My bad experience with BMW of Melbourne, FL


My wife and I leased a wonderful vehicle from BMW; however our experience with the local dealership was one that left a bad taste in our mouths.  We’ll regrettably never be leasing from them again.  Below are a few photos of our vehicle the day we turned in our lease, and below that is the letter that I sent to both the dealership and to the President of BMW of North America describing our experience.  I hope this blog entry can help someone else avoid the troubles that we did.

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BMW of North America, LLC
300 Chestnut Ridge Road
Woodcliff Lake, NJ 07675

 

 

 May 7, 2013

To whom it may concern,

 

My wife and I leased a BMW 135i in June of 2010 from “BMW of Melbourne” in Melbourne, Florida.  It was due to be returned next month.  We are returning it today, almost 2 months early.

 

Yesterday, with only one remaining payment on our lease and very little mileage, I attempted to make a deal with the Sales Manager, Jeff Smith.  I asked if I could turn in the vehicle early.  I explained that although we were permitted 30,000 miles during our lease period, we had only driven a total of 12,800 miles.  Additionally, the vehicle was kept in our garage and very well maintained.  In other words it was in fantastic condition.  Literally, not a scratch could be found on the vehicle.  You could open the door and still taste that “new car smell”.  Given the excellent condition of the vehicle, he agreed that although the rear tires were worn to the point that they would need to be replaced (after only 12,800 miles) if I were to turn the car in now, he would “eat the cost of the tires” and buy the car back for resale.  He was very clear in indicating that each tire would cost us $200 if we kept it to the end of the lease, so this was a no-brainer for him to only have to invest $400 in tires and be able to resale such a fine vehicle with so few miles.

 

Of course, he said that I would have to make the remaining lease payment and a $350 “acquisition fee”; however considering my offer he said he’d take the car back early given the conditions agreed upon above.  I shook his hand and said I’d be right back.  I went straight home and got my wife so that we could bring the car in.

 

After only a short period of time (perhaps 30 minutes) I had returned to the dealership with the vehicle.  The Sales Manager, Jeff Smith, met with me and tried to find someone who could do a lease final inspection.  Of course, as the car was in perfect condition with the exception of the premature wear on the rear tires, I figured this was going to be a breeze.  Upon finding a service technician to do the inspection I was informed that the inspection could not be done at this time, as it was now 4:30 pm and they were going to leave at 5 pm.  So much for customer service.  Additionally, I was now told that the agreement we had was “contingent” on the tires not needing to be replaced.  This is a complete 180 degree contradictory statement to the agreement we’d made only less than an hour prior!  We spent the next 10 minutes or so debating what we’d agreed upon; however in the end it became apparent to me that the Sales Manager may have been making promises that he didn’t have the authority to make.  We agreed to leave the vehicle with the dealership overnight and that they’d do the inspection first thing in the morning.  I asked that Jeff Smith call my wife when he was able to give us more information.  He promised that he would do whatever he could to ensure that he would be able to stick to the agreement we’d made, despite his adamant statements to the contrary.

 

He called my wife this morning, at approximately 10:30 am to let us know that the inspection is underway.  We heard nothing more from him all day.  Finally around 2:45 pm I decided to give him a call.  I got his voice mail on both his cell and his office number.  I then called the operator at the dealership and asked to speak to “whoever can help me with turning in a lease”.  After some time I was told that Jeff Smith would be calling me back.  About 10 minutes passed.  Jeff Smith called me and informed me that he could do nothing for me.  He said that had I bought or leased another BMW, it would be different; however since we did not I was simply out of luck.  He informed me although that the inspection was complete and we would be charged $600 for the 2 rear tires instead of the $400 I was originally quoted!  Again, he tells me another lie.  He told me we had the option to come pick up the car; however he was quick to point out that in two months the front two tires may not pass inspection and I could be faced with even more damages.

 

My chief complaints are the following.

  1. We had an agreement to turn in the vehicle early and the Sales Manager reneged.  This deal would have benefited the dealership greatly, as they will be able to easily re-sale this vehicle and make a nice profit.  This was a win-win for both parties, as I would have saved a little money on the fee for tires that wore prematurely.
  2. I was returning a vehicle with 18,000 miles less than I was allowed.  How much would BMW have charged me had I gone over on mileage?  It seems that nitpicking on the cost of tires given how little miles we actually put on the car is not a good way to do business.
  3. I was told that if I held on to the vehicle until the end of the lease I would be facing a $200/tire fee when in fact it turned out to be $300/tire for a total of $600.
  4. The “run flat” tires on this vehicle are unbelievably absurd.  I’ve never in my life heard of a tire that only lasts less than 13,000 miles.  That is inexcusable, and the fact that I had to pay for them is even more so.

 

In the end, I decided it was not worth the hassle anymore and we just turned in the vehicle early.  We have been so completely frustrated by the lack of integrity shown to us by the Sales Manager and ease with which he lied to me that we will never lease nor buy another BMW from this dealership again.  I plan to inform all of my friends and family about this incident and especially about this particular dealership.  It’s a common saying that car salesmen are sleazy.  This guy really takes the cake.

 

This is a very unfortunate end to what we considered a great time leasing this vehicle.  We never had any trouble with it and truly loved it.  However; this experience has soured us to the core.  I would love for BMW of America to try to make things right.  I can’t imagine that misleading customers is a policy that BMW maintains.  Unfortunately my future with this particular dealership is finished.  I’ll certainly share my experience with my family and friends and peers at work.

 

Sincerely,

 

Christopher L. Kirkman

 

Cc: BMW of Melbourne, FL

Unfortunately, shortly after this disaster of a situation from the dealer, I received an email from BMW of North America letting me know that there was also nothing they could or would do to satisfy my wife and I. Consequently, we’ll never purchase nor lease a BMW again. Although I prefer German cars, as they are typically very well made, we replaced this vehicle with a fine American car. My wife now proudly drives a Ford Focus, which gets fantastic mileage. And guess what? The tires don’t wear out at an unreasonable rate, and the dealer treats her with the respect she deserves…and because of that she’s likely to be a loyal customer in the future.

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25 thoughts on “My bad experience with BMW of Melbourne, FL

  1. I thought normal wear and tear on a leased car is expected. Don’t tires normally wear down? And to try to rip a customer off at even $200 a tire is highway robbery. I’ve heard so many stories over the years about leasing cars that I would NEVER lease one. I’d rather buy and drive it ’til it won’t drive anymore.

  2. This is a sad story of a Sales Mgr and dealership that take advantage of people and circumstances to further thier profit margin without care nor empathy for customers. BMW in Melbourne deserves on word be associated with them: Liars.?

  3. I just moved here from northern NJ and was planning on trading in my wife’s Escalade for a new BMW. I’m glad I read this post first before I wasted my time with a dealership that treats it’s customers so poorly.

    I feel bad for you having experienced the same such unprofessional conduct in the past from salesmen trying every penny from their customers.

    Rest assured this dealership will at least lose one customer and that “salesman” can enjoy the extra few dollars he rip you off for.

    I guess the salesman figured he would use your money for a weeks worth of lunch assuming you would stay silent on the subject and will now lose whatever commission he would have made on a sale (which I assume is more that a couple of hundred bucks).

    What goes around comes around.

    Thanks again for the heads-up.

    A. Santalla
    USMC ret.

  4. Great post, I too am glad that I came across this post before spending my hard earned dollars at a dealership that does not respect its customers. Thanks for getting the word out! BTW any help from BMW America?

    1. Unfortunately, BMW of North America was no help either. It’s too bad for them, because I make good money too. I’ll never buy a BMW again after my experience with them. Ultimately, all they had to do was “eat” the cost of the stupid tires and they would have had a customer for life. Because they chose to be assholes about it, instead I get to spread the word and let everyone I know about my experience with a greedy, non-customer friendly company.

      1. That is too bad for BMW they should’ve come through for the buyers of their products!!!!!!!
        Instead they stood by a seemingly
        Flip-flop representative of a seemingly flip-flop dealership..? Well, shame on all of them because I will never buy a BMW now thank you for posting this!!!

      2. I’m glad to see so many people have read my post and found it helpful in making a decision regarding purchasing or leasing from a company who would treat it’s customers the way my wife and I were treated.

  5. This does not surprise me I bought an extra key for $124.00. I picked up the key however I wasn’t in my BMW 550 so the guy told me no problem just hold it in the ignition for a few seconds and it will program. That didn’t work so when I went back the next day they said it would cost me 100.00 to program it. WTF

  6. I’m actually shopping for a BMW & ran across
    your complaint against this company .Thanks to you I’m looking elsewhere :Sorry you had such
    a terrible experience !!

  7. Pccoder,
    This is a perfect example of a dealership that hurts the reputation of all dealers. I have been in the business for over 20 years and would gladly have spent 500-700 to keep a customer like you happy. You should try to contact the owner and see if they would help. They would probably reimburse you for the consideration of taking down your blog…. But I do feel your pain. The average dealer spend tens of thousands of dollars a month in advertising to gain new customers, when all he had to do hear was spend a couple hundred to keep a customer.

    1. J C. You should feel more than happy to let the dealership know about my blog. I’ve already done so, but they don’t seem to care. I can count 8 different people who’ve told me specifically they will not be leasing nor purchasing a BMW after this incident. And who knows how many people they’ve told. Word of mouth travels fast.

      I’d be more than happy to remove my blog entry, but only after they reimburse the cost of the tires and the last lease payment I made. That vehicle was in effectively brand new condition. They were easily able to resale the vehicle. My wife loved that car, but the dealership ruined the entire experience.

      1. Pccoder, Please understand I do NOT work for this dealership. If I did this would be such an easy fix.

      2. I understand. It’s just nice to know that there are some car dealers who are NOT scumbags. You evidently are one of them.

  8. This dealership has a terrible reputation on the space coast. Most people actually go out to Orlando or Daytona (40 minutes+ away) if they want to get a BMW. I have never been impressed by them. They have a tendency to run off prospective BMW owners. The M3 I bought from this little old lady purchased it new from them in 97. They were so bad back then, she said this would be her last BMW and bought a Lexus instead recently!

  9. Im sorry to hear this. Luckily Ive had noproblem with this dealer as I bought my car in Miami and only have done service under warranty with thm. I am pretty sure of the owner of the dealership, or the germans owner of bmw read this they will be very furious and some heads will be wanted.

  10. Sales and service at this dealership is the worst I have ever encountered anywhere at Melbourne BMW. I currenly reside on the Space coast after moving from Rockville Md. I still return to Rockville BMW to purchase my cars and take my cars to Fields in Orlando for service. I have visited the sister dealerships VW(next door) and Honda(space coast), and being owned by the same people, are just as bad. I would give BMW Melbourne a 1 out of a 10 and that is because I am feeling generous

  11. I was going to visit Melbourne BMW for my next vehicle. That won’t be happening now. Thanks for the information.

  12. MELBOURNE FL BMW IS THE WORST DEALERSHIP IN THE HISTORY OF DEALERSHIPS! I WAS GOING TO LEASE A CAR HERE AND WHEN ASKED QUESTIONS I WAS TOLD “WHAT DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND” THOSE LOWLIFES!! WHO ELSE CAN WE CONTACT IN REGARDS TO THIS SERVICE?”

    1. Thanks Cara. I have had such great comments regarding my original post. I’m so glad I’ve been able to steer prospective buyers away from this dealership. They are truly the worst.

  13. I was about to look at a BMW from Melbourne, but will either go to Lexus or Fields. Will definitely not go to Melbourne BMW.

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