I bought my 08 123d from them in September 2012 - before seeing all of these horror stories, may I add!!
So here's my experience...
I phoned them up to enquire about the service history and to arrange a viewing. He told me when all of the services were and said that someone could well buy the car whilst I was travelling down - fair enough I thought.
On the way down, I phoned up BMW customer services to verify what the salesman told me was correct. It wasn’t. The car hadn’t had a service for the last 20k miles despite the salesman said it had been serviced in the last 6months 6k miles ago. Not a good start. I still carried on with my journey anyway.
I got there and was greeted by an older salesman and I said that I wanted to be left alone whilst I looked over the car. The car was a bit dirty (which he apologised for). I looked over it and it all seemed ok to be honest, a few scratches here and there, rear tyres didn’t have much tread left, carpet mats missing but the lack of the last service was bugging me.
After I was done with all of my checks the salesman came out and I confronted him about the incorrect service info that he gave me – he blamed it on the servers being down… Hmm…
I then said that I would like a test drive and he happily let me take it out for a fairly long drive – he didn’t need any sort of commitment from me before, like I’ve read elsewhere. Everything was fine on the test drive, no of the obvious 1-series issues sprang out in the test drive.
We got back and got down to business… He agreed that he would service the car, change the rear tyres (not new, but swapped with another 1-series!!), improve some of the scratches with a machine polish and supply some carpet mats (again, taken out of another 1-series). I made sure that all of this was documented on the deposit invoice, including exactly what service items would be completed.
I collected the car a week later and they had done everything that they said they would. I had 10 months/ 15,000 trouble free miles. But I do think that I was very fortunate.
All in all, my experience wasn’t too bad. I dealt with an older more experienced salesman who was a bit of a blagger but on the whole he was genuine enough. Glad I didn’t deal with any of the younger jack the lads! One final thing, I forgot my wallet and didn’t have enough diesel to get home, so he leant me £20 out of his wallet to fill up – which was a nice thing to do.
I think one of the main issues with a dealer as big as Big Motoring World is that it is impossible to give every car such a detailed look over and check before they buy it. They turnover so many cars for such small profits that they appear to buy pretty much any car that fits the bill – so they will inevitably get very bad examples. Dean James who I bought my 335i off hinted at this, he deals with low volume higher profit cars that he hand picks and is incredibly fussy at choosing. He sometimes doesn’t have any cars for sale purely because he can’t find good enough examples to buy.