6 January 2013

Customer Satisfaction And Social Media

What do you do when your complaint doesn't get heard?
We all know that social media is a great tool to use if you have a complaint about a product or a service.  It is easy to companies to monitor any negative remarks about their brand with tools as basic as Google Alerts.  But what happens when you are ignored and you know that the problem you are having is being experienced by many others?

In my case, I had an issue with my car before Christmas.  My car was 4 years and 10 months with 95,000 miles (155,000 km) on the clock.  My car let me down and let me down badly.   It was a premium brand car, a BMW to be exact.  The engine had developed a serious fault which lead to the partial destruction of the engine.  Again I wasn't expecting this from a premium brand car less than 5 years old or am I being niave.  I have to mention that this repair cost me $4,160 (€3,200) while the car originally cost approx. $64,000 (€49,000) so you can imagine my annoyance.  I paid for a repair which every other diesel powered BMW was having.

On the advice of a friend I trawled a number of BMW car forums and found that this was a common enough fault on 1 series, 3 series and 5 series diesel BMWs with the N47 engine built between March 2007 and May 2010.   I put this to my local BMW dealer but they didn't want to know.  I even found and internal document which highlighted the problem, do Google PUMA 13588845-03.  This I put to BMW Germany but they insisted that it had to be dealt with through the local BMW dealer.

I posted my story on a national consumer discussion board.  There I was contacted by someone who was running a petition to have the cars recalled.  He was looking for signatories who all had the same problem.  This petition was run through AVAAZ.org, the link was
I shared this petition with my Facebook friends.
I joined the BMW group on LinkedIn, but my comments were never published. 
I am in the process of writing to "BMW Car" magazine in the UK. They are known for airing the views of annoyed car enthusiasts.
As you can see I'm writing a blog post to register my annoyance. 

Have you had an experience like this?  What did you do to get it resolved?  Please comment below.
Should big brands be allowed to get away with this kind of behavior? 

The Problem of the N47 Engine
Since over a year it has been known that the timing chain in N47 engine fails.  Some mechanics put it down to the sprocket that drives the chain, others to the lack of chain guides.  Either way when the timing chain fails the engine becomes damaged.  If the chain breaks while travelling on the highway, the engine will be completely destroyed and will require replacement.  In my case this happens during city driving and resulted in the cam shaft and rockers needing to be replaced.  Nonetheless the engine needs to be removed, stripped and reinstalled.  My car was just shy of 100,000 miles when this happened but other cars with the N47 engine have had this happen at 50,000 miles. 
If you have a car with an N47 engine you should be very worried.


  1. I am having a negative experience with a merchant that I purchased product through Moolala. I ordered it several months ago and never received it. I have tried complaining to Moolala, but they haven't helped me resolve the issue. I'm intending to wage a social media complaint if I don't receive my product soon. I try nicely to work with people when I have a complaint, but if I get no results, I have no problem taking it further.


  2. My thinking is, I run a small business and I make an effort to give my customers a great service so that I will have more customers in the future. Why do larger companies think that this does not apply to them? Are they "special"?

  3. Hi. I am from Portugal and I have the same problem. I have a BMW 118d from 2008 with 100,000km and making a noise from time chain. The local BMW dealer wants 2000€ to repair this problem.

  4. Hi Ananymous,
    thats crap after 100,000km only.
    If the timing chain is making noise it will break soon. So for now you need to get your car into a garage.
    Do however sign the AVAAZ petition with the link above and make as much noise as possible with social media and any BMW magazines your country has.

    1. Hi Chris,

      Yes, I already signed the petition. The social media in Portugal do not give importance to this problem. There is many internet forums talking about the problem and many angry costumers with the same problem, but no ones care. The BMW Portugal is ignoring the problem, like everyone else.

  5. Hi Anonymous,
    I think its BMW Germany that we have let know how angry we BMW drivers with the N47 engine are.
    Do you try emailing at customerservice@bmw.com
    Also BMWs customer service number is 0049 89 1250 16000 But you will have to ask to someone senior.

    1. To be honest, I never contact BMW Germany, but many costumers did that. As far as I know the BMW Germany replies to the customer telling them to contact the local dealer of the country. I think this is a known problem also for the BMW Germany, but no one have the interest to solve. This is a expensive repair and the fault is from BMW.

  6. Hi Anonymous.
    thats why we have to keep after BMW Germany. Its not the dealers' fault the engines are breaking down. BMW Germany cant get away with this. We cant let me get away with this.

  7. From Marie in Waterford, Ireland
    Reading your thread Chris & sorry to hear the problems you have had. I too have a similar problems. I have a 2007 118D SE Automatic, 44,000 mls full BMW service history. It was driving perfectly fine until Friday when to my horror and without any warning the car came to a dead stop. A local garage collected it from the middle of the road. I am told that the timing chain has snapped and that has caused extensive damage to the engine, it will need a rebuild or new engine. I am now relying on BMW's "good will" which I am told has certain criteria including, that it has been regularly serviced by BMW and has low mileage. I have to wait and see after the inspection.
    Well to say the least I am in total shock, I love my car, it's my baby & has been very well looked after.
    It's going to BMW main dealers tomorrow and to be honest, I am dreading getting the report after what I have been reading on all the forums.
    I chose my BMW for reliability, safety, excellent customer service and fuel economy driving. (I felt safe). Not any more!
    I cannot believe that BMW are now treating their loyal customers with such contempt! WHY if it's a manufacturing fault are they refusing to compensate, surely they are legally obligated to fix a manufacturing fault (which they have actually acknowledged), and especially a serious fault with such a potentially dangerous health & safety issue, the cars should be recalled. I am only grateful that I had not reached the motorway as it stopped dead without any warning, I dread to think the outcome.
    Hundreds of customers seriously out of pocket. BMW are losing their credibility and their customers.....who in their right mind will ever trust BMW again.
    I hope you get your car fixed and are fully compensated Chris.