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NEWS: November 15, 2010 - My car has finally been returned to me - but I do not have satisfaction.

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Saturday, November 6, 2010

BMW: Looking For The Socket Housing

On Friday I decided, since it seems apparent that I am the only one with a sense of urgency about my situation, that I would attempt to locate this mysterious part myself.  I was able to get the part number via Lara, and now I finally have a name for the culprit.  It was not as exciting as I had hoped.

"Socket Housing: 611C9141893"

This was the elusive part that is costing me so much time and money, and I set off on my research to find out if there was anything I could do to locate one.  I was very hopeful about my search, I'm a pretty good researcher when I set my mind to it, and as I began the hunt my mind was filled with giddy fantasies of finding the part instantly on the first attempt, and the mud that I would be shortly rubbing in Center BMW's face.  After an hour of searching, however, these fantasies had drained away and left my hope of being able to say that I took the problem into my own hands and solved it in minutes as empty as BMW's promises.

The part number that I had would not show up on any database or parts supplier, even those that claimed that they had "every part since 1967".  I could not find any reference to this part, it was as if it did not exist - which is consistent with everything I've heard since August.  Out of desperation I sent a couple emails out to likely candidates begging them to help me locate this part, and these were the responses I received:

From: Sales BimmerSpecialist
Sent: Thursday, November 04, 2010 7:14 PM
Subject: [#ZEL-263119]: obscure part?

Hi Joshua,

Thank you for your email.

Connectors are sometimes a problem as the BMW part system doesnt show all connector part number for specific application but they show a bunch of connector that are installed on the car without specifying where they are installed.

Most dealers do have a box with general use connectors and in many case they can match it.

The part number you gave (611C9141983) is not a standard BMW part number as there is no letter in a BMW part number. I did try to replace the C with a number and doesnt seems to match anything.

Here is a website with the same part system as the BMW dealer use.

If you want to see all the connectors, go under "electrical system" --> plug and connectors. You will see all of them.

I hope this help a bit, most of the time they (dealer) should take the sensor and then check witch connector match there general use connector. Its also possible that its not easely available, hard to say to be honest. They (dealer) would probably have to check with there technical contact a BMWNA and get some help from them to find the good part number from BMW germany.

I understand your frustration and hope they will find a solution for you soon.



I thanked Eric for his prompt response, it was very kind of him to spend so much time responding to me.  So, from this, it seems that this part (with a "C" in the part number, which BMW apparently does not do, normally) isn't even normally listed on their parts list, only in a generic "connector" list that comprises the whole car.  I can appreciate that in a machine comprised of thousands of moving parts must have a very impressive schematic - but to not list a part so critical that the car cannot be driven without it seems pretty ridiculous to me.  Additionally, another kind soul emailed me a similar response:

From: Ken Brown
Sent: Friday, November 05, 2010 9:58 AM
Subject: RE: 2009 BMW Z4 sDr30i


Thank you for your inquiry.

The part number you have is not an actual BMW number. You have the correct number of digits but there are no letters in BMW numbers. Usually we can look things up by just the last 7 numbers but that doesn't bring anything up either. But considering this is an electrical plug on a later model car I'm actually not surprised it's tough to find. Most of these part numbers are BMW dealer only items and can only be sourced as part of a repair order. I ran into the same roadblock trying to look this part up for the car in the parts program. So chances are it's back ordered from BMW's supplier and the dealer simply hasn't been able to get it to repair the car. If this is just for the brake lining sensor wire (what tells you your pads need to be replaced) the system can be bypassed by simply installing a jumper wire in between the two terminals. It's not a proper fix but I'm rather surprised they haven't attempted this to get your car back to you. Of course maybe it's not that particular sensor.

Ken Brown
Bavarian Autosport Web Services
275 Constitution Avenue
Portsmouth, NH 03801

I guess Ken had a similar reaction to Eric, so this does seem to be consistent theme with BMW.  I do like his simple, elegant suggestion of how to get the car back on the road.  Install a jumper wire.  Hmmm... just as simple as pulling the same part from another Z4 that is not for sale...  If only Ken knew.

Thanks to Eric and Ken for their time with this.  The hunt continues.

Friday, November 5, 2010


I've just published a new Saga about my recent experience with Identity Theft.  I've been deeply embroiled in this process for more than a month, and the aftershocks will continue to ripple through my life for at least the next seven years.  Everyone should read this and do everything you can to protect yourself and your numerical identity.  I'm extremely careful with my information, but somehow along the way some clever crook managed to siphon off enough information about me to take more than a dozen creditors to the cleaners, and make my existence in our modern world even more difficult in way that will affect the rest of my life.

Please read it.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

BMW: Robert Levy Replies

Here is what my awesome lawyer wrote to BMW yesterday in response to their pat form letter.  He has paraphrased exactly how I feel about it in legal terminology.  I think this might be my favorite letter of all time.

Sent: Wednesday, November 03, 2010 6:26 PM
Subject: Re: Joshua Logan, 2009 BMW Z4, E160844

Mr. Dawson: Thank you for your prompt response however, time is of the essence and my client continues to incur expenses for a substitute vehicle and legal costs, just to mention two of the expenses.  Your company has had this file for many months without a resolution.  I am not clear what further is required for you to be able to realize that my client has not had his car for months and this is simply not acceptable.  The failure of BMW to take action and compensate my client for the full cost of his car plus the expenses is tantamount to an intentional act due to the apparent lack of concern or simple gross negligence on your part.  I do not think it is appropriate at this late juncture to be providing empty phrases intended to mollify my client.  That time has passed and I must ask for a prompt resolution in my client's favor.  I believe that formal proceedings under California law would provide all the above damages and more considering the egregious facts of this case.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

BMW: Three Weeks Overdue

The $3.00 plastic connector that has been holding my car up since August 31 is still MIA.  The part is now three weeks over due, and Center BMW still has no idea when they might be getting it in.

A $3.00 plastic connector is costing me thousands of dollars in wasted money.

In other news, Robert Levy Esq recieved another email from BMW Legal yesterday.  I guess they haven't finished their coffee break, yet.  At first I was impressed with their prompt reply, but this sounds like no one has even looked at it.  It would take one hour to make some phone calls and research this.  Seriously.  One hour.  Maybe they are looking at the wrong car, they didn't even get the year right in the text of the letter.

November 2, 2010

Re:  Joshua Logan
       2009 BMW Z4 SDrive30i

Dear Counsel:

Your office contacted BMW of North America, LLC on behalf of your client Joshua Logan, regarding a 2008 BMW Z4.

Senior Members of BMW's management team are still reviewing the owner history and service records for this vehicle.  We will soon contact you to discuss the findings and recommendations.

We thank you for your cooperation in bringing a fair and prompt resolution to this concern.

Kind regards,

Avery Dawson
Executive Customer Assistance Manager
BMW of North America, LLC
Customer Relations and Services

(201) 263-8244
(800) 831-1117 ext. 8244
(201) 930-8484
Postal Address
P.O. Box 1227
Westwood, NJ 07675-1227

Sunday, October 31, 2010

"Known Issue" - Martini Shot by Rob Long

I just heard this amazing "Martini Shot" on our awesome local public radio station KCRW ( here in LA.  Rob Long completely encapusalted my feelings on our customer service frustrations brilliantly in this little monologue.  I've transcribed it for you here:

Known Issue
By Rob Long
Martini Shot, broadcast on KCRW

If you’ve called me any time since early last week I probably didn’t get the message.  If you left a message there is no way of knowing I have a message waiting for me.  My visual voicemail isn’t working.  Now this has meant long calls to AT&T customer service during which I’ve been treated politely and with a robotic commitment to the language of customer service. 

“It’s my intention to deliver excellent service today”, said one person on the end of the line.  “I understand how frustrating your problem can be and I do apologize for the inconvenience”, said another before launching into the same speech the first one did about how we can, “go ahead and perform some trouble shooting actions to better determine the source of the problem”. 

Now, I’ve been thanked for my years as an AT&T customer, I’ve been surveyed and questionnaired and thanked again; I’ve been placed momentarily on hold, asked if the customer service representative can call me “Robert”, apologized to for asking for the last four digits of my social security number, twice; thanked for being patient, told that AT&T values my loyalty, educated on the benefits of an international data plan, and asked if I had received excellent service today. 

What hasn’t happened, what seems unlikely to ever happen, is getting visual voicemail back.  Apparently providing customer service isn’t part of the customer service training.  Now, when pressed near end of the fourth call and half way between one of the “thank you’s” and one of the customer satisfaction surveys, I was told this about my voicemail problem: “it’s a known issue”. 

A known issue.  Meaning it’s a problem, it’s network wide, it’s random, and they know all about it.  Being a “known issue” means never having to stop saying “sorry” long enough to fix the problem.  Personally I’ll take rude-and-effective over polite-and-impotent any day of the week.  But, on the other hand, I’m gonna start using “known issue” in the rest of my life. 

“Rob, we think the script could use some work in act 2.”  Yes, that’s a known issue.  “Rob, we’re not crazy about the opening sequence”.  Yes, that’s a known issue.  “Rob, it seems you owe a huge amount in back taxes.”  Yeah, yeah that’s a known issue.  “Rob, you hit my car pulling out of Whole Foods!”  Yes, that’s a known issue.  “Rob!  There’s a dead body in the room and you have a knife in your hand and you are covered in blood!”  Yes, that’s a….  known issue.  Well, obviously that last one is a step too far.  For the rest of the week, at least, I’m gonna see what I can get away with by saying “it’s a known issue”.  I mean I’ll have the time. 

It’s not like I’ll be returning any phone messages.