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European Delivery
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  #1  
Old 07-20-2009, 08:37 AM
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voltigeur voltigeur is offline
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Unhappy Customs intensive audit

-

So, I have been pulling up my tracking screen since 7/2 and my M3 has been "En route to VPC" [NJ] for 2.5 weeks. How long can it take to move a car from Port Bayonne, NJ to the NJ VPC?!

So I call BMW NA and then ED dept. They tell me today that my car was selected for Customs intensive audit - %$#&! I did drop off in Nice, closest ED to Marseille ("French Connection") so maybe that gives the car a higher probability of an audit - I don't know.

My primary concern is: Do they start disassembling the car and if so, to what extent? I'm worried that if this is the case then my M3 won't be returned back to its factory-tight finish You'd think they could use drug / explosive sniffing dogs to check the vehicle quickly.

If anyone has been through this or can share any insights I'd appreciate it. Huge bummer to what has been so far a great experience ...
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Now over a year since the M3's ED. Was back in Europe this year and wish I could do it all over again (sans Customs audit!)
///M3 E92 6MT / FR extended | 19s | Premium | Tech | iPhone | premium sound / moonroof / heated seats / rear sunshade / smart phone / Euro deliv June
Current: M3 E92 | 335d Sport pkg '10

Last edited by voltigeur; 07-20-2009 at 11:53 AM.
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  #2  
Old 07-20-2009, 08:42 AM
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Zooks527 Zooks527 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voltigeur View Post
-
You'd think they could use drug / explosive sniffing dogs to check the vehicle quickly.
There are a number of things that may be smuggled that dogs and sensors cannot detect (jewelry, currency, etc.), so the dog route is not a guarantee.

That really stinks (no dog pun intended). Good luck for a fast release.


George
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  #3  
Old 07-20-2009, 08:51 AM
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voltigeur voltigeur is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zooks527 View Post
There are a number of things that may be smuggled that dogs and sensors cannot detect (jewelry, currency, etc.), so the dog route is not a guarantee.

That really stinks (no dog pun intended). Good luck for a fast release.

George
Thx George. I guess so, but then your answer suggests that do start pulling my M3 apart

Already been over 2 weeks so in my eyes it's already not a quick release.
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Now over a year since the M3's ED. Was back in Europe this year and wish I could do it all over again (sans Customs audit!)
///M3 E92 6MT / FR extended | 19s | Premium | Tech | iPhone | premium sound / moonroof / heated seats / rear sunshade / smart phone / Euro deliv June
Current: M3 E92 | 335d Sport pkg '10
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  #4  
Old 07-20-2009, 08:54 AM
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JSpira JSpira is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voltigeur View Post
-

So, I have been pulling up my tracking screen since 7/2 and my M3 has been "En route to VPC" [NJ] for 2.5 weeks. How long can it take to move a car from Port Bayonne, NJ to the NJ VPC?!

So I call BMW NA and then ED dept. They tell me today that my car was selected for Customs intensive audit - %$#&! I did drop off in Nice, closest ED to Marseille ("French Connection") so maybe that gives the car a higher probability of an audit - I don't know.

My primary concern is: Do they start disassembling the car and if so, to what extent? I'm worried that if this is the case then my M3 won't be returned back to its factory-tight finish
You'd think they could use drug / explosive sniffing dogs to check the vehicle quickly.

If anyone has been through this or can share any insights I'd appreciate it. Huge bummer to what has been so far a great experience ...
What I know about this is what BMW's custom house broker has told me. The selection of a car for an intensive audit is random. It has nothing to do with where you were.

From what I have heard, they do take some things apart (looking under rear seats, for example). How much they take apart is apparently up to the person doing the audit and their own audit procedures (which they do not reveal typically).

Unfortunately, if something is not as tight afterwards as prior, there is very little recourse as the U.S. government reserves the right to conduct such inspections. In addition, BMW has no responsibility in this area although I'm sure they will try to be helpful.

I don't recall anyone reporting the intensive audit here before - so there is little to go on.

Sorry I cannot be more helpful but I hope this sheds a bit more light on the topic.
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F10 2014 535d M Sport Mondstein Metallic
F10 2012 ActiveHybrid 5 Azuritschwarz Metallic
MB 2011 E350 BlueTec
E70 2011 X5 xDrive35d*
E90 2010 335d*
E60 2008 550i*

E90 2006 330xi*
E90 2006 325i
E90 2006 330xi*
E39 2003 530i*
E46 2000 328Ci*
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E30 1991 318is*
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  #5  
Old 07-20-2009, 09:10 AM
CrazyBimmer CrazyBimmer is offline
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Aw man sorry to hear
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  #6  
Old 07-20-2009, 09:10 AM
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voltigeur voltigeur is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSpira View Post
What I know about this is what BMW's custom house broker has told me. The selection of a car for an intensive audit is random. It has nothing to do with where you were.

From what I have heard, they do take some things apart (looking under rear seats, for example). How much they take apart is apparently up to the person doing the audit and their own audit procedures (which they do not reveal typically).

Unfortunately, if something is not as tight afterwards as prior, there is very little recourse as the U.S. government reserves the right to conduct such inspections. In addition, BMW has no responsibility in this area although I'm sure they will try to be helpful.

I don't recall anyone reporting the intensive audit here before - so there is little to go on.

Sorry I cannot be more helpful but I hope this sheds a bit more light on the topic.
Thanks for those comments. BMW ED did tell me that it was a random event.

And I also suspected that Customs - in the course of this process - would be disassembling some elements of the car.

Driving around rural Provence my M3 was as quiet as can be. Living in rural TX we have rough roads that are merciless in their quest to discover, or create, squeaks and rattles given a modicum of time/miles. So I'm really hoping - perhaps vainly so - that the officer conducting the examination chooses less rather than more tearing down. I am exceedingly anal about such noises and their absence was one of the joys of buying this car.

I'm feeling quite miserable right now after waiting 2 years to get my M3

Put this in the: 'one of the potential pitfalls of doing an ED' column.
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Now over a year since the M3's ED. Was back in Europe this year and wish I could do it all over again (sans Customs audit!)
///M3 E92 6MT / FR extended | 19s | Premium | Tech | iPhone | premium sound / moonroof / heated seats / rear sunshade / smart phone / Euro deliv June
Current: M3 E92 | 335d Sport pkg '10

Last edited by voltigeur; 07-20-2009 at 09:13 AM.
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  #7  
Old 07-20-2009, 09:26 AM
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JSpira JSpira is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voltigeur View Post
Put this in the: 'one of the potential pitfalls of doing an ED' column.
I'm not sure but it is conceivable it could happen to non-ED cars also - the owner just wouldn't be aware since those cars are not tracked in the same (somewhat obsessive) manner.
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F10 2014 535d M Sport Mondstein Metallic
F10 2012 ActiveHybrid 5 Azuritschwarz Metallic
MB 2011 E350 BlueTec
E70 2011 X5 xDrive35d*
E90 2010 335d*
E60 2008 550i*

E90 2006 330xi*
E90 2006 325i
E90 2006 330xi*
E39 2003 530i*
E46 2000 328Ci*
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E36 1992 325i*
E30 1991 318is*
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  #8  
Old 07-20-2009, 09:57 AM
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mason mason is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voltigeur View Post
-

So, I have been pulling up my tracking screen since 7/2 and my M3 has been "En route to VPC" [NJ] for 2.5 weeks. How long can it take to move a car from Port Bayonne, NJ to the NJ VPC?!

So I call BMW NA and then ED dept. They tell me today that my car was selected for Customs intensive audit - %$#&! I did drop off in Nice, closest ED to Marseille ("French Connection") so maybe that gives the car a higher probability of an audit - I don't know.

My primary concern is: Do they start disassembling the car and if so, to what extent? I'm worried that if this is the case then my M3 won't be returned back to its factory-tight finish
You'd think they could use drug / explosive sniffing dogs to check the vehicle quickly.

If anyone has been through this or can share any insights I'd appreciate it. Huge bummer to what has been so far a great experience ...
Oh yes, like Gene Hackman in French Connection..............everything comes off.
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  #9  
Old 07-20-2009, 10:17 AM
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voltigeur voltigeur is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSpira View Post
I'm not sure but it is conceivable it could happen to non-ED cars also - the owner just wouldn't be aware since those cars are not tracked in the same (somewhat obsessive) manner.
Fair point though I would expect the probability of a productive audit is greater w/ an ED car as the owner who was to attempt an illegal import has greater opportunity, analogous to why the probability of an IRS audit is much greater for a business owner -vs- wage/salary earner.

Yes, ED'ers do tend to be more compulsive about tracking as, after all, we know our Bimmers and have bonded already
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Now over a year since the M3's ED. Was back in Europe this year and wish I could do it all over again (sans Customs audit!)
///M3 E92 6MT / FR extended | 19s | Premium | Tech | iPhone | premium sound / moonroof / heated seats / rear sunshade / smart phone / Euro deliv June
Current: M3 E92 | 335d Sport pkg '10
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  #10  
Old 07-20-2009, 10:18 AM
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voltigeur voltigeur is offline
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Oh yes, like Gene Hackman in French Connection..............everything comes off.
Thx for the joke. I would have laughed more if I did not feel glum, but at the margin a smile goes a long way
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Now over a year since the M3's ED. Was back in Europe this year and wish I could do it all over again (sans Customs audit!)
///M3 E92 6MT / FR extended | 19s | Premium | Tech | iPhone | premium sound / moonroof / heated seats / rear sunshade / smart phone / Euro deliv June
Current: M3 E92 | 335d Sport pkg '10
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  #11  
Old 07-20-2009, 10:21 AM
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JSpira JSpira is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voltigeur View Post
Fair point though I would expect the probability of a productive audit is greater w/ an ED car as the owner who was to attempt an illegal import has greater opportunity,
Maybe not - remember, the new cars aren't really inspected at all. So random inspections are necessary because port workers or others could be working together to illegally ship something inside a new car.
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F10 2014 535d M Sport Mondstein Metallic
F10 2012 ActiveHybrid 5 Azuritschwarz Metallic
MB 2011 E350 BlueTec
E70 2011 X5 xDrive35d*
E90 2010 335d*
E60 2008 550i*

E90 2006 330xi*
E90 2006 325i
E90 2006 330xi*
E39 2003 530i*
E46 2000 328Ci*
E36 1996 328iS*
E36 1992 325i*
E30 1991 318is*
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  #12  
Old 07-20-2009, 10:38 AM
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mason mason is offline
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Originally Posted by voltigeur View Post
Thx for the joke. I would have laughed more if I did not feel glum, but at the margin a smile goes a long way
Seriously, you are not smuggling anything, are you? It just means a few more days of frustrations............Nothing will happen to you car. They might X Ray it.
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  #13  
Old 07-20-2009, 11:00 AM
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JohnnyRoaster JohnnyRoaster is offline
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Voltigeur,

Sorry about the hassle!

It will hit the VDC after the customs inspection so they should tighten everything back up properly there. I would imagine that the VDC will be informed that the car went through the intensive exam and will make everthing right.

Good luck and keep us posted!

Last edited by JohnnyRoaster; 07-20-2009 at 11:15 AM.
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  #14  
Old 07-20-2009, 11:48 AM
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voltigeur voltigeur is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mason View Post
Seriously, you are not smuggling anything, are you? It just means a few more days of frustrations............Nothing will happen to you car. They might X Ray it.
Unless you count some sunglasses I left in the glovebox then, no! My only concern is the degree to which they examine the car & disturbing the factory fit/finish.

Yes, I hope all they do is X-ray it and poke around a bit - that would be as, after all, I have waited over 2 weeks longer than normal already.
__________________

Now over a year since the M3's ED. Was back in Europe this year and wish I could do it all over again (sans Customs audit!)
///M3 E92 6MT / FR extended | 19s | Premium | Tech | iPhone | premium sound / moonroof / heated seats / rear sunshade / smart phone / Euro deliv June
Current: M3 E92 | 335d Sport pkg '10

Last edited by voltigeur; 07-20-2009 at 11:52 AM.
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  #15  
Old 07-20-2009, 11:55 AM
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voltigeur voltigeur is offline
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Aw man sorry to hear
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyRoaster View Post
Voltigeur,

Sorry about the hassle! Good luck and keep us posted!
You two have been the best 'Fest mates - many thanks!
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Now over a year since the M3's ED. Was back in Europe this year and wish I could do it all over again (sans Customs audit!)
///M3 E92 6MT / FR extended | 19s | Premium | Tech | iPhone | premium sound / moonroof / heated seats / rear sunshade / smart phone / Euro deliv June
Current: M3 E92 | 335d Sport pkg '10
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  #16  
Old 07-20-2009, 12:02 PM
wmo168 wmo168 is offline
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Maybe the Custom are looking for these from the car...






Hope you get your car release quick...
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  #17  
Old 07-20-2009, 12:09 PM
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voltigeur voltigeur is offline
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Sure they are. But they'd be hard pressed to find a wad like that in an M3's low-profile Michelin Pilot Sport 2s!

Quote:
Originally Posted by wmo168 View Post
Maybe the Custom are looking for these from the car...
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Now over a year since the M3's ED. Was back in Europe this year and wish I could do it all over again (sans Customs audit!)
///M3 E92 6MT / FR extended | 19s | Premium | Tech | iPhone | premium sound / moonroof / heated seats / rear sunshade / smart phone / Euro deliv June
Current: M3 E92 | 335d Sport pkg '10
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  #18  
Old 07-20-2009, 12:19 PM
Northcar Northcar is offline
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I do seem to recall that this did happen to someone before though it may have been on the Mercedes forum. If it is any consolation, when he ultimately got his car it seemed all was OK. The main frustration was with the delay which added at least three weeks.
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  #19  
Old 07-20-2009, 02:17 PM
jschulman jschulman is offline
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I do seem to recall that this did happen to someone before though it may have been on the Mercedes forum. If it is any consolation, when he ultimately got his car it seemed all was OK. The main frustration was with the delay which added at least three weeks.
I recall reading on this forum a year or two ago that customs chose a forum member's car as well for an intensive search. They took apart the seats, and it took 34 days to release the car. The owner was unhappy, and was able to get BMW to move the car to the front of the line at the VDC, and give it priority so it can get out earlier. From what I recall there was no damage, so he was able to get his car quickly once it was released, but that took time.
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  #20  
Old 07-20-2009, 02:27 PM
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JSpira JSpira is offline
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Although at first I thought this was the first report of such an issue, I went back and found that we did indeed have a member whose car similar treatment.
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F10 2014 535d M Sport Mondstein Metallic
F10 2012 ActiveHybrid 5 Azuritschwarz Metallic
MB 2011 E350 BlueTec
E70 2011 X5 xDrive35d*
E90 2010 335d*
E60 2008 550i*

E90 2006 330xi*
E90 2006 325i
E90 2006 330xi*
E39 2003 530i*
E46 2000 328Ci*
E36 1996 328iS*
E36 1992 325i*
E30 1991 318is*
E21 1982 320iS*
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  #21  
Old 07-20-2009, 03:14 PM
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voltigeur voltigeur is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jschulman View Post
I recall reading on this forum a year or two ago that customs chose a forum member's car as well for an intensive search. They took apart the seats, and it took 34 days to release the car. The owner was unhappy, and was able to get BMW to move the car to the front of the line at the VDC, and give it priority so it can get out earlier. From what I recall there was no damage, so he was able to get his car quickly once it was released, but that took time.
34 days - Yikes! Not good to hear about the seats, which are so nicely finished in my M3 (in Fox red).

It's a good idea to ask for some expediting of the car once released.
__________________

Now over a year since the M3's ED. Was back in Europe this year and wish I could do it all over again (sans Customs audit!)
///M3 E92 6MT / FR extended | 19s | Premium | Tech | iPhone | premium sound / moonroof / heated seats / rear sunshade / smart phone / Euro deliv June
Current: M3 E92 | 335d Sport pkg '10
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  #22  
Old 07-20-2009, 03:20 PM
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voltigeur voltigeur is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSpira View Post
Although at first I thought this was the first report of such an issue, I went back and found that we did indeed have a member whose car similar treatment.
Irony is this audit occurred to this member in mid-late July, same as for my BMW. As one response said, it's summer, an above average number of Customs officers are likely to be on vacation, pushing out the timeline longer (though the recession has reduced imports' volume ... )

Truly, one does go from a high (ED) to a low on 'winning' the Customs' audit lottery
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Now over a year since the M3's ED. Was back in Europe this year and wish I could do it all over again (sans Customs audit!)
///M3 E92 6MT / FR extended | 19s | Premium | Tech | iPhone | premium sound / moonroof / heated seats / rear sunshade / smart phone / Euro deliv June
Current: M3 E92 | 335d Sport pkg '10
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  #23  
Old 07-20-2009, 05:12 PM
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JSpira JSpira is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voltigeur View Post
Truly, one does go from a high (ED) to a low on 'winning' the Customs' audit lottery
Ja, truly sorry about that.
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F10 2014 535d M Sport Mondstein Metallic
F10 2012 ActiveHybrid 5 Azuritschwarz Metallic
MB 2011 E350 BlueTec
E70 2011 X5 xDrive35d*
E90 2010 335d*
E60 2008 550i*

E90 2006 330xi*
E90 2006 325i
E90 2006 330xi*
E39 2003 530i*
E46 2000 328Ci*
E36 1996 328iS*
E36 1992 325i*
E30 1991 318is*
E21 1982 320iS*
E21 1979 320 (6-Zyl)*
*retired
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  #24  
Old 07-21-2009, 07:00 AM
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voltigeur voltigeur is offline
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desire for visibility about process; what would you do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JSpira View Post
Ja, truly sorry about that.
Thanks. After 24 hrs of absorbing the emotion of disappointment I am moving on. Now back to my 'business' self. By this I mean, as in the case of company financials, I want to see visibility about status & progress [of my car].

I also accept that Customs has to do their job and hence some cars will have to be audited to ensure a process where there is some probability of finding contraband goods etc.

* what is the likely timeline?
* how can my M3 be expedited once through the Customs audit process? I saw that the 2007 unfortunate ('Customs Hell') requested that BMW ED expedite his car through VDC.
* I'd like to know exactly what was done to my car in this process
* how will BMW return my M3 to as close-to-a pristine state if the audit involved more than X-rays, dog sniffing, or swabs taken to search for drugs / explosives?

Last, if you were me would you call NJ Customs or would doing so simply make me 'annoying' and result in more delays through increasing the examining Officer's inclination to make a more aggressive audit?
__________________

Now over a year since the M3's ED. Was back in Europe this year and wish I could do it all over again (sans Customs audit!)
///M3 E92 6MT / FR extended | 19s | Premium | Tech | iPhone | premium sound / moonroof / heated seats / rear sunshade / smart phone / Euro deliv June
Current: M3 E92 | 335d Sport pkg '10
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  #25  
Old 07-21-2009, 07:13 AM
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JSpira JSpira is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voltigeur View Post
* what is the likely timeline?
* how can my M3 be expedited once through the Customs audit process? I saw that the 2007 unfortunate ('Customs Hell') requested that BMW ED expedite his car through VDC.
* I'd like to know exactly what was done to my car in this process
* how will BMW return my M3 to as close-to-a pristine state if the audit involved more than X-rays, dog sniffing, or swabs taken to search for drugs / explosives?

Last, if you were me would you call NJ Customs or would doing so simply make me 'annoying' and result in more delays through increasing the examining Officer's inclination to make a more aggressive audit?
I would not call Customs but you could call Harms in NJ since your case is a bit out of the ordinary. They are your broker.

Re your other questions, I'm really not sure if you'll be able to find out exactly what was done - again, Harms might be the best source.

Finally, and this is a touchy subject, it's not BMW's responsibility if customs breaks something in the car. I"m not saying that customs will break anything or nor that BMW won't try to rectify it, but it's outside the realm of BMW's responsibility and it's also not covered by insurance.
__________________
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-Jonathan





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