Here’s how you get what you want in a car dealership

Dear John: I have an issue with BMW: the car itself, the salespeople, the whole organization — at least in the States.

I am trying to bring this issue to a close on my own after a month with a brand-new 2020 BMW X5 that broke down and has been in the shop. The BMW staff is unable to fix it, so I am supposed to be getting another one.

The only thing I have gotten so far is one story after another. If this does not come to a close this week, I would like to know if there is anything you could do to further my efforts. Any help from you will be greatly appreciated.

I will be in touch again with or without a conclusion! C.P.

Dear C.P.: Why wait! I contacted BMW in Germany for you and hopefully that will be enough. Let me know when this is resolved.

But your note gives me a chance to pass on something that I learned a long time ago before I was “Dear John.”

I once had a car that broke down immediately after I bought it. And the paint was chipping, too. I believe it was an Oldsmobile, but I could be wrong on that.

So one day I went to the repair side of the new car dealership and was yelling at the guy in charge.

Another customer came over to explain that I was doing it all wrong. He owned a fleet of car service vehicles, so he had a lot of experience. He explained that nobody cares if you yell at the service people. All the customers in the service area have already purchased cars. So the dealer will let you yell as much as you want.

What I needed to do, my new friend told me, was yell in the showroom where customers were still shopping for cars. And, he also said, I needed to do it on a Saturday, when there were more customers in the showroom.

Ah! That made complete sense.

So the next Saturday I went to the dealer, stood around in the showroom and waited for a couple to be choosing the color of the upholstery for the car they just bought.

Then I sprung into action. I told them — loudly — that they shouldn’t buy a car at this particular dealership because the service was lousy.

Suddenly I had every salesman, manager and everyone else around me trying to help. “We thought you were already being helped,” they lied.

It took a while to fix all the problems with that car. But it was soon returned to me with a new paint job and everything else handled.

And now, whenever I have a problem with anything I make sure my ire is expressed in the right location.

Writing to the “Dear John” column is the equivalent of yelling where the customers are.

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