2004 330i Zhp Problems And Bmws Poor Response - BMW Forum - BimmerWerkz.com
3-Series (E46, E90) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1999 to Current. Models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318Ci, BMW 320i, BMW 323i, BMW 325i, BMW 330i, BMW 328 Ci, BMW 328i, BMW 325i/xi, BMW 330Ci, BMW 320d, BMW 330d, BMW 335d.

 
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#1 (permalink) Old 10-11-2004, 08:25 PM
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I have been fighting with BMW NA, Laurel BMW of Westmont (IL), Dennison BMW or Bloomington (IL), and most recently the area rep Jeff Lance (an area rep at BMW) about numerous problems with my brand new car.

The bottom line is this: BMW is not interested in retaining existing customers. They are only interested in selling you a car. Once that is done, their responisbility is over. DO NOT expect "special" treatment because you bought an expensive car. You will NOT get it. I should have saved myself a bunch of money and bought a domestic car. I'm sure the service would be at least the same or better. Contained in this these posts is proof that what I say is true. Please read on.

In this post I will describe all the problems, what I have done, and the responses I got. I will keep this post updated with info as I get it. Read further if you are interested in a truly poor customer service experience from a company that should be going above and beyond to make its customers happy.

I have tried to get my issues resolved the conventional way but this isn't working so I am hoping a little more "public" approach will get someone's attention.

Since late August, when I bought the car, I have been having non-stop problems. I have been keeping a log of everything that happens with my car and my experiences. I also recently wrote Jeff Lance a letter and gave him a copy of that log as well. I will post a reply to this post with the letter I sent Jeff and his response. I will also post another reponse that has my driving log and what has been done.

I am currently talking to a lawyer to find out what my rights are with this matter as well as tracking down the name, phone, and address of the VP of Customer Service from BMW NA. I haven't found out who this is yet so any help would be appreciated.

I am also posting the same information at these sites as well:
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...splay.php?f=15
http://bimmer.roadfly.org/bmw/forums/e46/5775485-1.html
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#2 (permalink) Old 10-11-2004, 08:26 PM
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Here is the letter I wrote Jeff about the cosmetic problems I had with the rims. On the right side of the car, there are a few scratches along with some really bad pitting and etching. It looked like the back right rim had been through a few seasons of winter. Read the letter and the at the end I will give you his response
============================================

October 7, 2004
Laurel BMW of Westmont c/o Jeff Lance
430 East Ogden Ave
Westmont, IL 60559
Dear Jeff:
I am writing you this letter for a number of reasons. First, I knew I wasn’t going to be available to talk to you in person before you looked at the car and second, I wanted to go over, in detail, the events that have taken place before and after I purchased this car.
I have an 8am meeting downtown on Friday so I regret that I won’t be able to meet with you first thing in the morning. I am planning on dropping the car off tonight when I get back from Bloomington. I plan on stopping in and speaking with you in person once I return from my meeting Friday afternoon.
I’ll start by saying my first BMW purchase was amazing. It was one of the single best buying experiences I have ever had and my wife would agree to that as well. I bought a 330i from Bill Jacobs in 2002. Everything about the car was flawless. It ran perfect, it looked perfect, simply put…perfect. I was so pleased that I made the statement to my wife and friends that “I will buy nothing but BMW for as long as I can afford it”.
I like to test drive new cars about 6 months before I am ready to get into a new car. I lease cars and always get into a new car at about 2.5 years into the lease. I was almost exactly 2 years into the lease of my 2002 330i when I decided to start test driving new cars. I saved the BMW for last because I already new I loved the cars. I didn’t go to Laurel at the end of August to actually purchase a new car but when they presented me an offer that essentially gave me a clean break from my existing BMW, it seemed like a smart thing to do.
This is where my troubles began. But first, I need to give you a little background on me so that you can better understand my situation. I own a consulting business and work at a client in Bloomington, Illinois. I leave Sunday night and come back Friday night. This leaves about 2.5 days that I can spend with my family every week. This translates to about 130 days a year that I see my family and 236 days a year that I am away. For the limited time that I am home, the last thing that I want to do is spend it running back and forth to the repair shop. If you have a family then you can understand how important those 2.5 days each week really are. The other thing to know is that, as an independent consultant, I am paid by the hour. Every hour that I don’t work is an hour that I cannot bill to my client and is an hour that I don’t get paid. I have lost numerous days worth of work because of my car breaking down and scheduled appointments that the dealer made mistakes on. This translates to thousands of dollars in lost wages. These two facts are very important to understand why every incident with my new car is a huge ordeal.
Attached to this letter you will find a log of my experiences with the new car, with the customer service reps, and the dealerships I have been working with. At this point, I feel like I have been given very mediocre service and the service reps’ lacksidasical attitude about the inconsistent and, quite frankly, unacceptable behavior of my new BMW is very frustrating. In addition, the service reps seem to give very little consideration to the amount of wasted time I must spend bringing my car in only to have it returned unchanged. By the way the service people treat me, you would think that I have nothing better to do all day long than to deal with my car problems. I am extremely unhappy about this car and the inconvenience it has caused me and my family over the last couple of months.
I am reminded every day of how unhappy I am because I can’t even enjoy the car. I am too busy listening for strange noises or feeling how the engine vibrates or just wondering if today is the day my new car is going to break down again. At this point, there are still two issues that are unresolved: stalling at a complete stop that happened on 9-18 & 9-25 as well as the engine puttering that happened on 9-15 that was similar to the problems on 9-7 & 9-14 with no engine light.
This takes me to the current problem. The first item on my problem log is on 9-4 which is the first time I washed the car by hand. This was the first time I had completely gone over the car inch by inch and was the first time I noticed the problems with the rims. I would normally notice this sort of thing even earlier but the day we bought the car it was cold and rainy and I didn’t have the opportunity to go over the car.
I am hoping that you will be able to bring a little light to what is, in my mind, a dark situation. This is probably the single worst car buying experience as well as the worst car I have ever had. I have owned a number of really bad cars in my life but even my first car; a beige ’83 Ford Tempo with 89k miles had fewer problems than this car. I want to be a happy BMW owner again. I want to feel good about my purchase. I want to have a reason to move up into an M3 or a 5 series next time and a 6 or 7 series after that. The way I look at it is that I’m 31 years old and at the rate my wife and I have been going, we will probably own another 40 cars or so in our lifetimes. Please give me a reason to make those cars BMWs.
Thank you for your consideration and time in this matter. I look forward to talking further with you Friday afternoon.

================================================== ===

I noticed the damage one week after I bought the car. This was the first time I washed the car by hand. I immeadiately called to schedule an appointment to have someone look at this. I noticed the marks on the wheels the day I bought it but because it was cold and rainy, I thought it was just dirt.

After talking with Jeff, he told me that it wasn't a manufacturers defect and that he could nothing to fix it. He then said that it was then a dealer issue but continued to tell me that the dealer said the rims were fine when the car left the lot. Essentially telling me that I was lying and that they were not interested in me continuing as a customer. I could understand if there were just a bunch of scratches but the pitting is cannot be explained.

My next post will be the car log.
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#3 (permalink) Old 10-11-2004, 08:28 PM
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Here is the car log that I sent as well. I have been keeping this up to date as much as I can but this exercise is very time consuming and since my free time is severly limited by my job, I usually do mass updates on the weekend.
================================================== ====

9-4-04
Washed the car by hand and had my first opportunity to go over the car front to back. Noticed the problems with the wheels and the condensation in the headlights

9-7-04
5am
Started driving to work in Bloomington. Engine light came on. Engine was puttering and spitting. Drove it home. Called Laurel BMW and they said they couldn’t get me in until Thurs and they didn’t have a loaner. I told him the car was a week old. The guy told me to bring it in and that they would take care of me.

7am
Dropped off the car and picked up a loaner. Everything went very quickly and smoothly. Missed work that day.

3pm
Picked up car and spoke to Randy the tech. Asked him if I should be worried about this problem since the car is only a week old. He told me that it was no big deal but “if it happens again, then we should start to worry.”

9-10-04
Called to schedule another appt at Laurel to fix the wheels and headlights. Told the person on the phone the problem and scheduled for the following Friday. He said someone would have to look at the problems before they ordered parts or anything like that.

9-14-04
Took car into Dennison for engine problems. Same problem as before on 9-7-04.
Talked to a BMW NA rep to ask about the problem. She said there was a manufacturers notice about the faulty coils. Dennison needed to order parts and they needed the car until 9-15-04. No loaner and was late to work.

9-15-04
Called BMW NA and talked to Amber. Told her my story and said that I felt the car should be replaced since it was having problems and it had less than 1000 miles on it. She said the dealer is going to tell me that the car is under warranty. She was going to call me back and never did.

4:15pm
Picked the car up at the end of the day

7:00pm
While driving to dinner, same engine problem as before but the light never came on. It stopped after about 2 or 3 seconds but the engine was sluggish and sputtering exactly like before.

9-16-04
7:30am
Dropped off car in the morning at Dennison; told them about the problem from the day before. No loaner and late to work again.

9:40am
Called Amber at BMW to tell her about additional problem. She was going to follow up and call me back in the morning. She told me that “we are in the business of selling cars not buying them back” and that “There are no real red flags yet” and when asked how many times does it take to be a red flag she told me 15.

9:50am
Call from Dennison. They said nothing showed up in the diagnostics from the computer and that the car was ready to go.

Received a call from Amber in the afternoon and she said the “car was running flawless” and that I could pick it up.

4:30pm
Picked up the car and had no problems.

9-17-04
7am
Took my car into the Laurel scheduled appointment that I made the week before about the wheels and headlights. The tech told me that he couldn’t make the call on the wheels and that the sales/service manager needed to do that. He wasn’t going to be back in until Monday. He asked me to bring the car in Monday but I work out of town so that was impossible. I scheduled another appoint for 9-24. He also told me that the condensation in the headlights was normal without even looking at it. When asked why they didn’t just tell me this over the phone he had no answer. Another day without a loaner and missed work.

Received a call that afternoon and they said the diagnostics came back with no codes. This is something that I already knew because of the previous visit to the other dealer.

Still wondering why I wasted an entire day for nothing, I picked up the car at the end of the day.

9-18-04
8:45am
While backing the car out of my driveway, I depressed the clutch all the way and the car almost stalled.

While running errands in the afternoon with my wife, the car stalled while in first gear and the clutch completely depressed.

9-20-04
7:15am
Rough start. Sluggish through all of the gears and puttering until warmed up. Condensation/frost on the car and was probably in the 40s.

9-21-04
7:15am
Rough start. Sluggish through all of the gears and puttering until warmed up. Condensation/frost on the car and was probably in the 40s.

10:30am
Called amber at BMW and left her a detailed message. Asked her to call me back and advise what I should do. Not very “flawless” performance at this point.
9-22-04
7:15am
Rough start. Sluggish through all of the gears and puttering until warmed up. Condensation/frost on the car and was probably in the 40s.

Still no call back from Amber.

9-23-04
7:15am
Car was functioning fine this morning but it was warmer and there was no condensation/frost on the car.
5:15pm
I left work a day early so I could make my appointment with the Service Manager at Laurel on Friday morning. I called Laurel when I got home because I had a bad feeling that the service manager wasn’t going to be there. I was right. He wasn’t there. Yet another day I have taken off work where I had a scheduled appointment, the service people knew that only the service manager could help me out, and no one called to let me know. This is two entire days away from work, not billing, and not getting paid. Laurel’s mistake alone has cost me approximately $1600-$2000 in lost wages at this point.

Still no call back from Amber.
9-24-04
Since the Service Manager wasn’t going to be in today, I did not take it into the scheduled appointment. I didn’t drive the car today at all.

Still no call back from Amber.
9-25-04
No problem after starting the car today but it is garaged over the weekend and it was warm when we left.
2:00pm
Was running errands with my wife. Car had been running for a couple of hours. Was at a stop sign; fully stopped with clutch completely depressed and in first gear. Car stalled
3:00pm
Filled up with 93 octane gas. As I was leaving the gas station, clutch completely depressed and in first gear, car stalls.

The RPM fluctuate between approx 600-900 RPM. When the RPMs drop to about 600, it feels/sounds like the car is going to stall. Even though the idle has been checked before, the car still feels like there is a problem maintaining a steady idle.

Still no call back from Amber.
9-26-04
6:00pm
Did not drive the car during the day but drove it to Bloomington at night. No problems.

Still no call back from Amber.
9-27-04
7:15am
Cold start this morning like the mornings before. Car was sluggish until warmed up. Idle was erratic as well.
7:30am
Dropped off car at Dennison this morning because I am afraid that when it starts getting colder, my car is not going to start. Told them about the stalling and the cold starts. Someone is supposed to call me back this afternoon. I told them that they should keep it if they can’t replicate the cold start problem so they can try it in the morning. It could be a combination of the cold and the condensation. I told them that I didn’t want to keep brining the car in over and over for them to tell me there were no codes. Someone needs to do some old fashioned troubleshooting.

4:30pm
Went to pick up the car. They said everything was fine. They couldn’t replicate the problems. I asked them to keep the car again because it doesn’t do it every morning. I talked to the tech and gave him a little more detail about my problems and how I drive the car. He told me that my car is really “sweet”. I know they think that is some sort of compliment but it actually just adds fuel to the fire for me. I am tired of people telling my how “flawless” and “sweet” and “nice” my new car is even though it is in the shop more than it is in my possession.

No loaner, no car again.

Still no call back from Amber.
9-28-04
4:30pm
I got the car back from Dennison. They said that there were no codes. Something I already knew. They said they couldn’t replicate the problem. This problem is something that is very subtle. Only by driving the car every day am I able to tell that it drives different from day to day. I know that the stalling is going to be very hard to figure out because it has only happened during hours of driving the car. One thing is for certain, the car stalling at a complete stop is not normal functionality and just because the computer didn’t capture it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. What if some of the sensors that tell the computer of problems were bad? Wouldn’t this register as normal? What if the computer was bad or had a bug? Any of these things are possible. I suggested that they give me a loaner for a week and that someone spend some time driving my car to troubleshoot the problems. Only after driving it a few days in a row would someone even get the “feel” for the car and know when it is running funny. Steve told me to call next week and he would see what they could do.

My biggest fear/problem with all of these little nuances is that the car will have a big problem at the most inopportune time. The worst case scenario is that it breaks down on the highway in the middle of our winter nights.

Still no call back from Amber.

9-29-04
7:15am
Car ran well this morning. No real problems

4:15pm
I was supposed to receive a call from the Service manager from Laurel about the pitting and scratches on the rims. I was running between meetings and decided to call Laurel to see if he was going to call. Since I work out of town, I would need to make plans to take my car in on Friday if needed but I cannot wait until the last minute to do so. I talked to someone and they said Jim would call me back.
5pm
Got a call from Jim. He said that since it was a cosmetic problem that he couldn’t make the call on this and that the BMW area rep would need to do that. I am wondering at this point why it has taken 2 missed appointments, 2 days missed from work, and about $2000 of my money to figure this out. Doesn’t anyone in the service department know this is? Or is Jim the only person in service that knows cosmetic problems have to be run by the BMW area rep?? He told me that he is only in to the dealer once a month or so and the next time he was going to be in the dealer is Oct. 5th. I told him that since I work out of town, it is impossible for me to do anything at that dealer Monday through Thursday and that I would have to make special arrangements to bring it in on Friday. I also told him that there is a BMW dealer in Bloomington (where I work during the week) and that I could take it there. He said he would figure something out and call me the next day.

Still no call back from Amber.
9-30-04
7:15am
Car ran well this morning. No real problems

No call back from Jim

Still no call back from Amber. At this point, Amber hasn’t been very helpful and has done more to irritate an already inflamed situation by belting out snide comments every time I talk to her. I have fully given up on the fact that she is even capable of helping the situation because every time I do talk to her, I get off the phone a little more frustrated and upset about the situation. I don’t have the time to follow up with her and I certainly don’t have the time to hold her on how she should do her job.

10-1-04
Did not drive the car at all today.

1:28pm
I received a call from Tony at Laurel. Jim had asked him to call. He said that Jeff Lance was going to be in on Friday, Oct 8th. I will probably need to drop the car off Thursday night because I have a meeting downtown on Friday morning at 8am.

10-2-04
Did not drive the car at all today.

10-3-04
Did not drive the car at all today.

10-4-04
5am
Drove the car to Bloomington. No problems this morning.
10-5-04
7:15am
No problems this morning.
10-6-04
7:15am
No problems this morning.
10-7-04
7:15am
The car ran a little rough this morning. At a stoplight, I saw the engine drop to almost 500 RPM and it was on the verge of stalling. The engine sounded and felt a little sluggish. Different than the other mornings this week.

I was supposed to call Steve at Dennisons this week but I have been working a lot of hours at work and after work and haven’t been able to take the time to call him.
================================================== =

All I hear from BMW on this log is that it has only "officially" been in the shop 2 times for warranty work. This seems to be the only thing that matters. Nevermind that I have been without a car for weeks and I am currently in a loaner for the next 7 days. Well...this is my tale...I hope someone out there is reading these and actually gives a [Oops!] about keeping me as a BMW customer.
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#4 (permalink) Old 10-13-2004, 11:48 AM
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Who would've thought that BMW has bad service. You pay that extra money to get the service.

What I would do before writing a letter to BMW executives is to register an official complaint with the Better Business Bureau (http://www.bbb.orghttp://www.bbb.org). You will get a complaint id. Make sure you include all the names of the people you've been dealing with in your complaint along with their telephone numbers so that a BBB investigator can call them. Your goal is to have the BBB harass them to the point the you will get anything you want. Next, you should write your letter to a few of the key executives at BMW as well as to the dealer and service department. Put a clear reference in your letter to the case number of the BBB complaint.

I would also find out if there is a regulatory department(s) for automobile dealers or manufacturers. You might be able to register complaintts with them. For example, there might be a government department that handles the importing of cars from europe and you might be able to file a complaint with them. You shold look at both Federal and State regulatory depratments. I would also check out the Secretary of State.

You can then reference those complaints in your letter.

I have had issues with products and services in the past and I've learned that you won't get any action unless you start to make it miserable for them and the good old government can help you do that...

Good luck...
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#5 (permalink) Old 10-13-2004, 10:15 PM
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lancia is an unknown quantity at this point
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Quote:
Originally posted by daver1@Oct 13 2004, 10:48 AM
Who would've thought that BMW has bad service. You pay that extra money to get the service.
I know...same thought here. I think I am going to wait for the response from the lawyer. My experience is that a letter usually clears things up. If that doesn't work then I will need to launch the full-on assault as you describe. I will try to make as much noise as possible until someone listens or someone decides it is better/cheaper to just do what I want to shut me up.

Thanks for the advice.
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#6 (permalink) Old 10-14-2004, 12:41 AM
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While your concerns and anger are justified, you're being a bit premature in demanding a new car..

all the problems your experiencing are well documented and known. for future reference:

www.e46fanatics.com
www.bimmerfest.com
www.bimmerforums.com

those 3 boards have a much much larger user base, and as such, you would have found answers to all your questions at any one of the sites., more specifically e46fanatics.com, since everyone on there has an e46... bimmerforums is still largely older models... but every once in awhile will has something useful for the newer models..

Before going to a dealership, because they're all full of idiots, check those boards first, you'll 99% of the time have your answer before going to the dealership, and then you tell them what needs to be fixed.

The coil problem is a well known problem.. some of them had defects, it was just a matter of whether or not you got them.. but if you did, easily replaced with new ones under warranty... there's a tsb on it.

the headlight condensation is normal.. with any car really.. it really depends on the environment you live in... you can easily remove the lense and reseal it yourself as well.. but it will still get condensation because you have cold air on one side, and hot air on the other from the headlight being on..

the rough start/rought idle/ and stall are also well known and documented. It isn't helped by cold temperature.. as you seemed to have noticed from your log entries.. SW39.1 solves this problem. It also fixes the 4k rpm power dip. It just came out and not every dealership has it.

As for the wheels... you weren't specific on what was wrong, but i think you mentioned scratches and gashes.. well.. that's from driving. it's called curb rash and stone/pebble chips.. it's wear and tear. It happens when you have 18 inch wheels with less tire to protect it.
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