I recently brought my 2000 chrysler sebring in because the alarm was going off at random times (3:00am). Also when I was driving the interior lights would turn on and off and the dash readout would say “DOOR” as if I had opened the door, there was a relay clicking sound under the dash and the car would also try to relock the doors. This was an intermittent problem, occasionally the car would be fine for a while then the show would begin. I took it to a local Chrysler dealer and they diagnosed the problem to be the BCM or Body Control Module. The service writer told me that the only way to know if Chrysler had the part in stock was to actually place the order for the part and pay up front. He told me that the unit would have to be programmed at the FACTORY for my specific car. He also told me that if the part was not in stock they would have to remove my BCM and send it to Chrysler for repair and that the car would be down for at least a week. He gave me the impression that this part was hard to come by, so I ordered the part. They charged me $895.93+tax for the part, $105.00 for the labor to diag the problem and estimated $210.00 to replace the unit. When I returned home I did some researching on the internet and found several BCM’s on ebay for under $100.00. I also found them readily available at Chrysler and other parts shops online for around $530.00. First thing the next morning I called the dealer and told the service writer to cancel the order. He told me that the part had already been programmed for my car, it was ready to be shipped and I could not cancel the order. I did more research online and with other service shops locally and found out that the BCM is programmed AFTER it is installed in the car. Unfortunately there are no other service shops that could program the BCM (they did not have the programming tool) so I felt like I was stuck with the dealership. I called them back and negotiated a discount on the part and the service writer told me he would not charge me any more money and they would install the BCM for free. Feeling like I had at saved myself a little money I decided to have them install the unit. I asked if I could have the old part and he said it was on an exchange program and that they would have to send the part back. I was never told this initially and there was no mention of this on any paperwork. After the alleged “repair” was done the service writer told me that they discovered a faulty DOOR switch on the driver door side. He said it was “shorting out” and as a “courtesy” to me he had the mechanic exchange the faulty switch with the passenger door so that at least the driver door had a working switch. I immediately asked if he thought this could have been the cause of the problem all along but he denied it and told me that they think the faulty switch could have fried the BCM! I asked why did you put the bad switch back in the car!!! He sort of fumbled said that now the switch is totally shorted out and disabled.
My conclusion is that this whole problem was caused by a shorting door switch ($40.00) and that either they misdiagnosed the problem and when the new BCM did not fix the problem they found the real problem in the door switch or they just scammed me from the start. I think the “part exchange program” is a scam. Why don’t I get the part back or why don’t I get two prices, one if I exchange the part and one if I don’t.
I’d like to know other peoples opinion on this. Has anyone else had this problem? Could a faulty driver door switch damage a BCM? Has anyone ever had to order a part before knowing if it is in stock or not? (I never heard of this before. In fact another dealer told me all he needed was the VIN to see if the part was in stock). Have you ever been told you could not have your parts back? They do belong to the car owner, you paid for them when you bought the car!! (unless it is clearly stated that you get a discount on the parts price if you are willing to exchange).
I am preparing to file claims with the Bureau of Automotive Repair and the Better Business Bureau.
Thanks for reading.