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Hi there. Wonder if anyone can offer any advice on the following. I recently leased a mini on a three month short term lease, which was allowed to roll month to month. I ended up having the vehicle for 9 months. The lease came to an abrupt end when the clutch went.

Through my own insurance i had the vehicle towed back to by home. The leasing company then organized the pick up and the car was taken to Mini Assist to assess the damage.

I was told to wait for the report before deciding if I had any bills to pay. A month passes and a bill for close to 2k was issued, as the clutch had to be replaced.

Apparently I have to pay the lot of this, even though the report doesn't categorically state this was due to driver error, and doesn't take into account the previous state of the clutch, and doesn't take into account previous drivers of the vehicle and accumulative damage before i even started driving it. Wondering if anyone had any thoughts on this bearing in mind the following:

1. I was still charged for this period where all of the works on the vehicle were undertook.

2. I was never invited to view the damage or see any photos of the damage (although photos were sent subsequently, long after repairs were completed)

3. I was never consulted about perhaps getting a second opinion, or seeking a much more reasonably priced repair (if there was one)

 

Basically the vehicle was taken out of my hands, repairs were done, and the bill arrived.

I'd be grateful for any initial thoughts on this.

Thanks GL

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Hi gerlep. What does the lease contract say about wear and tear ?

 

 

I can't see how this can be your responsibility, that's the whole idea with leasing.

I will reread the contract and get back to you. This is the thing. I have always leased cars for this reason. Yes there is sometimes a charge at the end of it I get that, but this just seemed way too much. My assumption, was that if you are a lease company you should be set up, insurance wise to protect yourself from this, so not risk losing out of it. To pass the bill 100% on to the driver seems crazy. Thanks for your initial response, will get back.
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This is a c&p from the leasing company. Me then them.

 

 

ME: Regarding the outstanding bills for the damage to the vehicle. I appreciate you paid for the repairs to get the vehicle back on the road again for hire.

 

 

That said, I am very unhappy that this bill has been left for me to settle. I am unconvinced that the level of damage to the clutch can entirely be accredited to me. Last time I spoke to you before Christmas you were going to reach out to the owner to see if some insurance could cover this, did this happen?

 

 

Also I am completely stunned that a short term vehicle leasing company isn't covered for a contingency like this via insurance. Furthermore you have gone ahead and done all these repairs to the clutch and bumpers etc, and not once was I consulted or shown pictures of previous damage for me to verify.

If you truly think we are liable for this, we should have been given the opportunity to have our own quotes, repairs and possible insurance coverage.

I read the initial report which you sent me, and it doesn't say 'driver abuse'.

 

 

 

Their response:

 

 

 

 

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It is unfortunate that you were abroad whilst the rectification of the clutch occurred as had you been in the UK you could have viewed the damage yourself and spoken to the technicians at Hexagon Mini.

 

 

As promised I contacted Hexagon Mini, Mini UK and the supplier on several occasions in order to offer a complete explanation as to why the clutch and flywheel failed.

Once these parts had been stripped by technicians the garage checked all possibilities as the vehicle comes with a 3 year warranty and I told them that given the vehicles age and mileage it must be down to part failure thereby being covered by the 3 year comprehensive manufacturers warranty.

Their findings confirmed that there was no fault with any part within the clutch and flywheel assembly from new and the flywheel and the 'total disintegration' of the said parts was very unusual and 100% down to driver abuse.

I then asked Mini for a percentage contribution towards the repair costs which they flatly refused due to the way the clutch had been 'ridden' and photographs would confirm this. They also welcomed any visual inspection of the parts they had to replace. Once we received the photos we were in no doubt that their report was 100% correct.

We at Cocoon then took the decision to get all repairs completed as soon as possible to avoid further financial cost to both you, and us for rental hire days that would need to be continually billed until completion.

I have explored every avenue regarding claiming against the manufacturers warranty provided but all my efforts were not appreciated due to the cause of the problem.

We even considered moving the vehicle from London as labour rates are higher there but as the vehicle was undriveable the vehicle would have to have been trailered and the associated costs were virtually identical and therefore no saving could be made.

The only thing I can suggest is that once our final invoice has been settled you are quite within your rights to take the matter up directly with the garage and Mini but obviously costs could escalate further with no guarantee of success.

I will forward all the photos onto you for you to review. Please feel free to come back to me if you require any further information.

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Sounds like a dual mass flywheel problem which I think is a known issue on certainminis but cannot be sure. Goofle mini and dual mass flywheel. If your car matches that of the complaints then there is something to go on.

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Sounds like a dual mass flywheel problem which I think is a known issue on certainminis but cannot be sure. Goofle mini and dual mass flywheel. If your car matches that of the complaints then there is something to go on.
Thanks for that tip off. I did do a quick google and there seems to be a few folk out there with similar issues to mine.

Things are beginning to make sense to me now, this was a reasonably new car with not a lot of miles on the clock, and I am a driver with experience driving manual cars. I've never worn out a clutch before.

Now I feel that the leasing company have acted hastily, as they wanted their vehicle back on the road, so in a way I don't blame them, but it has suddenly struck me that not once was I asked for my version of the story. In fact the first conversation i had with the leasing co, and before the vehicle was checked thoroughly, the phrases 'driver abuse' and 'clutch ridden' were used, as if they were trying to prepare me for the worst. Well now I have a sufficient enough doubt that there was something not right with this car.

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Can anyone offer any advice where I can take this to? I have now done sufficient research, and based on my own ability as a driver believe that this is an unfair bill being handed to me? Thanks

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry to bump this again. I have collated all the info, contract details etc. The contract weighs in the favour of the leasing company, however, the one thing they haven't taken into account, is my ability as a driver, and the fact this clutch/flywheel was worn out in less than 5000 miles. Would it be appropriate for me to write to the leasing company and outline all of my objections? I know they will just hit back with their account and it will be stalemate. Looking for an independent body where i can take this case, any advice>? Thanks.

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Can they prove the state of the flywheel before you took over driving the car? Do they have before and after pictures? Surely this is the only way they can attribute the damage to yourself.

 

I would appeal to the lease company, they are the ones trying to bill you. The garage isn't your responsibility as you didn't pick them.

 

I would sent them an appeal, without settling saying that you don't think you should be paying and the basis of that is:

 

Can they provide before and after pictures, clearly showing the damage to the flywheel too place during your stint of ownership. Who had the car before yourself?

 

Your previous leasing history which I assume would show no damage to the cars you leased before.

 

The research you have in regards to flywheels being a common fault on minis. Surely this is enough reasonable doubt as to the fault being 100% down to driver error.

 

If they try to take it any further, then surely these points are basis enough for decent defence.

 

Could CAB possibly take on the matter for you and make contact with the leasing company? What about the fsa?

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Can they prove the state of the flywheel before you took over driving the car? Do they have before and after pictures? Surely this is the only way they can attribute the damage to yourself.

 

I would appeal to the lease company, they are the ones trying to bill you. The garage isn't your responsibility as you didn't pick them.

 

I would sent them an appeal, without settling saying that you don't think you should be paying and the basis of that is:

 

Can they provide before and after pictures, clearly showing the damage to the flywheel too place during your stint of ownership. Who had the car before yourself?

 

Your previous leasing history which I assume would show no damage to the cars you leased before.

 

The research you have in regards to flywheels being a common fault on minis. Surely this is enough reasonable doubt as to the fault being 100% down to driver error.

 

If they try to take it any further, then surely these points are basis enough for decent defence.

 

Could CAB possibly take on the matter for you and make contact with the leasing company? What about the fsa?

Hi there thanks for coming back so quickly, really appreciate it. I will write to the leasing company first off, and see how they come back. Cheers.
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Cool let us know what they come back with, I really don't see how they can have reasonable doubt the damage was down to you. The damage could been done by the last owner, just as much as you if you haven't been riding the clutch.

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