I leased a 2008 E90 M3 out of Hassel BMW in December 2008. It took me about 2 months to finally pin-point just the right deal that I would present to my dealer. And so, an Interlagos Blue M3 arrived!!! It wasn’t short of any one of my expectations, it was simply amazing. Christopher at Hassel is a great salesman, and even helped out my sister with her 328i as well. Been driving it since, and recently picked up a 2010 V6 Tacoma for work reasons….and….unfortunately another reason.
I’m not sure as to how I should begin my story/dilemma, but here it goes:
On 8/22 I was driving home from upstate New York with my cousin through TERRENTIAL Downpour the whole way. Usually a 3 hour drive turned into a 5 hour drive due to weather and traffic. Heading home on the Long Island Expressway, the navi tells me to take exit 37 (Willis Avenue) due to ahead traffic. So I take the exit and “OH *#$&!!!!”… Whoever lives in the Long Island area, taking exit 37 means you swoop down and up to Willis Avenue (kind of like a roller coaster). What I didn’t know (and what the police told me next morning), is that their was a water mane that broke, adding to the downpour.
Took the exit in second gear and BOOM!, I hit a 2 foot high wall of water. It all happened so fast (especially being exhausted from a long ride home, not as alert as I would be if it wasn’t so late), that I tried to drive through the water, but the engine seized…and I was floating. An SL500 and a Toyota were already floating before me as well. Now, all I could see in my side/rearview mirrors are headlights coming towards me. The SUV’s that came through barely made it, creating a wave of water further pushing my car towards the SL500 (keep in mind I’m freaking out calling the police). However, the sedans that came through off the exit didn’t make it, they became one-with-the-water as well. Police rushed to the scene, I crawled out of my window to prevent water rushing in if I was to open the door. I auto’ed the window back up and worked my way up the flooded roller coaster towards Willis avenue. I was quite scared thinking “if a power line was to come down, forget about the car….i’m done as well!!!”
I found out next morning from the police that 14 cars were towed out including one police car. Luckily my car was towed to a shop right near the place of occurrence. From their I called up my Insurance to let them know what happened, get a Claim number and all. It took 6 days for the car to be towed to BMW of Freeport Service…and that’s just to be towed. Money had to come out of my pocket at first to pay the shop for holding my car/tow…not a big deal.
I was paired up with a man named Paul Giaquinto from service, and explained to me that an adjuster was going to have to come down to determine if the car was a loss or if it was fixable. I was also talking to my insurance adjuster, telling him to deem the car a loss because form what I’ve heard…flood cars are NEVER the same. However, that decision is up to my insurance. Its around 9/3-9/5 by this time keep in mind. I tell Paul that an adjuster is coming in and to have the car ready.
- The adjuster visits service and the car isn’t ready to be fully examined, the adjuster only takes down simple fixes/possible fixes.
---I’m getting ticked off now because the car was supposed to be ready, but it wasn’t. I tell Paul to work it out correctly with the adjuster for next time. Ok…..
(keep in mind a week later about), The adjuster comes to look at the car, when BMW was supposed to have the car ready for the adjuster, but whadya know….I speak to the adjuster later that day and he tells me that the car wasn’t ready at all…just sitting in the lot. So I call Paul up, not letting him know that I spoke to the adjuster and ask him “so Paul how did it go today?”. He ends up lying and telling me some bullshit story.
I go back and forth with Paul explaining to him that it’s been almost a month now, and my car still hasn’t been looked at. The car has literally been sitting in a lot for a month, while I’m paying one month lease on a car I don’t have.
- Im not positive to how long its been since the date of loss, but finally Paul comes through and the adjuster looks at the car. It’s deemed fixable. So Insurance gives the go-ahead for BMW to repair the car, clean the seats, carpets, etc….
During the next 2 months or so, dealing with Paul probably gave me a rise in blood pressure, a small aneurism and/or tumor and a hike in stress levels…The amount of calling and getting voicemails, leaving voicemails and never getting a call back was continuous. Whenever I would get a hold on him, it would be the same explanation from him on why my car isn’t ready yet...but he would ask if I’ve gotten any checks on from my insurance yet. I felt like their was ABSOLUTELY no honesty dealing with him, he couldn’t just be upfront, I felt like that for a majority of the time.
I get a call November 9th that the car is pretty much done. So I’m back to dealing with Paul again…He tells me that I should have checks totaling out to X amount, so I go in to pick my car up on the 11/11. I arrive at 5pm, sit down with Paul, and our numbers don’t match up. I ended up having to pay a $500 dollar deductible for Paul to release my car. I pay it and go over the car with Paul.
I start it up, and a extremely weird startup and idling noise is coming from the engine. He tells me its probably from the intake..that it needs to be “broken in”. I’m fine with that, after all the car has been sitting on its ass for 2 months and 22 days. The rest of the car seems to be fine, things smell/look good, the clutch was a little spongy but I couldn’t care at the time because I was so glad to be reunited.
Over the next two days, the noise doesn’t stop. The startup sounds atrocious, and actually stalled on first startup twice on me. So I bring it in on a Saturday and deal with someone else because Paul was off…and WHAT A DELIGHT! I start up the car for a couple mechanics, and they tell me to bring it in because it sounds like the starter/solenoid.
I bring it in after having the car for a full 3 days on 11/15. I get a call from Paul 11/18, and am told it’s the starter, and “because its flood related, were going to have to go through insurance for this fix”. SO the adjuster comes down the following week, deems the fix as Parts + 1 hour labor. I get a check in from Allstate 11/29, for $562. I call Paul up to ask if the car is done, and he tells me its just about finished and could pick it up later on in the week…
So I called him up 2 days ago to arrange pick up for the car. He asked if I had a check, and told him yes. He asked how much for and I said somewhere in the range of 500 dollars. He said that it must be wrong, and probably have to pay another $500 deductible!!! ARE YOU F***ING JOKING ME!...So he tells me that he’l call insurance to find out everything. I hang up and look at the check..it has the same “date of loss” and Claim Number. So there wouldn’t be any need to pay another $500 deductible when I just did a week ago for a $8000 FIX! I call him back immediately and tell him it’s the same date of loss/Claim #, and gives me some bullshit saying that the fix is somewhere in the $1000 dollar range. I feel that he knew I made a valid point and bullshits his way into another way of getting $$$. So I tell Paul listen, please let me know by the end of today what’s going on...i never got a call back that day or the next day.
Yesterday I find out that BMW (or Paul) put down that it takes 8 hours to replace a starter. Paul told me that its going to cost insurance somewhere in the range of $1500 dollars. I mean I just Cant believe this bullshit. I spoke to my insurance advisor, and she told me that there all sorting it out and a check will be here soon so I can get my car back which I feel I don’t even own anymore. On top of that, insurance told me that they've had a hard time dealing with Paul as well. She actually said "he's been jerkin you and us around". They've emailed him letters and was told he doesn't reply back within a considerable amount of time...
So I’m still waiting…and that’s it.
My Conclusion…If you sum up the facts, I basically have been paying for a car I don’t have for 3 months now essentially. I’ve been dealing with a POS service advisor, that has been nothing but bullshit (although a nice man). Together with the 3 lease months of $2100 plus the $500 dollar deductible…$2600 has come out of my pocket ( I was reimbursed for towing fees prior). Im extremely upset that BMW/Paul, after replacing $4000 in parts ($4000 labor), ranging from a new headlight to new internals to seats/carpet being ripped out and cleaned…that they would miss/bypass a loud/obtrusive sound from the engine every time it was started up. Because of them, im now going through this dilemma all over again, car-less.
M3post… I would like opinions and/or comments PLEASE! Should I contact BMW North America? Should I ask for the 3 months of payments back? Can I exit my lease early and not pay any fees to compensate what BMW has put me through? I don’t even know if the car is ever going to be the same again…
Oh and DO NOT DEAL with PAUL GIAQUINTO. Im respectful and am not going to tell all of you what i think about him...although its relatively easy to figure that out.