Sewickley Car Store - How to lose a loyal customer over $35.
So my friends, I'd like to share with you a little story about horrible customer service. A little background first. My family has been doing business with Sewickley Car Store (SCS) for 20 years. In that time we have purchased dozens of cars - multiple 7 series, multiple 5's, multiple Audis (yuck! ; )), a Porsche, a 3 series, and of course my beloved M3. I'm about to pull the trigger on a loaded x5 diesel. We've also referred online business to them from the forums as well as dozens of local customers. Well all that has come to an end over $35. Yes, you read that right, $35.
So my father recently passed away in February and left his mint 750Li to my brother and I, and my father-in-law is now driving it. I had the car fully serviced and detailed at SCS on June 24th. After that time, my father in law drove it to CT, FL, SC, and then back to CT. During that time, it leaked oil slowly everyday - a few drops per day. It created a small pool when parked for an extended time in SC. I believe he had to top it off once. Not a big deal, but obviously a bit concerning when you are driving a new-to-you car on a long journey. Not to mention that my father never had to top the car off previously. In any event, when my father in law returned to CT, he took the car into BMW of New London to have it checked out.
What did they find? Well, here it is verbatim from the invoice:
"TECH FOUND OIL FILTER HOUSING LEAKING OIL LOOSE
TIGHTEN OIL FILTER HOUSING AND ADDED 1 QUART OF OIL
AND CLEANED ENGINE AND RETESTED ALL OK AT THIS TIME."
Sure enough, my father in law informed me that this took care of the issue, then we both had a nice laugh over what a dumb mistake this was on the part of the tech at SCS.
So one would think that this is straight forward at this point right? Just get the invoice to Sewickley and they will surely apologize to their valued customer and reimburse him. Not so.
Enter Paul Resko, BMW service manager at SCS. This is what Paul tells me:
"I have reviewed your request for service reimbursement from work performed at BMW of New London and have reviewed the service history at this dealer. We changed the oil on June 24th, 2011 at 47,212 miles. The invoice from BMW of New London has the mileage at 52,229. If we had not properly secured the oil filter housing 5,017 miles ago the vehicle would have lost all of its oil. The vehicle wouldn't have made it 100 miles and not left a puddle of oil on the floor. I do not believe we are at fault and I stand by my offer of paying for half of the invoice. If you accept my offer of $35.15 I will gladly send Mr. xxxxxx a check."
To this I reply that he is wasting my time and I think it is pathetic and his explanation makes no sense. I reaffirm that I am an important customer, although it shouldn't matter since his explanation makes no sense. I mean he is essentially saying that there is no such thing as a slow oil leak from the oil filter, BMW of New London are lying, and so is my father in law. No one touched the car between it leaving SCS and arriving at BMW of New London. So who would be responsible for the other 50% ($35) of the bill?
Paul then speaks to KC Kowalyk, the general manager, who stands by Paul and will only offer to pay half of the bill. Keep in mind that during this time I have requested that Paul call me via email, left him and KC a vmail, and they refuse to speak on the phone.
Anyway, so that is how one ends a 20 year relationship and sacrifices millions of dollars in revenue over $35. I called my sales guy Ron Kean, who is a GREAT guy, and told him that I won't be able to do business with them anymore. I then called BMW USA and filed a complaint which is linked to the VIN of the 750Li. The representative from BMW was stupefied at the situation and apologized profusely.
I've worked in customer service my entire career. I've come close to killing myself working all hours of the night to help my customers. This is one of the most idiotic and pathetic displays I've ever seen in my life. So take some advice people in Pittsburgh, steer clear of Sewickley Car Store.
Thanks for listening; have a good day out there!
Last edited by Singletrack; 10-05-2011 at 01:02 PM.