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What blogs are for: BMW

Saturday, March 07, 2009 by Dave Winer.

A picture named beamer.gifOne of the reasons everyone should have a blog is that when a company pushes you around, you have a place to post your side of the story, publicly, so future customers have a chance to benefit from your experience. Over the years I have written up experiences with Travelocity, American Airlines, Comcast, a now-defunct ISP, a Bay Area plumber. Now I'd like to tell you about a problem I'm having with BMW. Permalink to this paragraph

I bought a new BMW in July of 2007. It's my fourth BMW and I love it. It's powerful and fast, incredibly responsive. I don't drive much, but when I do, it's still a pleasure. That's saying a lot after having a car for almost two years; I still look forward to driving it. BMW makes a fantastic product. Permalink to this paragraph

But -- then we've been having all this rain this winter, and it turns out the car leaks. Water is coming into the cabin, the carpets are wet, they're not drying out even though the weather turned nice a few days ago. So I brought it in for service on Wednesday. The dealer said it was my fault the car is leaking, and wanted $800 to fix it. Now this is a car that has a four year warranty that's supposed to cover everything. I've owned a lot of cars over the years, even a rusted-out Wisconsin junker (that I loved anyway) and I've never had a car leak water. I didn't believe for a minute this was my fault. I told them I live on a normal street, not on a hill, with not many trees (but some) and I could check with my neighbors, but I didn't think any of their cars were leaking. He suggested I call BMW of North America customer service to see what they say, and they said the same thing. I should pay for this because it was caused by an "outside influence" (the rain, I guess). Permalink to this paragraph

A picture named car.gifThen at breakfast on Thursday a friend who also has a BMW says Weatherford is notorious for ripping off customers. Once he brought his car in for service, they failed to fix it three times, and each time wanted to charge him for the repair. He paid, cause what are you going to do, they have your car. Meanwhile they were pressuring me to either return the loaner, or agree to the $800 charge. I told them I was waiting for a return call from BMW of North America. (Three days later I still haven't heard from them.)  Permalink to this paragraph

So I went back to the dealer, got my car, returned the loaner, got their writeup of the problem (now the estimate was $625), and took it to a local independent BMW repair shop that gets good reviews (deservedly, it turns out). They showed me a BMW-issued service note, from January 2008, explaining that the 5-series has a problem with water leaks. Permalink to this paragraph

I scanned and uploaded the service note: p1, p2, p3.  Permalink to this paragraph

It's so outrageous. They knew the car has this problem, yet they still wanted $800 to fix it.  Permalink to this paragraph

10:15AM: I have a wet car that smells bad. I have a call into another BMW dealer to see what they want to do about it.  Permalink to this paragraph

11:15AM: Got a call back. They want to see the service note. I've emailed him a link to this blog post. Permalink to this paragraph


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A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 53, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.

"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.

"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.


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