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Thread: Not happy in Vermont!
04-17-2005 02:33 PM #1
Not happy in Vermont!
I’ve just had my first truly unpleasant experience with BMW. I never thought I would have one. I live in a relatively small Vermont town. There is one very large BMW dealership here that pretty much “monopolizes” the Northern Vermont market. They also handle Honda, Porsche, Mercedes, Land Rover and Infinity. The next closest BMW dealership is 116 miles away.
I have been bringing in various cars (BMWs, Porsches) to their service department over the last 20 years and have spent tens of thousands of dollars there. I just spent about $2500 two weeks ago on a brake job and new ball joints for my 540I. Although service is pricey, the customer service is excellent. The staff is knowledgeable, keep their promises and take pride in what they do. I know them all on a first name basis. They also clean all cars after a service call. As a business owner with a customer service record that borders on the fanatic, I’ve always touted this dealership as a model of customer service and attention. While their service is amazing, this dealership is very aware that it is the only gig in town and is notorious for high prices on new and used cars. I did attempt the purchase of my 2000 BMW 540I, 5 years ago. They did not have what I wanted in stock (in fact they had no 540I’s) and were not able to come close to a price I received from an out of state dealer.
I was in the dealership 8 weeks ago looking at an MB E500 when I was not sure what type of car I was eventually going to buy. I told the representative that I was also considering an M5 and/or 645 (they have never had these in stock as far as I know). I had never met this particular gentleman before and was not in the dealership more than about 20 minutes.
The representative called me yesterday (this was the first time I heard from him in 8 weeks) and asked me if I had bought a car. I told him yes I had just purchased a 645 ci from an out of state dealer. The representative was immediately upset and demanded to know why I had not contacted him. I told him that I had never made such a promise and that this was not my responsibility. I kindly told him (my patience was eroding) that I had located the only 2005 black on black 6 speed in the northeast, was able to get $4300 off of the MSRP and that I had jumped on a plane and picked it up immediately.
The representative then told me that I would “no longer be welcome at the dealership for anything, including service.” In disbelief, I asked him to repeat this and he did. I told him I was “in shock”. He then said “be shocked” and then shortly after, quietly hung up on me.
I drove down the following day to speak with the owner of the dealership. He listened to my story and then gave me a mini lecture as to why I should buy locally even if it was more expensive. He also pointed out that I had never bought a car there. He gave me no indication he was concerned with the way I had been treated or any real improvement in the new policy previously laid out to me by the representative. He told me that they would do the warranty work but that I would “not receive the same level of service as other clients.”
I left re-shocked and more than angry knowing this was a policy right from the top. Is this the way they treat 20 years of accolades? 20 years of business? Why was I being held captive to an expensive sales department that had no real competition for over 116 miles? Do we not have a right to negotiate the best deal and buy a BMW anywhere we wish ? Is a purchase requisite to excellent service? Any service? Is this the intent of BMW USA? I tried putting myself in the owner’s shoes and came away telling myself neither I nor any of my sales people would ever treat a customer this way. I came away knowing that there would always be a small % of aggressive shoppers and that it would not be worth the potential liability of even one upset customer in a small town like ours. I've talked to another sales manager at a local GM dealership and he told me he was not surprised as he had heard similar stories from others; that there was a thin veneer to the real deal. He stated this was not a policy at any other dealership in town and suggested I pursue this issue. I’ve talked to a few other local BMW owners and they can't believe it. I’m tempted to write BMW/others – possibly all local BMW owners (I can get a list) to restore my faith in an otherwise exceptional experience with BMW. I never engage in a lose/lose but I’m just plain angry. How would you feel? What would you suggest I do?
04-17-2005 05:37 PM #2
I live in Maine and Bill Dodge BMW has the entire state under thier thumbs. Thier service team and sales team don't really care about the customer as I've been poorly treated in the past attempting to ask a few questions. The Parts team is great and are very helpful.
I regards to your situation Contact BMW NA and advise them of the situation, both in letter form and by telephone. I would also suggest that you are a member of this forum (roadfly) and that it would be in thier best interest to satisfy you as you have the ear of a VERY high number of owners. I would also suggest getting the names/ extensions of everyone you speak to at BMW. Contact BMWCCA...if you are not a member shame on you and become one, then use thier laison office to resolve the issues. Finally post this experience on all the boards as possible
04-18-2005 10:07 PM #3
- Freeport , ME, United StatesMember No: 123457
- Join Date
- Mar 2005
- Rep Power
Re: Contact BMWNA
I agree wholeheartedly with Adam. You need to let BMW know how you were treated. I also live in Maine and have a 2000 M Roadster that is under CPO warranty until 1/06. I hope nothing happens that requires Dealer support for fear of dealing with Bill Dodge BMW. I have heard several horror stories regarding their service department. As soon as I am done with my warrantee I plan to have major service done at an independent BMW service facility. It sounds like you were satisfied with the service you received other that the price so the way you were treated makes no sense at all. Bob
04-19-2005 04:09 PM #4
04-21-2005 01:35 AM #5
Excellent service in Maine
Derrick, sorry about your sad tale, but feel lucky that I have several options for service in Maine for BMW's here. Voit Rich in Gardiner has opened a second shop near his home in Vasselboro and I take my 1986 635CSi to Tom Green, a factory trained indy in Scarboro. He works out of his house and is listed in the white pages... Tom & Diane. I've heard that BMW NA is of much help in these situations as BMW dealerships are privately owned and can run there business as the see fit as long as they don't do stuff that's illegal. Your BMW CCA might have suggestion on where to service. Good luck.
04-21-2005 07:56 AM #6
04-21-2005 11:34 AM #7
Re: Not happy in Vermont!
This is astounding behavior, even for a BMW dealer. For some reason they have convinced themselves that they are entitled to all of a customers service business when they sell a car and the sale if they service a car DESPITE the fact that they make a HUGE markup on each!
What I find particullarly disturbing is that they made no effort to earn your business and called back eight weeks later and acted as though they had been jilted when you said you purchased elsewhere. If they wanted the sales and service business why didn't they follow up.
Well, all I can say is welcome to the BMW underground. I decided after buying my first new BMW from a dealer and having it serviced there for a couple of years that I would never repeat the experience. I get my seven year old BMW serviced by an excellent independent and when the time comes for me to get another car I will scour the countryside and buy a lightly used one from a private party and continue with independent service. The "S"tealers don't deserve our business!
04-22-2005 11:19 AM #8
04-22-2005 10:43 PM #9
04-23-2005 08:48 AM #10
04-25-2005 08:14 AM #11
Ah, the Automaster strikes again...
I'm Burlington born and raised, and watched those jokers go from a little spot on Rte 7 to the complex they now have down the road.
Would love to hear the resolution to this one. No way BMWNA would let them deny you service work.
2002 M3 topaz blue/grey, 6 spd manual
Bi-xenons, nav, h/k, premium
K40 radar detector, Xpel, one very clean toddler seat
04-27-2005 12:34 PM #12
04-27-2005 04:16 PM #13
04-27-2005 06:01 PM #14
05-10-2005 10:20 PM #15
i always thought these guys were a little steep(m)
I always thought these guys were steep on their price. I've never bought anything there even for parts. Unless you are a regular customer, they don't like to sell an O2 sensor or anything at a decent price, even to a CCA member. I usually take my car to indy shops like Ralphs Foreign Auto or Audetts automotive in Nothfield where I live now.
05-27-2005 11:06 AM #16
- Greensboro, NC, United StatesMember No: 62489
- Join Date
- Jan 2003
- Rep Power
06-07-2005 03:11 PM #17
06-08-2005 06:01 PM #18
I get my parts from BFCP, but theyre exp. too!
the only way to get cheep parts at home is to mailorder them. If i have to have something today, the very last place ill go is the automaster.
after that story, im concerned to hear that all the work that has ever been done on the 325is i just bought was done at the automaster.
note: car had 170,000 miles on it, automaster has done every bit of mechanic work, but somehow never mentioned that the timingbelt needs replaced. 170k on one TB, unbelievable. My stepdad did it before ever driving the car more than a test drive. talk about a timebomb.
RIP atilla. d.o.d March 21, 2004 @ 8:10am
WELCOME rocinante d.o.b. April 26, 2005
08-18-2005 02:58 PM #19
11-29-2005 03:15 PM #20
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