Monday, December 08, 2008
An Open Letter to Global Imports BMW
This is the text of a letter my wife and I have sent to the sales manager, service manager, and general manager of Global Imports BMW in Atlanta. (The only response we've received is from a salesman who called to ask what kind of BMW we were interested in purchasing.)
My wife and I recently bought a MINI Cooper convertible from your dealership. While we are very happy with the car, we have been very disappointed with the service we've received from your dealership. We are sharing our experience with you so that you may improve your customer service.
In September, we bought a MINI Cooper S convertible which had been an executive demo, and therefore had a few thousand miles on it. We were assured that we would receive excellent service, and that the dealership would take care of details such as our new license tag and insurance.
Our insurance company never heard from your dealership. After thirty days had passed, we still had not received our new license tag. I repeatedly called the sales associate who had sold us the car. The first four times, I was told that he had "just stepped out" and I left voicemail, which was never answered. Finally, I got hold of him, and he told me that sometimes the tag just takes longer than usual. A week later, we received the tag. It may have just been slow processing by the state, as he claimed, but we suspect that nothing happened with our tag until we prompted him.
In December, the time came for our first scheduled maintenance visit. I called the dealership and made an appointment for Saturday morning at 10:20 AM. When I made the appointment, I told the clerk that in addition to the scheduled maintenance, there was some other work to be done on the car, and we were interested in installing a handsfree Bluetooth telephone module. She said that would be fine, and that we'd simply need to tell the service coordinator when we arrived for our appointment.
She transferred me to the parts department to check on availability of the Bluetooth module. I got a recording. I left voicemail, but my call was never returned. I called a few more times during the week, but each time, I was transferred to a different voicemail account, and although I left messages each time, none were returned.
On Saturday, we arrived at around 10 AM. When we checked in at the service department, we mentioned to the clerk that we had been unable to reach the parts department. He shook his head and said, "Yeah, those guys are never at their desks."
After a few minutes, we met with the service coordinator. This is what she told us:
- On Saturday, only maintenance is done. Any other repairs or work must be done on a weekday, so they wouldn't be able to look at our non-functional CD player or non-functional back-up proximity sensors, even though they'd be covered by the warranty.
- As she was on vacation earlier that week, she was not responsible for anything that had been said to me on the phone.
- It was not possible that anyone would have set up a Saturday appointment without telling us that only maintenance would be done.
- The service department was overbooked for the day, so our car would not be ready before 1:00 PM, which was over two and a half hours from our appointment time. (Why bother making an appointment?)
- Adding a handsfree Bluetooth module to our car (which already has the premium sound system and phone controls on the steering wheel) would cost $1,700.
- We could have a loaner car. However, if we accept the loaner car, then the priority of our service gets decreased, and the car would not be ready until 4:00 PM.
We had already spent an hour and a half driving from our home Dahlonega, so we decided to let the service department do whatever it could. Not wanting to sit in the waiting room for two and a half hours, we accepted the loaner car, puttered around aimlessly for a few hours, and picked up our MINI at around 3:30.
We wasted an entire Saturday just to get an oil change. Next time, we'll go to Jiffy Lube.
After the service, we notice that one of the headlights is misaligned. We are sure it was not like this before the service.
We are very happy with the car, but obviously we are unhappy with your dealership's service. We were waited on hand-and-foot before the sale, but afterward we have been ignored. We will not return to your dealership. I'd suggest these improvements:
- Don't overbook the service department.
- When a customer makes an appointment for Saturday, make it clear that services are limited to oil changes only.
- When customers call, ensure that someone who can help them talks to them immediately or returns the calls.
- Don't penalize customers who accept the offer of a loaner vehicle.
- Don't brag about your service.