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      12-15-2012, 03:32 PM   #1
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My under warranty car fire and BMW Customer relations response

On September 26, 2012 I was driving the second BMW three series that I had purchased new. It was a 2009 335d, still under warranty and 26 days after being serviced and provided an annual inspection by my local dealership. The car had 43,130 miles on it which I learned later from the key. I had never had any equipment added to my vehicle and no uncertified mechanic had ever opened the hood. The only service I had ever done on my own was to periodically refill the windshield washer fluid. When the car needed attention, the car notified the dealership, the dealership notified me, and without fail I would then promptly bring the car to the dealer for the included maintenance.
On that September afternoon I was driving a long uphill length of Route 78 in Western New Jersey. Without warning, the vehicle suddenly and completely lost power. I made my way from the fast lane to the shoulder and stopped the car as light colored smoke emerged from beneath the hood.
I opened the hood and saw flames in the engine compartment on the driver’s side of the vehicle. I called 911. I got my personal items out of the trunk. I attempted to signal several trucks to pull over because I knew that many of them carry fire extinguishers.
By the time the local volunteer fire department had arrived, the vehicle was unrecognizable in front of the A pillar. The passenger compartment had been destroyed by the fire. The vehicle was a total loss.
The next day I notified my insurance company and BMW NA. Both parties were sympathetic. Both offered to pay my car rental while the matter was being investigated.
It took nearly a month for the investigation to occur because both the insurance company and BMW wanted to inspect the vehicle at the same time. BMW made a preliminary offer for me to purchase a replacement vehicle. They would provide me with the opportunity to purchase at invoice and would also provide a $2,500 loyalty discount.
I was not prepared to fill what would be a very substantial financial gap in order to be put into a new vehicle. I placed my hope in the idea that the offer would be increased upon conclusion of the investigation. I didn’t feel it right to commit to the purchase of a new vehicle till I knew what the final offer would be.
In late October the investigation was begun and BMW was to subsequently evaluate the data for several weeks. During that time, my insurance compensated me for the depreciated value of the vehicle. A suitable replacement vehicle was difficult to specify because diesel sedans were no longer sold in the U.S., but in any case my gap was to be over $15,000.
My insurance company cut off funding of my rental vehicle on November 9. On November 16, I learned from BMW that the results were inconclusive and that funding would be cut off on my rental on November 21st. BMW stated that the loyalty discount would be increased to $5,000.
The $5,000 loyalty discount plus invoice pricing was substantial. I was still taking a big hit (I budget for and do not finance vehicles) but I felt I could make it work. I did not feel that I was getting a great deal but felt that eventually I could placate my emotions by making the facts of my experience public.
I ordered a 2013 335xi. At the same time that I ordered the vehicle I also purchased a used 2009 328xi to be traded in upon delivery of the new vehicle. Because it would be eight weeks or so before delivery, economics favored this interim purchase rather than continuing with a rental car.
I submitted the final rental bill to BMW by email on November 21st. By December 11th I had not heard any acknowledgement from them. I called and left a voice mail asking to be called promptly. Rather than returning my call, within a few hours the agent responded to the email sent two weeks previously.
The agent and I did get around to speaking that afternoon. I took the opportunity to inquire into the mechanics of how I was to receive my loyalty discount. During the conversation I told the agent that I was miffed by how they did business and that my intention was to go public. I was then informed by the agent that the discount was dependent on something that they termed a “general release.”
The agent notified the legal department and within several hours I received the general release. The discount was now increased to $7,500.
I was amazed to view the boldness of the document. There would be no recourse if there were a defect subsequently found. I could not utter a word of my experience. What bothered me most about the document was the realization that many buyers would never see it until the day of delivery moments after walking by their newly arrived car.
Signing this agreement for this amount of money was unacceptable to me. There was no way that I could choose to be without recourse if these vehicles began flaming out all over the country nor could I shut up. The only way I would not tell the story would be if there wasn’t any story to tell. That would only be the case if BMW were to step up.
On the morning of December 13, I sent an email declining the offer of $7,500 dependent on a release. I provided two alternative options. One option would be that the offer be reduced to $5,000 and there be no release. This was the deal that I believed to be in effect only a few days earlier. The second option was that I sign the release accompanying a discount of $17,500. I provided BMW two full business days to respond.
That afternoon I was called by BMW NA’s agent and we spoke for the final time. I was given no new information or offer. Old information was regurgitated.
By end of business day December 14, I had heard nothing. That afternoon I went to the dealership and told them the reason I was backing out. It was important for me to look the dealer in the eye and state the reason for my decision.
At the conclusion of the business day I placed a deposit on an alternative vehicle. I was done. After I trade in the 328xi my experience with BMW will be over.
It is important to make mention here that this narrative does not provide every excruciating detail of my dealings with BMW NA. A document of that scope would be too ponderous to read. The bottom line is that by this time, the agents of BMW NA exhibited bad faith again and again.
On one occasion an agent pointed out to me how grateful I should be for the deal I was getting because of how much demand there was for these vehicles. This argument seemed upside down to me. An in-demand product doesn’t absolve customer service from doing what is right. My 35 years in customer service has provided me with the certain knowledge that doing what is right creates an in-demand product.
I want to state with certainty that I still believe that BMWs are some of the finest and best looking vehicles on the road. I also want to state however, that I believe that an exemplary item with substandard backing is in total, a mediocre product.
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      12-15-2012, 03:50 PM   #2
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Thanks for sharing your story. It's definitely slightly concerning to me as I'm going into my first BMW but I have friends and family that have been through a handful with no issues. Hopefully you just got one of the few that had issues - there will always be a handful no matter what the make/model.
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      12-15-2012, 03:50 PM   #3
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A bit tough to read your story (paragraph breaks really help!), but let me attempt a Reader's Digest version so you can confirm I got the facts straight.

1. Car caught on fire
2. BMW won't tell you what caused it, but will offer you $7500 towards a brand new car if you sign an NDA regardless of what they find out about the root cause.

To me, take that $7500 and run. Who cares if you tell the world that BMWs have a faulty xxxxxx (unknown) that caused a fire in your diesel? Maybe it was a freak thing?

I realize that having your car catch on fire is a big inconvenience. But it sounds like the real reason you don't think $7500 is enough, is because you're upside down on a lease. If the car was paid for, or you had a standard purchase, you'd be making out like gangbusters.
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      12-15-2012, 04:34 PM   #4
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The first part of your experience, the spontaneous fire in the engine compartment and total loss of your car, has my sympathy. As a previous owner of a 335d, I know first hand that you lost a fine car.

However, for the 2nd part of your story, the protracted negotiations with BMWNA, I find it hard to offer you any support.

The final offer from BMW was more than fair, IMO. Did you really expect them to give you carte blanche to bad mouth them after having offered you a substantial credit toward a new 335i ? I very much doubt that any other auto manufacturer would make a similar offer without asking the customer to sign a release or to sign a no disclosure agreement. Too bad for you that your unreasonable stance on the final offer precluded you from owning one terrific car - the F30-335i.
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      12-15-2012, 04:37 PM   #5
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I don't know what the amount you got from the depreciated value of the old car was but that plus 7500, you could have got a great deal on a car. What car did you end up getting? I doubt you got close to 7500 off, did you really win by making it public? $17,000 sounds similar to the amount that car would have depreciated in that amount of time. you expected bmw to just pay for the whole new car essentially letting you drive the old car for free for three years....I have had lemons and bmw fully replaced the car but that was 6 months after purchase not three years w 46k miles. shit happens....bmwna and your insurance took care of you imo. You would have to be able to prove that this is a known issue and the exact same thing happened more than once to have any kind of case beyond this.
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      12-15-2012, 04:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamS View Post
A bit tough to read your story (paragraph breaks really help!), but let me attempt a Reader's Digest version so you can confirm I got the facts straight.

1. Car caught on fire
2. BMW won't tell you what caused it, but will offer you $7500 towards a brand new car if you sign an NDA regardless of what they find out about the root cause.

To me, take that $7500 and run. Who cares if you tell the world that BMWs have a faulty xxxxxx (unknown) that caused a fire in your diesel? Maybe it was a freak thing?

I realize that having your car catch on fire is a big inconvenience. But it sounds like the real reason you don't think $7500 is enough, is because you're upside down on a lease. If the car was paid for, or you had a standard purchase, you'd be making out like gangbusters.

It seems to me like the car was fully paid for (reference to budgeting for cars and not financing them), and that the difference between his insurance company payout and invoice price of an F30 was over $15k, possibly not including the initial offer of a $2,500 discount. It's not clear from what he wrote, but it appears that $17.5k was the difference between is insurance payout and invoice price of a comparable new F30.


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Originally Posted by DerekS View Post
The final offer from BMW was more than fair, IMO. Did you really expect them to give you carte blanche to bad mouth them after having offered you a substantial credit toward a new 335i ? I very much doubt that any other auto manufacturer would make a similar offer without asking the customer to sign a release or to sign a no disclosure agreement. Too bad for you that your unreasonable stance on the final offer precluded you from owning one terrific car - the F30-335i.

I agree that the release is probably reasonable, but do not agree that the proposed compensation was appropriate. Most people are not in a position to be able to suddenly pony up $10k ($17.5k gap minus $7.5k discount) to get their car replaced if it catches fire.


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Originally Posted by Cfichman View Post
I don't know what the amount you got from the depreciated value of the old car was but that plus 7500, you could have got a great deal on a car. What car did you end up getting? I doubt you got close to 7500 off, did you really win by making it public? $17,000 sounds similar to the amount that car would have depreciated in that amount of time. you expected bmw to just pay for the whole new car essentially letting you drive the old car for free for three years....I have had lemons and bmw fully replaced the car but that was 6 months after purchase not three years w 46k miles. shit happens....bmwna and your insurance took care of you imo. You would have to be able to prove that this is a known issue and the exact same thing happened more than once to have any kind of case beyond this.

In my opinion, fair compensation would have been BMW offering to help pay the gap between his insurance payout and a similarly configured / year CPO. It's perhaps not fair to expect BMW to put him in a brand new car for no cost (letting him drive for free for three years, as you indicate), but given that the dang car caught on fire through no apparent fault of his, some level of compensation that takes into consideration his financial situation (and apparent inability or unwillingness to pay $10k just to get into a newer car) is warranted. My $.02.
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      12-15-2012, 05:01 PM   #7
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Auto manufacturers will not let anyone mess with their brand reputation and public product image. If you have an experience like this in the future and feel you have a justifiable complaint/loss, hire an attorney to represent you.

I won't go into details but I had an engine problem with a european product that took 18 months to sort out. My car was less than six months old and I was justifiably concerned the engine problem would result in decreased engine life or problems post warranty. The auto manufacturer would provide nothing in writing and the process appeared more about not letting this issue impact the reputation of one of their award winning engines.

Most auto manufacturers are generally very good at 'goodwill' compensation for customers who experience problems with their products HOWEVER, they will not do this while customers go into the public domain speaking ill of the company or their products.

Is it fair? No

It is business and we as consumers have a right to find other manufacturers or take personal legal action.

Bottom line.... A good attorney will advise you what your chances are for recovery in situations like this. Suggestion, next time something like this happens perform some research to determine if this is a systemic problem with the vehicle or a on-off event. Class-action events tend to get more visibility and favorable outcomes.



Quote:
Originally Posted by alanized View Post
On September 26, 2012 I was driving the second BMW three series that I had purchased new. It was a 2009 335d, still under warranty and 26 days after being serviced and provided an annual inspection by my local dealership. The car had 43,130 miles on it which I learned later from the key. I had never had any equipment added to my vehicle and no uncertified mechanic had ever opened the hood. The only service I had ever done on my own was to periodically refill the windshield washer fluid. When the car needed attention, the car notified the dealership, the dealership notified me, and without fail I would then promptly bring the car to the dealer for the included maintenance.
On that September afternoon I was driving a long uphill length of Route 78 in Western New Jersey. Without warning, the vehicle suddenly and completely lost power. I made my way from the fast lane to the shoulder and stopped the car as light colored smoke emerged from beneath the hood.
I opened the hood and saw flames in the engine compartment on the driver’s side of the vehicle. I called 911. I got my personal items out of the trunk. I attempted to signal several trucks to pull over because I knew that many of them carry fire extinguishers.
By the time the local volunteer fire department had arrived, the vehicle was unrecognizable in front of the A pillar. The passenger compartment had been destroyed by the fire. The vehicle was a total loss.
The next day I notified my insurance company and BMW NA. Both parties were sympathetic. Both offered to pay my car rental while the matter was being investigated.
It took nearly a month for the investigation to occur because both the insurance company and BMW wanted to inspect the vehicle at the same time. BMW made a preliminary offer for me to purchase a replacement vehicle. They would provide me with the opportunity to purchase at invoice and would also provide a $2,500 loyalty discount.
I was not prepared to fill what would be a very substantial financial gap in order to be put into a new vehicle. I placed my hope in the idea that the offer would be increased upon conclusion of the investigation. I didn’t feel it right to commit to the purchase of a new vehicle till I knew what the final offer would be.
In late October the investigation was begun and BMW was to subsequently evaluate the data for several weeks. During that time, my insurance compensated me for the depreciated value of the vehicle. A suitable replacement vehicle was difficult to specify because diesel sedans were no longer sold in the U.S., but in any case my gap was to be over $15,000.
My insurance company cut off funding of my rental vehicle on November 9. On November 16, I learned from BMW that the results were inconclusive and that funding would be cut off on my rental on November 21st. BMW stated that the loyalty discount would be increased to $5,000.
The $5,000 loyalty discount plus invoice pricing was substantial. I was still taking a big hit (I budget for and do not finance vehicles) but I felt I could make it work. I did not feel that I was getting a great deal but felt that eventually I could placate my emotions by making the facts of my experience public.
I ordered a 2013 335xi. At the same time that I ordered the vehicle I also purchased a used 2009 328xi to be traded in upon delivery of the new vehicle. Because it would be eight weeks or so before delivery, economics favored this interim purchase rather than continuing with a rental car.
I submitted the final rental bill to BMW by email on November 21st. By December 11th I had not heard any acknowledgement from them. I called and left a voice mail asking to be called promptly. Rather than returning my call, within a few hours the agent responded to the email sent two weeks previously.
The agent and I did get around to speaking that afternoon. I took the opportunity to inquire into the mechanics of how I was to receive my loyalty discount. During the conversation I told the agent that I was miffed by how they did business and that my intention was to go public. I was then informed by the agent that the discount was dependent on something that they termed a “general release.”
The agent notified the legal department and within several hours I received the general release. The discount was now increased to $7,500.
I was amazed to view the boldness of the document. There would be no recourse if there were a defect subsequently found. I could not utter a word of my experience. What bothered me most about the document was the realization that many buyers would never see it until the day of delivery moments after walking by their newly arrived car.
Signing this agreement for this amount of money was unacceptable to me. There was no way that I could choose to be without recourse if these vehicles began flaming out all over the country nor could I shut up. The only way I would not tell the story would be if there wasn’t any story to tell. That would only be the case if BMW were to step up.
On the morning of December 13, I sent an email declining the offer of $7,500 dependent on a release. I provided two alternative options. One option would be that the offer be reduced to $5,000 and there be no release. This was the deal that I believed to be in effect only a few days earlier. The second option was that I sign the release accompanying a discount of $17,500. I provided BMW two full business days to respond.
That afternoon I was called by BMW NA’s agent and we spoke for the final time. I was given no new information or offer. Old information was regurgitated.
By end of business day December 14, I had heard nothing. That afternoon I went to the dealership and told them the reason I was backing out. It was important for me to look the dealer in the eye and state the reason for my decision.
At the conclusion of the business day I placed a deposit on an alternative vehicle. I was done. After I trade in the 328xi my experience with BMW will be over.
It is important to make mention here that this narrative does not provide every excruciating detail of my dealings with BMW NA. A document of that scope would be too ponderous to read. The bottom line is that by this time, the agents of BMW NA exhibited bad faith again and again.
On one occasion an agent pointed out to me how grateful I should be for the deal I was getting because of how much demand there was for these vehicles. This argument seemed upside down to me. An in-demand product doesn’t absolve customer service from doing what is right. My 35 years in customer service has provided me with the certain knowledge that doing what is right creates an in-demand product.
I want to state with certainty that I still believe that BMWs are some of the finest and best looking vehicles on the road. I also want to state however, that I believe that an exemplary item with substandard backing is in total, a mediocre product.
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      12-15-2012, 05:08 PM   #8
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No lease. I paid cash when I bought the car.

To me, this would be the analogy;
Your television under warranty bursts into flames. Luckily, nobody is harmed. The manufacturer believes that your compensation should be composed of your homeowner's insurance (whose premiums you paid) providing the depreciated value of the television. In order to promote goodwill, the manufacturer gives you a 10% coupon towards the purchase of a new television. With gratitude, you head to Best Buy and are happy to learn that you end up with a new television and are out of pocket only a total of 10% the price of a new televsion.

This seems absurd to me. The manufacturer would nearly certainly provide you with a new television.

I was driving a car under warranty and never serviced by anyone but them. This car burst into flames during normal operation. That is a profoundly negative customer experience and deserves a profoundly positive remedy. In my view, they ought to have eaten the depreciation.

Complicating everything is that diesel sedans are no longer available.

If you watched helplessly while your car disintegrated, you might feel different.
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      12-15-2012, 05:22 PM   #9
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Your frustration is clear and I'm pretty sure if this has happen 6 months into your ownership, BMW would replace your car. However with 40K + miles where (through your own words) you experienced no engine problems (nothing specified) you probably were entitled to the market value of the vehicle + goodwill from BMW.

As owners we have too much emotion involved in situations like this. Legal representation will deal with this in writing (not reliant on phone calls and emails) and specify the loss you have encountered. A negotiated settlement would have been reached and a NDC would be part of the terms.

I too thought I could 'deal' with the manufacturer myself and soon realized I was 'out-of-my-league'.

Consider it a lesson learned and move on. Otherwise, you could have taken the car (you owned it) to an independent inspector and gotten a second, third, or fourth assessment of the root cause of the engine fire. Maybe then you would have 'leverage'.
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      12-15-2012, 06:14 PM   #10
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it's not just BMW that would want you to sign a NDA, it's any major corp. it's just a part of doing business for them. you either take it or don't but, you can't have your cake and eat it too. I personally think that they were being pretty generous with the money they were offering.
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      12-15-2012, 06:25 PM   #11
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I think OP's expectations here are unrealistic. For most auto manufacturers, if the insurance company has already paid you for the "adjusted value" of the vehicle, they won't even bother getting their hands dirty. In some cases, they may give you a discount/credit if there is HARD EVIDENCE the accident/fire was caused by a car defect.

The fact that BMW a) paid your rental car costs for well over a month, and b)offered you $7,500 off of a new car actually just goes to show how much better they are with this than most other auto manufacturers (good luck getting Ford or Toyota or w/e to give you that deal after your 4 year old car goes kaput).

I understand you're upset that it'll cost 16k to go from the car that died to a new car, but again, realized that is a NEW CAR. I'm sure with the sum your insurance company offered you you could have bought a SIMILAR model (IE a car of same year and mileage and equipped), but if you expect insurance/manufacturers to pay for a BRAND NEW car each time a used one goes bad, you're outa luck, because no one will do that.

Case in point, my 2002 Ford Explorer with only 30k on it was totaled during Hurricane Sandy. GEICO (my insurance) wrote me a check for $7,500 to cover it. Obviously this is nowhere close to getting a new vehicle, but IT IS A FAIR SUM FOR A COMPARABLE VEHICLE. I took that money and put a down payment on a new 328i, and I'll be making the rest of the payments out of pocket.
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      12-15-2012, 06:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tsuyoi View Post
...

I understand you're upset that it'll cost 16k to go from the car that died to a new car, but again, realized that is a NEW CAR. I'm sure with the sum your insurance company offered you you could have bought a SIMILAR model (IE a car of same year and mileage and equipped), but if you expect insurance/manufacturers to pay for a BRAND NEW car each time a used one goes bad, you're outa luck, because no one will do that.

...
This. Money for a car of similar year and mileage, plus some goodwill, with the understanding of a NDA, unless you're willing to roll the dice and take it upon yourself, at considerable time, expense and aggravation, to prove BMW's fault/negligence, which appears unlikely. ALL manufacturers go thru this. I went thru this with Lexus and a faulty driveshaft. The fact that it was a fire, while dramatic, is immaterial.

Like most here, I feel for you. It sucks. But no manufacturer/car is perfect.
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      12-15-2012, 07:08 PM   #13
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Diesel car catches fire. Very likely not fuel related. More than likely electrical related. Did BMW or insurance company provide any indication as to what caused fire?

Its very difficult for anyone to appropriately comment. No one on this forum has seen your car before the fire, nor do they know the condition of the car before and after the fire. Further, no one here knows your car's service history. I know you didn't allow anyone else to service your car, but that only tells part of the story.

Good luck with your new car.
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      12-15-2012, 07:32 PM   #14
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This is why you should carry replacement cost insurance. My insurance covers a new car equivalent to the one I purchased for 5 years. After that it is depreciated value. Absolutely worth the $10 a month extra in premium IMO.

Given the mileage on the car, I have to say that I actually think BMW was fair to you. I think it is unreasonable to expect them to give you a new car... maybe if your car was almost new but not at 40K miles. I think the offer of $7,500 in addition to the depreciated value is fair... more than fair. BMW could have just let you deal with the insurance company and that would have been poor service on their part. Asking them to replace your car is effectively you asking them to reimburse you for the use of the car since you bought it. You benefited from that use and it isn't free, right? So, if they had done nothing and you bought a similar value car (acknowledged that diesel was out) with the depreciated value insurance, you would be in the exact same position as you were before the fire. Driving a 2009 BMW with ~40K miles. By offering you $7,500, you had the opportunity to be better off than you were for you trouble.

Anyway, I do feel badly for you... I am just not sure the offer wasn't fair.
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      12-15-2012, 07:32 PM   #15
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Maybe I dont know what I'm talking about but I can see both sides. It seems like BMW was treating you as if they were an insurance company. The insurance company's responsibility is to replace whatever the loss was worth. If the car was still under warranty, wouldnt it be the responsibility of the manufacturer be to "fix" whatever was broken? I guess in this case, since it was a total loss, the best they couldve done was to find you a similar car.

I first read your story thinking, hey they shouldve given you a bran new car! But given the fact that your car was near the tail end of the warranty, that's illogical. All that said, I'm leaning towards them giving you a fair price discount on a new one based on the value of your car. I'm not sure if they did that with $7500 off as an offer. Great price on a new car, but still doesn't make up for the value of what you loss, that was probably a manufacturer defect.

Ideally, I would've liked to see them look at what the value of your car was at the time of the 'incident' then say, hey we'll give you that value off the price of a new car. Tossing in invoice pricing would be in good faith trying to make things right. Insurance shouldn't even have to deal with it if it was a defect.

Now since your insurance company did that already, the fact that BMW was going to give you a great deal on a new car, that was a bonus. It seems you got a more than fair deal overall, but wanted BMW to take blame which seemed to be inconclusive at best.

Sorry for my rambling, sorry for your loss and annoyance with BMW, but if you got in an accident and your car then caught fire because of it, BMW wouldn't have given you a dime and your insurance company would've given you exactly what they gave you.
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      12-15-2012, 07:59 PM   #16
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I'm really sorry for your loss and good thing you weren't hurt. But I think both BMW and your insurance company were reasonable. Maybe it's disappointing that BMW didn't go way above and beyond what's required by giving you a replacement car, but offering 7500k below invoice on a purchase of your choice is pretty big already. If some other auto maker has done more in a situation like this, I'll have to keep that in mind for my next car
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      12-15-2012, 11:26 PM   #17
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Well, I would be pissed if my car suddenly burst into flames. But, there really is little difference between having your beautiful car suddenly burst into flames or having your car suddenly t-boned at 55 mph.

Thus, the appropriate response is to have your insurance company pay for the loss. In turn, they can go after (subrogate) BMW.

Now, BMW had sympathy for you and they came to the table. They did not have to, but they did. There was no conclusive evidence that revealed a defect by BMW.

Now, if you hired an attorney, they may have gotten the chance to look in BMW's (discovery) files to see if there were similar incidents.

As many have said here, the NDA is a requirement. Why would BMW step in and allow you to bad mouth them. You didn't get more money because you had no proof this was a systemic problem.

I will say is that no other auto manufacturer would talk to you without you having to hire an attorney.

The minute you hire an attorney, your little $7500 becomes chump change and BMW will have the right to due process just like you. Even after fighting this battle in the courts for four years and even after you win, you can still get sideswiped by an appellate court and have them reverse your win.

So, after reading this I hope you will see that you are far better off settling up front and grabbing what you can.

Finally, well folks, the OP's post has got to be the most expensive post in the world! Yup, the OP's very polite rant cost him 7,500 smackaroos.

There is a lesson here and it's called "the Golden rule" and I will share it with you now: THE GOLDEN RULE: Them with the gold, rule.

End of story. We can all learn from this one!
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      12-16-2012, 02:51 AM   #18
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ya that was a decent offer, not taking it was a mistake...
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      12-16-2012, 03:48 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alanized View Post

I ordered a 2013 335xi. At the same time that I ordered the vehicle I also purchased a used 2009 328xi to be traded in upon delivery of the new vehicle. Because it would be eight weeks or so before delivery, economics favored this interim purchase rather than continuing with a rental car.
Wow, quite a tale to tell.

Since you posted this here I think you're also willing to read the various opinions given.

An important fact here is that your vehicle was still under warranty.
IMO, regardless that you were nearing the end of the 50K mile warranty, this vehicle is still under warranty. That means the manufacturer IS responsible for the damage, IF the fire was caused by either a manufacturing defect, or something a BMW technician did.
It's clear BMW understands this as well, as they want to look at the vehicle to investigate what may have happened.
And, make the customer offers to make the issue go away.

How much responsibility does BMW have in this case?
This is a vehicle that is still under the manufacturers warranty.
Regarding any compensation, it's important to ask, what if the fire were caused by a defect? What compensation should the customer receive from the manufacturer who built that vehicle?
Those who may think invoice and a $7500 discount is an "exceptional" offer, and shows goodwill on BMW's part, would be quite upset if it were their car that went up in flames due to a manufacturing defect, while under warranty.

The problem is, how and who is going to do the investigation to answer the question of what happened?

Why is your insurance company so quick to indemnify you if the actual cause of the fire is still in question?
I can understand the rental coverage, but you pay for that in your premium.
Is your insurance company satisfied that the fire was NOT the result of a manufacturer defect or mechanic negligence?
Why would an insurance company pay for something that they may not be responsible for?
That's a big question I have.

Did your insurance company pay for the rental up until Nov 6th?
And BMW covered the rental from the 6th to the 21st?
If so, why did BMW cancel rental coverage if no conclusion had been made?

Seems very strange that neither your insurance company nor BMW have any conclusion as to what caused the fire. Yet the insurance company has given you compensation, and BMW made offers for the purchase of a new BMW.
This is odd.
If your insurance company made you a settlement offer, then they must have some reason for it. Did they tell you what their investigation revealed?
Are they telling you that they don't think the fire was caused by a defect or negligence?

Also, why did you accept the offer? In most insurance cases, by accepting the insurance company's offer, you're saying that their part of responsibility is over.
But, why? Why were they willing to give you money when the question of "what happened?" has not been concluded?
Insurance companies are not in the business of paying for damage if another party caused the damage.

I guess I'm confused by your actions.
If you think the fire was caused by a BMW manufacturing defect, or negligence by a BMW tech, then why are you entertaining buying a new BMW?

It's interesting that you were willing to take a lower discount but not sign the NDS. I can understand that you want recourse in the event that it's discovered that the fire is BMW's fault.
But if that's what you want, then stop discussing taking discounts and ordering a new car. The idea of the discounts is for you to stop pursuing the issue.

I don't think BMW is being nice and altruistic here, by simply wanting to help out a customer. They are a business and want to avoid a potentially greater problem, that being that the fire was caused by a defect. So, it's less costly to stall, make the customer a seemingly generous offer, and make the whole thing go away. OH, and don't forget to sign this NDS.
It's a smart business move.
You have to decide whether to take the hush-up offer or pursue the actual cause of the fire.
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      12-16-2012, 09:02 AM   #20
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I think I missing some part of the story. I am surprised that people say $7.500 was a good deal.

The car is under warranty. When the car has a problem under warranty BMW supposed to fix it without any charge. In this case the car had a problem and caught fire. Aren`t they supposed to fix it without any charge in this case?

I think the mistake you are doing here is not involving an attorney until now.
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      12-16-2012, 09:23 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hayir View Post
I think I missing some part of the story. I am surprised that people say $7.500 was a good deal.

The car is under warranty. When the car has a problem under warranty BMW supposed to fix it without any charge. In this case the car had a problem and caught fire. Aren`t they supposed to fix it without any charge in this case?

I think the mistake you are doing here is not involving an attorney until now.
I don't believe there is evidence yet that the car malfunctioned or that the cause of the fire was an issue covered under warranty. I also would bet, although I don't know this, that there is an exclusion in the warranty document for fire. The problem is proving what the fire related to.

Furthermore, if the insurance company thought they could pin this on BMW, don't you think they would? They wouldn't pay the claim if they could fault BMW IMO. That says they can either not determine the cause to be BMWs fault or BMW is not required to cover it regardless under the warranty. I'm speculating but those would be my guesses. If insurance could demonstrate BMW was responsible, they wouldn't just volunteer to pay the claim.

Regardless, the reason you carry insurance is for issues just like this. Insurance pays as agreed (in the OP's case the depreciated value) and he can go out and buy a similar car to what was lost. Unless you can explain why BMW is required to provide a new car, my opinion is the outcome is reasonable. I wouldn't like it either if I were in the OPs shoes but what is the logic to giving him more than what he lost? He lost an older BMW and, at best, should have it replaced with an equivalent car. If BMW offered $7,500 towards a new one, that is more of a customer service/goodwill gesture IMO than a legal responsibility to do so (or, maybe a CYA thing too but so what, that's life and that's business)... again, I'm not lawyer so this is just my own speculation.

I don't mean to sound like a hard a$S but I don't understand the logic that when there is a loss of an older, 2009 BMW with 40K miles, that someone should replace it with a new car or there is an entitlement to a new car or even a responsibility to compensate the OP towards a new car. That makes no sense to me. You lose an older car, you get compensated for the older car IMO, the issue is whether BMW is responsible for replacing a used car with equal value or whether the insurance company is responsible. If the insurance company is writing a check then that says something to me... they are NOT in the business of writing checks for insurance claims unless they are required to do so. If they could pin it on BMW, they would. Either way, you only get replaced what you lost... no upgrades IMO. The non disclosure is a CYA thing and standard protocol for any company in this situation... asking for it proves nothing else IMO.

Last edited by gthal; 12-16-2012 at 09:47 AM.
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      12-16-2012, 11:02 AM   #22
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I would've taken the deal with $7500 off...I leave the larger safety/fire issues up to the NHtSA.
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