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Old 11-10-2012, 04:11 PM   #10
Registered User
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: SW Michigan
Posts: 802
My Ride: '99 323i & '00 323iT
Too late for you, but a baker's dozen lessons others can learn....

Where to begin? At the start.
Originally Posted by nickiv View Post
ought a 2002 325i with 100k miles for $7900 w/ $4k down from a Volvo dealership and was told it was owned by a service tech and so all maintenance was done regularly. Clean Carfax. Drove nice. Hadn't been out on the lot yet because it was a trade in. Was going to be inspected in the am and if I bought it before it hit the lot they would let me have it for $7900 instead of $8900 they would list on the lot.
Lesson 1: Most used cars carry enough padding to sustain at least 20% markdown off the “window” price. (So people can feel like they are getting a good deal.)
Assuming it was going on the lot for $8900, the actual target sales price was probably in the $6900 range. Without having done research in your market, you didn't know the fair market value of the vehicle.

Lesson 2: Don't believe everything you're told. (See Lesson 5.)
It obviously wasn't cared for by a tech and, as rough as it is, it was probably destined for the auction.

Originally Posted by nickiv View Post
I debated until they said another dealership (this is part of Autonation) wanted to take it so unless i signed the paperwork that night they could take it.
Lesson 3: This “other dealership” that wanted the car never existed. It was just a negotiation tactic to reel in an anxious buyer.

Originally Posted by nickiv View Post
I could change my mind the next day since I couldn't take the car until then because they hadn't inspected it and needed to do that. We discussed the extended warranty and I signed the paperwork and no money changed hands until the next day. I went in to close the deal, asked about the inspection and was told it was in excellent condition and I was getting a great deal. I know.
Lesson 4: Whenever a buyer wants to have a vehicle inspected, the buyer must pay a disinterested 3rd party to do the work. The dealer may have performed only a safety inspection.

Originally Posted by nickiv View Post
So, the finance girl wasn't there to address the extended warranty purchase but would call me. 4 days later the car wouldn't start at work. I waited and tried to figure out what I could do and eventually it started. I had called and left a message about the warranty prior and no call back. Called again and told her problem and she said the warranty would be $3k that had to be paid over 12 mos and would cover 2 yrs or 20k miles and I could still get it.
Lesson 5: Read the fine print before signing anything.
The warranty may exclude problems that were evident before the effective date of the contract.

$3K warranty on an $8K car
Much better to follow Lesson 4, pay a bit more for a better car, and keep the difference for the PM that 98% of cars that age/miles are going to need.

Originally Posted by nickiv View Post
Next day, key got stuck in the ignition at the gas station and wouldn't come out or start and mechanic couldn't get it out. Mechanic got it to start in P and I Went back to dealer and they couldn't get the key out and service dept was gone so I'd have to come back in the AM which I did. They said the car wasn't shifting all the way into P and so wouldn't release key or start. Told me to get the warranty (Western General) at the highest level of coverage so transmission was covered. Assured me it was so comprehensive that if my timing belt went out for normal wear and tear it was covered so I got the warranty. Had to wrestle with the shifter for the next 3 weeks as it got progressively harder to get in and out of P.
Lesson 6: The only thing that matters is what is written. (See Lesson 5.) Sub-lesson: People can (and do) say anything.
The dealer got a bigger commission from “upselling” the higher level of coverage.

Originally Posted by nickiv View Post
Started making this groaning sound when I turned at low speeds, checked fluids and was having to replace power steering fluid at least once a wk. Took the car into the BMW dealership on the 31st day.
You had been working with the (Volvo) shop until now, why did you change? Why did you not have the leaks addressed immediately?

Originally Posted by nickiv View Post
They told me that there were extensive issues including the transmission, the shifter (they found coins in it), both auxiliary arms were bent, cigarette lighter fuse was out, it was leaking oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid and that all the hoses and seals needed to be replaced. The warranty company had agreed to cover roughly $2k worth of work but not the other $4k. BMW advised me to take it up with Volvo. They fixed what the warranty company would pay for and I called Volvo and got the run around.
Lesson 7: Contact the other party in your contract for satisfaction with execution of your contract. And do it in writing.
The warranty contract is with Western General, not the Volvo dealer. Of course you are going to get the run around from the Volvo shop.

Originally Posted by nickiv View Post
Finally handed over to the general manager who wanted his guys to look at it. Dropped it off and they looked it over and sent it out for repairs that cost $3k (they said) and replaced all the hoses and addressed all the leaks, fixed the shifter again (said they found coins in it which seems odd) and gave it back to me 4 days later.
Lesson 8: Get paperwork that indicates the work that was performed.
If you did not (and this is possible because they did not charge you for the “work”), they may have simply let the car sit on the lot for 4 days. And then told you that they did work (See Lesson 5).

If you have paperwork and you can show that it was not, in fact, done, then you have the basis for fraud. For example, where are these supposed coins? Where are the hoses that were replaced? FWIW, in most states, you are entitled to see any parts that were replaced.

Originally Posted by nickiv View Post
I picked it up, went home for about an hour and then went out to the car and it wouldn't start. ALl the lights and electrical would work but no crank. Googled it and read it could be the key, the security system killing the ignition because it wasn't disengaging. Was told to lock and unlock the car with the key repeatedly until it reset. It took about 15 mins of doing it but it worked.
Lesson 9: Document everything.
In this case, this means:
  • the problems with the car
  • when you first noticed them
  • most importantly, when you first brought them to the attention of someone who is in a capacity to authorize a repair
  • when the work was performed and by whom, and
  • and the result.
Documenting means copies of emails, texts, hard copies, and notes of conversations (dates, times, names) regarding problems.
In most cases, it does not matter, for example, that you have only a 30 day warranty. As long as the problem was brought to the attention of the warrantor before the 30 days were up, it would need to be fixed. If the problem was not completely addressed the first time, they are still required to make it right. Even if you bring it up on the 30
th day and they can't get it into the shop for another 30 days, they are still obligated. If, however, you wait until the 31st day, then the contract is over and they have no obligations.

Originally Posted by nickiv View Post
It started in the morning and halfway to work, noticed a new light on the dash and the oil light was staying on. Later to find out the new light was the transmission light. I called the dealer and he said that basically they'd put out all the money they were going to and I'd bought the car used and as is. I reminded him that I'd been told it was in perfect condition and that the warranty would cover things it now didn't. He basically blew me off.
See Lesson 6.

Originally Posted by nickiv View Post
I called back and they gave me to the sales manager who knew what was going on and he told me to bring it in the next day to their service dept. I did and they had it all day and called at the end of the day and said the GM said they were done working on it and didn't do anything to it.
See Lesson 7.

Originally Posted by nickiv View Post
I called BMW and they said to bring it back in with the new issues. The airbag light was now on along with the transmission light and would stay on while the car was on, there was a kind of squeak coming from the car and what sounded like something turning that became louder when I would brake, the steering wheel was shaking when I would break also. The shifter was sticking AGAIN as well. I took it in and they had it for another 3-4 days. The warranty co paid for a wheel bearing and they said they found coins in the shifter again? : which seems impossible but ...
What is the story with these coins???

Originally Posted by nickiv View Post
and that left about $4500 work for new issues they had found. I had only had the car for about 45 days---4 times in the shop already.

That was about 2 weeks ago. I've had the car for a little over 2 months and the Volvo dealership was supposed to get back to me yesterday but didn't with some options. I want them to take the car back.
See Lesson 6. Does the bill of sale say that they will take back the vehicle if you aren't happy with it?

Lesson 10: You bought the car. It belongs to you. It isn't their problem to fix.

Lesson 11: When making a significant purchase, it is wise to make a decision based on as many facts (or informed opinions as possible.) See Lesson 4.

There was every opportunity to have the vehicle checked for problems before paying money. You chose not to do that. Instead, you relied on the word of somebody who had a vested interest in making the sale. Nobody was forced to buy the car.

The likelihood that the dealer will take back the car is tiny. In the event that they do, the best likely outcome is another vehicle, likely in worse condition than the original. And there will be new registration and title fees.

Originally Posted by nickiv View Post
Oh--and the new issues are--light that is now on is the traction light along with the transmission and airbag lights that stay on. When leaving BMW the last time I asked if any of the issues were dangerous and they said they would be soon.

(Sorry that was so long) I've read over your boards and this doesn't necessarily seem typical of this make and model. I read of several posts of cars with almost 2x the mileage running great.
1. Which is the norm for this make and model?
2. Is this level of problems typical of BMW as a brand at 100K miles or is this a buggy car or not taken care of properly?
This car was clearly not maintained properly.

Originally Posted by nickiv View Post
3. Is it at all possible that they are telling me that they keep taking coins out of the shifter so the warranty won't cover it and maybe the warranty co won't figure out that the dealership clearly knew something was wrong with the car while they were selling me a warranty?
Lesson 12: Deal with the warranty company directly, not the repair facility. See sublesson in Lesson 6.

Originally Posted by nickiv View Post
4. Is it possible that if they won't take the car back I could contact the warranty company and tell them that and they could help to get me out of this?
Lesson 13: The sale of the car and the sale of the warranty are separate transactions.

See Lesson 6 and Lesson 7.

Western General has nothing to gain by helping you with the dealer. The dealer is their agent: they pay the dealer for selling their warranty products. They make money by virtue of the warranty contracts that the dealer sells. Get them to honor their contract.

Originally Posted by nickiv View Post
5. As far as the problems the car has now... What should I do? What can I do?
Your car seems to be full of problems. Those problems likely contributed to the previous owner's decision to get rid of it.

Regardless of whether or when codes may have been cleared, it is important to get a full picture of the condition of the vehicle. A vehicle of that age and mileage is likely to need some TLC. While the tranny could be expensive, a lot of the other stuff is routine: belts and hoses, fluid flushes, suspension work. 100K is early for a wheel bearing, but hardly unheard of.

Get an independent assessment of the car. Determine what needs to be fixed and the priority for those repairs. An independent may be able do the work for much less than a BMW dealer can. Then read the warranty contract to determine what is covered and the conditions of repair. But sit down before you start. As others have pointed out, these products
  • Tend to exclude much more than they include:
    Electrical items often fall into this category
  • May have dollar limits as to what they will cover
  • May limit where the repairs can be performed
  • Generally exclude “wear-and-tear” items
    We might think clutches are wear-and-tear, but the way the contract defines them, it might also include things such as synchros
  • Even where they may include “wear-and-tear” items, such as that timing belt example, it typically means that it is covered only if you can document that it was replaced at the specified intervals and it fails before the next scheduled maintenance. Then they will replace that $30 belt. They will not pay to replace it preventively. Damage caused by the failed part is almost always excluded. Those with interference engines understand the implications.
Contact Western General about how to go forward.

Get as much fixed as you can without additional cash outlay, then decide what you want to do.

Originally Posted by nickiv View Post
I am in the Southern CA area--San Pedro/Torrance and would love to get an outside opinion if anyone can reccommend a local mechanic.
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