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Old 27th September 2018, 20:21   #1
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Default The Bavaria Motors BMW Experience - Rs 15000 ransom to sell a motorcycle

Came across a blog & sharing it. I'm no way related to the owner, but, if the incident happens to be true, BMW need to rethink of their market in India.

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I’m of the opinion that in India the BMW G310 GS is overpriced by INR one lakh (around USD 1,400). The on-road price is INR 4.3 lakhs which is quite steep for many. I understand that BMW Motorrad wants to remain a premium brand, even in the small capacity segment, which is perfectly fine. I believe the extra lakh is for the premium BMW experience that is associated with the brand worldwide. However, since BMW doesn’t sell directly to customers it has delegated the job of offering the premium BMW experience to its dealers, which is also perfectly fine.

The reason I picked Bavaria Motors in Pune as my BMW dealer was because they have a dealership for BMW cars in Goa which they could use to deliver and service motorcycles as well. Other nearby dealers couldn’t offer that option. I had paid INR 50,000 (USD 690) as the booking amount and when my bike was allotted to me I got a call from my sales executive asking me when I could “make the balance payment”. I asked, “Aren’t you going to send me a proforma invoice with an amount to pay? I don’t even know what the total amount is.”

He sent me an invoice later that day. Something made me check the numbers. The RTO amount seemed off by quite a bit. I thought Bavaria had use the road tax percentage for Maharashtra instead of Goa, where I would be registering the motorcycle. I called to clarify and let the sales guy know that the RTO amount was extra by INR 15,000 (USD 205). He insisted that the amount was right and after a lot of back and forth admitted that the extra amount was for “handling charges”, something that was mentioned in the fine print at the very bottom of the invoice.

I reminded him that handling charges had been declared illegal by a consumer court in India. His reply took me by surprise. He said that unless I paid the 15,000 my bike would not be released. It sounded like a ransom to me. Maybe that’s because the 15,000 was precisely that. A ransom. Although 15,000 was a significant amount I wasn’t in the mood to argue and fight. I just wanted to get it over with. So in my mind I was willing to pay the ransom. But then the sales executive asked me to speak to his boss, the sales manager, and see what he had to say about the extra 15,000.

So I called the sales manager and asked him for the reason for the extra 15,000. The sales manager replied, “Sir, that’s for the shipment of the bike from the factory to our warehouse and storing it there”. Upon hearing these words I lost it. As if holding my motorcycle hostage wasn’t enough, this guy was now bullshitting me outright. I work for a company that’s in the business of manufacturing and selling premium equipment and I know exactly how important it is to treat a customer with respect even when there is a disagreement.

I decided to indulge the sales manager and see how deep a hole he could dig himself into. “Oh really?”, I said, “If that’s the case, then your invoice should have an ex-factory price on it and not an ex-showroom price, right?” There was silence for a while. Then he blurted, “No Sir. The invoice always has the ex-showroom price”. I replied, “Sure it does. That’s because all the costs incurred till the bike leaves the showroom is included in ex-showroom price. But you are charging me 15,000 extra to ship the bike from the factory to your warehouse. Something isn’t right, don’t you think?”.

Then instead of squirming out of the hole he had dug himself into, he decided to dig some more. He said, “Sir, you know how it is in India. We need to incur some additional expenses at the RTO when registering the bike.” I replied, “Well, then don’t register the bike for me. I will do that myself. I bought a Triumph Tiger from Mumbai and registered it in Goa all by myself without incurring any of the additional expenses that you are talking about.”

Silence…

“Look”, I said, trying to pull him out of his hole. “Since I have caught you red handed trying to rob me of 15,000, the least that you can do is admit it and stop bullshitting me.”

Silence…

“So do you admit that you are doing something illegal here?”, I asked, not really expecting him to say yes. But I wanted the conversation to end, one way or another. I was already willing to pay the 15,000 ransom and I was beginning to wonder why I was wasting my time talking to this sales manager who clearly didn’t know how to talk to customers.

“No Sir,” he replied, “We are not doing anything illegal.”

I didn’t have the time nor the patience to continue the conversation. “Ok then”, I said. “I will call BMW Motorrad India and let’s see what they have to say about this excess 15,000 that you are charging me.” I disconnected the call.

My last sentence got me thinking. Maybe I should called BMW Motorrad and see what they have to say about their dealer doing something illegal. So I called the helpline and explained the situation. To my surprise, the call center executive agreed with the extra 15,000 as a valid charge to transport the bike from the factory to the dealer’s warehouse. After I explained to her the concept of ex-showroom price she switched tracks and said, “Sir, this is between you and Bavaria Motors. BMW Motorrad has nothing to do with it.” I was dumbfounded. “What do you mean?” I replied. “The BMW Motorrad logo is on the invoice along with Bavaria’s. There is a 15,000 handling charge on the invoice which is clearly illegal in India. There is a well known consumer court order to prove it.”

Silence…

I continued, “Are you saying that your dealer can charge a customer anything they like and BMW Motorrad is ok with it?”

But she repeated her line, “Sir, as I said before, this is between you and Bavaria Motors. BMW Motorrad has nothing to do with it”.

I realized that this was a waste of time, energy and more importantly, patience, which is something I lack in abundance. I disconnected the call.

Later that day I sent an email to BMW Motorrad Germany letting them know what their subsidiary in India had no objection letting dealers do something that was clearly illegal in India. I expected a standard “We don’t give a shit. Take this up with BMW Motorrad India.” kind of a response and that exactly what I got. My email was forwarded to the same person I spoke to on the phone and her reply was along expected lines:

“Mr. Menezes, while we understand your discomfort, we trust in your understanding that the contract of sale is between Bavaria Motors and you. Since BMW Motorrad India was not a party to the transaction, we would be unable to provide you with our comments on what actually transpired during the sales negotiations/agreement. We hereby request you to take up the matter directly with your dealership. Also, we take this opportunity to welcome you to BMW Motorrad Family and wish many kilometers of safe and exciting ride on your motorcycle.”

So now I would like to revise the on-road price of the BMW G310 GS from 4.3 lakhs to 4.45 lakhs. Because if you don’t pay the 15,000 ransom your motorcycle will not be on the road. It will still be in the showroom.

I spoke to other 310 GS owners and found that other BMW Motorrad dealers in India are also making customers pay a handling charge, although the amount is around 10,000. I wouldn’t want to name the dealers since I don’t know for sure. But I can confidently name Bavaria Motors as I paid the 15,000 ransom to release my 310 GS. I have the invoice and receipt to prove it. Customers aren’t even aware that they have been overcharged as they don’t bother checking the RTO amount. Even I wouldn’t have come across the overcharge had it not been for the blunt message from the sales executive to “make balance payment” which peaked my interest and started this whole thing.

So I made the balance payment along with the 15,000 ransom and waited for the delivery date of my motorcycle. However, it didn’t end there. BMW Motorrad India had to do something about my email which was forwarded to them by BMW Motorrad Germany. So they spoke to Bavaria Motors and after a few days I received a call from a senior sales manager there. Again he tried to justify the 15,000 ransom and I asked him to stop wasting my time. I had already paid the ransom and all he needed to do was release my motorcycle.

I figured that BMW Motorrad India and Bavaria Motors were now trying to put a lid on this whole matter so that it doesn’t come to light and starts a shit storm with other BMW 310 owners across the country who had been swindled of 15,000. Others may not be as willing as me to pay the ransom and may drag them to consumer court. It would be an easy win for them since the court had already set a precedence in the Maruti dealership case. The other alternative was to refund me the 15,000. But if they did that it meant they would then have to make all their other dealers refund the handling charges to all customers in India. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, the senior sales manager made me an atrocious offer. “Sir, I understand the point you are making. But this is a charge that we will not reverse. The best I can do is refund you the entire amount and cancel the booking.”

This time it was my turn to be silent. I couldn’t believe what I had just heard. “Wait a minute,” I said. “Are you saying that because I have caught you red handed robbing me of 15,000, you are now willing to not sell me the motorcycle all together?”

“No Sir,” he replied back. “We are more than happy to sell you the motorcycle. But since you are unhappy with the 15,000 charge, we are ready to cancel your booking and refund you the entire money without charging you any interest.”

At that precise moment I realized what an interesting blog post this whole thing would make. So I said to him, “OK, this is is what is going to happen. I am going to buy a black BMW G310 GS. And I am going to buy it from Bavaria Motors and no other dealer. I will get the full BMW experience that Bavaria Motors has to offer. And then I will write about my BMW experience on my blog. Don’t worry. I’m not going to drag you to consumer court. I don’t have the time and patience for that. But who knows, someone else might.” I disconnected the call.

I do want to point out here that I really like the BMW G310 GS. I know its overpriced and that’s ok with me because I’ve been waiting for something like it for years now. I even bought a KTM Duke 390 and spent a lot of time and money trying to adventurize it, with limited success. So I really don’t mind the premium price for a product that is exactly what I have been looking for. There are some really smart people at BMW Motorrad and TVS who have engineered this amazing product. I don’t want this 15,000 ransom to tarnish them or their work. Just that I have bought premium motorcycles before and the pre and post sales experience has been truly premium. Goa Harley-Davidson has been awesome. Shaman Triumph from Mumbai has treated me like family. Too bad I can’t say the same about Bavaria Motors Pune. But what was most surprising in all this was the attitude and stand taken by BMW Motorrad India and Germany. I expected the Germans to sit upright and take notice when I pointed out that their Indian subsidiary was turning a blind eye to illegal activity by their dealers. But that didn’t happen, which is truly a shame.

This is clearly not the BMW Experience that I was expecting. I love the motorcycle. But BMW Motorrad and their dealers really need to change the way they treat their customers in India.
Source - http://deelipmenezes.com/the-bavaria...bmw-experience
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Old 27th September 2018, 21:11   #2
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Default re: The Bavaria Motors BMW Experience - Rs 15000 ransom to sell a motorcycle

Wow, I dont think Bavaria Motors realised that this article would make its way to our collective grubby hands in Team-BHP. From a Rs 15000 overcharge, this post and the blog will reach 15000+ views within a week.
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Old 27th September 2018, 21:19   #3
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Default re: The Bavaria Motors BMW Experience - Rs 15000 ransom to sell a motorcycle

These guys are finished. All it takes is one soul to drop a case on them with the kind of bravado that is being shown by the blokes who bought the Pegasus to bring BMW collectively to their knees.

Let the games begin.
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Old 27th September 2018, 21:21   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
Came across a blog & sharing it. I'm no way related to the owner, but, if the incident happens to be true, BMW need to rethink of their market in India.

Good on you to share this article. I had read this one just yesterday and must admit, it never occurred to me that sharing on the forum would help. Yes, as posted just earlier, Bavaria motors could just be in for lots of future customers who will question that extra charge unduly demanded.
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Old 27th September 2018, 21:27   #5
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Default re: The Bavaria Motors BMW Experience - Rs 15000 ransom to sell a motorcycle

Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
Came across a blog & sharing it. I'm no way related to the owner, but, if the incident happens to be true, BMW need to rethink of their market in India.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajmat View Post
Wow, I dont think Bavaria Motors realised that this article would make its way to our collective grubby hands in Team-BHP. From a Rs 15000 overcharge, this post and the blog will reach 15000+ views within a week.
Well, that escalated quickly for Bavaria Motors. These premium chaps are always out there to charge paltry amounts in the name of some stupid excuse. The manufacturers turn a blind eye as getting someone to open a BMW / Merc / Audi etc. dealership is difficult.

Even when getting quotes for a C-Class and 3 series for a relative, the RTO quotes were more than Rs. 0.5-1.5L more than the stipulated tax amounts. I can understand a 1000-1500 here n there, but this is simply unacceptable. We raised our displeasure and the person went for a Camry. Saved some money as well in the end.
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Old 27th September 2018, 21:29   #6
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Default re: The Bavaria Motors BMW Experience - Rs 15000 ransom to sell a motorcycle

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Originally Posted by aargee View Post
As a fellow Goan, I am proud of your actions Deelip. Way to go and you've hit them exactly where it hurts the most. I've shared this in our biker group already.
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Old 27th September 2018, 21:46   #7
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Default re: The Bavaria Motors BMW Experience - Rs 15000 ransom to sell a motorcycle

This unethical behaviour has just shot through the roof now. So dealers inflate insurance prices, inflate registration charges and still add handling charges on top of it all. And after having sold the vehicle, owner still ends up getting ripped off when it comes to periodic services. I wonder how long these dealers hope to last in the business with ethics finding new low every single day.

I am sure a day will come when it will be common to buy cars/bikes directly from manufacturer and get insurance and registration done individually. As for servicing, this is what Tesla says (link: https://twitter.com/tesla/status/1032706860359417856) :

Quote:
Turns out 80% of repairs can be done without visiting a service center
I am sure such cheating dealers like Bavaria Motors will be reduced to current brick and mortar electronics stores where people go to check out phones and then places order online.
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Old 27th September 2018, 21:47   #8
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Default re: The Bavaria Motors BMW Experience - Rs 15000 ransom to sell a motorcycle

Most dealerships are still collecting handling charges, hiding it under different names. Yet to come across a decent quote from a dealership unless questioned by owners.

Penalty for such dealerships indulging in court violations have to be increased multi-fold. Otherwise they will continue to hide these charges under various names robbing people of their hard earned money.
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Old 27th September 2018, 22:30   #9
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Default re: The Bavaria Motors BMW Experience - Rs 15000 ransom to sell a motorcycle

Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
Came across a blog & sharing it. I'm no way related to the owner, but, if the incident happens to be true, BMW need to rethink of their market in India.
If Bavaria Motors (and in fact all BMW bike dealers) want Rs. 15,000 extra and if BMW Motorad agrees to it, then why not include this amount in the bike price?

That way the customers won't be cheated. Addition of Rs. 15,000 over Rs. 4.3 lakhs is not going to affect their demand too.
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Old 27th September 2018, 22:38   #10
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Default re: The Bavaria Motors BMW Experience - Rs 15000 ransom to sell a motorcycle

Its a very well known fact that many dealerships of premium 2 wheelers charge these "handling" or "registration" charges. Here is my post on the BMW Motorrad thread regarding my experience with the Bangalore dealership from May 2017

Quote:
I had signed up on the BMW website for a test ride of the S1000R and I was contacted by the central call centre a couple of days later and then by the Bangalore showroom a week and a half after that. There was quite a bit of confusion on the road tax and registration component but after some back and forth the showroom folks confirmed that it consisted of the road tax (18%), cess (11%) and 'registration charges' of Rs 14,000.


Now they did their level best to convince me that this 'registration charge' is categorically not the same as handling charges or logistics charges and that these are actual charges incurred by them in getting the vehicle registered. To me, its the same illegal charges by another name. The justification given is that other showrooms in the city also charge the same registration fees! Names that were dropped include Harley Davidson (shares the same owners as the BMW showroom), Ducati and MV Augusta. A cursory glance at what is supposed to be the price list from the new Kawasaki showroom in Bangalore also seems to indicate the inclusion of these fees. Its high time the Karnataka RTO clamps down on this nonsense.
In 2018, Tusker BMW still got a ton of bookings for the new 310s. So as long as Indians are willing to be cheated, then there is no hope. Knowledge sadly isnt power on this front.


When it comes to handling charges, I am of the opinion that there are a few different approaches
- Situation 1 : As a customer you dont know you have been cheated and you shell out the additional Rs 15,000. Ignorance is bliss.
- Situation 2 :You know that the dealership has baked in illegal handling fees. You negotiate your way around it (thus paying no handling charges) or get some freebies that would cost you more than the handling charges ("free premium helmet" for example) or you escalate it to the manufacturer and get the handling charges waived. Worst case if the dealership refuses to waive off the handling fees, you walk away with your money in your wallet.
- Situation 3 :You know that the dealership has baked in illegal handling fees and you pay it up. But you then take the dealership to court, get a favourable judgement and the RTO has to clamp down on these illegal trade practices.


Coming to the situation as described by Mr Menezes, Im sorry to say this but you willingly handed over the extra and illegal Rs 15000 (so dramatically called a ransom) to buy your motorcycle. You clearly wanted the motorcycle more that you valued the principle and amount of the handling charges. You admit that its an easy court case if someone were to take BMW to court. So if you really want to prove a point to BMW, why dont you do it? Be the hero for all of us. Pull aside the twists and turns of the original blog post, and all I see is someone who allowed himself to get cheated and is now trying to get social media attention to it in a bid to get justice. Some might argue that the right way to go about it, Mr Menezes, is to use the real court of law to get justice. Think about it.


And before anyone accuses me of sitting on a high horse and preaching, my mind and wallet were set on the 2018 Kawasaki ZX10R. But the Cochin dealership's Rs 50,000 additional fees meant that I walked away with no booking.


P.S - I ask this 50% tongue in cheek and 50% out of genuine curiosity, so take it for what it is. Assume a person knows a dealership is charging illegal handling fees and still goes ahead and pays the amount after trying to negotiate his / her way out of it. Then if he / she goes to the courts, will the justice system try the dealership (for levying illegal fees) as well as the person who lodges the complaint (for aiding and abetting an illegal activity)?
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Old 27th September 2018, 22:39   #11
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Default re: The Bavaria Motors BMW Experience - Rs 15000 ransom to sell a motorcycle

I have always had a good experience with Bavaria..
As far as I am aware, most premium dealerships use the dealership as a loss leader (or for moving money generated from other businesses) to recoup the expense from overpriced service so most premium dealership have relatively less bottomline pressure...

Also, as far as I know, the handling fee by the RTO agents to pass the vehicle varies by the vehicle tier so maybe this extra 15K had something to do with that...

But then this bloke did offer to get it registered himself... I guess something may have gone wrong in translation ..
Since I doubt anyone from Bavaria will comment on this thread so I guess we will never get to hear the other side
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Old 27th September 2018, 23:17   #12
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Default re: The Bavaria Motors BMW Experience - Rs 15000 ransom to sell a motorcycle

Going through something similar..

https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/motor...ml#post4467384 (A Close Look: The 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 300 ABS)
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Old 27th September 2018, 23:36   #13
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Default re: The Bavaria Motors BMW Experience - Rs 15000 ransom to sell a motorcycle

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Since I doubt anyone from Bavaria will comment on this thread so I guess we will never get to hear the other side
What's the other side? Its illegal. Simple. Period.

The only thing is that BMW Motorrad is not alone in this. All dealerships are collecting these charges unless the customer is willing to put up a fight.
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Old 28th September 2018, 03:21   #14
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Default re: The Bavaria Motors BMW Experience - Rs 15000 ransom to sell a motorcycle

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Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
What's the other side? Its illegal. Simple. Period.

The only thing is that BMW Motorrad is not alone in this. All dealerships are collecting these charges unless the customer is willing to put up a fight.
Illegal, yes...
But if my hypothesis is true (i.e. this being the RTO "facilitation" fee), 99% of customers want their vehicle to be passed ASAP with zero hassle and would rather pay a minor premium for the same

Any process exception (such as this case) is not something most (and mostly underpaid) dealership staff are equipped to handle
So unless the RTO setup is cleaned up from the ground up; any dealership , for the sake of the principles of capitalism, will be geared to cater to the majority of paying customers

PS: to add, the aggrieved customer calls it a ransom - which would have been true had the dealer refused to pay back all or part of the booking amount
In this case though, the dealer is ready to return the money so I don't see how it translates to a ransom

BMW Motorrad are right to stay out of this as any additional fee etc is part of the agreement between the customer and their vendor and out of purview for the legal agreement between them and the vendor

Last edited by abhi182 : 28th September 2018 at 03:29.
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Old 28th September 2018, 07:30   #15
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Default re: The Bavaria Motors BMW Experience - Rs 15000 ransom to sell a motorcycle

BMW should take as much blame as the dealer themselves because they must surely be aligned on such charges being charged on customers ( possibly its on the back of poor margins on sales of the motorcycle and BMW's "suggestion" to recover extras from the buyer by way of such charges ).

But what is clearly missing from the blog ( as ABHI182 mentions ) is why the buyer did not hold his ground with regards to registering the vehicle himself and saving this cost ?
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