EWS! = Even Worse Service!
Today was Tuesday June 3rd. (Some Background) I live in a medium sized town about 90 miles east of Houston, called Beaumont Texas. I’d just moved here from Dallas in December 2007 because my other half got the great opportunity to be a main anchor with NBC. I’ve taken several cross-country trips on my Honda 1000rr with my riding buddy and his more touring BMW. In two years of owning the Honda CBR I logged over 26k mikes. But the itch had got me, and I wanted a new bike. SOmething more fitting of touring than the race track. But I still wanted sporty.
My buddy pretty much sold me on BMW. My only question was where to buy it. Dallas BMW has a bad rep by word of mouth, but I gave them a shot. I visited twice, and no one even said as much as a hello. The three friends I have that own BMW all go to Fort Worth BMW, and even on my Honda, I was treated very well there. But I knew I was moving to Beaumont. So I gave Gulf Coast BMW a shot. Again, pretty much no interaction, from sales staff, though Gregg in Parts was Awesome. When it came to it, Byron won customer courtesy and service hands down. I paid cash for my 08 k1200s in Ft Worth.
Fast-forward to today, Tuesday June 3rd. I see a Doctor in Houston rather than Beaumont. I went today for a check up and road the bike the balmy 90 miles this morning. Great ride, no complaint day, until I left the Doctor’s office. The bike would not start, and only flashed “EWS!” Yikes! My other half was not reachable due to all the news events happening today, and planning their line up. I called my buddy, asked for advice since he is always the calm and collective one in these situations. My next call was Gulf Coast BMW. Service claimed it was happening to lots of bikes, but they did not have the replacement part, that they would need to order it. The also suggested I call BMW roadside assistance to get the bike to them. Ok Fine.
I called BMW Roadside Assistance, gave them all the information they asked for. This is where most of my frustration began. They have my name and number address all that stuff, but did not know what bike I had… They should know that or have it in their system. Then the details of where I was stranded. I pushed the bike out of the parking garage to make it easier for the tow truck, and waited curbside.
The tow truck arrived that BMW sent in about 50 min. The guy obviously has not hauled any bikes before. He only had car straps! He claims to have hauled a Harley or two, by now I was worried about the safety of my bike on his truck. I ended up showing him how to tie it down. Luckily I had an old shirt rag in my bag, I used it to protect the bike from his straps. Now we are loaded and off, he asked where are we going? WTF! I told BMW where to take it, and that there was only one BMW dealer in Houston. I had to show him how to get there as well…. At this point the only information I can confirm BMW gave him was my cell Number. I had to tell him where I was, How to load and transport the bike, and where we were going.
When we arrived at Gulf Coast BMW. There were two sales people out front speaking with a customer. I hopped out of the truck, and the driver started getting the bike UN tied…. The Staff people disappeared… and it was the customer who came over and offered help in unloading my bike! After the bike was off the truck, and the driver gone, I walked inside to make my way to service. Not a single “hello, let us know if we can help.” In Service they were pretty cool, did a good job of explaining what was going to be done and how long it would take. But of no assistance to the problem I was 90 miles from home with out transportation. I went back into the main showroom, to call BMW Assistance again to see about rental bike or what have you. I was passed along to three numbers and then put on hold indefinitely. Still, not a single person made contact with me. Finally I’d had it with calling assistance numbers and being treated like an invisible person. I stopped one person, and asked. Is there a bus, shuttle taxi I can get from here to the airport? He seemed a little stunned, and finally asked what the issue was. I said I need to rent a bike, loaner bike, or rental car, as I live 90 miles from here, and the bike is not ready for several days. Then the key question, “Did I buy the bike from them?”
What does that matter I thought to myself? But I told the truth, as they could easily find that out themselves. 30 min later I was dumped off at the airport. Thrifty said they were not taking any walk ups unless I wanted to rent a 12 passenger van. So then I went to Avis. Explained to Claudia my being stranded here and needed a one-way rental. She got me a little compact, though her coworker protested with the same thing Thrifty did. “All cars are reserved except 12 passenger vans. Claudia looked at me and said so… rules can be bent. She was the angel of my day. The only one who seemed to care and or show any effort in taking care of a customer? I paid it myself, and I’m sure I’ll have to go through some 6-month claim submission to get reimbursed. And then there will be what was covered under warranty and what is not.
My main points. BMW Roadside assistance seems only to be able to give out your cell number to a third party and nothing more. BMW Dealers can’t see you unless you have a checkbook in hand and looking at a new bike. (Except Byron in Fort Worth.) I understand machines are that, and they may break. Why is it that fellow riders treat each other with more respect, and offer more help than the person or persons who profit from the sale, maintenance, upgrades, and gear ever do? Honda treated me 10x better for a bike that was 1/2 the price.
Now I sit and wait to find out when the bike will be ready, and make the trip back.