Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Charlotte, NC, USA
I did not know where to post this, hope this is OK.
Last night I was at a Board of Directors meeting of our local BMW MOA club. Our dealer attends regularly, as he supports us in almost everything we do. Great guy. I know, I know. We are lucky, but I am sure not alone even though we mostly hear bad stuff here.
Anyway, I learned something that may partially explain why BMW is losing so many motorcycle dealerships in the US. This is almost impossible to believe, but hang in there and I will explain.
BMW NA, does periodic audits on warranty work done at dealerships. This week, my local dealership has been undergoing his first audit since owning the fanchise. His description of the process is amazing.
The fact that BMW NA does audits is just good business, but the way they go about it may explain why so many of us have sour relationships with our dealers and why there are more leaving than joining.
First off, the process is adversarial in nature. The auditor assumes you are a crooked dealer and goes about claiming fraud with draconian corrective actions. They can only go back over warranty claims for the last 12 months. They go through the claims in detal and retroactively deny claims for any reason. Here are some examples:
New bike owner comes in with a battery going bad. He had to jump start his bike to get it started. The battery would not hold a charge. He brought it to the dealership 3 times where the techs checked out the charging system, charged the battery and turned him loose. On the fourth time he came in with the battery problem, the dealership gave him a new battery under the warranty program. The auditor says there are no bad batteries, just owners not taking care of them properly. The are denying all warranty claims in the audit year on batteries. We are talking $1000's of dollars out of the dealers pocket here.
Another example: The auditor wants to see a printed report out of the diagnostic computer on all warranty claims. Seems reasonable, but the BMW mandated computer which the dealer pays BMW $450/mo for does not make printouts. BMW has known this for sometime and has not fixed it. None-the-less, no printout, denied warranty work. Cha Ching.
Last example, but many more:
Auditor finds a discrepancy of 6 minutes on the time stamp and work order. The entire warranty claim denied, not just 6 minutes the entire $900 warranty claim.
You ask, can the dealer appeal. Yes. To the auditor. There is no one in BMW who is designated as a neutral appeal processor. The on site auditor is judge, prosecutor and jury. End of discussion. The very definition of arrogant.
There is so much more I learned about how BMW NA treats its dealerships. It amazes me the the USA has as many cycle dealerships that we have. It sure is making me reconsider what brand my next bike will be.
Is anyone else aware of this? What stories do you have to tell?