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      02-03-2019, 10:06 PM   #1
EstorilM240
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I love driving BMWs but the service and dealerships are absolutely ridiculous

Is there any way to bypass these experiences if I want relatively new BMWs? TLDR service at dealerships is super-aggravating compared to the indie mechanics I'm used to.

I currently drive a car that I love dearly, but I'm strongly considering another brand for my next car.

Every time I'm gone in for service has been a major pain. It's ridiculous that there's layers upon layers of non-value add people, the fact that you have to go through several layers of communication in order for someone to play telephone and potentially lose your message.

I drive a M240i and I took over the lease, so they didn't transfer my service warranty over (the warranty stopped being transferred over for MY201+ https://www.autoblog.com/2014/08/12/...-to-2nd-owner/). This is probably the beginning of all my troubles.

Experience 1: Quoted $99 for an oil change (the other dealerships in the area were all $200+). Get there, it still turns out to be $200. Try and buy the 36K mile maintenance/refresh/transfer for second owners, and the service advisor says it's $700 - after I reviewed the paperwork during lunch (had to rush out) I notice he sold me two separate $100 (maintenance refresh)+$600 (wear and tear items/Ultimate Care +) packages. Luckily CA has a 30 day cancellation period, so after more hassling when I was back I finally got my oil changed after 3+ hours and only did the $100 maintenance refresh.

Experience 2 (different dealer): I have the refresh, it should be easy, right? Make appointment. It takes nearly 2 hours for the entire oil change process, quoted 1.5h, and I checked in several times and tried to skip things like the "body shop quote" and eventually the car wash to save time. The volunteered a "free body shop quote" for some minor dents devolved into a sales pitch where the body shop person tried to get me to file a claim to repair some damage, and I told him even if you had comprehensive/collision, filing a claim and upping your deductible is not worth it.

Finally, at the checkout counter, they wanted me to sign a huge stack of papers. The front desk cashier kept accosting me and at some point called for the manager (said "it was the property of BMW and I couldn't read the papers), because I wanted to make sure I read through everything I was about to sign. I saw all sorts of vehicle history details in there such as exactly when various lights were tripped and the actual history of what codes of warranty were added, etc. I'm very tempted to make them cite the exact piece of the contract I signed that says I won't look at papers they hand me to sign? Which is insane in the face of consumer protection regulations. I was screwed once by signing contracts that I didn't want, so I'm going to read everything through again. The link to "track status" on my order led to a broken webpage, and when I walked into the service area entrance to check in I was given an eye roll when I didn't know the name of my service advisor. They were already discussing another situation where they lost a different customer's keys.

Experience 3 (my relatives, same as dealer 1): Took the car in for a 49.5K service, nothing said about brakes. Less than 2,000 miles later, brakes start squealing. When I look at the computer it now claims "45K miles until front brakes/50K miles until rear brakes". Ridiculous. I strongly suspect they measured and got 2 or 3mm of brake pad left but just said nothing.

I would have done the oil changes NOT at a BMW dealership if it weren't for concerns on lease return. I guess it won't matter if I start as first owner next time. The experience on trying to get the warranty refreshes was also ridiculous - multiple layers of calls, phone tag, transfers, and it is all gate kept by the finance department - assuming it has to do with sales commissions and all.

All I see are value leeches and bureaucracy everywhere (service "advisors", sales people, etc.) - that's why service is the biggest profit center for dealers. They quoted $1200+ for front brakes alone. It makes the model of Tesla look so appealing. Order a car, no BS, no games, do everything on an app. But I want that M4 convertible so badly...

BTW, someone will probably chime in and say "you are a nightmare customer". Possibly. But I am 99% satisfied in nearly all other service areas (restaurants, hotels, airlines, etc.)

The problem is, I can't find that many other cars in the same category, so I may be indeed stuck with BMW stealership experiences. There's the RS3/C43 (no manaul), Mustang/Camaro (is the ride quality significantly worse?) I'm also looking at numbers for future BMWs and it it seems daunting to get anything like my current deal, plus the nightmare game process of "negotiating" with a dealer too.

Maybe those of you who have longtime experiences with luxury brands overcharging will just think it's par for the course (I come from a long line of used Hondas). For the option of just buying a car and going indie after the warranty period, that's quite appealing, but if you have free maintenance, there's no reason to not take it clearly, it just seems you just have to constantly be on the lookout to avoid being screwed over. I guess the lessons learned are: Only do maintenance on Saturdays and leave half a day open, just accept it and deal with the once a year aggravation and minimize conflict.

Sorry, just had to get that off my chest. A couple of drives later and the smile will be back on my face.

[Edited for brevity and to add TLDR]

Last edited by EstorilM240; 02-05-2019 at 03:55 AM..
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      02-03-2019, 10:32 PM   #2
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This is why I only go there for warrantee work or recall work only. I do the rest, and if I can't, I have a local mechanic I can trust.
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      02-03-2019, 10:34 PM   #3
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Wow, that was a long post. I kept scrolling and scrolling...

Anyway, I have good news for you that is also shitty at the same time. Your experience isn't a reason to give up BMW's if you like driving them. Because if you go to a different brand you'll get the same service
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      02-03-2019, 11:03 PM   #4
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I stopped reading after the 8th paragraph but I haven’t experienced anything close to what you experienced and I’ve been to 3 BMW service departments in the area.
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      02-04-2019, 12:43 AM   #5
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I have had a lot of BMWs over the years, and in varying places (including BC and Alberta in Canada and Texas and Colorado in the US)and I have never had anywhere near the problems the OP is listing. Service is not cheap, but the work is usually well done and I really have few complaints.

Perhaps try another dealer or...................maybe BMW is not the car for you...................
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      02-04-2019, 01:22 AM   #6
EstorilM240
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Yeah, I've tried two different centers so far. I will try another location, hopefully third time's the charm! I searched local threads for recs, but it seems like the best ones might be an extra hour away. Part of the aggravation stems from the time wasted, so I'll have to weigh this tradeoff a bit.

Anyway, if it seems that dealerships in general are like this I will just put up with it and and use my lessons learned to minimize fricton. I actually don't remember if Honda had a service advisor middleman for the one or two times I did try the dealership. The free maintenance period is only 36K miles which is "good" in that I will have to put up with them for a shorter period of time. I think the service has been done fine mechanically, just the entire process feels too optimized for dealership $$$.

Last edited by EstorilM240; 02-04-2019 at 01:43 AM..
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      02-04-2019, 08:01 AM   #7
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My dealership has excellent service. I have never had a problem with them. I have been using BMW Seattle for more than ten years.
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      02-04-2019, 08:07 AM   #8
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Old saying:

When you run into one asshole, he is probably the asshole. When you run into assholes all day, they perhaps a look in the mirror is appropriate.

Seriously - I've never had any experience even close to what you are describing at any BMW dealer, nor at any other car dealership. Ever. I've never even heard of something so egregious happening from anyone else I know.
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      02-04-2019, 08:07 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth One View Post
Wow, that was a long post. I kept scrolling and scrolling...

Anyway, I have good news for you that is also shitty at the same time. Your experience isn't a reason to give up BMW's if you like driving them. Because if you go to a different brand you'll get the same service
I'm going to disagree with you. I've had excellent experience at both the Porsche and Mercedes dealerships I deal with. This has been for both warranty work and some after warranty stuff. They are expensive once you get out of warranty and I've found a good indie in my area for both so will move their after warranty. I'll happily pay a lot less and forgo the car wash, loaner and free coffee in the waiting room.

When I had my BMW I had crapy experience at the dealership near where I lived, since I was out of warranty it was off to the indie.....hate to say it but the treatment in the showroom and service at BMW was awful. I suspect it was dealer specific but one bad experience can turn you off a brand.

Last edited by Grumpy Old Man; 02-04-2019 at 08:25 AM..
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      02-04-2019, 08:19 AM   #10
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I have had shitty service at one BMW dealer and great service at another. It is 100% dealer dependent.
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      02-04-2019, 01:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevenc View Post
I have had shitty service at one BMW dealer and great service at another. It is 100% dealer dependent.
This.

Personally, my BMW dealer has been great. I think a lot of it is area specific and the kind of customers they deal with. My BMW dealership is in a major city, but a lot of their customers are likely retired older people or professionals who work at the neighboring companies.

The local Japanese brand dealers have been awful to deal with. Very arrogant and basically assuming their cars sell themselves and customer service is non-existent. They seem to deal with all types of customers though. Last time I was there a lady was screaming at the service adviser about why her car needed so much expensive work (was a rusty mid 2000s Accord).
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      02-04-2019, 01:56 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usshelena725 View Post
Old saying:

When you run into one asshole, he is probably the asshole. When you run into assholes all day, they perhaps a look in the mirror is appropriate.

Seriously - I've never had any experience even close to what you are describing at any BMW dealer, nor at any other car dealership. Ever. I've never even heard of something so egregious happening from anyone else I know.
+1 OP sounds like a confrontational guy likely to find a fight wherever he goes
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      02-04-2019, 02:21 PM   #13
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I'm with you ... in some respects. I decided to just waive the second half of the warranty and will do the maintenance and any fixes myself. A lot easier and fun to own the car figuratively as well as literally. I doubt they would cover anything anyway, it'd be an argument about this part or that part. If you can keep an f3x in stock form, good for you. I can't and am way past that point.

Fuck the dealer and all that. I hate them, and I hate the people that go there and fork over 2k for brakes etc.

Worst case, I have some friends over and we drink beers for another engine pull. Maybe I lose a few grand, it doesn't matter. I don't have to worry about service advisors and all that nonsense.
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      02-04-2019, 02:27 PM   #14
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where in calif. are you?
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      02-04-2019, 03:10 PM   #15
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My dealership has been fine service wise - they are 2-3x the cost of a local shop price wise however.

I only go there for warranty work -- get a loaner with no problem, prompt responses and updates via text/call.
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      02-04-2019, 03:14 PM   #16
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I had the opposite experience.

I really wanted to stay with BMW because of the amazing service and dealership experiences, there just isn't a BMW I would currently want/need.
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      02-04-2019, 04:52 PM   #17
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ITT guy complaining about stealership service prices. lolz
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      02-04-2019, 05:49 PM   #18
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I am about 50/50 for dealership service for any brand. Honda had treated me the best. Audi, VW, Ram, and BMW have all been less than customer service. I wish Honda or Acura made a nice RWD sports car.
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      02-04-2019, 08:11 PM   #19
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I know exactly what OP is talking about, and that's because I live in California, most of the dealerships here SUCK! They are absolutely the worst to work with, charge absurd rates on labor, even make you pay for your own rental car while your car gets serviced sometimes. It's not necessarily their fault, the corporate and everyone is on their ass. There used to be a time where you could drive into a SoCal dealer with a tuned/bolt on car and no one would blink an eye cause no one cared, or you could go to Charlie at Mckenna and get your turbos/waterpump/fuel pumps/ basically whatever shit your car needed to be replaced for free/heavily discounted because the service department was making huge money and BMW would pay them for the labor. That's not the case anymore. They're assholes... Also overpriced cause we have the highest taxes and they will suck every penny from you that they can.
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      02-04-2019, 08:49 PM   #20
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dont feed the negativity in this thread. people will blast you for being THE aggressor or angry one; yet you stated you have great interactions elsewhere...

ill try to keep this short...

they probably don't care that much about their jobs; and just mindless drones following protocol and procedure. they lack the ability to independently think on your level...this doesn't apply to all; some SA could break my car down into every individual bolt and put it back together...on top of that they have great attitudes. Its really just an individual basis. your anger and bitterness is because your expecting too much out of people.

i went to go test drive a brand spanking new ftype-r. i ask can i test drive.... zero questions; brings the temp plates and we are on the road...older guy in his 50s...dressed in his suspenders had a very "americana" vibe. went on a long drive; and he was a really cool guy. more than a 25 yr old age gap.

if people want to be mindless drones and do whatever...not be the best all the time...

so it goes.
say it aint so.

insert whatever you want here to make you feel better.

my bmw dealer 5 mins away is exactly as your describe; i drive almost an hour to go to morris or mt.laurel....why? because no point of fighting the system.

find a better dealership; and find out if its worth it for you. i drive an hour...worth it for me

dealers are independently owned and vary vastly.

the jag dealerships waiting area was right outside the bathroom, and had four chairs...imagine walking in there after dropping 125k on your ftype to have the service guy to get oil on your leather since all he services are there lower tier cars and those customers wouldnt even notice....pros and cons...balance


edit:::i'm for my car in the makeshift service area since the BMW delership is going a massive remodel...
guy comes to drop his car off...where is your key sir....your valet took it with the car....well sire all cars need their keys to be serviced so we can read it; with about 60% attitude... here is where I want to say....wellll bettttttttiiichhh than your valet shouldn't have taken it, you go get it miss attitude....but serenity now. and the guy went back out and got his key.

Last edited by G35POPPEDMYCHERRY; 02-04-2019 at 08:55 PM..
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      02-05-2019, 12:18 AM   #21
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Wow have not had service like that. Since I've bought my car, I've had it serviced at 4 different dealerships across two different states and none of the dealerships were the purchasing dealership.

I've noticed in Southern California dealers I've been to, I can't seem to get a BMW loaner without scheduling service super early. This is not the case with North Texas dealerships.
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      02-05-2019, 08:34 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth One View Post
Wow, that was a long post. I kept scrolling and scrolling...

Anyway, I have good news for you that is also shitty at the same time. Your experience isn't a reason to give up BMW's if you like driving them. Because if you go to a different brand you'll get the same service
That’s not necessarily true. I have had two MB and the service was definitely better than what I receive from BMW on a regular basis. Not night and day, but much more customer centric. I have had two BMWs bought back by BMWNA and in both instances the service department was a contributing factor that BMW ultimately had to account for.
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