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      01-18-2012, 10:34 PM   #1
msh441
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Drives: 2007 BMW Z4 M Coupe
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Pacific Northwest

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My first BMW Dealership experiences: some good, some bad

Well, this is a bit of a rant and a little rave, too... so if it's determined to be inappropriate by the mods, or more appropriate for another section of the forums, I will understand.

I'm new to the BMW ownership family following my recent purchase of a low-mileage BMW Z4M Coupe. I have been however, a MINI owner for the past 4 years and both my father and step-mother are both long-term BMW loyalists.

I wanted to take the time to describe my purchase and forward my recent experience with two BMW dealerships.

I bought my car from a private seller in Chicago, Illinois. The previous owner had completed a low-mileage oil service and full inspection on 09/02/11 at Pirello BMW in Chicago, Illinois. At that time, the vehicle was still under warranty and the owner specifically requested that Pirello BMW complete an inspection of the vehicle and determine if there was anything that need attention before the warranty expiration the following month. At the time, a low-mileage oil change was performed, the inspection was completed and the only item noted was worn tires and the recommendation for tire replacement and a wheel alignment. Total charge was $0, as the vehicle was under warranty and the mileage at the time of the inspection was 26382.

The owner listed the vehicle for sale following the oil change and inspection and I found his listing online. Details were worked out and a price was agreed upon. Prior to the purchase, I requested a vehicle inspection which was subsequently performed by Pirello BMW, Chicago on 11/04/11 for $243. The vehicle showed 26392 miles on the clock at the time of the inspection... however Pirello found several "new" issues with the vehicle. Specifically dirty/contaminated brake fluid, worn brake pads all around, a seized left front brake caliper and a leaking power steering hose (as well as the previously noted worn tires). It should be noted that these items were NOT OBSERVED during the previous inspection conducted UNDER WARRANTY, one month earlier, with only 10 miles difference on the odometer.

Discussing the matter with Pirello, the logical argument was made that most, if not all of these items should have been observed/corrected during the inspection conducted on 09/02/11. Pirello agreed to rebuild the seized left front caliper, replace the front rotors and then flush and fill the brake fluid under warranty. During the service however, I was required to pay for front brake pads ($207.42). The service was performed and once complete, the vehicle was shipped to me in Washington State (still needing rear pads, tires and the replacement of a leaky power steering hose).

Upon arrival in Washington State I discovered that during the brake service, Pirello reversed the left and right rotors. Not an issue with strait-vaned blank rotors... but the curved vane, drilled and slotted rotors on the M Coupe are side-specific. When I contacted Pirello BMW about the issue, they agreed to correct the problem, but required me to take the vehicle to my nearest BMW dealership (BMW Seattle, approximately 60 miles away from my home in Mount Vernon, Washington).

To complete the service, I had to take a half-day off from work and drive the 120 miles round trip to BMW Seattle to have the problem corrected. I arranged a service appointment for 12/23/11 at 7:00 AM and was told to have the service adviser from BMW Seattle contact Pirello upon my arrival. I sent an e-mail to the SA at Pirello BMW as I arrived in Seattle, and the BMW Seattle Service Adviser,Tomas Cerovsky called Pirello immediately upon my arrival/check in.

My vehicle was completed in just over one hour and during the service I had my turn signals programmed for personalization and purchased a handful of minor hardware parts that were missing, or in need of replacement on my vehicle (cigarette lighter, small clips inthe trunk, etc.) as well as some accessories to go with my new-to-me car. Total price for service and parts came to $577.01. Of this, approximately $288 was specifically for the correction of the reversed rotors.

When the vehicle was finished however, BMW Seattle called Pirello BMW no less that 6 times in an attempt to coordinate payment for the portion of the service that was specifically the responsibility of Pirello BMW. Each call they were given different reasons as to why they would need to call back, or who would need to authorize the charge at Pirello BMW. After waiting over two hours at Seattle BMW for Pirello to pay for their portion of this service, I finally paid for the service myself and left the dealership (I was due in court at noon, 60 miles away, and had an hour to get there at that time-I simply could not wait any longer). The cashier at BMW Seattle indicated that once Pirello paid for their portion of the service, they would reimburse my card for the amount paid by Pirello.

While driving back I received a call from the Pirello BMW SA indicating that they were working on arranging payment with BMW Seattle and that it would be taken care of before the end of the day. Cashiers at BMW Seattle indicated they would call, send an e-mail and send me a corrected invoice in the mail once they received payment from Pirello BMW. At the end of the day I received no word from BMW Seattle to indicate payment was received. As of midnight, I have not seen any indication that my debit card has been reimbursed any of the costs incurred due to the negligence of Pirello BMW's technicians.

At this point, I would like to say that I was thrilled by my experience with BMW Seattle. Their staff was courteous and efficient. I was definitely frustrated with the process, but they did their very best to accommodate me and coordinate with Pirello BMW to get this issue taken care of.

...on the other hand, I feel that Pirello BMW has cost me significantly at this point. Up till now, I've paid Pirello BMW $243 for an inspection, and $207 for front brake pads and an additional $288 correcting their work. That's close to $750. I did recieve a reimbursement from Pirello that credited to my account approximately two days later, but what a hassle.

I'm concerned that if Pirello can mess up somthing as simple as side-specific rotors... miss a siezed caliper on inspection... miss a leaking poer steering hose during inspection and miss worn brake pads... what else did they miss when I paid them to inspect the car prior to my purchase?

I'll never see it, I know. I already called BMW Customer Relations and was told "so sorry"... but I really feel Pirello BMW owes me some type of compensation for the following:

-A half a day's work + 2 hours of simply wasted time
-120 miles in fuel
-and I would still argue that Pirello should have rightfully fixed the leaking power steering hose they missed, and rear brake pads when the vehicle was inspected under warranty

At this point, I know BMW NA is not going to assist with this matter in any way. But I wanted to at least voice my opinion somewhere where someone will listen an appreciate my frustrations.

Overall, very disappointed right now.

Thankfully, I think I found a decent "local" dealership in BMW Seattle.
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