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Thread: A Tale of Two Dealerships

  1. #1
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    A Tale of Two Dealerships

    Let me start off by saying that I am the proud owner of a new K1200S that I just purchased this Saturday. From the little I've ridden so far (500 mi) I've been very happy with it. As a 12-year BMW customer I have been to many fine BMW dealerships throughout North America (Wisconsin, Denver, Washington, Alabama, Georgia Florida, to name a few). Throughout my travels, however, I've never before been denied service at any of them. Therefore, I find what I'm am about to relay to you almost hard to believe, but here is my story.

    A Tale of Two Dealerships

    I've been trying to purchase this bike for a few weeks now, but I was told by my local dealer's sales staff in Tallahassee that they did not have any in stock and would not get one on the showroom floor for quite some time, but that they could order one if I "was serious" about purchasing. I asked if they had any available for demo and they told me they "didn't do that." All in all, I would say my experience with the sales staff made me feel like a 15-yr old child drooling over a new bicycle he could not afford. They not only appeared to not take me seriously, but they gave me the impression they had little interest in selling me a bike. Let me add here that I am a 47 year-old rider who has owned 6 different BMWs in 12 years (1976 R90/6, 1994 K75, 1996 R1100R, 1998 K1200RS, 2001 K1200RS and now a 2005 K1200S).

    Being that I was "serious" about considering the purchase of a K1200S I hopped on my K1200RS and my wife on her Ducati 620i and went to BWM Motorcycles of Daytona to have a look at the new models. When we arrived, I barely had my helmet off when I was warmly greeted by the sales staff and invited in. I was floored by the inventory. Outside of a rally I don?t think I have ever seen that many BMWs in one spot at one time. The sales staff was incredibly helpful in answering my questions about the new models. Staff was also very helpful in fitting both my wife and I with two new Schuberth helmets. They really made us feel like they were glad to see us. I asked if they had a K1200S in stock with the yellow and black paint and they told me to wait there a minute. It wasn?t long before one of the service staff appeared from the service area wheeling the very bike I?d been looking for. I told the salesperson that I?ve never purchased a bike without riding it first, and did they have one I could demo. He told me he would talk to the manager. In less than 10 minutes the sales person had arranged a demo ride!

    What happened next was absolutely unbelievable. The salesman walked me outside sat me on a new K1200S, went over the controls with me, handed me the keys, and said ?be back in about half an hour.? I couldn?t believe what I was experiencing. Minimally I expected someone to be riding with me. The fact that the dealership trusted me with one of their new flagship BMW motorcycles made me feel that they really valued me as a customer.

    When I returned from the demo ride I knew I had to have that yellow and grey K1200S. Bottom line is we talked, they gave me what I thought was a fair price for my trade-in, and I was riding the new K1200S within a few hours. We had a great ride back to Tallahassee albeit a little slow (breaking in a new motor), but what a fantastic experience!

    It's about 250 miles from Daytona to Tallahassee and with the riding I've been doing since it's now time for the bike's 600 mi service. So I rode down to my local dealer, in Tallahassee, to schedule the 600 mi service. I arrive and approach the service desk and ask when they could do a 600 mi service on my bike. The serviceperson asked my name which I told him, and then after looking in a binder asked where I purchased the bike. I told him that I purchased it in Daytona and he told me that I would have talk to the owner to schedule the service. I then approached the owner and he asked "what can I do for you?" I told him that I would like to schedule a 600 mi service on my bike and he asked where I bought it. I told him and he said to me "Why didn't you buy it from me?" I told him that I had tried to, but he didn't have any in stock. He then told me that he would not service the bike and that I would have to take it somewhere else. I asked him twice, just to make sure I understood what he was saying and I got the same answer both times.

    I guess my question is, how can two BMW dealerships be so different when it comes to customer service? Aren't there guidelines established for service centers by BMW Motorrad? Has this ever happened to anyone else?

  2. #2
    looking for a coal mine knary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Motozenman
    I then approached the owner and he asked "what can I do for you?" I told him that I would like to schedule a 600 mi service on my bike and he asked where I bought it. I told him and he said to me "Why didn't you buy it from me?" I told him that I had tried to, but he didn't have any in stock. He then told me that he would not service the bike and that I would have to take it somewhere else. I asked him twice, just to make sure I understood what he was saying and I got the same answer both times.

    I guess my question is, how can two BMW dealerships be so different when it comes to customer service? Aren't there guidelines established for service centers by BMW Motorrad? Has this ever happened to anyone else?
    The Talahassee dealer won't service the bike?!?! Someone needs to get hold of BMWNA. This is patently ridiculous. How can this dealer be so shortsighted? You're bringing a bike to him to service. You're prepared to pay them for their time and materials. Why should he care where you bought it?!!??

  3. #3
    RIDERR1150GSADV
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    Thumbs up

    Congrats and many safe miles with your new ride!!
    I saw a few of them yesterday as well as the new K1200R AWESOME bikes!

    I agree with Knary! Please call BMWNA and complain to them about this ridiculous treatment from those morons in Tallahassee. I have never heard a line of BS like that. Suppose you live in Montana by a bike there, move to FL and the local dealer tells you to bring it to MT for service???? Does that mean we can't travel on our bikes because of this?? I don't think so. I really think that you should write a letter to the Tallahassee dealer with a cc to BMWNA, whom you really need to contact asap.

  4. #4
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    My reply from BMW MotorradUSA

    I did write a letter to BMW Motorrad USA and here is their reply. I've also attached the reply I got from the Dealership in Tallahassee telling me I was all wrong. I believe you can tell from the tone and content of the dealer's letter the type of person we have representing the BMW brand in North Florida.
    -----------------------------
    Dear Mr. Vanderhoof,

    Thank you for contacting BMW Motorrad USA regarding your new 2005 BMW K 1200 S. Congratulations on your purchase.

    We are sorry to hear of your disappointment with the service you received at Miller BMW Motorcycles. Our records reflect that this is your fourth BMW Motorcycle purchase in the last eight years and with your listing of the other bikes you owned, that number is even higher, so we want you to know that we appreciate your loyalty to the BMW brand.

    All of our BMW Motorrad Retailers are independently owned and operated and responsible for setting their own policies and procedures. It is our suggestion to please speak again with the service manager or owner at Miller BMW Motorcycles as they ultimately control the outcome. Any authorized BMW Retailer is welcome to service your bike, regardless of where purchased. Please be advised we have documented your concerns and will use your comments during the internal review process with Miller BMW Motorcycles.

    If you have any further questions, please respond to this e-mail or contact the Customer Relations and Services Department at 1-800-831-1117. Our office hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M., Eastern Standard Time.

    Regards,
    BMW Motorrad USA
    --------------------------------

    Mr. Vanderhof,

    Thank you for your letter. It is unfortunate that you feel isolated and abandoned with your purchase; however you have several important facts wrong. Our dealership in fact does demonstration rides on every model with almost any prospective customer. Some are excluded because of driving history or other circumstances that make them an unacceptable insurance risk. If someone at this dealership told you ‘«£we don‘«÷t do that‘«ō, they gave you wrong information. It is true that we did not have a K1200S in stock at the time you were looking, as all the stock was sold. As was explained to you, an order was on the way and that you could custom order a bike to you specification if you wanted. Your impatience sent you elsewhere.

    Regarding your desire for service, you again have the facts wrong. I told you I preferred not to service a bike from Daytona and told you that we would not refuse you service but preferred not to do it. That position stands. There is circumstance beyond and within your control that created this position. As a customer you shop for what you perceive as the best deal and for opportunity. As a dealer I look for the best customer and give them the best opportunity. As a customer you had no problem driving too and purchasing from Daytona and should have no trouble receiving service at Daytona. Why would anyone buy from a dealer that they did not intend to have their bike service by? Your reasons and your decision are yours alone. As I told you previously, we prefer that the bike be serviced by the selling dealer and I am very sure Daytona is well aware of that.

    I apologize for being short with you, but I stand by my position. We will in fact service your bike, and we have a service department far superior to anything Daytona could hope for. You should also understand that once you bypassed us for Daytona you also bypassed a preferred customer standing. Should you decide that you just can‘«÷t tolerate our honesty we understand. Should you want service please call for an appointment. I am available almost all the time to discuss any problem you may have with us or our service.


    Sincerely

    Dusty Miller
    Miller BMW Motorcycles
    Tallahassee, Florida

  5. #5
    Blocking the slow lane
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    Interesting. I've heard nothing but great things about Dusty's shop in the past.

    I'd bet a bike serviced by the book for 50K miles generates about 5X the shop revenue of a normal sale.
    Jon Diaz
    BMW K75/K12GT
    BMWMOA Ambassador

  6. #6
    looking for a coal mine knary's Avatar
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    If all the facts are out in the open (a big 'if'), Dusty's letter, IMO, is a load of crap. You wanted a bike. They didn't have it. Why should you have to work on their time table if another dealer has the bike you're looking for? It sounds to me like he has the relationship between customer and seller completely backwards. HE should be hoping you shop at his place. Instead he seems to think you should feel blessed that he'd deign to take your money.

    Besides, isn't the service department the real bread winner for a dealership?

    FWIW, I vividly remember a friend shopping for a new R11S at a good locla BMW dealer (when I lived in another city). He'd found a better price many miles away, but wanted to give the good local place a shot. He asked if they could come close to matching the price. They couldn't and the owner said something to the effect of, "If I were you, I'd get the bike at the other dealership. That's a great deal. But when the time comes, we'll happily take care of any service needs or issues you have."

  7. #7
    After reading the snotty sounding response from the local dealer, I don't think that I would let them touch my bike. Ever! Although more inconvenient, I would take it to the dealer from which you purchased the machine. They sound like an operation more worthy of your financial support!

  8. #8
    I'd say screw the Tallahasee shop,they seem arogant and plenty full of bull. The letter you got from the Dealership represents the kind of people they are. Telling the customer he/she is wrong is certainly out of bounds,and a very bad buisness practice. I think the Tallhassee business needs to have a group huddle and learn some basic buisness facts,team work,and customer appreaciation,because in the long run it is the customer who signs the pay checks.

    Congrats on the new bike,have fun and be safe!

  9. #9
    leave my monkey alone LORAZEPAM's Avatar
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    After reading the dealer's letter, it seems that he got a spanking from NA and was taking it out on the customer. I would be hesitant to use that dealer, and maybe send a copy of his response to NA. Slamming another dealer and their service dept sounds like sour grapes, and a very poor attitude for a professional person to have.

    I understand that west valley cycles only services bikes bought there, but it may be due to wanting to provide the best service to their customer, with a limited shop.
    Gale Smith
    2009 Versys
    1999 R1100RT

  10. #10
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    A Word of Further Praise for BMW of Daytona

    I actually did send the dealer's letter to BMW Motorrad USA and they copied BMW of Daytona. The service manager then called me from Daytona and offered to do the 600 mi service for half price. I thought that was really nice of them, and certainly above and beyond good customer service. I guess I'm beginning to relize why BMW of Daytona is the Nation's largest seller of BMW motorcycles. I know where I'm headed next weekend, anybody want to join me?

  11. #11

    Dealer B.S.

    If I hadn't read it with my own eyes, I wouldn't have believed it. In my never humble opinion, the guy in Tallahasee is an arrogant ass, while the guy in Daytona is a smart businessman who has enough sense to bend over backwards to win new business. It is sad that things have worked out this way for you, but you now have a reason to take a ride down the Fla. coast every 6k miles. Not a bad ride to have to take!

    I have been lucky to live in cities that have had more than one dealer and on the whole have found all of them to be at least decent. Major exception was when we lived in Los Angeles and I could walk from our place to Hollwood Honda / BMW. Even though is was MOST convenient to be able to drop the bike off and walk home, I just never got a positive vibe from them, or was 100% happy with the service. I ended up riding 20? Miles to West Valley Cycles on the other end of town where I was NEVER less than 100% happy. Small family owned shop that is single brand... Been there since the 50s and was one of the first BMW shops in CA Now in Denver and (knock on wood) 100% with BMW of Denver.

    Good Luck to you...

    RW

  12. #12
    Registered User dancogan's Avatar
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    I've got to say the guy in Tallahassee is totally lacking in class. He places all the blame on you, and even makes disparaging comments about the service available in Daytona. This guy needs a Dale Carnegie course, remedial version! I wouldn't buy or deal with him again.

    Have a and enjoy your ride for a half priced 600 mi service!
    Dan

  13. #13
    tudo beleza
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    In your position I don't think I'd buy so much as a crush washer from the Tallahassee dealer.

    I did hear that there is some friction between Daytona and other Florida dealers and BMWNA on new bike prices with Daytona getting some special treatment, but I have to say to put you in the middle of that is unprofessional on all sides. You're just a guy who wanted to buy a bike - the behind the scences politics shouldn't negatively affect the customer.

  14. #14
    Stressed Member jmerlino's Avatar
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    That's unbelievable.
    --Joe Merlino - Modified '82 R100RT

  15. #15
    Slowpoke & Proud of It! BRADFORDBENN's Avatar
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    I think I just crossed Tallahassee off my list of dealerships to visit. You may want to ask if BMW of Daytona will pickup your bike if it is not running..
    -=Brad

    It isn't what you ride, it is if you ride

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