How do I get a dealer 'motivated'? - BMW F800 Riders Forum & Registry



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  1. #1
    romanr's Avatar
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    08:30 Saturday I leave my hotel room to be greeted by a bike that won't start. One brief, seemingly normal start sequence terminated by a short 'bump' of the starter and then poof! No OBC display, no more starter, nothing. The clocks quiver and the OBC is completely blank. This isn't my first rodeo - the same thing happened on my other ST around the 14 month mark and I'm at 17 months on this one. I call BMW Roadside Assistance (they were good help last time) and was told that they had to try to jump start the bike before they could do anything, so I said OK, just be sure the truck they send to jump start can also carry me to a dealer in case that doesn't work.

    After an hour, I notice a Toyota Yaris circling the hotel parking lot and I get a phone call from the driver (I'm standing right by him when he calls) asking for directions to help him find me. He wasn't told that he should be looking for a motorcycle so he's come armed with a sub-compact car and a pair of jumper cables looking for a BMW ...car.

    He tries to jump start the bike which runs fine until he disconnects the battery at which point it starts to sputter, the OBC flickers, and the the warning lights all blink in time to the sputtering. He revs the engine, which smooths it all out, but it starts the same behavior again as soon as he lets it idle. I turn the bike off, telling him that the battery is the only filter I have on the alternator and it's obviously open so I don't want to subject the electronics to the unfiltered alternator output. I sign for the service and call roadside assistance again and ask if they're happy enough now to send a truck which they agree to do. The trucking company calls a bit later and I ask if they know its a motorcycle. NOPE. They only have two drivers that know how to load a bike and the one they sent to me isn't one of them. Fortunately, though, they did get the right guy to me and I was at the nearest dealer shortly after 11:00, which I thought was commendably rapid service.

    The dealer tells me that BMW requires the new battery to be charged on the bench for 'several hours' before they can put it in the bike and then the entire bike must be tested. OK, I'm stuck here (in Texas) trying to head home to Illinois, so I walk around waiting to get the call from them that my bike is ready. Around 6:15 they tell me that the battery did, indeed, have an 'open cell' but they can't finish testing the bike today (Saturday), are closed Sunday and Monday but they're back at work Tuesday and will call me as soon as the bike is ready.

    It's Tuesday afternoon and I haven't heard from them, so I call to see how's it's going. They say that the bike 'probably' needs a new ring antenna now, but they don't have a replacement and will need 'at least a week' to get the bike going!!??.

    WTF!

    I got off the phone with the dealer and called A&S BMW who told me they had a few in stock and that their computer shows over 200 here in the U.S. (can A&S really check that?). They could send it for $37.73 plus overnight shipping. I called the dealer back and they said they'll have to check to see if they can get permission to transfer the part from another dealer.

    I thought BMW had a policy to overnight parts to help a warranty repair to minimize the interruption to a rider on the road (I'm over 900 miles from home and it's either my bike or my boots if I'm going anywhere).

    Who else can I call to try to get these guys motivated? They're an official BMW dealer (although if it wasn't for used bikes, they'd only have a couple of BMWs among their dozens of Ducati's and Triumph's), so I would hope that Motorrad US could 'help' if I could talk to the right person.

    Why does a BMW dealer need a full day to replace a battery and then, 'at least a week', to get a ring antenna? I still love this bike, but the dealer network has a few weak links....

    If you have any contact information you are willing to share, please send me a PM. Thanks.
    Last edited by romanr; 10-06-10 at 01:35 AM. Reason: grammar
    2009 F800ST: midnight blue [ABS OBC TPMS etc]
    "bandas, bolas e bundas" - Rita Lee 

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  3. #2
    Ware, Herts, UK Pat H is offline F800Riders.org Supporter
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    I thinmk it sounds like a very motivated dealer.
    In fact so motivated they nicked your working ring antenna to fit to another customers bike figgering you could wait.

    BMW dealer is the key that explains the level of service you're seeing. You pay for the badge and the brand the cold shoulder is an extra some dealers throw in.
    Flame red F800s as of Nov 2006. Watch for me around North London.


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  4. #3
    romanr's Avatar
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    Wow, Pat. I never thought of that.
    I was puzzled about how/why the ring antenna "probably" needed to be replaced since the bike started when we put the jumper cables on the battery...
    2009 F800ST: midnight blue [ABS OBC TPMS etc]
    "bandas, bolas e bundas" - Rita Lee 

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  6. #4
    BrENDURO's Avatar
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    How to get them motivated? Take them out to dinner...be sure to open the door for them. Buy all the drinks they want. Maybe surprise them with flowers or chocolates. Hopefully that'll get them in the mood
    Brendan 

  7. #5
    Rob's Avatar
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    A call to BMW National Service should help. It's in the back of your owners manual. I'd stand right in front of the counter when doing it.
    Forum Owner Emeritus

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  8. #6
    romanr's Avatar
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    Thanks, Rob. My manual is with the bike (under the seat), but I called the customer service number on the BMW Motorrad website (800-831-1117) this morning and talked to a polite lady named Tina. I waited while she called the dealer and then explained to me that the dealer was doing all they could to 'expedite' [her word] the repairs. Unfortunately, she could not explain why a ring antenna replacement should require 9-10 calendar days nor why BMW doesn't communicate shipping / tracking information to their dealers. Polite, but a total waste of 29 minutes of cell phone charges. If you know a different number or person that I can contact, please share that with me.

    After that, I called the dealer and (again) was told that they only know that most parts take "about 7 working days" to arrive. They said, multiple times, that they never get shipping confirmation or tracking numbers. In the next breath, however, he insisted that they are doing all they can to get me going, but warned me that I should not expect to ahve the bike back until next week. I asked twice in the same conversation if there were other places he could get the part, and he said that he had to order from New Jersey because there are none available so it may have to come from Germany. [I briefly considered that as a possible reason for the long delay]

    Since I had time to kill, I called the next BMW dealer 20 miles father down the road. They had at least 3 in stock for $37 each. At 3:00pm I called the service department, told them I would have the new ring antenna in their hands by 6:00pm. True to my word, I had the part in their hands before 6:00pm, but around 6:30 they came to me and said they need 3-4 hours to replace the ring antenna ["it's a very big job - the triple tree has to be removed and the old antenna has to be drilled out"]. OK. That's partly true, but why couldn't they remove the old antenna between 3:00 and 6:00pm AND why should I wait '7 working days' for a part that the could get 20 miles down the road?

    The parts manager could not show me an order, but he assured me that the part would take 'at least 7 working days' to arrive. What is the magic about '7 working days'? Since they are closed Sundays and Mondays, this is 9-11 calendar days. For a freaking ring antenna? Also, when I asked if he had requested VOR service (Vehicle Off Road), he had no idea what I was talking about and when I explained it, someone suggested that this may be just be an internet myth. Am I wrong about this for a warranty repair on a bike still 900 miles from home?

    Doesn't BMW use UPS or FEDEX or some trackable shipping method? I have a lot of trouble believing that such a large company keeps their dealers so much in the dark, but Tina did nothing, said nothing to counter this assertion. She insisted that the dealer's part manager promised he would try to 'expedite' the order he allegedly placed Saturday, but insisted that I should trust the dealer if they say they cannot track the shipment.

    I feel like I'm being played for a fool, but I cannot see where it's to anyone's benefit. I've honestly been patient and polite until today, but this really makes me want to scream. I seriously question the failure of the ring antenna on a 2009 bike when the bike started fine on an external battery (jump start). Possible, yes, but not likely. More importantly, I do not feel any sense of urgency at this dealer and was let down that the customer service person defended their story that such shipments are not trackable.

    I love the bike, still... but BMW Motorrad?
    Premium Brand
    Premium Price
    Premium Performance, looks and features
    ...but parts of the dealer network can be a Royal disappointment

    $20 in taxis + $80 dollar for a 14BS battery and I would have been on my way by noon Saturday, but NOOOOOOO, I wasn't going to let BMW bully me into paying for it all myself like they did when my 2007 ST's battery died. I can only imagine what would happen if a major failure (e.g., rear wheel bearing) happened on the road.
    2009 F800ST: midnight blue [ABS OBC TPMS etc]
    "bandas, bolas e bundas" - Rita Lee 

  9. #7
    notacop is offline The original Schwartz Wald Troll
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    Hey, you are in Texas! That dealer is so full of Crapola.
    My friends Guzzi Stelvio developed a rear main seal and was in the shop for a week. All the parts had to come from New Jersey. Piaggio doesn't want to stock a lot of parts.
    When you were on the phone with A&S you should have had the service manager listen in.
    One can only hope the bike doesn't die as yours did with a moron dealer for the service. Good luck!

  10. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by romanr View Post
    I can only imagine what would happen if a major failure (e.g., rear wheel bearing) happened on the road.
    It would return home in the back of a pick up truck at your expense like what happened to a friend of mine here when he was on the road to Cancun.
    He sourced the bearings locally and did the work himself.

  11. #9
    Flook's Avatar
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    Roman, are you still waiting............... My dealer would have offered me a replacement bike to use in the meantime, even when the ST goes in fora service they offer me a bike to use. I would have put a rocket up there arse, threatened them with all sorts, especially the local papers, though I would have tried niey/nicey first, then the rocket job.

    Flook
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  12. #10
    romanr's Avatar
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    Thanks, Flook. No, that episode is behind me now and the dealer closed their doors shortly after I got my bike back. When they're bad, they're really, really, bad.
    2009 F800ST: midnight blue [ABS OBC TPMS etc]
    "bandas, bolas e bundas" - Rita Lee 

  13. #11
    Flook's Avatar
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    And how is the bike now?
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