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Aussie Service Nightmare


Spear

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Friends, Romans, Beemer riders. Lend me your ears. Listen to my tale of woe. Briefly this is it. Last month I rang the nearest BMW dealer to my town to organise a 40,000kms service for 4 weeks hence - last Friday. I left my home town on Thursday and travelled 300kms to stay overnight with a mate so I could do the last 50kms first thing on the appointed day and be in early to the workshop - and I was - just after 8am. I was told if I was there around 8 then I would be first in and could pick the bike up after the usual 4 hours. So I wandered off to a nearby shopping complex and took in a movie - The World's Fastest Indian. You just gotta see that show! Headed back to the workshop at 12 noon and was told that it would be a while longer. "How much longer?" I asked. "Not sure", was the reply. "Why, is there a problem I asked?" "No. No problems. It just takes a while." "Okay, what time did they actually start it?" I asked. "About 10.30". Hello! I've already lost 2.5 hours. What happened to the 8am start? No reply. So I went back to the shopping centre and had lunch. Back to the dealer at 2pm. "How's the bike going?" "Still working on it. It won't be ready until around 4.30." Now, by my reckoning that turns a 4 hours job into an 8 hours job. Not impressed! So come 4:30pm I'm told it's done and it will cost me $A599. I was originally quoted $500. Damn it. Pay the bloody bill and p1ss off out of there. Now when I arrived at the workshop in the morning I had the fuel level down to the amber light to make it easier to work on it. When I got it back after the service I dropped in to a service station next door and filled it up. Fuel gauge went up to 4 bars only, not all the way to the top. Rode back to the workshop (mind you it's now 5pm and everyone wants to knock off for the weekend. Me, I have 3 serious days of riding ahead of me.) So I walked in to the service department and tackled the service manager. Vented my spleen and told him that I'd be back 11:30am the following Monday to have it fixed. "Yes sir, no sir - 3 bags full sir!" So off I head, down one of the steepest and windiest roads on the south coast. Bike's a bit jumpy in the rear end, so it must just be me. Never mind that it's now pitch black night and there are wallabies in the area. Anyway, got to my destination 2 hours later, had a couple of beers and a feed with my friends I was meeting, and had a good night's sleep. Up in the morning for the first serious day of riding. Noticed after about 300kms that the fuel level had come down to meet the sender unit of the fuel gauge and pretty soon I was showing empty - yellow light and all. Fine. I filled up again but the gauge only went 4 bars high again. I can live with that until Monday. What I did notice though was that the arse of the bike was a bit dodgy on a few steep turns and the bike felt top heavy, despite the fact that I had emptied the panneiers and dumped the top box. One of the mates who rides track had a Pirelli tyre gauge so after letting the tyres cool down over lunch we checked the pressures. Both tyres were 10psi below recommended for solo riding. Into a tyre service and topped them up to the correct pressures. Ah, that's better. Anyway, the weekend was uneventful except for the dicky fuel gauge. By the time Monday came around I made it back to the dealer right on 11:30am as promised. I tackled the service guys about my tyre pressures and they said that they are checked. Why, the box on the service sheet is ticked, which means that it MUST HAVE BEEN DONE! "Bullsh1t", I told him. So it went on and on. Anyway, to cut to the chase, it took them 4 more bloody hours to find a nut that had apparently come adrift from the bottom of the fuel gauge sender unit float. I left there at 3:30pm and rode like the wind to get as many miles as I could behind me before sundown, which happened right on 6pm. Damn it, I'm hungry so I stop for a feed at a Golden Arches family restaurant, and finish the next 2+ hours in the dark fighting with kangaroos and semi-trailers. Not nice I can tell you, but I must say that the ABS brakes and integrated braking works damn fine in panic stops when confronted by a 'roo at 100km/hr at night. There were other matters that I'm going to bring up when I write to BMW Australia, not the least is the dollops of grease left on my lambskin seat covers. I'm afraid it's not good enough, and I'm not going to take it any more. Watch this space, because BMW Australia is about to get a rocket right up it.

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Man, that's frustrating, sorry you had a bad experience.

 

Do you have any idea how funny the sentence "Never mind that it's now pitch black night and there are wallabies in the area." is to people who don't live around wallabies? grin.gif

 

It took great effort not to laugh out loud. Hope you get them sorted out.

 

pete

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not much worse than trusting your VERY expensive motorcycle to "those not qualified to turn a screwdriver". I feel your pain and your anger and hope you get it sorted out.

 

At the very least I would expect the next two services to be free.

 

So is a wallabee anything like a Whitetail deer coming out of the woods at night? God, I hope they're smaller and move a lot slower.

 

Rick

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The service was certainly poor but to have the whole experiences exaggerated by your necessity to ride such a long way makes it difficult to tolerate.

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Dang! That sucks! bncry.gif

 

The only part I can only sort of understand is waiting a few hours for the bike to cool to do the valves (they need time to cool below 95*C for proper adjustment). But it also sounds like they did at least a fuel filter swap and might've been training someone (who buggered up your float) when they had the fuel pump/guage unit out of the tank. They had at least a few hours of "book time" with the rest of the stuff to let the valves cool. crazy.gif

 

I also thought it was just a tiny circlip that kept the float on the wire, but I can't imagine trying to find that little nut/circlip deep in the bowels of the gas tank! eek.gifdopeslap.gif

 

Even with my best "Devil's Advocate Hat" on I can't justify some goofy greenhorn getting gooey globs o' grimy grey grease on your lovely lambskins--that just ain't right! eek.gif They must be new to the business if they don't know that the average Beemer rider is generally a fastidious--if not downright obsessive-compulsive sort! (Russell and myself EXcluded, of course! dopeslap.gif )

 

I would air your valid complaints, but in as professional a way as you can (perhaps after you've cooled off a bit and have someone unconnected proof-read it! wink.gif ). That makes it much more likely that they'll hear your genuine concerns rather than just blow you off as a hot-head or a crack-pot. You might also go to the local dealer first for some satisfaction/closure with the clear understanding that in lieu of that you are prepared to go "over their head".

 

Is it a new shop? Are they training/did they just hire a new guy? I've heard of many and personally experienced those scenarios and that (as well as the cost) was the biggest motivator to learn to do it myself.

 

Best of luck and I'm glad they didn't forget something much worse--like forgetting to hook up your brakes with all those wallabies about! eek.gif

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Thanks guys - especially for you Jamie. I spent 3 days typing a letter to the parent company in Melbourne. I put my frustrations on paper on the first night home, then spent the next 2 days going back to it and fine-tuning it to include as much professional sarcasm that I could in the letter. I received a phone call from the service manager on the Tuesday (first day back home) but I couldn't talk with him as I was in a meeting. I told him I would get back to him. Didn't! Then this afternoon I received another call from the "all-teeth-and-tits" bird on the front desk of the showroom. Just a courtesy call to see if the bike was running satisfactorily and if I was happy with the service. I said, "Two questions, two answers. Yes and no!" Told her I didn't have time to talk, and that I had written to BMW Australia and for her to stand by for the relay from there. As for my 'local' BMW dealer - there's no such thing. That dealer is the closest at 375kms distant. The next closest is 414kms east and the next from there is 420kms south east in Sydney. I'll be honest in saying that I'd give the dealers a go at getting it right. Now however, I'll rely on doing what I do with my Subaru. It's serviced by a franchise workshop after a similar bad experience with the local Subie dealer. I'm just gonna find a local workshop (and there are 5 of them) that is willing and capable of doing a 'handbook' service. I'd love to do it myself, but it's just a couple of generations beyond my old 1972 Honda CB750/4. I'm a local businessman who believes in dealing locally when I can, and I conversely expect reciprocation. I'll probably take it back to the Yamaha place I bought it from. Enough said. I'll let y'all know what sort of sh1t floats to the surface from my letter to BMW Oz. Stay safe and upright.

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Dances_With_Wiener_Dogs
I received a phone call from the service manager...I told him I would get back to him. Didn't!
Then this afternoon I received another...courtesy call to see if the bike was running satisfactorily and if I was happy with the service. I said, "Two questions, two answers. Yes and no!" Told her I didn't have time to talk, and that I had written to BMW Australia and for her to stand by for the relay from there.
So you had a bad experience. Why don't you talk to the owner of the dealership and give them the opportunity to earn back your business? Do you really think that BMW Austrailia will give them a stern talk? You're a businessman...would you want someone upset to go over your head or would you rather have that customer give you the chance to listen and apologize? I don't mean to get down on what you did, you're upset and well should be, but although it gives you immediate satisfaction to bitch about it here does it really solve the problem or did you make up your mind never to go back there anyway?

 

My opinion, by default asked for since you're posting in a public forum, is that all of the "professional sarcasm" you inserted into your letter will get it tossed into the rubbish bin.

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David_Charlton

Hi Steve, what a nightmare,the one and only time I took my '03 RT in for service, was at 12000k, only because it was still under warranty.I white inked all the nuts and bolts relevent to the service and when I checked,none had been touched.Because I carry out the servicing myself, with information gathered form this magnificent site,I'm convinced all they did was to take it for a ride and because it ran perfectly,I in fact ended up paying $300 for an oil change.I've just done my 40,000k service(at 47,000) and I took my time to make sure it was done properly,good luck with BMW Australia. David

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You had every right to be pissed. But you should also give the service manager a call. Sometimes it happens that a business suffers a bad day.

 

The least you could do is return his call and get the pleasure of chewing him out in person. Corporate, if they do contact the dealer is going to ask what they've done to mitigate the situation, and the dealer can now say that they called you twice and weren't able to offer anything to placate you. Your sarcasm could have gotten you painted as someone who is more interested in the complaint than the solution.

 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that you've done anything wrong here, but you should at least hear them out and get the satisfaction of backing this guy into a corner.

 

...and thanks for the sig line.

 

pete

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Hi Steve. The owner of the business has his office in the showroom full of BMW cars. He was there when I came back on the Monday morning and I know he heard my dissertation with the 'service consultant'. I sat out the front of his office for 4 hours drinking his coffee whilst awaiting the repair to the fuel gauge and not once did he approach me or even acknowledge my presence. He spoke with plenty of his staff including the clot I was dealing with, but no contact with me. In fact he avoided me. What does that tell you? If he had sat down and had a coffee with me or even invited me into his office to discuss the problems we might have gotten somewhere. But no! Nothing. As my all time favourite Sgt Schultz would say, "I see nothing - NOTHING!"

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groundeffect

Spear, I too chuckled at the Wallabe reference, having ridden Melbourne-Perth-Monkeymaya(shark bay)-back-Blue mountains-back on a '79rs.

You tell your story with great aplomb! Well done!! thumbsup.gif

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  • 2 weeks later...

Received a phone call from BMW Australia last week. The guy said he had been in touch with the service manager at the dealership I had attended and they had discussed my letter and the details therein. He then went through each point I raised in the letter and the questions I had posed, and just gave very diplomatic responses to each - offering apologies and assurances that this was not normal where appropriate - and at the end hoping that my next experience with BMW would be more memorable. No offers of compensation of any sort. I thanked him for getting back to me and said I looked forward to a written response to my original letter. There was no commitment on that aspect. Meanwhile I think I've found myself an ex-BMW workshop technician/mechanic/expert who runs his own motorcycle business. Guess where I'm going for my next service?

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Judging from what I have read over the years from our ANZUS compatriots, to get even a phone call from the national distributors is a coup in itself.

 

So...where are you going for your next service.... tongue.gif

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Dave. Received a PM through the Ulysses website from a BMW owner in the ACT who gave me the name of another motorcycle workshop in Fyshwick, that is manned by a BMW technician. He said that the ACT Police take their BMWs there rather than to the dealer. Gotta say something! Have to check that one out!

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You must mean Mick Owen. Not a bad operator. Just moved in to new premesis.

Mind you it's still a long way for you! frown.gif

Funny thing though. A few people from here travel down to the dealership in Albury for their services. Purported to be the best around.

Cheers

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Mick Owen - that's the name I was given. Will give it 12 months or so until the next service is due. By that time HE should be ready for ME! smile.gif

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12 months!!??? confused.gif Get the lead out. grin.gif I've just ticked over 60K. There are a lot of good roads around just itching to be ridden on by you. thumbsup.gif

Cheers

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  • 2 weeks later...
12 months!!??? confused.gif Get the lead out. grin.gif I've just ticked over 60K. There are a lot of good roads around just itching to be ridden on by you. thumbsup.gif

Cheers

Okay Mark. You got me. When I go back for the next service, I'll look you up for a cup of IT coffee! thumbsup.gif

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