Knowledgeable and informative BMW mechanic
Posted labor rate - $88/hr
Cantankerous, insecure, defensive service/shop manager
No detailed written estimate
Owner not on premise
If you can overlook a disrespectful, moody, unprofessional service manager you may be happy with this shop. The mechanic is knowledgeable, professional, and customer service oriented.
The service manager was hostile after I requested an explanation for a $3400 bill when I was given a $2400 estimate.
I made four trips to the shop in the two weeks the shop had my car and never seen the owner.
I recently brought a used 1997 BMW 540i with service records and took it to European Imports on a Monday to have a clacking noise and oil leak checked. The car was serviced by multiple shops based on the records,
The service manager Brett came across as a knowledgeable talkative guy that knows BMW parts very well. He give me verbal estimates that I agreed to. The next day, he called and reported the clacking noise was the rear brakes. He then spent several minutes listing other problems with the car including a coolant leak, incorrect radiator installation,(2) bad rims, power steering fluid leak, and oil leaks and would call back with more information and estimates.
The next day, he called and spent some time telling me about the poor job the previous shops did on the car. I then interrupted him and asked about the car repairs and cost estimate. That caused a mood swing in him so I politely ended the call and decided to go to the shop.
At the shop, he showed me a very clean engine compartment and pointed out the problem areas. He told me that the car needed rear brake rotors and pads - $550; rebuild (2) rims, replace radiator fan shroud, tighten clamps, and diagnose leaks - $710; and leaking oil from valve covers, timing cover, and front crank seal - $1120. He had these three quotes written on three small post-it notes.
I felt comfortable with the first two quotes, but had reservations about the oil leaks because I had a receipt from the previous owner that showed the valve cover gaskets had been replaced two years earlier by a different shop, and European Imports warranted the work for only a few months. After some thought, I approved the work and requested the old valve cover bolt washers be saved. Brett seemed offended by the request.
I was told the car should be ready on Thursday and no later than Friday. Friday afternoon, I called and requested status on the car. I was told the mechanic had an emergency and couldn't complete the work as scheduled and they would get back with me. I had no problem with that.
The following Monday afternoon, Brett called and said that the mechanic wasn't back and if the car isn't ready by Wednesday, he would compensate for the trouble. I called him Thursday afternoon and asked "when would the car be ready?". His response was we're working on it. I asked again when would the car be ready. He went maniac and said when it's ready and if that's not good enough, come get it with a tow truck. I went to the shop and told him I had enough of his attitude and wanted to talk to the owner. Brett changed from maniac back to normal and said the owner was not there and started explaining the car's status and that it should be ready Friday.
The next day, Friday, the mechanic called to inform me that the car would be ready that afternoon. When I got there, the mechanic and Brett gave me a thorough overview of the work that was done and added that they had replaced the air mass boot and fan blade.I had no problem with that. I asked that they add an oil change.
After the oil change, I received the bill - $3,440.37. I asked to talk to Brett. I asked Brett to explain the difference between the $2400 estimate and the $3400 bill. He couldn't recall the estimate and become agitated and started to list the work I approved. Part way through the list, he changed again from normal to maniac. This time he was not on the phone but behind an inch of plexi glass. He started to rant about my intentions and falsely stated my opinion about the shop - which I never gave. I then asked one of the other employees to repeat what I had said and Brett became orgasmic - yelling don't talk to my employee. I ignored the rant and told him to show me the written estimates (three post-it notes) and explain the difference. I knew about the air mass boot, fan, and oil change and that doesn't add up to a $1000.
At this point he jumped off the ledge so to speak. He said the written estimates were in a secret drawer he has to screw customers and demanded I pay the bill and that he had my key. I told him that I would return on Monday to speak with the owner and if the owner was not available I would go to court. I then left and called for a ride. While waiting for a ride, I looked at the bill and noticed that the labor was close to the estimate Brett give me verbally two weeks ago - $1738/$88 is 19 hours vs. the estimate of 17 hours. I then added the additional parts - air mass boot, fan, oil, filter and tax. That left about a $500 difference due to parts.
I went back in the shop and Brett was pseudo normal. He said he looked over the invoice and noticed that the valve cover washers were priced at $509.00 and was not correct. The strange thing is he wanted me to thank him for discovering his error! (sic)