This BMW Dealership Doesn't Handle Criticism Well

David had a pretty bad experience when he purchased his Mini Cooper from Brecht MINI/BMW in Escondidio, California last year: “Salesman Luis blatantly lied to me about the car’s future routine service requirements,” their employees wouldn’t help him schedule that service, and “they were completely unresponsive when I mentioned these problems to Brian, the service department representative.” When a MINI USA customer service rep called him for a follow-up review last week, he was honest about the level of service he received. That didn’t sit well with Brian over at Brecht, who left David a terse, oddly worded voicemail a few days later.

This week, I received a voicemail from Brian “on behalf of my recent feedback” in which I gave them “all zeros” (actually I gave them all 1′s, but whatever). He then told me in a stern voice, that “hopefully this won’t happen again” (i.e. hopefully I won’t complain again) and that my negative feedback “takes a lot off me” whatever that means.

No apology? No “I’m sorry you haven’t been happy with the service you’ve received, what can we do to fix it?” Nope, he just called me to let me know how upset he is that I’ve hurt his ranking. What a jerk!

(Photo: GypsyRock)

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  1. DarrenO says:

    Who takes their car to a dealer to get serviced? You’re just asking for bad service at most dealers..

  2. DomZ says:

    @DarrenO: I think BMW’s have free service for the first 4yr/50,000.

  3. CaptZ says:

    Some service is complimentary when you buy certain overpriced cars like a Mini, so that is the service he was getting done.

    Maybe that free service isn’t really free. It’s built in the price of the car.

  4. PlayerX says:

    @DomZ: “Free” service on a BMW means brake pads and oil changes.

    This might sound good to a layperson, but the new service program neglects to change things like gearbox, differential, brake and steering rack oil, coolant and a number of other vitally important fluids.

    One of the most important things to remember about owning a high-performance car is that they don’t typically do well when neglecting proper break-in service, regular fluid changes and so on. They’ve engineered this program to basically make the car last the duration of the lease without any difficulties, then fuck the second-hand owners.

    As someone who refuses to buy a new BMW, I hate their program. Mike Miller of “Bimmer” magazine is better than me at articulating this problem.

  5. PlayerX says:

    @DarrenO: Anyone who happens to live in West-Island Montreal should go see RPM Autotech for BMW service. There’s a mechanic there called Alex LaBraca who has an encyclopedic knowledge of every nut and bolt in a BMW.

  6. wagnerism says:

    I had problems years ago with that particular dealership, but it was the only one near my house in Escondido.

    First experience was the jerk salesman not wanting to give me a test drive in the Z3. I ended up getting a Z3 elsewhere. When I took it in for the free maintenance in Escondido, I gave the sales manager the jerk’s card and told him why they didn’t get my business.

    Then I had the usual “unable to reproduce the problem” until after warranty lapsed and I had to pay for something that I had been bringing to their attention for a long time.

    The first service outside of the free period included a charge of $12 to top off the washer fluid reservior.

    Can’t they do that crap for free along with the other overpriced services? How much of that $12 is profit?

    Yeah, I’m too cheap to own a BMW. Even a cheap Z3… but I still have the car and it is 10 years old now.

  7. Mike8813 says:

    Wow, it’s almost like that salesman is speaking another language.

    Hopefully he won’t track me down “on behalf” of this comment to “take a lot off me”. What a moron.

  8. GearheadGeek says:

    @PlayerX: I can’t think of a modern mainstream car that should need “gearbox, differential, brake and steering rack oil, coolant and a number of other vitally important fluids” changed in the first 50k miles, which is all BMW covers with their “free maintenance.” I’d like to know what that “number of other vitally important fluids” might be, you’ve pretty much covered everything except engine oil (which is the main thing the BMW plan covers), battery electrolyte solution and windshield washer fluid. I’m not saying BMW’s maintenance plan somehow makes the overpriced beasties a great deal, I’m just saying they’re not neglecting something that other manufacturers recommend be changed in the first 50k miles.

  9. howie_in_az says:

    @PlayerX: Greetings fellow Bimmer reader :)

    The sad part is that BMW used to recommend changing the differential and gearbox fluids at 50k mile intervals or some such… right up until they started offering free service. Then all of a sudden it’s optional.

    For what it’s worth, some independent BMW service stations still recommend going by the older BMW guidelines. I have this done on my 2003 330i sedan which is a 100k miler now :)

  10. LAGirl says:

    i had the worst experience at the Studio City, CA MINI dealer. the manager was extremely rude. he also hinted that if i didn’t give them the highest rating in the follow-up feedback call, i would have problems next time i came in + whatever i needed repaired wouldn’t be covered by the warranty.

    when i was due for my annual service, i went to Nick Alexander BMW/MINI (near downtown LA) and they were amazing. i think the service manager is Nicky. really great guy. couldn’t have asked for better service.

  11. leprofie says:

    After I get service for my Mini Cooper, I get a note left in my car saying that they encourage all rankings of “5″ (the highest) when I receive the call from Corporate, because anything less than a 5 is a “failure”.

  12. quail says:

    @GearheadGeek: I’m not certain of the other fluids but engine coolant in Texas, and I’d assume the L.A. area as well, would need a careful eye. That stuff gets a hard workout in the heat. In Texas I had coolant flushed every other year at a minimum. I went by color and miles driven.

  13. Buckus says:

    Windshield washer fluid reservoir? Yeah, you can get it pre-mixed from the auto store for like 2 bucks, and all you have to do is open the hood, pop the top of the reservoir and pour. $12 is waaay overpriced for that shiat.

  14. azntg says:

    Isn’t this the second time that the very same Brecht dealership showed up this year on the Consumerist alone for crappy salemen and now for crappy service?

    Folks, either hold off since gas prices are high, or make the trip to a better dealer. Showing up once on the Consumerist is a “honorable” mention. More than that, it’s a nasty trend!

  15. PoleMan14 says:

    My only complaint about the BMW service was the rediculous amount of calls I received after having a windshield wiper replaced. One call from the service desk, gave them all 5′s. One call from the manager, gave them all 5′s. One call from coroporate, gave them all 5′s.

    They did top off all fluids for free also…not sure wagnerism’s dealer is trying to pull.

  16. All poor scores is childish and not very effective.

    There are metrics that measure the deviation from average (My phrasing may not be correct, but you should get the idea) and give weight of importance to high deviatants. This means an average score of 4, with a couple 0′s are more effective than all 0′s.

    Wanna screw over just 1 person? Give that person a 0 and the rest of the business a 5.

  17. mythago says:

    Regardless of whether they are “childish and not very effective”, WTF is with the employee calling him up and chiding him?

  18. ngoandy says:

    I bought my MINI from P&W MINI Of Pittsburgh.

    The car had a 36k/3yr full service guarantee along with the 50k/5yr warranty on parts.

    I’ve had an amazing experience with them. They had loaner MINIs and when they were out of them, had BMWs to use as loaners. When I didn’t need a loaner vehicle, they have given me courtesy rides to wherever I needed to be.

    Scheduling has been excellent, I always seem to get appointments when I need them.

    So yeah, it just sounds like one bad experience and not a representation of BMW or MINI in general.

  19. @Corporate-Shill: Well, you’re certainly living up to your user name…

    This means an average score of 4, with a couple 0′s are more effective than all 0′s.

    So on a scale of 0 to 5, 4 is an average score? Where did you take math, Lake Wobegon, where all the students are above average? If there are 6 units on a sclae (go ahead, take your time, it’s 6 if you count the zero), then average would be 2.5.

    Actually, I take that back – we don’t know what the average is, since that would require knowing every score given on every question of every questionnaire and dividing the sum of those scores by the number of times the question was answered.

    So, to recap -

    1) It’s impossible to know what the “average” is on these feedback responses, since we don’t have access to all the data needed to determine that answer; and

    2) If you think the 2nd best answer on a 6 response quiz is average, well, you’ve got deeper problems than we can address here.

  20. toddkravos says:

    all the more reason this kind of feedback should be anonymous.

    I hope he kept the VM message because that’s a good way to get the guy fired. Retaliation doesn’t sit well with most service companies

  21. MissTic says:

    I’ve experienced the same “ratings extortion” at other car dealerships. And, I’ve also experienced it with other types of businesses. You get the phone call that says, “You ARE going to give us the highest rating possible right? Right!?!?” and then a follow up. For the most part, I’ve never had anyone be rude. It does border on grovelling to me. And it seems to get watered down to the point of meaninglessness. When I get the phone call about what they can expect when I rank them, at least they have asked, “Tell us what we can do to ensure you will give us the highest rating” and that’s my cue to address any issues.

  22. @BaysideWrestling:

    an average.

    Not THE average.

    If you gave a business rankings of 5′s nearly across the broad with a single 0 the overall average might be reduced to ~4, thus the 0 has greater impact that giving the business all 0′s.

    Yes, the average is still high, but somebody is going to hafta explain why they got a 0 and everybody else got a 5. I see somebody loosing their job.

    Give the business all 0′s and I see people not getting their bonus.

    What impact? single out one segment of the business to trash.

  23. GearheadGeek says:

    @quail: How often you have to change coolant depends on the coolant you use and where you drive. In a Texas metro area it’s probably good insurance to change every 2 years, but unless you are adding lots of tap water (should be distilled only for longevity) the main thing you’re losing over time is the coolant’s ability to resist freezing, which isn’t the biggest problem in most of TX. That said, Subaru recommends replacing it every 30k miles and I had that done at my 30k service. Some companies are using DexCool coolants now, supposedly good for 150k miles/5 years. Then again, there seem to be a lot of GM owners who think DexCool is Satan’s own piss…

  24. GearheadGeek says:

    @Corporate-Shill: You’re suffering under the unfounded assumption that service organizations are applying any sort of valid statistical analysis to these scores. From friends who are technicians and service managers, it seems that most car companies look at those surveys as binary. You get screwed if your customers report anything but a perfect score in all areas. This makes dealers do weird stuff like offer you bribes to bring the survey in for them to “help you fill it out.”

  25. ngoandy says:

    I think the problem with the surveys is that idiot upper managers enforce strict metrics based on the ratings that aren’t really practical.

    Some upper manager has the idea that they’ll create surveys and make 5/5 be the metric for a successful interaction. The entire thing then really becomes pass/fail. You either give them a 5 rating or a 1-4 and fail them. It is dumb. You can’t fault the lower level employees for that.

    I know I have bizarre metrics where I work too.

  26. @GearheadGeek: I, being one of them, believe so much.

  27. thaShady says:

    1st post!!

    You should get a hold of the people that called you for the follow up and tell them that the salesman called you and threatened you.

  28. mrbiiggy says:

    This is, unfortunately, how all car dealerships are.

    I consistently rated every BMW/Mini dealership in So Cal I have been to poorly (mostly Creview/Irvine) – nothing happened. After taking close to 15 surveys, I asked the person making the service follow-up call what advantage I had for taking the survey: none. She said that it just rated the dealership and it would make no difference and not resolve the problem I was having with the dealership, they just always apologized for the poor service… But never did anything about it! Needless to say, I asked them to stop calling me.

    BMW/Mini Customer Relations is just as horrible. They have no control over the dealership, no control to cover a repair that should have been covered in the first place. I have made multiple calls to try and get many issues resolved that should never have been escalated in the first place, and their response to me was always that they would call the dealership and see what was going on. They never called back.

    I work for one of the #1 rated customer service technical companies out there, and I know BMW’s pathetic attempt at satisfying wronged customers is underwhelming at best and needs to be turned around.

  29. drugdoc says:

    I owned a BMW 330ci for almost 4 years. I loved it ad the salesman and service employees were all top notch. The only reason I got rid of it was because I moved further out into the country and during the winter it was completely useless. There is always a bad apple somewhere with any company.

  30. JiminyChristmas says:

    Funny, I think employees haranguing me about the scoring would be a major reason I might not give them a perfect rating.

  31. n0ia says:

    Ugh… I posted this comment once, and it didn’t work. I’ll try again.

    You wouldn’t believe the impact a negative score has on a follow-up survey. And even moreso what a positive score has.

    When they get a high enough CSI (customer satisfaction index) score, they (the owner/general manager) get THOUSANDS (not kidding) of dollars worth of bonuses to divvy out to the employees if the feel like it (alternatively pocketing the cash or using it for the dealership as a whole.)

    By giving him a negative score, he’s probably looking at that as you taking money from his pocket. Too bad he did it to himself.

    I’d call and speak with the sales manager, general manager, and/or owner and let them know how dissatisfied you are by the way you’ve been treated. Then promptly follow up with corporate and let them know the same thing (making sure to mention the voicemail you received from Brian.) Also, tell them that if every BMW/MINI dealership treats it’s customers this way, that you’ll be sure to never do business with another one.

    They got what they deserved and are now mad about it, but they need to know you can’t treat people like that and get away with it.

  32. aristan says:

    @Corporate-Shill:

    You are, of course, working on the assumption that someone/anyone at the place did work that deserved a 5 and that somehow a score of 4 is worse than a score of 0. For many companies, anything less than “The Customer Service was so good that I’m naming my first born after the salesman” is a failure.

    CVS by my house does this. At the end of each receipt, you get a Customer Survey number to call. If you give them all 5′s, you can put your name in a bucket to win a gift certificate. They don’t want you to just complete the survey, they want a perfect score. And since your receipt has your name & a reference number on it, and the reference number shows up with the scores…. they know if you were lying about giving them all 5′s. This will surely inflate their “satisfied customers” ratio because little old ladies like free stuff.

  33. Invalid_User_Name says:

    BMW dealers suck at truly good customer service. When I went to buy a new BMW, I as a woman, had to set myself on fire (okay, almost) to get a salesperson to help me, but when I walked in with a man, salesmen came up and talked to HIM but I was the one with the checkbook.

    Oh yes, they always tell you to rate their service on a 1 – 5 (5 highest) and if it’s 4 or less, they fail. What a stupid system.

  34. LJKelley says:

    Used to own a Mini and now own a Mercedes. BMW Service does generally suck and they tell you to give them all 5 on your survey and nothing else is acceptable.

    Mercedes on the other hand has been very nice so far, and gives you a Mercedes Loaner Car (not at Enterprise Voucher).

    I’m sure of course that BMW might have treated me better had they known I would upgrade from a Mini to possibly a BMW.

  35. wesrubix says:

    @PlayerX: wrong. BMW’s maintenance and service for 4 yrs or 50k miles is for ANY problem. It is the warranty on the car AND the maintenance (oil changes, brakes, fluids).

    Don’t complain about something unless you are informed.

    As for “fuck[ing] the second-hand owners.” you can get Certified Pre-owned, which means the vehicle passed several inspection checks (including maintenance logs; without which, the vehicle cannot be CPO). I had a CPO Z4 that ran great, and I saw all the maintenance logs from the seller dealership and the dealership I use for service.

    In general, if your car comes with a warranty, get it taken care of at the dealership: they have all the parts on hand and the techs are trained in every detail of the car. I say this with a grain of salt of course: be sure that the problem is covered under the warranty.

    As for the low scored complaining person from the dealership… that’s just childish. And yes, giving all 1′s is useless because it doesn’t explain the specifics of what you didn’t like, unless your experience really struck that low on every dimension.

    I know at least at the dealership I go to (BMW Gallery, Norwood, MA) they “strive for 5″ and a sales guy I’m friends with told me if the don’t get all 5′s, they lose two weeks pay (aka $1500). Now the guys at that dealership have delivered consistent service. The only problem they’ve ever had for me was being too busy in the service department one time I called.

    Free service is built into the price of the car; so you get what you pay for. Not just in money though.

    Why didn’t the submitter check the service information for himself? Blindly trusting a sales guy… come on…

  36. SJActress says:

    I don’t understand paying $10000 each for the B, the M, and the W, and about $12 for the actual car, but to each his own.

  37. zumdish says:

    Last time I had my M Roadster serviced, the service writer had a sign on their desk showing a CSI survey form with all Excellent checked, saying “Anything less than ‘Excellent’ is a failure.”

    I pointed to the sign and said “That’s a GREAT sign. There’s only one thing wrong with it.”

    “What’s wrong with it?”

    I rotated the sign 180 degrees and said “It’s facing the wrong way.”

  38. newjewrevue says:

    When I leased my 325xi from Dreyer & Reinbold in Indianapolis, my salesman was all peaches and cream until it came to the survey. Suddenly he turned into this thuggy guido, saying there would be “consequences” if he didn’t get all 5s. I should have given a low score just to screw with him. Jerk.

  39. wagnerism says:

    Yes, these jerks showed up earlier here about their sales douchebags.

    Someone asked about the $12 washer fluid reservior top-off. I brought it in for the first service AFTER the free period (when the idiot light tells you to take it in).

    They itemized all of the work and one of those items was the labor-intensive task of a BMW master service technician partially replenishing the washer fluid that costs as much as inkjet ink… or about $0.50 of washer fluid in about 30 seconds of work by the lowest paid person there that’s allowed to touch a car.

    Hindsight is 20/20. I’m one of those jerks that gets hung up on principle and fairness. Since BMW has not seen my car again for any service in the past seven years, that $12 stunt cost them much more in the long run.

    On a positive note, it was itemized and not padded into other fees… oh wait… there was a “shop fee” on top of that meant to cover incidentals like this.

    They didn’t get all fives from me because I’m an oxymoronic frugal BMW owner. I had given them all fives in the past when the service was “free” (included). Guido didn’t call me on it.

    Bottom line – do that little stuff for free because it costs almost nothing to provide the service… OR advise me of the charge so that I can snicker and decline.

    Saturn NEVER did that to me, ever – and I used the dealership for service because they don’t pull these stunts.

  40. sarcastibitch says:

    I have a ’06 Jetta that I take in to VW for services. They have called me after each one with a similar survey but their scale is much more reasonable. You give them points from 1-10 where 8 (7?) or below is fail so there are varying degrees of excellence without failing the staff. They also asked me to explain why I gave any low ratings. I’ve never been contacted by dealership staff regarding any low scores I’ve given them so I don’t worry about someone taking a dump in my trunk next time I bring it in.

  41. Landru says:

    @zumdish: I think BMW customers should turn this to their advantage and warn the service person when they drop the car off that if anything, anything at all goes wrong with their experience, it will mean 1′s or 0′s across the board: “If one if your staff even so much as looks at me funny, you’re all gonna regret it. Comprende?”

  42. leftystrat says:

    What – he didn’t threaten to break his legs too?

    Bad tings happen ta peeple what leave bad remarks, capisch?

  43. VenetiaMalboro says:

    When I bought my Mini. I bought it from a dealer in Atlanta and they
    were extremely nice.
    The salesgirl I dealt with told me about their system. Basically she
    told me that if I didn’t give
    them all 5′s her bonus is cut from the my sale. She was very nice about
    it but she wanted to
    make sure that I was completely satisfied too. It doesn’t excuse some of
    these jerks but at least
    it makes sense that they act the way they do. Money out of the pocket
    and all.

  44. colinjay says:

    @PlayerX: @PlayerX: @PlayerX:

    Nobody seems to have payed much attention to your post about what exactly they change at these free routine maintenance visits. My mechanic recommends changing the manual transmission fluid and differential fluid at least one every year. I’m shocked to find that a lot of the german cars now act as if the fluids in their gearboxes and diffs only need to be changed at ridiculously long intervals. Plenty of fellow enthusiasts change these fluids more often than I, with some changing every 5k or so.

  45. @n0ia:

    Exactly. BMW pays the dealerships bonuses based upon the satisfaction surveys. I’m not sure exactly how the system works–I know that the dealer can exclude people from the survey before the survey is given, but I think that once the survey is given to the customer, it’s too late for them to take it off their record.

    Anyway, from what I remember, the bonuses are paid monthly, are basically all-or-nothing, and a single bad survey can kill the bonus for the month. At a large dealership, the monthly bonus can add up to tens of thousands of dollars. If you were a service consultant and your unhappy customer had cost the dealership $20,000, you can only imagine the storm of crap that would rain down on you. And you would probably take it out on the customer–I have heard stories of people being refused service because they gave a dealer an honest (but bad) survey. Which brings me to my next point.

    The surveys are a double-edged sword because they aren’t anonymous, and, as we’ve seen here, this invites retaliation on the part of the dealership. If you made the surveys anonymous, the argument can be made that it deprives the dealership of the opportunity to learn from their mistakes, but as a consumer, I would rather have a system where I am not harassed for giving honest feedback.

    My suggestion is that whenever you receive one of these surveys, to ask whether it is anonymous. If the answer is no, tell them you decline to participate, and will be glad to participate when the survey *is* anonymous.

  46. GearheadGeek says:

    @colinjay: Well, the only damage that changing out your gear lube way more often than necessary does is to your wallet and putting a small amount more oil into the recycling stream (you do recycle it, I hope…)

    Unless you’re driving on the track all the time or have such a shit gearbox that it’s shedding huge amounts of metal into the lube all the time, I think even once a year is excessive, and once per 5k miles is obsessive.

  47. lucythesplainer says:

    I live 2 hours from the nearest Mini dealership, and have found that the dealers (also BMW dealers) treat Mini owners like trash. Yesterday I took my poor broken Mini into the local BMW dealer to get the stuck convertible roof secured in order to drive it across the state to the Mini/BMW shop. The Mini service person said that the design was just like the BMW 3 series, and that the BMW techs should be able to get it fastened so that could travel for permanent repair. The BMW mechanics did not even bother to move my car from where I parked it, 2 guys just jumped up and slammed down on the roof to squish it down, as I watched in horror from the customer lounge. This precision activity resulted in the gasket between the windshield and the top of the car slipping out of it’s groove, the guys kind of picked at the gasket, then shrugged their shoulders and walked off. I doubt they would treat one of their Beemers like that. Even if I become crazy wealthy in the future and dream of buying an expensive BMWish car, I won’t be going to that store. I guess it’s like buying the cheapest house on the block, you don’t want to buy the cheapest car at the dealership either.

  48. PlayerX says:

    @wesrubix: The sad truth is that most people don’t really know anything about cars, and unless they stop bringing you from point A to point B, most people will not even both to service them.

    BMW is now telling people all they need to keep the car running are engine oil and brake pads. Gearboxes and differentials are “lifetime fill” products, now, which is BS. As you drive your car, the oil lubricating and cooling these parts becomes full of water and steel particles, and the oil itself starts to lose its properties. You’ll note that BMW don’t offer “lifetime” warranties on their cars, so why do they think the oil will last until the end of time? The new engines don’t even come with dipsticks, for crying out loud!

    As for CPO cars, they’re a better bet than most used BMWs, especially because they come with a warrenty. BUT, the caveat here is that these are cars which have just come off-lease; cars that the people who ran them didn’t own. Who knows if they always used the correct gasoline? Who knows if they insisted on having the brake oil changed?! Again, these cars will only have had the bare minimum of service done. Yes, all the parts will work, and the car will be brilliant, BUT it won’t be as brilliant as one from a caring owner who’s had the brake oil, coolant, transmission and differential fluids all changed every year. If you’re lucky, the owner will even have had their steering rack oil changed.

    The best bet, for a used BMW, has always been to contact the local BMW car club and see if anyone’s got a car for sale.

    Brake fluid, especially, is a stupid thing to ignore. Most people don’t flush their oil, but it should be known that brake fluid absorbs water over time, and will start to actually RUST the brake lines from the inside-out, and it will lose its high boiling point thanks to water content. The unfortunate result is your beautiful second-hand BMW will eventually seize all its calipers, the clutch slave cylinder will bind, and you’ll have to replace everything for many, many thousands of dollars.

    Coolant is another fluid that needs to be changed every year. It has a freezing point lower than water, and a boiling point higher than water, but over time, these properties will deminish, and eventually the coolant will stop functioning properly.

    Now, I understand you’ve got your opinion, and I respect that, but please don’t be disrespectful and basically call people big-mouthed idiots. You’re on the internet, but you’re still in a society where it’s frowned upon to be an asshole. I was the owner of an E30 325 coupe for 8 years, and I know what it’s like to own a car that hasn’t been taken care of by its previous owner; I was foolish to have bought that particular car in the first place, but that’s another story. Anyway, my point is that I know of what I speak.

  49. lakecountrydave says:

    I bought a 3 Series used. I was living in the city at the time, and sustained some body damage when someone tried to park in front of me. No note of coarse;) After I had the damage repaired through my insurance the body shop had to have me go to the dealership to have the radio unlocked because of some secret anti-theft code they will only supply to dealers. Although I found this quite odd I worked down the street from the dealership which ment that it wasn’t that much of an issue. I could not believe the level of service I received. I arrived for my appointment, and drove right into their waiting area. The service guy opened my door and greeted me by name. Offered coffee, soda and food. The waiting area was clean and had current publications. I was not hit up by a single sales associate. I was in and out quickly, and they never even had to explain that it was being billed to the body shop. Two thumbs up! The dealership was Internatioal Autos in Milwaukee, WI. On a side note, I actually did look there when I was “in the market” and I drove a M Roadster, but it was not large enough for me. I could not afford a new 3 Series, so I bought used elsewhere. However, the salesperson was polite, knowledgeable and professional.

  50. radiochief says:

    Again, this amounts to word of mouth about dealerships.

    Either you play by their rules and give all 5s, and no one screws you. Or you do an honest assessment and go to another dealer for service?! Is that possible…?

  51. n0ia says:

    @segfault:

    Yea that struck me as odd that it wasn’t an anonymous survey. At the dealership I work at (not a BMW dealership), there is an option to exclude your information from the survey.

    Corporate still has access to the info, but it’s not given to the dealerships.

    There is also a place to put comments about your experience, in case you feel there are areas that need improvement or areas that are great.

    Oh, and we’re not able to exclude anyone from receiving a survey. Corporate sends surveys to all new car customers as well as all customers receiving warranty repairs on their vehicles.

  52. Novaload says:

    @toddkravos: I hope David kept the VM too. Here on the east coast, same issue at the local Bimmer dealer. A friend bought one, their first ever, and were truly excited. Until the sunroof got stuck a week later and something in shorted out with smoke. And the other problems, all within a couple of weeks. The dealer, who was nothing but smarmy before, didn’t want to know, didn’t care. Refused a loaner–”Oh, sure, typically, yes, but we just don’t have any now.” I was shocked at the complete indifference to customer service.

  53. Asvetic says:

    @DarrenO: I take my car to a dealership for servicing, and I’m very pleased with the level of service I get.

  54. ringo00 says:

    That message from the dealer sounds like a very thinly veiled threat. I would file a police report and provide a recording of the message to the police.

  55. numindast says:

    It was noted previously that, at BMW dealerships (stealerships?) anything less than a perfect “5″ rating by the customer results in lost bonus pay.

    When I bought my car just recently (a CPO vehicle) the salesman explained quite clearly that any car they do not get a perfect “5″ rating on results in a loss of commission for the sale, and inquiries by corporate quality control.

    Also, without saying this directly, my sales guy implied that if I had any reason not to rate all 5′s, that it would be better to rate all 5′s and return to him with the complaints so he could address them to the point where I would have been satisifed to give all 5′s. In other words, make them look good and THEN give ‘em a chance to fix the situation. Of course, from MY perspective, it would be far too late — my money will already be gone!

    In the end, though, I had no reason to NOT give them all 5′s. I was, and still am, very happy with the whole process, even despite my constant negotiation to get a better price and perks.

  56. m4ximusprim3 says:

    Everyone is missing the point of the story. You’re all focused on BMW, but the real keyword is “escondido, ca” which is synonymous with “shithole, ca”.

    You might as well buy your car in TJ, and expect to get it serviced.

  57. louv says:

    BMW North America knows that the “5-point” system is corrupt, (I’ve talked to their representatives at headquarters in NJ) but they don’t seem to be able to do anything about it.

    If you don’t like the system (because it doesn’t actually do ANYONE any good) then by all means, call BMW’s Customer Service line and explain why.

    I give them all 5′s. Why, because, the system is stupid and broken, and the Service team is told exactly who gave them “bad” numbers, so you can be sure you’ll get crappy service next time. So why risk it? Give them all 5′s.

  58. bee1000 says:

    This surprises me, as I have had nothing but good service from the Brecht service department. Given this person’s experience, though, I recommend All German Auto (3 blocks from Brecht) the next time he needs service.

    (“Shithole” or not, Escondido is the only place in San Diego County with a MINI dealership.)

  59. MexiFinn says:

    @louv:

    It seems like that at Audi as well. For the most part, service on my A3 is great. But, the one time I went to a different dealer for convenience purposes, their service sucked. And, surprise surprise, when it came time to give ratings in the form of a follow-up phone call, I got none that one time.

  60. jrubow says:

    I actually had a similar bad experience at my car dealer. I gave a poor service score due to the repairs taking longer than expected and not being offered any compensation due to not having a car. Originally I was told I would have my car back the same day. When i called in on it I was told it would be ready the next day. No big deal. I got a hotel room near work and walked to work the next day. I called in again on the car. They told me it wouldn’t be ready until the next day. I had to go home at this point to get clean clothes so I had to get a taxi, which cost me $50 plus tip.

    Upon going back for my next visit the service manager approached me and talked to me about my review. He then handed me my review and asked that I change my score since the review I filled out was for a different visit. Not wanting them to screw me over or do something to my car (they had already had it for 30 minutes) I did so not really caring.

    I got a call about 1 week later from the regional service manager who asked me why I changed my score. I told him the CSM had asked me to at which point he told me this service shop has had issues in the past and he was sorry. He said he was reinstating my original review and was sorry for the inconvenience.

  61. considerrthis says:

    It sounds like you should be complaining about the sales guy and not the service guy. I can understand why the service advisor would be upset since you just made him look bad and probably affected his pay, and all he did was try to fix your car. How would you feel if someone just took away potentially thousands of dollars from you by just doing your job?? The service advisor wasnt the one that lied about what services your car needed. Maybe you should think about that the next time you give someone a bad survey. Customer service is hard enough without having to deal with petty jerks.

  62. lalinguist says:

    I had the same thing happen at the Honda Santa Monica! Honda called us up after the purchase and asked us to rate the dealer on a scale of 1-5, “5 being perfect”. I gave her a 4 because she was not perfect — she was actually really annoying — but she gave us the best price.

    She called up a few days later to tell my boyfriend that I “failed” her on the ratings! She was particularly angry because she had explicitly told us several times to give her a 5, and we had disobeyed her.

    I called up Honda and they said that they employ a 3rd-party company to do the ratings, so it was impossible that the dealer would have heard of our report. Something’s gotta give.

  63. jrubow says:

    @considerrthis:
    The service rep is the one who told me I would have my car back the same day. If it had been a sales representative I would have taken it up with him, but since it was the service manager who told me how long it would take I made completed the survey the way I did. So I don’t think I was being petty let alone a jerk especially since a large part of my job is customer service. Also not having a car could potentially cost me thousands of dollars since I often have to travel as a part of my job to customer sites for service.

  64. jrubow says:

    @jrubow:
    I apologize, I thought you were commenting on my comment.