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Standard Maintenance - Is something fishy?

Hi!

Ok, this is long, so for those who don’t like reading, I’ll post the basic question first. There are more details below and additional questions at the end for those who enjoy long-winded-ness.

Basic Question:
Is 4 full business days unreasonably long to have a car that only needs: oil change, rear brakes, 2 tires, alignment, fix cruise control (that they say wasn’t broken)? The longest it’s ever stayed before was 6 hours for similar needs.

I’ve had my BMW for a couple of years, and I always take it to my local BMW dealership in Atlanta for service. I have a maintenance package, so most things (aside from tires) have been covered. I’ve historically had great experiences at this dealership— friendly service, Accurate quotes (time and money), complimentary concierge driver to bring me home and then back to the dealership. At most, they’ve kept my vehicle for about 6 hours (never overnight), and that was when I needed tires replaced plus standard maintenance.

So, I had an appointment for standard maintenance this past Wednesday morning, November 13 at 10:00 AM. Tuesday night, I got a flat tire (and it punctured the gel pack in the run flats, so it wasn’t drive-able (and I don’t have a spare). I had it towed to my dealership (included in my maintenance plan), and it arrived there at about 10:00 PM Tuesday.

Wednesday morning, I got a ride to the dealership to check in. They didn’t even realize my car was there, despite me using BMW SOS for the tow. I met with my service advisor and went over the requests I had for my original appointment— that I included in the notes when booking: oil change and normal maintenance tasks, rear brakes, and troubleshoot my cruise control (it stopped working after the last time I took my car in for maintenance and to have the airbag recall addressed— timing seems a bit funny on that, too, considering it worked perfectly fine up to the point that they fixed the airbag, which happens to be right next to the cruise control). After going through the original request, I addressed the flat tire (and I assumed I’d need to replace 2).

The service consultant said that they were pretty busy, but it should be done in time for me to get my daughter from carpool (on Wednesday— same day service). Brakes, oil change, tires, alignment, cruise control.

At 2:00, I hadn’t heard anything, so I called and was told that they had not yet diagnosed the problem. Long story short, insisted that they do whatever was needed to get me a loaner car, and after some convincing he “found” one for me. I had to take a lyft to the dealership because the concierge service was busy. I got there, and they gave me a car, which ended up having a flat tire… my luck… so, they gave me a (MUCH nicer) other one.

At this point, I’m relieved bc I can get my daughter from school.

Over the course of the next few days (and the first day), things got really frustrating:

  • They weren’t communicating with me on the status of my car. I’d have to reach out at the end of the day to ask.
  • They would tell me one thing (like, I only need one tire) and then the next day they would tell me something different (like, I actually need 2 tires).
  • They said I would have to pay $156 to diagnose cruise control, and if it turned out to be their fault I wouldn’t have to pay. If it needed repair, the $156 would go towards that. Then, they called yesterday to say that “there wasn’t anything wrong with the cruise control” (which there most certainly was— I tried to use it dozens of times in the last 4 months and it doesn’t work). They also said that, since there was nothing wrong, I wouldn’t be charged $156 (even though they originally told me that part was just to look at the problem and I’d have to pay). Does that sound like something they’d say if they just didn’t want to admit that they broke my cruise control before?
  • They constantly forgot what all I brought my car in for (brakes, oil change, etc.), and is have to remind them (the SAME service advisor) EVERY TIME HE CALLED.
  • He kept trying to charge me for standard maintenance, and, again, EVERY time I talked to him I had to remind him that I have a maintenance plan. He’d then look it up to confirm— every time.
  • I heard from the consultant last night, and I said that it would likely be today (Saturday) when I get my car back. I told him it was OK since I have a loaner.
  • Now, it’s Saturday night, long past business hours, and they’re closed tomorrow. I didn’t hear anything from them all day today.

Questions:

  • Is 4 full business days unreasonably long to have a car that only needs: oil change, rear brakes, 2 tires, alignment, fix cruise control (that they say wasn’t broken)?
  • Could there be something shady going on? Could they have wrecked my car on test drive and not reported it and now are scrambling to fix it? Could they have broken something else that’s causing it to take so long? Or, could it have been stolen and they’re avoiding me? The length of time and lack of communication is just crazy to me.
  • Has anyone had similar experiences?
  • How should I handle it? Do I expect/demand anything in return for this terrible experience? If so, what?

Thanks!!!

That does seem unusual for those tasks. Usually when it takes longer to repair a car than expected it is b/c they shop is having difficulty obtaining a part they require. If this is a recent vintage widely sold BMW those parts shouldn’t be difficult to obtain. Cruise control excepting, but you say the CC from their point of view isn’t broken. Perhaps it is that all the work is backed up b/c some of the techs are sick or on vacation or on strike.

Thank you for the insight. I mean, it shouldn’t be a part issue— it’s a 2015. The dealership is the largest BMW dealership in Atlanta, so they’ve historically had all parts on-hand. I would completely understand a staffing issue, but it would just be nice to know that you front, if that’s the case. Thank you, again, especially for confirming that, under normal circumstances, 4 days is a bit long. I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t completely off base (or just extremely lucky with my past appointments).