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8. Contact BMW Customer Service



The Promise


"BMW is renowned for its unwavering commitment to customer service"

(BMW SA website, May 2003)


"BMW ... would also like to encourage BMW drivers to provide feedback regarding their service experience..."

(BMW SA website, May 2003)


"For QUALITY purposes, this call will be recorded"

(BMW Customer Service Centre telephone welcome message)





The Reality


Waited patiently for SEVEN MONTHS for BMW SA to "contact me on completion of the investigation", without response.



"As BMW SA is the manufacturer of the said vehicle, all sales-related concerns will need to be ADDRESSED WITH THE DEALER concerned."

(letter from BMW SA Customer Services, 13th May 2003, in response to issues regarding documentation signed by BMW SA)





Example 1 - Reference 200209205021JD

I logged a complaint regarding Club motors on the 18th September 2002, and sent them a very detailed fax keeping them informed of my problems with Club Motors. I received a fax from BMW SA on the 20th September 2002, stating the matter would be investigated and I would be contacted upon completion. I also received a simple 1-page fax from the Club Motor dealer principal that same day (20th September 2002), apologising for making false allegations and stating again that "we will repair or rectify any issue related to the work we have carried out".

I waited patiently for BMW SA, as per their fax "...and we shall contact you on completion of the aforementioned investigation. ... we assure you of our best attention at all times."

As at the 16th April 2003 (over 6 months later), I had received no further feedback.

I phoned BMW SA on the 16th April 2003, querying the lack of response. After waiting in the call center queue for approximately five minutes and having the call dropped twice, I spoke to an operator. I asked for an update on the above reference number. I was told that:

* the log is "closed"

* the recorded resolution was "the dealer would contact me" (I think they missed the point, since my problem was with the dealer himself, who had just sent me an unsatisfactory response - the fax mentioned above - that didn't really address my issues).

* the person working on my complaint had left BMW

If the aforementioned investigation had been completed, I had certainly not been contacted.

As a customer, this response and feedback (or lack thereof) does not inspire much confidence.




Example 2 - Reference 200304165094RR

On the 16th April 2003, I logged another issue at BMW SA regarding Auto Glen BMW (with respect to warranties or lack thereof related to cambelt repairs), to which I would like an official BMW response. I was told that I would be called the next morning. As at the 22nd April 2003, I had received no call and insisted on the promised feedback. On the 13th May 2003, I eventually received notification that the dealer was not liable under warranty.



Customer Satisfaction Surveys

After every service, I've been contacted by a follow-up team to check on the quality of the work. I'm uncertain if these surveys are run by BMW SA, or the dealers themselves. Although much money is invested in these customer satisfaction surveys, the focus seems to be on the activity rather than the results thereof. The philosophy and principles of customer service are lost in the process.


When surveyed, on several occasions I've mentioned that I was unhappy. In some cases, I had not even received my car back yet from the dealer!. On other occasions, I explained that I was totally unhappy and had returned my car to the dealer twice. The operator then asked if I, or anyone I knew, was interested in buying a new BMW! The operators are usually merely following the script, and the real issues are not dealt with.




Further examples from other customers

I cannot confirm the accuracy of the following, but they do sound a little familiar.

From the South African customer service reports website,, submitted by Mat on 29 March 2003 : BMW is only interested in making the client the guilty party. After 3 weeks they have still not phoned with any form of a solution. Pathetic service for an excellent car!

From, from a South African customer who was unhappy with a Land Rover purchased at a time before BMW sold Land Rover to Ford : The BMW marketing director would simply delegate my problems right down the line & they would end up back where they started - with the uncaring dealer.