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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dealer strikes again....... Maybe someone can chime in and let me know that these prices are out of line (or in line for that matter) with the norm. I know, first mistake was going to a dealer but here is what was done:

Install stainless brake lines: 2hrs labor @$95/hr
Bleed Brakes and Motul 600: 1 hr @ 95-Give me a brake.......
Install Hawk HT10 brake pads Front and rear: 3HRS LABOR!!!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME????? i can do it myself in about 1, maybe one and a half hungover on my knees with a hand jack...... unbelievable!!!!!
Change Transmission fluid: 1hr @$95

I have done all this work (with the exception of brake lines) before on my E34 M5 and I am in no way a certified BMW tech and it was no where near 7hrs

$830 dollars later and I'm a little pissed to say the least.......

Long story short, I'm going to watkins glen next weekend and didn't have time to do it myself or otherwise I would have and if i'd have known it was going to cost that i would have made the time!!!

I think i'm going to call the GM of the dealership this morning (actual friend of mine that I vacation with) and have a chat but wanted some opinions first.

So, I got ripped, but how bad??:grrrrr::grrrrr::grrrrr:
 

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yicks!

That's just how it goes there.. everything seems rounded up to the nearest hour and nothing is over elapsed time.

Sorry to hear..
 

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BMW dealerships bill via "book time".

What that means is that BMW publishes a list of services and specifies how many hours each service should be billed for. The time is broken up into FRUs, or Flat Rate Units, each being 12 minutes or thereabouts.

When you take your car in, they will quote you a price based on the flat rate -- not based on how long the technician takes to do the job. If the job bills 3 hours and the technician can do it in 1.5 hours, that's more money for him or her.

I'm sorry if you feel this is unjust, but it's the way BMW dealerships (and in fact most dealerships) have been doing service business for years. I think the problem here is an uneducated consumer, rather than a dealership trying to "rip someone off".
 

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Yeah, you got taken. :dollarsign:
IMHO...

* The effort to replace brake fluid with Motul 600 is about right
* The effort to install SS brake lines probably inlcuded draining & replacing the brake fluid (again!) Their service "book" tells them how much time this takes, but they failed to account that they had charged you for that already.
* Transmisison fluid, believable
* Three hours to replace pads?! They just made that up 'cause they thought they could get away with it.

...again, i'm not an expert but this is my educated opinion.

See you at The Glen next weekend with the GVC chapter!
 

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I got charged $100 for an oil change one time. Never went there again...

They all seem pretty high to me, but given that BMW seems to charge in hour increments, I can't say that I'm surprised.

Write the letter of complaint, but I wouldn't expect much other than some satisfaction at letting them know you feel screwed :(

d-
 

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I think i'm going to call the GM of the dealership this morning (actual friend of mine that I vacation with) and have a chat but wanted some opinions first.
I think he'll be laughing at you, whether he does it to your face or behind your back. Let's break it down:

- Is this your first time taking a car in for service? Did you not realize that the dealership charges quite a bit of money? Sorry, if you have the brains to be on an internet messageboard, I think you ought to have the brains to realize that dealerships are *expensive*.

- Based upon the above, why haven't you looked for a local independent shop that can do the job? As you say, BMW brakes are a rather easy task, so it shouldn't be a problem to find a BMW shop in your area with enough skill to do a brake job properly.

- Did you not receive a quote before the work was performed? Did you not "OK" that quote? If your quote was "R&R Front & Rear Brake Pads - 3hrs" and you knew the shop rate at the dealership was $95/hr, is it not your fault for not doing the math before signing on the dotted line (or saying "OK" over the phone)?

- Is it the fault of the business that you paid more? They completed the service(s) requested, within the promised timeframe, and to a high enough standard of work; Should they suffer from your lack of gumption with regard to finding out who has the best deal on BMW service in your area?

- What do you expect the GM to do? Cut you a special deal because you're buddies? I'm afraid that's just not going to happen -- he's working for a business, and he sure as hell isn't the owner. If he starts to "bro out" his buddies all the time, he's going to get into some deep crap from the owner. If it's a corporate-owned dealership as most of the BMW centers are these days, he's going to be even less likely to give you any sort of a buddy-buddy deal.

- As you say, you're "nowhere near a certified BMW tech". There might come a time, especially owning an E39 M5, where you need the expertise of the service department at the dealership. You're going to be very happy to have those certified BMW techs looking for the problem at that point -- many aspects of this car are beyond the capabilities of backyard mechanics like you and I. I would completely agree that brake jobs, if one has the time, are completely a DIY procedure -- I actually like doing brakes, to be honest. However, don't denounce the dealer for doing business as usual with an uneducated customer (yourself) when someday their GT1/Progman, factory-trained techs, and closet full of special tools might just save your bacon where even a well-equipped independent cannot.

Just something to chew on, while you're calming down.
 

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I agree with everything Ben said. As a BMW tech at a dealership, I know how these things work. The only thing that looks unusual to me is the 3 hours for pads. Generally, I only charge 2, but I imagine they had their reasons for charging 3. Dealerships aren't usually happy about installing aftermarket parts (to be honest, I'm surprised they agreed to do it), so that may have had something to do with it.

Anyway, I think you might benefit from this article. It does a good job of explaining how shops work, and how technicians get paid. http://thegarageblog.com/garage/understanding-vehicle-repairs-flat-rate-labour/
 

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With my experience it was more like a 4 hour job. The brake bleeding should of been included in the the time-frame of the stainless steel line installation(no question on that). 3 hours for the installation of front & rear brake pads is pretty ridiculous. Little things you manage yourself, Right? So My advice to you is to find a local INDY to take care of your dirty work.
 

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BMW dealerships bill via "book time".

What that means is that BMW publishes a list of services and specifies how many hours each service should be billed for. The time is broken up into FRUs, or Flat Rate Units, each being 12 minutes or thereabouts.

When you take your car in, they will quote you a price based on the flat rate -- not based on how long the technician takes to do the job. If the job bills 3 hours and the technician can do it in 1.5 hours, that's more money for him or her.

I'm sorry if you feel this is unjust, but it's the way BMW dealerships (and in fact most dealerships) have been doing service business for years. I think the problem here is an uneducated consumer, rather than a dealership trying to "rip someone off".
I agree with everything you said. I would point out, however, that the labor standards are set by BMW and are generally supposed to fall in line with actual time required. They should not, for example, be off by a factor of 100%...

I don't know if they are or they are not in this case, I'm simply observing how they are developed.

d-
 

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This reminds me of a time in the 90's when I had my SAAB (yes, a SAAB) NH. state inspected at my dealer. They told me that I needed lower ball joints on both sides of the front end.
I waited for it and the car was ready in less than one hour.
However, on the bill they charged me for two hours of labor, one for each ball joint as the book tells them.
As I complained, the Service Manager informed me that this is how they make up for the jobs that take longer than the book quotes.
Bottom line is that I told him to make it up on someone elses car, not mine, and I paid for one hour accordingly.
I have always done my own work and I would not have approved the work in the first place if I wasn't in a hurry at the time.

Al. Wise
 

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OP - I'd look around for a good indy for routine stuff you don't have time to get to.

Dave
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I think he'll be laughing at you, whether he does it to your face or behind your back. Let's break it down:

***He's probably already laughing at me and all his other customers.***

- Is this your first time taking a car in for service? Did you not realize that the dealership charges quite a bit of money? Sorry, if you have the brains to be on an internet messageboard, I think you ought to have the brains to realize that dealerships are *expensive*.

***No, I've never been to a dealership before in my life, it was a total revelation to me that it would be expensive.............****


- Based upon the above, why haven't you looked for a local independent shop that can do the job? As you say, BMW brakes are a rather easy task, so it shouldn't be a problem to find a BMW shop in your area with enough skill to do a brake job properly.

***Have you ever been to Buffalo NY? Nobody here drives a BMW, Chevy cavaliers are the equivelant (in numbers) to the 3 series in CA. Pickups are cool- i'm sure there might be an independent somewhere but i would be VERY hesistant to bring them an M5.***


- Did you not receive a quote before the work was performed? Did you not "OK" that quote? If your quote was "R&R Front & Rear Brake Pads - 3hrs" and you knew the shop rate at the dealership was $95/hr, is it not your fault for not doing the math before signing on the dotted line (or saying "OK" over the phone)?

***No I did not get a quote, I thought they would be honorable and that's all I was looking for and yes I knew it was $95/hr***


- Is it the fault of the business that you paid more? They completed the service(s) requested, within the promised timeframe, and to a high enough standard of work; Should they suffer from your lack of gumption with regard to finding out who has the best deal on BMW service in your area?

***see above***

- What do you expect the GM to do? Cut you a special deal because you're buddies? I'm afraid that's just not going to happen -- he's working for a business, and he sure as hell isn't the owner. If he starts to "bro out" his buddies all the time, he's going to get into some deep crap from the owner. If it's a corporate-owned dealership as most of the BMW centers are these days, he's going to be even less likely to give you any sort of a buddy-buddy deal.

*****Absolutely not! I don't look for any price concession because I "know" someone, I just want to pay an honest price for the services provided. I won't even tell him that I want him to lower the price, I will let him make a judgement call. If I were in his shoes I would probably NOT change the bill in fear of taking a bunch of crap from the ownership. Ultimately, it is his job to make sure the customer is happy with the cars and the service. He has an unhappy customer here and needs to understand why. I feel I have every right to speak to management about my feelings of being ripped off, friend or not.******

- As you say, you're "nowhere near a certified BMW tech". There might come a time, especially owning an E39 M5, where you need the expertise of the service department at the dealership. You're going to be very happy to have those certified BMW techs looking for the problem at that point -- many aspects of this car are beyond the capabilities of backyard mechanics like you and I. I would completely agree that brake jobs, if one has the time, are completely a DIY procedure -- I actually like doing brakes, to be honest. However, don't denounce the dealer for doing business as usual with an uneducated customer (yourself) when someday their GT1/Progman, factory-trained techs, and closet full of special tools might just save your bacon where even a well-equipped independent cannot.

***Maybe you're a tech and I insulted you and your infinite wisdom but we are talking brakes here dude, not rocket science- get a clue.......***

Just something to chew on, while you're calming down.
Thanks
 

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i was once quoted $1200 to do brake pads, sensors, and rotors front and rear on my 93 325is... this was by a local bmw dealer. i just ordered the parts from the dealer and did the job myself for under $200. find a good indy and swallow this job.
 

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Ben-

One question:

What is the "book time" for each of the items the OP had done, when they are done together?

You've turned this into an argument about the appropriateness of book time- lets first see if the dealer isn't, IN FACT, gouging past what even book time would allow...

Specifically, does changing brake lines include a flush? If so, he was double charged. Does BT allow 3 hours for a pad change?

If this is 'by the book' then the OP should pay the bill and chalk this up to being dumb. Why would ANYONE ever give an open ended approval like this?

FInally, take a stand defending BMW TECHNICIANS... not DEALERS! :) :)

Adam
 

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Doug, Ben and Kellie are all correct.

And, all but one post misses a point.

The way it works is, if they can finish the job quicker than the book specifies, they make extra money ... good for them, bad for you.

If it takes longer than the book specifies, they loose money ... bad for them, good for you.

And, sometimes they loose money (and, of course, sometimes they make money). Been there, done that. It averages out, or is supposed to.

However, the book can be used to cheat you. Some tasks should be combined, not added separately. Likely it's the Service Advisor who does that. (He makes money on customers, too.)

How do you expect BMW dealers to stay in business and remain profitable (or anybody stay in business and remain profitable)? Look at the new cars (and, used cars, too) on their lots ... they have to pay for those too (often through a "floor" tax, monthly, and interest payments). Welcome to the real world.

And, $ 95 (per hour) for service ... that's CHEAP! In California it is $ 140 to $ 145. My indi charges $ 85.00, and he is good, but NOT perfect.

If anyone out there knows of any dealer who DOESN'T use the "Flat Rate Manual," let me know, 'cause I want to go there!
 
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Hessec - I'm not familar with Buffalo. However, I used to live in Rochester NY. Check out the Genesee Valley BMWCCA site -> www.gvc-bmwcca.org for indy alternatives. In the meantime, a couple highly recommended shops = Phoenix Imports in East Rochester and Ekstens in Greece NY

Good Luck - BubbaSchill
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Just got off the phone with him. It is his day off but he returned my call and I explained to him calmly how I felt about the charges and he basically agreed that he thinks I got double-dipped on the fluid/brake line change and that 3 hrs seems "excessive" for a pad only change "especially when they already had the whole area disassembled for the lines."

He said he has a new system for the techs where they clock in and out on every line item of the work order to avoid these type of situations (or to figure out just how much extra time they are charging........) and he will check the clock tomorrow and speak to the tech.

We'll see, but he certainly wasn't laughing at my concerns.
 

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Just got off the phone with him. It is his day off but he returned my call and I explained to him calmly how I felt about the charges and he basically agreed that he thinks I got double-dipped on the fluid/brake line change and that 3 hrs seems "excessive" for a pad only change "especially when they already had the whole area disassembled for the lines."

He said he has a new system for the techs where they clock in and out on every line item of the work order to avoid these type of situations (or to figure out just how much extra time they are charging........) and he will check the clock tomorrow and speak to the tech.

We'll see, but he certainly wasn't laughing at my concerns.
Exactly, A blind person could see that they owe you money. They charged twice for the bleeding of you brakes. By the books or not, (like I said in post#9) 3 hours for brakes? Double dipping in pricing? Something is not right. I understand the principle, but right is right!
 
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