I'm having some bother with BMW MINI over my gear box. This was my 1st letter to them explaining my situation.
On the 21st October 2009 I dropped my Mini Cooper in at Stratstone Mini in Hull for its MOT.
Having ordered my car from Paragon Mini, Hull in October 2003 I have continued taking it there for its MOT and all its services and repairs. (Paragon became Stratstone). I raised concerns when booking it in that a noise had started coming from the car when running in gear (a whine).
My Mini has always had this sort of whine, I thought it was just the way it was, having taken it in to BMW previously and the vehicle passing its MOT’s and other inspections with no mention of it.
However the noise has become a lot louder recently, I have taken a couple of friends of mine, who are mechanics, in my car to see what they thought and they have all said that its was coming from my gearbox (maybe it needed oil looking at or a bearing changing but nothing major).
When I came back to collect my car again, it had passed the MOT with only a bulb out on my number plate that had required replacing. When I asked about the noise it was confirmed that the noise was coming from my gearbox. I was told that it was a noisy lay shaft bearing on the gearbox and the only thing to do was to put a new gearbox in that would cost me approximately £2,000.00! You can imagine my shock - for the sake of a £15.00 bearing! Welcome to Transmission-Rebuild-Kits.co.uk I understand the labour hours involved but I have quotes from garages up and down the UK some of which supply your dealers with reconditioned gearboxes and they are £400-£580 with fitting and one place even offered a new clutch for free.
I informed Stratstone that my original Mini gearbox and clutch were replaced on the 10th July 2006 after only 37,272 miles. I was driving it a day or two after it had been in for a TLC service when the gearbox just collapsed and dumped oil on the road whilst at speed (not an experience I would like to relive!). On that occasion the gearbox and clutch were replaced under warranty but BMW were unable to give me any explanation as to how after not even 40,000 miles it had failed.
Now my car has done around 71,500 miles in total, meaning that this gearboxes life works out at only 34,300miles which is worse than the last one. I have been looking into this over the last few days on the Internet and taking to my fellow members of MINI2.com - MINI Forum about this and I have found that it is not a rare or occasional thing for gearboxes to fail after short mileage and your garages have just replaced them with no explanation or charge.
I was told by Stratstone that as my car is within six years I could put a claim in. So I asked that enquiries be made and I rang back today. I was told that you would be willing to put 50% towards the gearbox but that was all, this will now cost me £1321.00
I feel that this is highly unacceptable, I expected that when I bought a brand new car from BMW Mini I was getting high build quality, durability and the endurance that I would in any other BMW vehicle. I did not expect having to spend £2000.00 every thirty odd thousand miles for a new gear box because a £15 component failed. The Sales of Goods Act 1979 is in place to ensure that retailers must sell goods that are; as described, fit for purpose and of satisfactory quality. I think this has been overlooked in my case. I am disappointed because I know that usually BMW/MINI are usually of high quality from my long standing relationship with BMW.
I shall continue to seek advice on this matter.
I got a reply from Mini Main Customer Services saying.
Dear Mr Ombler
Thank you for your email dated October 26, 2009. I was sorry to learn of your recent issue with the gearbox on your MINI. I can appreciate the frustration this has caused you and for this I would like to express my apologies.
MINI take great pride in the build quality of our products and as such, it is always disappointing to learn of a customer's negative experience. I have recorded your comments under case number 204793 as part of our ongoing improvement process.
MINI UK are fully committed to each of the MINI vehicles produced. This commitment takes the form of the warranty provided with each MINI from the date of first registration. This warranty is in place to cover the cost of any unexpected repairs that may become necessary. At the conclusion of this warranty, we recommend that owners invest in an insured warranty to maintain this level of protection. Should a customer choose not to invest in an insured warranty, they accept responsibility for any costs that may be incurred as a result of a repair to that vehicle.
In the absence of a warranty, MINI UK operate a goodwill policy with our network of dealerships, whereby we can review a potential contribution towards remedial work to a vehicle. Any offer made is at our own discretion.
In light of your concerns, I have reviewed the information supplied by Stratstone Hull relating to this issue. I regret to inform you that MINI UK are unable to increase the gesture of goodwill offered towards this repair. I can confirm that we would stand by the gesture of fifty percent of the cost of the parts that has been previously offered.
I am sorry that you have had cause to contact us, however, I trust that my response serves to clarify our position on this matter.
Customer Service Executive
Bracknell RG12 8TA
I then got in contact with the Garage again and was told that because they replaced the gearbox under warranty and did not pay for it there was no warranty on that and it's warranty started in 2003 regardless.
Surely this is wrong and i am being lead up the garden path?
Anyone with similar problems/issues like this that could give me advice please. I'm pretty sure i'm correct with what i am saying under the Sale of Goods Act S.14 (2) which says that goods must be of satisfactory quality taking into account things like durability, price and description etc
Thanks for lookin at this and hope you can be of help.