Is it me? Is my French so bad? Are dealers down here really so busy with winter coming that they don’t need work coming into their workshops to keep them going? Here’s the story.
A week ago I decided that to try and make my K1300GT look a more attractive proposition as a purchase, I’d need to get the 90,000 service done before I advertised it for sale. I duly sent an email to three local BMW dealers asking for a quote for this service, which I know is likely to be at least €500 as it’s a major service where the valve clearances are checked. Here is the convoluted story of how this simple request fared in the wonderland that is BMW service .
We start with a positive note as Dealer #1 replied to my enquiry the next day with a quote which was in line with my expectations at €464, but when I looked at it in detail I realised that most of the work quoted for had been done very recently at the 80,000 service (done late at 83,000), and that the radiator purge and refilling with new antifreeze had been done in July this year at 88,000 when I’d had a problem with it overheating. Not wanting to pay out again for work done quite recently, and given I’m selling it, I wrote back the following day with full details of the work done, and asked if they would give me a revised quote, but ONLY for work that they considered necessary, given the proximity and timing of the previous jobs and the fact I was going to be selling it. I guess I expected that they would drop the brake fluid and antifreeze, and maybe even the oil change, leaving the plugs and valve clearances, but still, they’re the experts, I figured they’d know best which elements were critical?
A simple enough request you would think, but it then went deathly quiet and after hearing nothing for a week, I went back to them asking if they were going to reply or should I consider their silence an expression of their disinterest and that I should take my bike elsewhere? This elicited a response, but not in the form of the quote I was expecting, but a demand that I send them copies of the previous work I had done so that they could prepare an accurate quote. I sent these by return, but wondered why it was strictly necessary to do so, given that they had already had the same information in writing a week earlier!
Expecting a reply that afternoon, guess what, I didn’t get one, so I chased again, and received a new quote, this time for €628!!!! So after 9 days I’d now got a quote that had increased by €164 +35% over the original, which only differed from the first quote by definition of the exclusion of the brake fluid change, but now contained five jobs which had increased in price, the oil by +70%, and the addition of four items not even detailed in the original quotation.
I wrote back telling them this quote was a joke and how was it possible that the original quote had been so inaccurate? I was left seriously unimpressed when I was informed that the original quote had been done by somebody else and contained errors and omissions, no kidding!!! It seems that I was expected to just suck it up and accept that the previous quote had been worthless, and that I shouldn’t balk at having to pay 35% more because they can’t quote correctly.
I gave them one last chance, and asked for a quote for valve clearances and plugs only, and ended up with a price of €403, plus €50 for a loan bike, which incidently had previously been quoted as being €25. Unbelieveable. The words piss up in a brewery spring to mind.
So would Dealer #2 be any better? The request for a quote was sent on the same day as to Dealer #1 . They replied two days later advising that their service manager wasn’t there and that they would reply at the end of the week. I then sent them the same mail I’d sent to the other dealer explaining about the prior work I’d had done, the fact I was selling it and asked if they would send a quote allowing for these items. I received their confirmation back immediately that when their service manager came back he would quote allowing for these issues. Looks like they might be a bit more on the ball?
Of course it turns out I was to be disappointed again, so the following week having not received any quote and knowing the service manager was back, I chased again and received a reply which apologised for the delay, but then asked what bike the work was required for? They also wanted a copy of the carte grise (registration document) so that they could quote correctly.
In a bid to expedite the receipt of a quote I sent copies of the previous service invoices and the carte grise along with a note stating that the work was required for a BMW K1300GT, as per the heading of my previous two emails!!!!
Finally, 8 days after my initial enquiry I received a quote for €571, which was €107 more than the original quote from Dealer #1, and they hadn’t removed any of the options I’d thought they might. Admittedly they had included an air filter, which to be fair I forgot to tell them wasn’t required, so this reduced the additional amount to +€62, although this appeared to be the cost of two joints(?) which had been omitted from the initial quote from Dealer #1(but which subsequently were added to their revised quote). The big issue with the quote, apart from the price, was that they were unable to offer a courtesy bike and wanted mine the night before so that they could work on a cold engine. This is impractical and adds substantial costs and time as I’d then need to make multiple trips there and back by both car and bike to get the work done.
In desperation I asked for a quote for the valve check and plug change only, but as of this post I’ve not had their offer.
Wondering if all BMW dealers are so poor I tried to cover all bases by sending the same request to a third dealer (#3). This is probably the biggest of the three but is an hour and a half away. Their reply? After several days they asked to see copies of the last invoices of work done, so I decided to make it really simple and rather than send copies of the invoices I just asked that they quote for the valve clearance check and replacing the plugs, how difficult can that be? Two days later they came back asking for a copy of the carte grise. I GIVE UP!
I hadn’t realised that asking for a quote was so difficult. I hadn’t expected that the first quote I received would have comprised so many errors that it wasn’t worth the paper it was sent on. It’s mildly insulting and shows inattention to detail when a dealer replies with an incorrect spelling of my name. It’s even worse when they ask what bike I want serviced when it is clearly indicated at the head of emails addressed to them; and asking for copies of registration documents to establish the bike model details days after an initial enquiry had been made when it should have been their first question? Professional, I think not!. Frankly it’s an appalling indictment of BMW service, and clearly if three dealers are showing the same ineptitude and delay in responding, it’s not an isolated incident.
I’d write to the dealer CEO of each establishment to complain but frankly I can’t be bothered, and I’ve pretty much lost all interest in BMW. Shame, as it’s been a good bike with the odd fault, but BMW can say goodbye to another long term owner. I imagine they think there will be loads along to replace me, but I wonder how many others have given up too?
PS- If you’re wondering what I did in the end? I decided to discount the price of the bike and let the next guy run the gamut of inefficiencies of BMW and their weird and wonderful world of customer service.