Spotted this thread and thought I'd give some feedback on Chandlers in Brighton where I bought my 2008 320d M Sport from a few months ago. This is my first post on here, but I thought this was a worthy topic for it!
Initial impressions of Chandlers were good, its a smart dealership and the car I spotted was up for a good price, and on test driving it, it looked immaculate and drove well (I'd tried others too). The only issue was a loose handbrake that, in my opinion, needed tightening. I was told it was self adjusting and would sort itself (it never has).
I live in Essex and the dealership agreed to deliver the car to my home free of charge. On delivery, the car looked perfect. However, later in the day I spotted quite a large flake in the paint next on the rear windscreen pillar; several layers of paint were missing in an area larger than 1 square inch. I knew this couldn't have been caused by me as I would have noticed, and it was in an unusual place and couldn't have been caused by a stone chip.
On reporting this to the dealership, they (reluctantly) suggested getting quotes in my local area to sort the problem, and they would pay for the work. This I did at two places, but Chandlers said the amounts quoted were too much. Eventually after dozens of phone calls they agreed to pick the car up, do the work and deliver it back again. This was now over a month into our ownership of the car. The car went away and came back with the bodywork pretty much spot on, but the aforementioned handbrake was exactly the same.
This whole process took well over a month and at times looked like it would never be sorted. At one point the salesman I had been dealing with was due to confirm a date for the car to be booked in, only to disappear on leave for a week with no word back from him. As a result of this poor service, I decided to complain to the boss of the dealer network. He was very helpful and concerned at the poor service we'd received. He investigated our complaint and came back to us with a very honest response. In short he said that our salesman had known about the paintwork issue all along as it was recorded at the pre-delivery inspection. The salesman decided to send the car out anyway, and feigned ignorance when we reported the problem.
I was pleased at the honesty of the response from the boss, but my lack of faith in used car salesmen was sent to new depths. I found it hard to believe that an approved used BMW could fail to meet such basic standards of finish, and that a member of the sales team could show such dishonesty and unhelpfulness.
Anyway, the moral of the story for me is to never ever trust a used sales outfit and not to be taken in by the glitz and promise of "an approved" used car. Its still a second hand car being sold in the traditional way - ie. with a generous helping of bullsh*t on the side.