Woman struggles to get BMW to reimburse her for recalled part

July 4, 2013 7:56:59 PM PDT
A Fremont woman took her BMW vehicle to get repaired after it died on her. Four months later, BMW voluntarily recalled the part the woman had just paid $1,000 to fix. So is she entitled to get reimbursed?

7 On Your Side found out the short answer is yes, but there are a few things you need to do first to make that happen.

Sarah Treglown of Fremont remembers the day her 2007 328-I BMW just quit on her.

"Actually everything shut down. The car wouldn't even unlock. The steering wheel locked," said Treglown. "The car was just dead."

Treglown had her car towed to her auto mechanic, Fremont Foreign Auto. Owner Eduardo Porta tells us she had a bad cable which caused the fuse box to degrade.

"You see the fuse box. We had all those little washers inside, but look at this one here. It's missing. What happened is. It melted," said Porta.

That caused the connection for the positive battery cable connector to become loose, leading to a loss of electrical power to the vehicle.

"It could be a hazard. The car it could have caught on fire," said Porta.

Porta authorized Fremont Foreign Auto to make the repair, then four months later, she received the recall notice. She immediately brought the notice to Porta.

"My mechanic said, 'Well, it sounds like the same thing, you should be entitled to a reimbursement,'" said Treglown.

Federal regulations state that automakers are required to reimburse for costs to fix a defect as long as receipts for the repairs are submitted.

She then contacts the local dealership, BMW of Fremont, and her car is inspected by a factory rep. Her request for reimbursement is denied.

"They said the parts that were used were not the correct parts," said Treglown.

She appeals to be BMW Corporate, telling customer service the factory rep had denied her request for a refund. She's told the final decision is in the hands of the factory rep and there would be no reimbursement.

"You feel helpless. You feel kind of defeated," said Treglown.

She calls 7 On Your Side and we call BMW. The manufacturer contacts her requesting invoices proving that her mechanic used factory parts. She did. They also requested that she submit the recall notice she received. She did that too. She has received a check for $984.76 to cover the cost of the repair.

"It is great," said Treglown.

Federal regulations don not specifically require that factory parts have to be used in the repairs, but the Highway Traffic Safety Administration tells us there's nothing prohibiting that requirement either. BMW says the requirement is to ensure that quality of the repair and to be able to support it with a two year warranty.


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