Re: Never Again!!!!!!!!!!!
Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Bob Mihalko and I am the Service Manager @ BMW-Ducati of Charlotte. I have been with BMW-Ducati of Charlotte since the fall of 2005 and previous to that I was the Service Manager @ Matthews Fun Machines for nearly five years. I've also been employed in the motorcycle industry as a Sales Associate and as a Sales Manager. I have been involved in some type of customer service for nearly my entire professional career.
I have been an avid motorcycle enthusiast for the past 23 years, having owned nearly twenty motorcycles including my current bike, a 2001 BMW K1200LT, which I use as my daily commuter, my weekend getaway bike, and yes, my track bike.
I would like to take the time to set the facts straight regarding Mr. Young's recent experience with our dealership. I was the sole point of contact with Mr. Young from the time we initially set the service appointment, checked the bike in, consulted on the phone and checked the bike out when Mr. Young picked the bike back up.
Mr. Young had requested a modified 48,000 mile service with a four year service. His appointment was booked and his bike was checked into our dealership on March 6, 2008 @ 4:38 P.M. I filled out the Work Order and initially listed the following jobs which Mr. Young had requested: 1. Perform "modified" 48K / four year service (customer requests we do NOT change the engine oil or filter, the final drive fluid, or the spark plugs. DO install the customer supplied K&N air filter. Perform the remainder of the service as per BMWNA guidelines). 2. North Carolina Safety Inspection.
Mr. Young accompanied me outside to perform our mandatory, documented "walk around" of the motorcycle. During the process of the walk around, I checked the following items: Tires, suspension, front brakes, lights, signaling equipment, operation of of the hand controls, power windshield and the audio system. I recommended replacement of the front tire due to wear. Mr. Young requested a quote on replacing the front tire. I also inspected the final drive unit and the gearbox/crankcase junction (done so by lying on my back to examine the underside of the bike). I found the area just aft of the gearbox/crankcase junction to be soaked with oil. I showed Mr. Young the oil on my hand and I informed him of the possibility of a rear main seal or a gearbox seal leak. Mr. Young indicated the bike "is not leaking any oil, the oil was due to the fact I had overfilled the crankcase while performing an oil change". Mr. Young also stated the area was dry when he performed the oil change. I noted the following on the work order: Clean and check for possible oil leak, rear main seal or drain plug (customer just changed the oil, it was dry then). The bike was started and the reverse operation was checked (found to be non-operable). I noted to Mr. Young that the bike had an erratic idle (the engine idle speed was rising and falling). I informed Mr. Young that the previous owner had brought the bike in last year for a fluid service and also mentioned the bike was having erratic idle problems. Mr. Young acknowledged the bike did in fact have somewhat of an erratic idle. AT NO TIME DID I INDICATE TO MR. YOUNG THAT "THIS WAS NORMAL". I noted the following on the work order: "note: the bike seems to have an erratic idle - low then high to 1,300 rpms. I also informed Mr. Young that while performing the brake fluid service the previous year we discovered and cleared an ABS fault code #16 (ABS piston fault)
While performing the walk around of the bike I noticed a piece of rubber wedged between the RH mirror base and the upper cowl. I inquired about this and Mr. Young indicated the "mirror is loose and it rattles". I removed only the RH mirror to investigate the cause of the problem (I used the procedure that anyone familiar with the BMW mirror mounting system would know, place one hand under the mirror assembly and with the other hand use a short, sharp blow to the top outer portion of the mirror assembly to safely remove it from the three mounting posts). The mirror came loose as expected (it was tethered with a wire tie) and both Mr.Young and I inspected the mirror base assembly. Mr. Young pointed out the wire retaining clips were screwed up (in fact the mirror base plastic was cracked and there were pieces of plastic missing). Mr. Young stated the LH mirror had similar problems but it was not as bad. Mr. Young requested I provide him with a quote on replacing the mirror and I noted the following on the work order: 3. estimate to replace RH internal mirror assy.
I noted the following on our Motorcycle Check In Form: Scuffed RH engine guard, scratched trunk box latch, scratched RH saddlebag lid, RH Mirror base (cracked plastic and damaged clip), non-functional reverse operation, scuffed LH engine cowl, broken vanity mirror peg).
Upon completion of the walk around, Mr. Young signed the work order authorizing us to perform the services as described on the work order. Mr. Young also signed the Motorcycle Check In Form noting the current damage to the bike.
Mr. Young requested an estimate to complete all the work. I noted the following amounts on the work order $800.00 for service, $9.10 for state safety inspection. Mr. Young then inquired as to the cost of replacing the front tire and I quoted him approximately $200.00. Mr. Young stated that if I could keep everything under $1000.00 (without the mirror replacement), "go ahead and do it". Mr. Young then acknowledge (with an additional signature) the estimated amount of the modified 48K/four year service, the state inspection and front tire replacement. I informed Mr.. Young that I would contact him if we encountered any problems during the process of the service.
The work order was assigned to our BMW Master Certified Technician on the scheduled day and as per policy the work order was reviewed with the technician prior to any work being started on the bike. The technician assisgned the work order has been with our company for nearly nine years. He is a graduate of MMI with a certifications in both BMW and Harley Davidson. The following are a list of the certifications he has received over the years: BMW Master Certified Technician, Ducati Desmosedici Certified Technician, Ducati Level II Certified Technician, Triumph Certified Technician, and MV Agusta Certified Technician. Needless to say, this guy know his way around a bike and he has developed a very dedicated and loyal customer base over the years.
Based on my observations of the erratic engine idle at the time of the initial walk around AND the bikes previous history of erratic idle problems, our technician first checked the bike for fault codes using the BMW GT1 diagnostic computer. The checked revealed no fault codes present. He proceeded with the service, including the post service test ride. During the test ride the engine idle grew more erratic and by the time he returned to the shop the engine idle speed was hanging up around 4,000 rpm's. He again checked for fault codes using GT1 and found the following fault code present: Open idle actuator. I researched the labor costs and the part cost to replace the idle actuator and I called Mr. Young. I informed Mr. Young that we had completed the service, the replacement of the front tire, and the state inspection. I informed him that the amount of the service was actually $633.99 plus tax and not the $800.00 dollars I had estimated previously. The tire replacement was $196.85 plus tax and the state safety inspection was $9.10. I informed Mr. Young that the technician had noted the following problems during the process of performing the service: leaking timing cover, possible rear main or gearbox seal, and a leaking steering damper. I also informed Mr. Young of the high engine idle condition and the fault code for the idle control actuator.
Mr. Young became very upset at this time and indicated that the bike did not have that problem when it came in and he wanted to know what we had done to the bike. I explained in detail the process of performing the service including both the pre-service and post service diagnostics using GT1. I provided Mr. Young a quote on the replacement cost of the idle control actuator and the labor to replace it. Mr. Young asked me to "take a look" at the number and let him know what we could do for him. Mr. Young commented that he was not happy about having to take the bike back apart to fix a problem we should have fixed when we had it apart. I informed Mr. Young that I would see what I could do to help him out.
I called Mr. Young back a short while later and offered to replace the idle actuator using BMWNA's flat rate of 1.1 hours (replace idle control actuator, body work removed and fuel tank removed) instead of the 2.5 hours to replace it including removal of the bodywork and fuel tank. Mr. Young authorized the repair and I informed him we would have the part the next day and I would re-arrange our schedule in order to complete the repair.
We were able to get the bike back on the techician's lift that afternoon and we verified the failure down to the component level (with the idle actuator removed, we were able to manually close the plunger and view the results on GT1). The part arrived and was installed the following day. We re-set the TPS and verified proper operation of the idle control actuator. Engine idle speed was now normal. A road test was performed but during the test ride the ABS warning lights began to flash. We again checked for faults and discovered a re-occurrence of the ABS # 16 (modulator piston fault). The techinican performed a component test of the ABS modulator piston using GT1 and it failed. The fault code was cleared and the bike was given a final inspection. The replacement of the idle actuator was $229.00 plus tax. In addition to charging the lower flat rate of 1.1 hours instead of the 2.5 hours, we did NOT charge Mr. Young any diagnostic time.
Mr. Young was notified upon the completion of all the work and the final work order total was $1099.34 ($99.34 more than I had originally estimated for the service, the tire replacement and the state safety inspection). Mr. Young was also informed of the re-occurrence of the ABS fault code.
Mr. Young came in to pick his bike up and I reviewed all the paperwork and I returned the faulty idle control actuator. Mr. Young paid his bill and left with his bike. I did not hear back from Mr.. Young until the following week when he called to tell me the cruise control was no longer working, that the throttle cable had come loose at the throttle tube assembly and that we "had scratched the side cover". Mr. Young also stated that he had to "pump" the front brake. We spoke about the throttle cables and I described how to re-secure the cable in the housing and how to lock it in place with the lock nut. I also offered to have him come by and we would double check the throttle cable adjustment and perform the stationary cruise control test. I also offered him my opinion of the "pumping" he was having to do with the front brakes. My experience with BMW ABS II is that the initial pull of the brake lever has a soft feel. If the brake lever is pulled in, released and then immediately pulled back in the brake lever has a much harder feel to it. This is based on my experience with both my 2001 K1200LT and my 2001 R1150GS, and with consultation with representatives from BMWNA. I have not heard back from Mr. Young since we last spoke. .
I'd also like to respond directly to some of Mr. Young's statements from his posts.
Mr. Young states:"What a mistake!! the bike came back to me with more problems than it went in for:
Having been informed of the condition of his bike by trained professionals, Mr. Young is now aware of the problems he was un-aware of when he purchased the bike.
Mr. Young states: "Dealer says it had a history of brake issues Its coding a 16 Dealer wants to replace the ABS unit!!. Idle was high about 1200 rpm. asked dealer about it? said it was normal when I took it in. Somehow it had a hard failure while there and started idling at 4K while at the dealer. Again had a HISTORY form the P.O.. Previous fix," CHANGED OIL AND AIR FILTER" problem solved.
During the process of performing the walk around, Mr. Young was advised of the erratic idle, the previous history of the erratic idle and the previous history of the ABS problem. The bike did not have a fault codes present when we performed the pre-service diagnosis but did in fact suffer a "hard failure" while being test ridden during the post service test ride. The previous fix was NOT "change engine oil and filter". The previous owner requested we change the engine oil and filter and he mentioned the bike had an erratic idle. We performed the engine oil and filter change, checked fault codes (no idle actuator fault codes were present at that time) and we test rode the bike. We noted that the idle was normal at that time.
Mr. Young states: "They suposely did the 48K service per BMW. Did not stamp the book."
It is BMW-Ducati of Charlotte's policy to not go through customer's personal belongings in order to find the book to stamp it. We will gladly stamp a customer's book provided the customer gives us the book or directs us to the book. At no time did Mr. Young provide us with the book or request we stamp it.
Mr. Young states: "It amazes me how the service manager kept telling me the bike has a "HISTORY" of this and that and how it came out with hard failures at the dealer which it didn't have going in. It seems to me if it has a "history" then the dealer did not have the knowledge or expertise to fix the "HISTORY problems"!!!" and "How do you fix an erratic idle with changing the oil and filter? call me baffled!!!
We could not duplicate the previous owner's complaint and he was not concerned with the erratic idle problem. He wanted the oil and filter changed and he was going to let the next owner worry about the problem. We did not investigate it further because we were not authorized to do so.
Mr. Young states: "I have gone round and round with them, You can't talk to a person who believes he knows everything and you know nothing. There comes a point where you realize that all they can do is replace parts and hope like H*** they get it right."
We never went "round and round". I was honest and professional during all my interactions with Mr. Young. We did ONLY what Mr. Young asked us to do. Mr. Young was provided with up front estimates, the work was performed in a timely manner and at a significant savings from the original estimate. When we did encounter a problem, Mr. Young was notified and provided with a verbal estimate.
Mr. Young states: "Every time I talked to them while the bike was in there ( We were on vacation) I felt the upsell going on. It had no abs brake issues, the cruise worked, the idle was what I thought a little high at 1200rpm. and no scratches on the side covers. but it was running fine , no warning lights and all worked."
I never attempted to "up sell" Mr. Young. Mr. Young was advised of only the recommended services, a replacement of the front tire and the problems we noted and encountered while the bike was in our care.
Mr. Young states: "I don't believe they have any troubleshooting skills at all. I am really upset with the way the bike was returned and the service, How Do you get two MAJOR HARD Failures while at the dealer when it was ok prior. That has to be pretty rare and then the bike is returned to you with the ABS problem."
The bike was NOT okay prior to it coming to our dealership. We were just unfortunate the problems re-occurred while we had it. We did in fact diagnose the erratic idle problem correctly.
Mr. Young states: "I bought this bike with the intent on seeing how well I liked it before spending 20+K on a new one. I really do like the bike and I was extermely happy with the sales department but after this experience we will never use them for service or buy another bike or parts from them".
I'm sorry Mr. Young feels this way but I would not change a single thing we did during this entire process. We obviously failed to meet Mr. Young's expectations and for that I am sorry.
To all of you who have taken the time to read this post, I thank you. To our loyal customer's who have come to our defense, I thank you. I look forward to serving all of with integrity and honesty for years to come.