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Our Third "Official" Letter to BMW (archive)

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Posted by John Sain on July 05, 2000 at 22:30:19:

In Reply to: Lemon 540iA, Filed Suit 26 June 2000 posted by John Sain on July 04, 2000 at 22:21:26:

17 April 2000

Attn. Robert J. Russo
BMW of North America, Inc.
Customer Relations Manager
300 Chestnut Ridge Road
Woodcliff Lake, NJ 07675

Dear Sir,

This is a Motor Vehicle Defect Notification 1998 BMW 540iA VIN: WBADE6328WBW58565

This is the third notification sent to BMW (original sent 17 October 1999, second notice sent 17 March 2000) to return this unreliable automobile, which we cannot trust, with its continuing substantial defects and/or conditions. It has now been one month since our last written correspondence.

Fields BMW have since notified that they have found additional service reports that they before listed as never happened, they now say they were "misplaced." The BMWNA Service Engineer was provided a copy of these documents.

The vehicle has been out of service for an additional 6 days to repair one or more substantial defects.

Your last chance has been made to repair the same substantial defects or conditions. They still exist!

We received a Fed-X'ed letter from BMW on the 24th of March as is attached, stating they would contact me. After the 14th day, we contacted the BMW corporate offices for results, we had heard nothing. The next day a BMW After Market Sales Manager (Mr. Chip McJunkin) contacted me trying to sell me another car and stating that they would fix our current car. Six days later a service rep called to make an appointment. When I met this Service Engineer, he did not want my help or my attendance during his research.

BMWNA assigned a Service Engineer (Mr. Guy Carlton) from BMWNA to attempt to correct the problems. He retained the car for over six days. His efforts made the car substantially worse and less reliable than it had been before. Per their attached service document, they did change two catalytic converters, fuel filter, 8 spark plugs, 2 microfilters, an oil filter, and engine oil.

The quality assurance effort that Fields BMW heralds is false. Some of these issues are workmanship problems that should have never happened. In addition, I was told that the entire car had been checked over by their QA before its delivery to me. The below list indicates the new issues that BMWNA and Fields BMW caused or continued to overlook. In addition to this, it was obvious that a secretary had been "assigned to escort" me while I discussed my car. She, as instructed, was very pushy and attempted to, "never leave my side." She "pushed" me to leave the dealership ASAP I was not allowed to wander, even to look at new cars. I had only driven one block to the first stop light when I uncovered the existing and new problems, I turned around, and returned to the dealer. When the Service Manager, Alex, was informed of some of the new problems, he did not say a word, did not address them, did not even stand up, but did go outside for a "smoke" after I left his office. When I returned the car to BMW, I notified the secretary of the car's new problems. She did not have a car for me to use although I had returned a courtesy car less than 5 minutes before. They did offer to call me a cab to take me home, she had no suggestions as to how I would get to work the next day.

We do not trust this car and its very poor performance and lack of reliability. We have now secured a rental car to have reliable transportation. There is nothing more interesting than driving a rental Pontiac when a BMW 540 is sitting in the driveway costing $1070+ per month.

Description of "after service" NEW defects or conditions:
1. BMWNA performed a Type II inspection but did not reset the in-dash service warning lights. New
2. The engine lacks power!!! This car now drives as if it were made for a 80 year old grandmother. It does not accelerate. It has extreme spark knock and rattles at any time you give the car any gas to accelerate. An independent repair facility with BMW certified staff has detailed a significant list of abnormalities that have appeared since the car was serviced by BMWNA. The car is VERY sluggish and hesitates! New
3. BMW pried off the shift lever wood cover with a flat tip screwdriver that left indentions and marks in the wood. While removing this panel, they did not release the forward left clips and flexed the cover enough to crack it in several locations. New
4. The service papers state that the car arrived and departed BMW with the same mileage. Yet the service verbiage on the paper says they drove the car "50+" miles. New
5. The service papers state there are four radar type electrical connections that are not recommended by BMW. The fact is there are only 3 and they were installed at two BMW dealerships by authorized BMW technicians. Continues
6. Navigation computer defective, replaced, still undependable. Many problems still exist! You can and do get very lost if you follow the directions provided, some 20-mile errors! Continues
7. The service papers state that aftermarket floor mats are not recommended by BMW. These mats were recommended by, bought from, and installed by a BMW dealership when the car was purchased. New
8. The car had 37794 easy miles, a type two inspection was not required per the BMW owners manual until 40,000 miles. New
9 The dealer service report states we took delivery on 01 May 1998. This is incorrect by 7 months. Continues
10. The transmission faults found and printed for us by the BMWNA technician on his previous attempt to fix the car were not addressed during this visit. Continues
11. The paint peeling problems were not addressed. Continues
12. The brakes are very mushy and at times go completely to the floor. It is not safe in this condition! New

Description of original continuing defects or conditions, some of which continue:
1. "Check Engine" light comes on very often. Continues
2. Engine shakes, shudders, entire car trembles, smokes, burned smell, and engine runs rough, random, dies while driving in traffic. Very dangerous, several near wrecks, one documented by and with a state trooper. He was following on highway in traffic, said car started smoking, rapid deceleration, and HE nearly hit us. This condition continues!!! Continues
3. Clicking noise from rear of car. Continues
4. Traction control light comes on. Continues
5. Driver seat and steering wheel locks. Prevents car from operating. Continues
6. Navigation computer defective, replaced, still undependable. Many problems still exist! You can and do get very lost if you follow the directions provided, some 20-mile errors! Continues
7. Driver seat panel was replaced, defective construction.
8. Windshield wipers did not work for 3 weeks. Motor and others was replaced. Clicking noise.
9. BMWNA Service Engineer states there is a transmission defect and has provided printouts. Continues
10. Replaced brakes and rotors, defective, noisy. Still squeal. Continues
11. Paint is coming off the car. (Peels) Continues
12. Tires have unusual wear patterns. Continues
13. Ignition switch sticks in the start position leaving starter motor running.
14. Windshield washer bottle leaked, bottle and pump replaced.
15. Replaced navigation system panel in trunk would not close.
16. Right outside mirror stays in the down position.

The car has been serviced by:
A. Cain BMW Canton, Ohio
B. Dave Ostrum BMW, Prep and delivery from this dealer, original title in Iowa Des Moines, Iowa
C. Peabody BMW Peabody, MA
D. Fields BMW Winter Park, Florida

We reached a point where our faith in the reliability of the vehicle does not exist and we no longer trust the vehicle. This is unsafe, unreliable vehicle. We will never own a BMW product again!!!!!

Everything considered, there is ample evidence for us to receive compensation for and return this vehicle under the Iowa and Ohio State Lemon Laws and numerous other state and federal consumer protection regulations in which we have rights for compensation.

Please address this issue and forward your instructions for our return of this vehicle and your payment of all applicable direct and indirect expenses incurred as a result of ownership of this car.

John R. Sain, III & Dr. Elena K. Sain
Ohio Attorney General, Iowa Attorney General, BMW GMBH

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