It's a long story/rant. And I have to say that I've used their parts department without a problem.
I bought my car from an independent garage in late August 2012. It's a December 2009 car so it had a few months warranty left on it. Early November the computer said it was due a service. At the same time I bought a VCDS cable to add Bluetooth and sat nav, but the auto scan came back with a fault with the coolant fan on the car. So I thought get the car serviced and get it fixed under warranty.
The car was booked in for a major service plus fault finding the coolant fan. So drop the car off in the morning. About 3pm I get a call saying the service was done but they recommend both the coolant and brake fluid should be changed and they need the car longer to find the fault with the fan. I agreed to the coolant and brake fluid and said they could keep the car over night as at the time I worked nights so could live without the car.
The next morning I get a call from the mechanic asking how long I have had the car? 2 months. Have I ever taken the front bumper off the car? No. Then he said that he believed a previous owner/garage had unplugged the fan for some reason and didn't plug it back in. Because of this it won't be cover under warranty and I have to pay. I then got pass onto the service advisor, who confirmed it would not be covered under warranty. She kept saying "we have ordered the parts, we will now have to send them back" after the third time I said "how is it my problem that you ordered parts before you found the fault." I tried to fight my case "I've only had the car a couple of months, it's only got 35,000 miles on the clock" But she said, "Although the car had a full service history not all were Seat garages and the car hasn't been in this garage before." which are fair points, I was hinting for good will as the car had been service with them, but no. So I caved and ask how much I would have to pay. On top of the £305 + VAT for service etc it would cost 140 + VAT to plug the fan back in. Total cost £536. I agreed to pay and asked when the car would be ready, they said 5pm. I couldn't pick it up at 5pm as I had to go to work at that time, so had to pick it up the next day.
So about midday went in to pay and collect the car. Not much was said, paid, was given the keys and told the car is in the car park. The car was filthy inside and out, but as I had the flu I couldn't be bothered at the time. Drove home, parked the car and went to bed. Didn't use the car for a few days but the next time I went to it was to fit the Bluetooth module. So the first thing I did was open the bonnet to disconnect the battery. Only to find that someone had left a screwdriver in the engine compartment.
So to sum up they charge BMW prices and offer back ally service. I can't find anyone with a good word to say about them.
I have just dealt with their Parts Dept, only something very small (...not worth bothering Dave at SERE this time) but they did sort it and give me a ring to say it had arrived. As you say that dept does seem OK.
Sales people.....um.....maybe to much BS there?
Anyway keep in touch and lets hope we get a decent service somewhere local'ish when due.