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      12-22-2013, 06:31 PM   #1
nastynogales
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Dealership Being Unaccountable, BMW NA Further Complicates Matter ... Need Help

Hey Guys,

I'm looking for direction as I'm not sure what to do at this point. I'd like the community's help to guide me through this horrific ordeal.

After spending the past 9 months with what should have been a simple issue to resolve, it has now become a complete nightmare. I thought the problem was localized at the dealership, but I'm starting to think this is more of a systemic problem at BMW, after dealing with BMW North America (BMW NA) this week:
  • Mar 2013: Request dealership to replace front brakes under extended maintenance plan (M3 bought as CPO). Dealership denied initial request, claiming custom wheels, driving habits caused premature wear (even though the service was due 2k miles, 1 month away) and wanted me to pay full price. Kindly explained: (1) this was a CPO with 45k miles on it - which was why I bought the extended maintenance plan or else would have not purchased it (peace of mind), (2) as part of extended maintenance plan, it's pre-paid for and would be ridiculous for me to pay again, (3) it's a safety issue at this point and (4) they're being unreasonable considering how close I'm due for the service. They finally agreed to replace the brakes, however it was done under goodwill. Note: car was road tested.

  • Apr 2013: Shortly after I noticed steering wheel shaking issue when accelerating AND braking; Had tires inspected (figured since brakes are new), front tires showing uneven wear; unsure what was causing it.

  • Jul 2013: Steering wheel shake worsened; Returned to dealership to inspect brakes again, dealership didn't diagnose problem but installed rear rotors instead, unlike the first time they didn't conduct road test (which would uncovered wheel shake). Apparent to me dealership was unwilling to diagnose or fix my issue after leaving with the same issue I came in for.

  • Aug 2013: On my own at this point, tried to pinpoint root problem: is it the brakes or tires? I swapped custom wheels/tires to my stock set and tires; Found steering wheel shaking issue gone when accelerating, however brake issue persisted (during braking - duh).

  • Sep 2013: After 6 months and still unable figure out problem, the car could no longer be driven safely. I took it to a 3rd party shop. By simply removing the tire, they found the problem: the dealership installed the front rotors on backwards. They were surprised how that could happen because BMW brakes are directional (very obvious when comparing the front and back brakes - direction of holes were going opposite of each other - should be the same direction), let alone stamped with an L and an R. I was extremely pissed off that the dealership who was resistant to replace the brakes under my pre-paid maintenance plan, come to find out they installed them on the wrong side. Not only did they compromise my safety (my passengers and those around me) but also unnecessary, unknown damage to my car for the past 6 months. Never mind the fact that they had a chance to diagnose it (but failed).

  • Sep 2013: Advised the dealership about this situation. The dealership didn't admit anything but promptly took my car in without question and replaced the rotors correctly this time. Surprisingly, they didn't document anything about reversed rotors in the diagnosis and I was never given an apology whatsoever. I left the dealership dumbfounded and amazed that they simply didn't care about my situation, or reassure me that this wouldn't happen again. It was clear I am not a valuable customer to them and it didn't matter if I come back at all (they are a high-volume dealer anyways). Realizing there could be more damage as a result of this, I knew I had to inform corporate BMW of my situation. Without having it properly documented, I knew I had to inform BMW NA with as much accurate and detailed information as possible, to support my claim. I was certain the documentation and facts would clearly show how the dealership acted irresponsibly and inappropriately.

  • Nov 2013: I submitted my claim to BMW NA. Asking for call back only - I did not ask for money or compensation, just a discussion with a BMW representative in a timely manner.

  • Dec 2013: With no response after a month (not in a "timely manner" as requested), I emailed the customer service representative, only to find out a decision was made: no compensation or goodwill due to vehicle taken to 3rd Party shop. Never mind that I was never communicated about the decision, I kindly disagreed with it, and stated they were given the opportunity to fix it but failed. As a result, a 3rd party shop was able to find the cause of a problem that BMW certified technicians could not - am I supposed to rely on them when my safety is being compromised, yet nothing was done? So doing what's best for me after BMW can't find anything, is grounds for disregarding my whole claim altogether? It culminated because the dealership couldn't find the problem they created, ignored my claim and left it unfixed in an unsafe manner. UNBELIEVABLE. The whole reason I bought a CPO with maintenance plan is because I didn't want to go to a 3rd party shop, repairs are expensive for these cars. Do they really think I want to pay extra for services that should have been covered by my warranty or maintenance plan? Simply put, I couldn't trust BMW with my life anymore, so I did what was the right thing for everyone - everyone except myself in the eyes of BMW.

  • Dec 2013: During the BMW NA claim, I was dealing with a customer service rep who was combative, defensive, and outright unprofessional. I could not get her to provide answers to specific questions, or direction for next steps in my situation. Betrayed to this point, I requested that my claim gets escalated. I come to find out BMW NA only makes decisions on Warranty issues, not issues like mine, and I would need to work with dealership. INCREDIBLE. So for over a month now, my issue wasn't even in-scope for their review process, yet it did. Their unwarranted decision now harms my position with the dealership, making it even less likely to get a favorable decision. Not only that, but the dealership has been alerted to the situation, making it easier for them to cover-up the issue.


All I want is the for the dealership to do the right thing and own up to their mistake. Why is this so hard? I have all the documentation clearly supporting my claim. I can see how BMW can disclaim anything when they know a car was taken outside the BMW dealership network. However, that's a standard response that's given, and I even provided a clear, logical reasoning behind the approach: BMW could not find their own problem (that they created) and the measures I took to do their job.

This will absolutely be the first and last BMW I ever buy. I don't have a problem with my M3 at all (I love it) but to deal with these kind of people and the awful service, is downright despicable. I can't tell you how many hours I've wasted on this.... I'm simply amazed at this entire debacle, and how BMW continues to show incompetence at every stage of our engagement. I hope nobody has to go through anything like this like I have.

If anything, I'm looking for a moral victory here, to show this 'well-known' dealership and BMW NA they can't operate in this manner - and you will be held accountable for being negligent.

Thanks for taking the time to read this long thread. As you can see, I'm serious about this matter and will not stand for this. Any advice is welcome.
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      12-22-2013, 07:04 PM   #2
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2 things:

A: I'm so sorry to hear about the craziness that you had to go through. Assuming everything you mentioned is accurate(this is more a disclaimer rather than not believing you, cause I do), then it is utter bullshit. Period.

B: Decide what you'd like to accomplish with this fight and how far you'd like to take it. Personally I would lawyer up, demand an apology and request some type of compensation. Alternatively, if you don't want to take it that far, I would call the GM of the dealership, explain the situation and state that you're just looking for an apology, etc. I would give him a time period to get in touch with you before you escalate the matter to a higher up within the dealership(heck, I would go as far as sending ownership a letter). Frankly, if I get this pissed off, I would bother them just to make their life hell.
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      12-22-2013, 10:15 PM   #3
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What dealership? People here might no friendly contacts there to help...or other dealerships that are local to you to possibly help.
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      12-23-2013, 03:12 PM   #4
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BMW NA won't do anythig to the dealer. It's a franchise and BMW doesn't penalize the Dealer for "bad customer service." Your only recourse as a consumer as far as making your voice heard is to give a negative survey on BMW NA's follow up survey.

In the end your car was fixed, and just take your car somewhere else from now on.

If you want a written apology email the store's GM, they'll most likely respond, unless you're wanting some grander gesture.
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      12-23-2013, 03:53 PM   #5
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As stated above, your car was fixed and all is good now.

Going fw go to a different dealership and remember that most dealers will do whatever it takes to deny your claim (customs wheels, after market suspension and etc. )

Also BMW is pretty strict on following when stuff is due...... If you take your car in 2k before the oil change is due or 3 months before the computer indicates, they will simply ask you to come back.

If I were you, I would ask for a refund on the prepaid maintenance and just keep the extended warranty. Find your self another dealer or a good indy.
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      12-23-2013, 03:57 PM   #6
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My advice would be to move on....Its not worth wasting any more of your time on it.
Its not really anything to do with BMW NA, its all to do with the dealer.
Name and shame the dealer so other owners are aware and enjoy your car and your life.
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      12-23-2013, 05:12 PM   #7
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Thanks for the advice everyone. I really appreciate the help here. I'm talking to my lawyer friend so we'll go from there. Somebody also suggested I post a negative review on Yelp - sometimes dealerships respond to those.

And I'll drop bombs on the dealership... Rusnak BMW in Thousand Oaks. Never will I trust my life with them again. I don't mind driving down to Steve Thomas or Bob Smith if I have to, just for peace of mind.

I happen to work at the 2nd employer in Ventura County (behind the Navy), which also happened to put Thousand Oaks on the map. We are very reputable at this dealership and every dealership at that entire auto center. I've already mentioned this to a number of co-workers, a lot of which are BMW owners. They're just as shocked by this whole matter as I am.

Last edited by nastynogales; 12-23-2013 at 05:25 PM.
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      12-23-2013, 06:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nastynogales View Post
Thanks for the advice everyone. I really appreciate the help here. I'm talking to my lawyer friend so we'll go from there. Somebody also suggested I post a negative review on Yelp - sometimes dealerships respond to those.

And I'll drop bombs on the dealership... Rusnak BMW in Thousand Oaks. Never will I trust my life with them again. I don't mind driving down to Steve Thomas or Bob Smith if I have to, just for peace of mind.

I happen to work at the 2nd employer in Ventura County (behind the Navy), which also happened to put Thousand Oaks on the map. We are very reputable at this dealership and every dealership at that entire auto center. I've already mentioned this to a number of co-workers, a lot of which are BMW owners. They're just as shocked by this whole matter as I am.
Thanks for the heads up -- being from LA and living in SD -- its helpful to know which Southern Cali dealerships to avoid.

And on the other end of the spectrum, Steve Thomas -- at least from a purchasing standpoint -- couldnt have been a better experience. I would recommend them with no hesitation -- especially because Jimmy (GOLFRR) is such a helpful and easy-to-reach point of contact.

The Bob Smith dealershop was cool too (I got my 2006 E46 M3 from them)....
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      12-23-2013, 10:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pertplus View Post
Thanks for the heads up -- being from LA and living in SD -- its helpful to know which Southern Cali dealerships to avoid.

And on the other end of the spectrum, Steve Thomas -- at least from a purchasing standpoint -- couldnt have been a better experience. I would recommend them with no hesitation -- especially because Jimmy (GOLFRR) is such a helpful and easy-to-reach point of contact.

The Bob Smith dealershop was cool too (I got my 2006 E46 M3 from them)....
Exactly. I've heard the same for both dealerships, so thanks for re-confirming.

In fact, I had Steve Thomas do my first service since their Parts guy Jon (who's on these forums) hooked me up on with my first batch of accessories after purchasing the car.

It's just that Rusnak is so much more conveniently located to my work than either.... however my life is worth the hike up and down that nasty grade!

I gotta find out how steep that hill is on the 101... I've seen many cars fail going up it... I can only imagine what would happen if your brakes fail going down it...
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      12-24-2013, 01:08 AM   #10
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      12-24-2013, 12:56 PM   #11
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OP: Did you try filing a complaint against this dealership with BBB? I would start with that before taking the lawyer route (which might be too complicated and not worth doing).
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      12-26-2013, 04:10 PM   #12
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      12-27-2013, 11:55 AM   #13
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Quote:
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OP: Did you try filing a complaint against this dealership with BBB? I would start with that before taking the lawyer route (which might be too complicated and not worth doing).
Right, Im going to submit a claim to BAR (cal bureau of automotive repair) today and start there. They advocate on behalf of the consumer against unscrupulous shops like Rusnak...

Ill post updates once I hear back from them. Thanks for the advice.
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      12-27-2013, 12:56 PM   #14
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I bought my car from a small BMW dealership directly from the GM.
Based on the posts I read on this forum I am always surprised how unattainable and barricaded behind layers of SA's GM seem to be. Like he is some kind of His Majesty the GM. That is not the case at all with my GM. He is a very decent guy, he will easily respond always concisely and right to the point, never ever makes idle BS talk, not even one word, not trying to throw any spin on anything just simple good manners guy. Not trying to "be nice" or "intimidating" "superior" or anything, just respectful and professional.
I guess he must be a rare case.
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      12-27-2013, 03:09 PM   #15
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I bought my car from a small BMW dealership directly from the GM.
Based on the posts I read on this forum I am always surprised how unattainable and barricaded behind layers of SA's GM seem to be. Like he is some kind of His Majesty the GM. That is not the case at all with my GM. He is a very decent guy, he will easily respond always concisely and right to the point, never ever makes idle BS talk, not even one word, not trying to throw any spin on anything just simple good manners guy. Not trying to "be nice" or "intimidating" "superior" or anything, just respectful and professional.
I guess he must be a rare case.
Isn't it sad how customer service has taken a backseat in pretty much everything? I don't mind paying a little bit extra as long as I know I'm getting the service I deserve.

With the aging baby boomers and the fact US no longer "produces" anything anymore, we're already transitioning into a service-based economy where customer service will be key for success. If this is any indication how the US will fare, we're gonna be in a world of hurt.

Maybe I'm blowing it out of proportion here, but c'mon: why is good customer service such a rarity nowadays?

Even at my company (and occurring in the IT industry as well), we're in the midst of transitioning our operations into a service model. Part of this change is being communicative and responsive to our business partners (customer), in order to show the value we bring. Our organization recognizes this gap, and is providing training to remediate staff.
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      01-08-2014, 11:24 AM   #16
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Thanks for sharing your story and I'm sorry that you had to deal with this hassle. My honest thoughts are that the tech obviously made a mistake on the install - which any tech at any shop can and will do. Then they didn't figure out the mistake which is concerning. Then you figured out the mistake, they fixed it free of charge without apologizing. I'm confused as to what you are expecting from them at this point. A simple apology from the dealership, from BMW? If so what will that do for you?

I have had great experiences and horrible experiences at different dealerships. I think its impossible for BMW to control how every person at every dealership handles things. I simply use those experiences to dictate where I bring my business. There is a dealership conveniently located 2 miles from my house that I refuse to use for that reason. Be thankful that you live in a large market area with lots of dealership options. I'm in no way excusing the behavior of Rusnak but take your business elsewhere, give them bad reviews and move on. In addition, I am not a tech but my understanding is that the only negative impact of putting the rotors on backwards is reduced cooling. I'm not sure that your life was in grave danger.

One thing I have learned over time is that everyone makes mistakes, even certified techs, doctors, etc. It is frustrating and reason for complaining; especially if they don't take ownership for their actions. The best recourse IMO is to both take the time to publicly praise those who do a good job and publicly criticise those who don't.
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      01-08-2014, 03:04 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slicer View Post
Thanks for sharing your story and I'm sorry that you had to deal with this hassle. My honest thoughts are that the tech obviously made a mistake on the install - which any tech at any shop can and will do. Then they didn't figure out the mistake which is concerning. Then you figured out the mistake, they fixed it free of charge without apologizing. I'm confused as to what you are expecting from them at this point. A simple apology from the dealership, from BMW? If so what will that do for you?

I have had great experiences and horrible experiences at different dealerships. I think its impossible for BMW to control how every person at every dealership handles things. I simply use those experiences to dictate where I bring my business. There is a dealership conveniently located 2 miles from my house that I refuse to use for that reason. Be thankful that you live in a large market area with lots of dealership options. I'm in no way excusing the behavior of Rusnak but take your business elsewhere, give them bad reviews and move on. In addition, I am not a tech but my understanding is that the only negative impact of putting the rotors on backwards is reduced cooling. I'm not sure that your life was in grave danger.

One thing I have learned over time is that everyone makes mistakes, even certified techs, doctors, etc. It is frustrating and reason for complaining; especially if they don't take ownership for their actions. The best recourse IMO is to both take the time to publicly praise those who do a good job and publicly criticise those who don't.
This seems pretty rational. However, it is worth mentioning OP spent weeks/months trying to figure out a problem BMW denied existed when double checked. OP Stated to dealer there is a vibration problem and they should have re installed the rotors upon "checking them". In hindsight, they committed the same error twice to the same customer, and someone should be fired immediately and thats that. If i had a service guy perform these two errors or a service team I would be looking to replace him/her or them.
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