Time For Some Pressure Words

Okay,do you happen to remember a previous post regarding our BMW 135i that was spending a significant amount of time in the shop due to a reoccurring engine light issue?  I believe that particular post was summarizing the third time we had to take that vehicle in to get it serviced for loss of pressure in the fuel system.  Now for the critical part.  Do you recall the last words from that post?…. let me remind you.  “So for now, no harm done, but if that light goes on again, we’ll be having some “pressure” words for sure.”  I might as well keep the quiz format going a little longer.  Any guesses as to what happened the second time out on the road with it?  If you said, “crappy German engineering took center stage again”, then give yourself 100 points because that is exactly what happened.  The first day after getting back from the shop, I drove it to work and back without incident.  About 5 days later Linda decided to take it on a drive.  Sure enough, the light came on again.  I about went ballistic when she told me this.

Being the weekend, we had to wait until Monday to call and make an appointment to get it serviced.  Linda dropped it off on Tuesday morning and once again picked up a 328 loaner – this one was a step up from the previous ones since it had the X drive (all wheel) and slightly improved interior.  For the record, if there is one thing we have learned through all of this is we definitely do not want to ever purchase a 328 – they might want to rethink their approach when customers are bringing in better cars to be serviced.   At first the service department claimed that the car was throwing random errors to the diagnostic device and therefore were unable to determine what the real problem was.  The following day, the conclusion was the same loss of pressure issue.  As before they were going to take the car completely apart and smoke the system to see if there were any leaks.  No word came the next day or and by later the second day we decided action was required.  In the meantime, I had read up on the Illinois Lemon Law and confirmed it was 4 service calls, but that particular law indicated it had to be in the first year.   It was over a year since we purchased the vehicle, however, it is a pleasure car that rarely gets driven – only has a little over 6K miles on it.

At wits end, we decided to head over there after work and get some answers in person.  Just before heading out, Linda called me and suggested we call first to give them some time to get answers before our arrival.  We did not want to waste our time if there was nobody to talk to.  We added the service rep into our conference call and asked him pointed questions about the status of our vehicle.  In particular, we wanted to know who in their management was aware of the issue and the name of the BMW district rep.  It didn’t seem like their service manager was aware of the situation and he became very concerned about giving us access to the BMW rep.  After some direct and sharp discussion, the rep promised to inform the manager and follow up with the mechanic working on the car.  At that point Linda recommended we stay put for awhile and wait for the response.  About 30 minutes later, the rep called Linda back and confirmed that he had talked to both the service manager and the mechanic.  They had found a small leak in the system and were expediting parts to fix it.  Somewhat to our surprise, the rep also said the service manager had approved giving us a financial payment for our troubles equal to one of our monthly car payments.  This would mean our car wouldn’t be ready until Monday which we accepted having no options at that point.  The payment became an interesting discussion since it didn’t occur to the rep we had paid cash and was not leasing or making loan payments.  He didn’t have an answer for that, but promised us he would get us a figure.  So at this point, we now have the proper people engaged, there is a plan to fix the car and we were going to be compensated for our troubles (well, at least they promised us)

That Monday Linda called in the late afternoon to get a status on the car.  They had completed the changes and were in the process of taking it on a test drive.  After that, they had to check it over and wash it.  Due to the time, Linda recommended she pick it up the following morning to give them time to get it done right.  Our baby is home now and with one test drive completed it seems to be holding together.  There will be plenty more drives before we are confident the issue is resolved.  We still have not received a check but we did get our fourth email from the dealership begging us to give them superior ratings on the BMW survey we might get from their corporate offices.  I even went back and compared it with the other 3 emails from before and it was almost verbatim (the fourth had an extra sentence due to a change on the survey).  Once again the blood pressure spiked to dangerous levels.  40 minutes later, the send button was pressed on a very scathing email.  In a nutshell, I asked her how she thinks we would feel having brought a car in four times for the exact same problem and their main concern is what our survey answers were going to be.

This has been extremely frustrating and Linda has already decided one more engine light issue means a one way trip for the car back to the dealer.  The hard part about all of this is she actually likes the car and enjoys driving it … when it isn’t in the shop.

2 thoughts on “Time For Some Pressure Words”

  1. The surveys actually were a big deal back when I worked at a BMW dealership, and I’m guessing they still are. Not sure if it’s still like this, but way back in the day, besides being for bragging rights, the dealership was also eligible for an additional bonus for each car sold if they maintained a service score of XX% (higher being better – think 93% was the lowest you could get to be in the top tier).

    Of course, working with the dealership to reach an agreeable arrangement is best; however, if the dealership isn’t meeting your desired level of satisfaction, zinging them on the customer survey will get someone’s attention really fast. Normally they have to get some higher level folks from BMW involved to address a bad survey. And, depending on the conditions, BMW may/may not remove that statistical data point from their survey results for that month if they situation is resolved.

    Back in the day, before all the automated stuff, we were actually responsible for running a report form our service system and faxing in the names / addresses of the customers for the week. Oddly enough, if we had someone really upset, their name wasn’t on that report… 😉

    Oh, and if you still don’t have a satisfactory resolution to your service issues, call the BMW Customer Relations team. A quick Bing search shows their # is 1-800-831-1117, but it should also be in the manuals you got when you purchased your car. Believe me, from previous experience of working at a BMW dealership, issues reported to the Customer Relations team are not taken lightly and you will get immediate calls from the dealership if you go that route.

    — Skidmarks

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    1. Hey, looks like we have an insider! Thanks for the tips. I can say without question, the service desk tone changed dramatically as soon as we requested the district rep name. Oddly enough, the individual who sent me the email begging for a good response has never responded to my email. I figure I’ll give it a day or two and then call them on that – I already bitched out one of their service desk people who promised to send me details of the last service call and failed to do it (got those sent to us the day after that). Although now I have THE NUMBER so I’m armed – thanks!

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