Dealership Disaster


Active member
Below is my recent tale of woe at a BMW dealership ...

Bought a beautiful, white 2016 BMW C650 GT with 818 miles on 9/30/19.

I called a local BMW Motorrad dealership on Tuesday, 10/8 to inquire about extended warranty and prepaid maintenance. Good news, the finance guy tells me. I have 20 days of warranty left, which will cover my non-working windscreen (the night before I bought the bike, the owner left the key on, which drained the battery, which meant the ECU had to be reset to "learn" the windscreen again).

I also wanted to address a recall I just learned about -- a protective sleeve over the front brake hose, to protect it when the handlebars are turned fully left.

On Friday, I dropped off the bike at 10:00 a.m. and talked to the finance guy. Bad news, he says. Not under warranty after all. His mistake. So sorry! Suddenly my warranty windscreen fix is $130 for "diagnostic evaluation," even though I'm telling them I'm 99% sure I just need the ECU reset (I seem to remember a cost of $30 on this forum).

More bad news. Because I'm not under warranty, the cost of an extended warranty is now hundreds of dollars higher for each option (24 months, 36 months, etc.). But the prepaid maintenance costs are the same, he says enthusiastically.

Of course, he doesn't tell me the dealership is moving 75 miles north in November. I learned that from an overheard conversation in the service department.

I left the bike and said I would be back at 4:00 p.m., leaving them six hours for "diagnostics." I returned at 4:00 and the bike isn't ready. An hour goes by and they say it's done, the windscreen is fixed, and they're bringing it around. Yay!

I wait another hour.

Then another half hour.

Workers are starting to go home for the day. Finally, the service manager, who I had watched berate his staff all afternoon, rides my bike around. He hands the keys to the service tech, who hands them to me, and I walk out and do a circle around the bike to inspect it to discover ...

A bunch of scratches on the white panel covering the battery.

I'm out of my mind.

The service manager comes out and DENIES responsibility. He says he doesn't believe me. I say I hand-washed and waxed every inch of this bike. Do you think I might notice if this very visible panel had scratches all over it?

I'm heated, and yelling a little, and he announces, "This conversation is over" and walks into the dealership.

I stand there, stunned, incredulous, staring at the scratched panel of my beautiful white bike.

First no warranty. Then a $130 charge. Then an 8-hour wait. Then scratches? AND it's going to cost me $346 to buy a new panel from bikebandit, just to return it the condition IT WAS IN WHEN I ARRIVED? This is insanity.

I took pictures of the scratches. I took deep breaths. I walked to the service manager's office to calmy assert the truth. The scratches were not there when I arrived. They are there now. Why on earth would I make up a lie?

"To get a free panel out of us," he replied.

So now, I'm a liar AND a con artist.

"Are you calling me a thief?" I asked.

"Those are your words, sir. I didn't say that."

"But if I'm making this up to get a free panel, that's thievery, right?"

"You're putting words in my mouth, sir. This conversation is over."

There it was again. This conversation is over. Mr. Customer Relations.

I went home and contacted the previous owner, who had photos of the bike taken the day before I bought it, showing a clean, pristine, non-scratched front panel. I emailed the service manager this information. No reply.

I could fight this. I have the name of the owner, the general manager, even Trudy Hardy, VP of BMW Motorrad Americas. I could just take my losses and move on -- who needs the aggravation? I'm still kind of stunned. It's terrible that these jokers represent BMW Motorcycles in such poor, incompetent, dishonest fashion.

Good news, there is another BMW Motorrad dealer about the same distance away in the other direction. I've been there and like the vibe.

Meanwhile, I'm waiting for my service manual to arrive from England, so I can do a lot of work myself and eliminate as many dealer visits as possible.
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Thom Davis

It is unfortunate...yes, it probably is a good idea to take photos of your bike before taking to unknown dealership...having anything happen on a reasonable schedule is not an expectation likely to be upheld in motorcycle repair, hit or miss even on oil changes. Only thing you can do is write up a Yelp report and BBB to try to help other customers look elsewhere for service unless you know who the owner of the dealership is, and then try to contact him. Don't waste your time with BMW Motorrad, they have no interest in policing their dealers.
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Photos won't help too much unless you have some way to prove they were taken just before you left it at the dealershop. I had a problem with a Honda dealership damaging my Goldwing GL1800 but couldn't prove the picture's age. A cellphone picture taken with the BMW dealership in the background might be useful because the phone camera shows date and location of the picture.
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