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Thursday, December 04, 2008

BMW Roadside Assistance: A Disaster

When I called to schedule a BMW Roadside Assistance tow to my dealership for my car earlier this week, I overlooked a couple of glitches in the process. Specifically, the experience was less than optimal, and a couple of levels below the experience I generally have had with AAA in the past. But after this morning, it's important to tell the whole story -- as I am not sure I will be using the "free" BMW Roadside Assistance again.

It seems a safer bet to stick with a dependable service like AAA - the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Here's why...

Last weekend when I called to schedule a tow due to the issue with my car, the process was very slow. The main reason, is that the agent struggled to pull up my information -- in fact we were disconnected once and then the agent had to call me back another time after experiencing a "computer" problem. But in the end, it was not an emergency for me and the appointment was made -- so I could overlook the delay and inconvenience.

Today however, is a different story. The way it works with BMW's Roadside Assistance is that when you schedule something like a tow to the dealership is that they are supposed to call you two hours before your appointment to confirm. This morning, my tow was scheduled for 8:00am which meant I was supposed to receive a call at 6:00am to confirm the appointment. 6:05am came and went, then 6:15am, then 6:25am, all without a call -- so I placed a call to the BMW Roadside Assistance at 6:30am to make sure the service vehicle would be here.

After getting to an agent and looking up my information, I was told that my another agent was confirming my appointment. That agent would be giving me a call back shortly with all the details.

6:45am came and went. 7:00am, 7:15am, and then at 7:25am -- I had it -- I placed another call to BMW Roadside Assistance and after waiting on hold for 5 minutes I finally reached an agent. Then all of a sudden that agent mentioned there was no record of my scheduled tow -- whatsoever -- but that they would work to schedule it immediately. Unsure how that happened, I mentioned the previous calls and still no record could be found. The agent reached out to someone who was scheduling it and they immediately called me on my other line.

I hung up and switched over. I was not sure what happened, but miraculously the agent had my cross-street and told me that a tow would be there before 9:00am. I mentioned that was unacceptable, I had scheduled this service 4 days earlier. Still the agent was able to do nothing since apparently Van Nuys Towing, the actual service provider was backed up and they had just received this order. I canceled the scheduled service and just jumped-started the car to take it to the dealership.

It has been a really bad week for BMW in my mind and at this point, I cannot say with any certainty that I will use BMW's Roadside Assistance -- it seems that AAA is way more reliable.

Hopefully my experience at the dealership will be much better today, we'll see...