kent (now coopers) on the way home from my workplace at the time to have a look over some used ones. I was a litle bit scruffy looking i admit as im a hgv technician so i tend to get dirty everyday at work:lol. A very stuck up arrogant salesman sort of reluctantly came over and asked if he could help. I told him what i was looking for and his only response was "thats nice" and he went over to someone else who walked thorugh the door. That was that he lost his sale and wound me up. I made a point of waving at him when i bought one a month later when i went into the parts for something. Shouldnt judge people by their appearance.
 

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Very tur bimmer320 mate, I had a similar thing happen to me but I was suited and booted and he still treated me like !

Best story I heard was - a guy went into the Jag dealer ship in normal jeans and a shirt, smart but casual kind of thing. None of the Jag salespeople would approach him as he was obviously looking to buy. So he marched up to what looked like the person in charge and shouted and bawled at him saying

"I am the owner of a multimillion £ haulage firm that I built from scratch, in my pocket I have £10k (or something big like that) for a deposit and you won;t even look at me?!"

They did the obvious apologies and stuff after that but all they got was a stern look - lol - he told it a lot better over a pint! Red :)
 

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Hehe nice one. As it goes the place where i bought my blue e46 coup from was a little estate in slough near the new terminal 5. The chap i bought it off of registered it as his company car. A scruffy looking oik walked past while i was viewing the bimmer and said morning so i was polite and said it back. The person i bought the car form then told me he owned the whole estate and land behind it, i looked at him and thought surely not? 2 minutes later he drove past in his Aston martin DB9 in his wellies and old scruffy green coat lol:eek
 
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