BMW Recall Clearance Letter Fees Stump Immigrating Professors

Importers Stunned By $500 Recall Letter Fee From BMW

Get this: We live simply, with one car. Our ancient Camry finally broke down a couple of months before we were moving to Canada for jobs as lowly-paid professors (The US public sector, you'll notice, has now pretty much collapsed). We had to find a car just to move up to Canada.

A public service lawyer down the street had a basic 9-year-old BMW 325 wagon he was selling, and he'd kept it in good shape, so we innocently bought it. So, we've never emigrated with a car before.

At the Canadian border, as we're immigrating, we find out about this car importation thing, with the vehicle inspection. OK. It's another moving cost, but I can understand this. After a couple of weeks of moving into our new house, we initiate the importation process and lo and behold we find out about this $500 BMW recall-clearance letter extortion racket!

The BMW representative we called was wholly unsympathetic and told us that "since you knew you were moving to Canada" we were responsible for imagining what crazy fees BMW/Canada would fine us for buying this particular used car.

How does charging a couple of immigrating public school teachers $500 for a letter for their one and only, 9-year-old used car--how does this fit the spirit of clamping down on border abuse? Scam!

Where's the class-action lawsuit?

Submitted to UCanImport.com


UCanImport's Comments:

BMW expressly prohibits its US dealerships from printing off the Vehicle Warranty Report which identifies any outstanding recalls on the vehicle being exported out of the US. This document was once available at no cost to importers and fully satisfies Transport Canada requirements.

The problem is that if a dealership in the US provides this document to an importer, that importer has no need to set foot inside a BMW dealership in Canada for any modifications or inspections. To compensate Canadian dealerships for the loss of sales, BMW North America initiated this practice. Now importers who are unsuccessful at obtaining the Vehicle Warranty Report from a US dealer face significant modification fees in addition to the $500 recall clearance letter.

We note that RIV receives Vehicle Warranty Reports from importers all the time as many importers are now savvy enough to negotiate this printout as part of their condition of purchase.

1 comment:

  1. BMW Canada through it's dealers (as of Nov 2009) now not only extorts $500 for the Recall Clearance Letter, but now forces importers to change parts that are in perfect working order - parts that pose no health & safety risks - (the following prices were quoted by Budds BMW of Oakville on Nov. 25/09 and may vary by dealer) such as the instrument cluster ($1,419), the heater control unit ($1,097), programming of DRL ($250), VIN Plates verification ($187.50), related labor ($375) for a grand total of $3,828.50 or $4,326.20 after taxes (ON).
    Bottom line is that this is pure and unadulterated extortion - the old "if you do not buy from a Cdn seller, we will bury you in costs".
    Collusion - organized crime, by any other name, between both BMW USA & BMW Canada, conspiring to force individuals to pay up when you are on their turf. In efect, BMW is saying through it's actions that you MUST pay (see the RIV Comments column) this protection money or something bad may happen to you - in this case you will not get your RCL, thus making the vehicle unusable in Canada.