R50/R53 :: Hatch Talk (2002-2006) Cooper (R50) and Cooper S (R53) hatchback discussion.

R50/53 - R50/53 Dear MINIDivision,

  #1  
Old 03-09-2004, 12:36 PM
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dave
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Dear MINIDivision,

You have problems. We're here to help. Honest, we are.

For a company that spent so much time and effort on the front end of the sale (clever & innovative advertising, a non traditional dealership appearance, friendly Motoring Advisors, order tracking, etc.), MINIUSA appears to have overlooked some aspects of the post sale ownership experience.

Here is a summary of some of the issues that have been discussed across the forum recently.


MINIDivision's posting

The nearly scripted posting of MINIDivision on the forums has rarely (ever?) been helpful. The majority of the problem here is the pat responses.

I’m with MINI USA. Sorry to read about your problem. If you want our assistance, please phone us at (866) ASK MINI and mention Reference # 900406400112.

For all the time MINIUSA spends on the forums, wouldn't it make sense to spend the time to provide an answer that's tailored to the problem at hand, not just the same response regardless of the issue?

Why don't we ever see any follow-up from MINIDivision? How hard would it be to post a second time and say something like, "Thanks for calling us and providing us with your VIN. We have contacted (insert name of real person) at (dealership name) and will work with you as your advocate until this problem has been resolved to your satisfaction." I dream of the day I see that post.


Counterproductive Posting

This comment specifically applies to the Yo-Yo Chronicles. The Yo-Yo problem has been so pervasive for so long with no word from MINI about when this problem might reasonably be solved that a customer resorted to trying to fix this issue himself. He then provides MINI with information regarding both solutions he finds. MINI Engineering was in the process of reviewing those fixes when MINIDivision posts to the thread about how modifications risk voiding your warranty. MINIDivision seemed to be playing the heavy while this customer was working with MINI Engineering.

Customers wouldn't have to resort to this level, if MINIUSA didn't leave them in the dark for so long. The same thing happened with the coolant expansion tank leak where some people spent $100 for an aftermarket aluminum tank while MINI got its act together.


The One Way Street For Exchanging Information

There is also a lot of frustration with MINIDivision on the forum because of the lack of real information coming from MINIUSA about problems.

MINIDivision asked for our support and promised to keep us updated on the progress of the windshield stress crack problem. 6 months later we had to beg for an update, and even then it took MINIUSA two weeks to respond (with no new information). Then, when there was a new windshield formulation, something that would have qualified as news worthy of an update from MINI, MINIDivision was quiet. In the end, it took a customer to report the news and the part number for the new windshield

You ask us to cooperate with the dealers and to be patient as these problems are addressed, yet there is no reciprocal effort on your part to keep us updated or even to report when you have fixed a known problem.


Problem Dealerships

At least a couple dealerships need (at the very least) to have some "coaching" from MINIUSA. Two recent examples of dealerships with problems in the service department are MINI of Hawaii and Long Beach MINI. In the case of MINI of Hawaii, the customer was being denied warranty work (among other things) because she autocrossed the car once. This, even though owners are encouraged to autocross through MINIUSA's contingency program.

We aren't trying to screw you at every turn, yet we get treated that way, even when we're trying to get known problems resolved.

"The Pen Test" is a great example of this. Dealerships use this "test" to find a minute pit in a cracked windshield. This pit, sometimes the size of a grain of sand, is then used to avoid warranty of a windshield with a stress crack that started below the molding. If you read about the windshield issues, you already know this is a common occurrence. In any case, why wouldn't a windshield damaged by a spec of sand be warrantied as defect in materials? A star from a rock I could understand not being warrantied, but a spec of sand?


In conclusion, MINIUSA has enthusiast customers mainly because that is the type of customer it sought out (as indicated by your advertising and contingency program). We care about the brand and want to see it live up to the potential we know is there.

As I said at the beginning, we are here to help you. However, the first step is to admit you have a problem. The ball is in your court.

Your Savvy Customer,

David Bunting


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Last edited by dave; 07-21-2004 at 11:27 AM.
  #2  
Old 03-09-2004, 12:43 PM
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Ahmen! Get us a solution MINI!
 
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Old 03-09-2004, 12:49 PM
apexer
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Very well said. Now it will be interesting to see how or if MINI USA responds.
 
  #4  
Old 03-09-2004, 12:57 PM
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I'm sure MINI USA will be back and I'm sure their answer will go something like...

"I’m with MINI USA. Sorry to read about your problem. If you want our assistance, please phone us at (866) ASK MINI and mention Reference # 900406400112."


 
  #5  
Old 03-09-2004, 12:57 PM
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This was my main fear of getting a MINI in the first place. I always hated dealing with BMW for parts and service information (I work part time as general auto-truck mechanic, all makes and models). Knowing others who have various BMW models and have had service issues with them was another turn-off as well. The company would prefer if you drive your cars as 'average' as possible, and please do not question your dealer service and charges if you have a problem with your car. Besides, if there is a problem, it's the fault of the owner, thankyouverymuch.

This has all been borne out in my ownership of the car. Granted, I have not had too many troubles with the car, and those were covered under warranty. If I had complained about any of the hot-button problems (windsheild, yo-yo, coolant tank, etc), I no doubt would have encountered resistance in getting them fixed to my satisfaction or at all by waranty.

It's the usual 'love the car, hate the company' line being brought up. I wish that was not the case.
 
  #6  
Old 03-09-2004, 01:20 PM
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Bravo Dave, very well said indeed

Cheers,

JD
 
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Old 03-09-2004, 01:32 PM
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I am a victim of the famous "pen test". Global Imports in Atlanta refused to replace my stress fractured windshield, claiming that it was due to a rock chip. However, the crack started at the bottom of the windshield and the rock chip that they found with the "pen test" was 8 inches away from the crack's initial origin. Of course, Global Imports is also incapable of doing a simple oil change on my MINI without breaking the filter gasket and causing an oil leak.

I had to pay for a replacement windshield because of MINI's shady customer service for warranty work. I have even PM'd MINIDivision concerning this with absolutely no response whatsoever. Apparently, only a few people actually receive the form letter post from MINIDivision on this board.

Over the years, I have learned that I can love a car despite being treated poorly by the manufacturer.



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Old 03-09-2004, 01:34 PM
TiMINITim
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Thank you for this posting!!!!! I love my MINI but I greatly dislike the way I was treated for the first windshield replacement (stress-crack), and I am sure they will have nothing to do with my severely pitted second windshield. All in a six-month old MINI.

PLEASE MINIDivision, stand behind your product....not your laywers!!!
 
  #9  
Old 03-09-2004, 01:45 PM
OctaneGuy
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Great post DiD!!! Man, I love my MINI, but these issues really bug me. I had to pay out of my pocket for a new windshield--just 11 days into owning my new MC. This was due to a small rock, but that impact would not have resulted in a 5inch crack that was irreparable on any other car I've owned. In fact, I've never had to replace a windshield until I got my MINI in all the 18 years I've been driving.

I've also got that annoying boot rattle, and the annoying lurch/stumble under hard acceleration. The dealer I've chosen to take this to was definitely not LB MINI because of all the horror stories I've read and knowing friends having terrible experiences. I made an appointment with Nick Alexander on March 1, and the soonest they could fit me in was March 29. That's some wait time!
 
  #10  
Old 03-09-2004, 02:02 PM
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Thanks, Dave, for your thoughtful, thorough, and very articulate post. As an early enthusiast and well-respected member of the MINI community, I believe you've stated what many of us have been thinking for far too long.

I had my windshield replaced in January, and it's already looking sandblasted. It would be the right thing for MINI to give refunds for those of us who've needed replacements. I'm hoping that the new windshield design will live up to everyone's expectations.

I'm also hoping that MINIdivision will heed this thread and give us some reassurance that they are working on the yo-yo/stumble issue, the sub-par leather quality issue (Wanda is barely a year old and the driver's seat bolster is cracking), and especially, the poor attitude exhibited my many of the employees in the MINI dealership service departments. Please, MINIUSA, train your service advisors and service writers to treat us with respect and give thorough explanations for all work that is and isn't done.

Hoping for the best,
Clover
 
  #11  
Old 03-09-2004, 02:21 PM
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It's a great letter Dave...

Unfortunately I have absolutely no hope that it will cause any change at all in the way MINI responds to us here.

It's plain and simple... They don't care.
 
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Old 03-09-2004, 02:43 PM
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Interestingly enough, while the service I have received from the MINI service departments has been typical of almost all other car dealers I have dealt with, the service I have received from MINIUSA after calling them has been very good. Twice they have assisted me. Once when I felt like I was getting the run-around from a dealer. They called the dealer for me and all of a sudden, no more problem with the dealer. The second time, was after I had my FIRST windshield replaced for a small fortune at the MINI dealer in SF, the replacement windshield cracked on the way home!

My third windshield was free, as it should have been, thanks to involvement from MINIUSA.
:smile:
 
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Old 03-09-2004, 02:48 PM
MiamiMINI
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The possiblity exists that MINIDivision is a fraud. It may be someone messing around. If MINIUSA would actually have someone monitoring the boards, they would not have them leave cryptic messages that lead to nowhere. The internet is an annonymous forum where truth is not guaranteed.
 
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Old 03-09-2004, 02:53 PM
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MINIDivision is legit. All MINI Division posts come from BMW N.A. in New Jersey.
 
  #15  
Old 03-09-2004, 02:57 PM
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Bravissimo DiD,I have said all of this at various times,but not all at once with the passion and substance that you managed.By the way ,the FIRST NEW WINDSHIELD is now almost 2 weeks old and going strong.It took the efforts of Phil Kahler at BMWNA to seem to get anything done.For all who care ,I have no problem at all sharing this guy's phone and email with all who care,PM me.If I had to deal with YoYo on top of my 6 windshields,I don't think I would have seen this delightfull- otherwise car through.I'll be very interested to see if you get anything but the party line from Division.Great post
 
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Old 03-09-2004, 03:00 PM
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I'm pretty this is who we're dealing with....




 
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Old 03-09-2004, 03:44 PM
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great post.
like others, i have been dinged by the ubiquitious "pen test" on a cracked windshield 3 months into owning my Mini, and fell for it. o.k. yes, i'd never had a cracked windshield over many years and many cars, but o.k. by and large i've been treated extremely well by my dealer, and remain a Mini loyalist with no regrets. however, i don't understand why MINIUSA would want to jeapordize an almost buillt-in good vibe with a consumer base who go out of their way to purchase these cars, and are happy to do so? i've yet to speak to a disgruntled Mini owner, the biggest complaint of whom is, in my experience, that they can't afford/wait to have another one. the positive word-of-mouth is something money can't buy, and i can't for the life of me understand how MINI would want to be cavalier about that.

anyway, keep up the good work.

paddy
 
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Old 03-09-2004, 03:58 PM
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Dave,
Good letter but you might want to give it another quick edit before you send it to MINI.

While the facts in your bullet points seem to be well supported, you should consider editing your absolute statements and removing your clever bits. While I can understand and even defend your frustration, things like "totally mishandled" and pat on that head reference kind of undermine the accurate and reasoned portion of what you write.

It's been my experience that I've done better without flaming my reader. Specifically, I've had a mostly positive experience with MINI USA and me dealer in engine stumble and windshield repair problems. Stick to the facts and you'll help us all out. Thanks for taking this on.
Ken
 
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Old 03-09-2004, 03:59 PM
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>>>All MINI Division posts come from BMW N.A. in New Jersey<<<

But are they legitimate official posts, or the work of some employee there with a truly warped sense of humor. It would explain the number of people who've called with a reference number only to be told there was no reference to that number.
 
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Old 03-09-2004, 04:21 PM
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thanks to dave and ryan and everbody else around here for making sure my next MINI will be great!


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Old 03-09-2004, 04:42 PM
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From the indications, I believe that MiniNA has heard us and is interested in addressing issues. I can attest to the results of a ...."I’m with MINI USA. Sorry to read about your problem. If you want our assistance, please phone us at (866) ASK MINI and mention Reference # 900406400112. '.....in direct response to a complaint I voiced here, they posted the above and then called me to discuss my issues and concerns. We discussed what it would take for me to be satisfied and then he took it under consideration to see what he could do. He got back to me within a few days and addressed my needs to the letter. So, those posts are real and there are business deals being cut....

I've also read here, although I can't confirm, that Mini has come out with an improved windshield and would offer it moving forward...it appears that they are begining to make honest efforts in the right direction.


 
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Old 03-09-2004, 05:03 PM
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Gotta chime in here - just because a user of this forum works for MINI (or alleges to) does not mean that anything they say or do is on behalf on the organization. If their actions or words were meant to be representative of MINI, they would be followed up by a service bulletin or press release. The fact that "MINIDivision" is anonymous speaks volumes.

It's hard to build a credible complaint based on your interactions on an enthusiast website. If these communications were with the official MINIUSA representatives, then I'd say you have something.

If I visited a forum based on my companies product and apologized for a problem someone was having, it would be completely inaccurate to characterize my post as a corporate admission regarding that problem.

Just had to add my perspective.

-Ed
 
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Old 03-09-2004, 05:09 PM
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How come some MINI's need 3 or 4 windsheilds and some need only factory issue.
 
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Old 03-09-2004, 05:50 PM
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This is unbelievable!! I've got an "S" on order and already having 2nd thoughts!! All this talk about MINI's needing 6 windshields and stumbling all over themselves and not wanting to start in the mornings and on and on and on, etc. I certainaly don't want to spend money on a vehicle that is going to be in the shop half the time! 6 WINDSHIELDS, I hope you got help with some of them...I've been driving 40 years and have had to replace 1!! Loyalty is one thing, but spending that much on a vehicle only to have headache after headache doesn't seem too smart to me. Illinois has a lemon law--I would be looking into that on about my 4th windshield!
At any rate, with the information I'm picking up from you guys, I am making a trip to my dealer (Patrick MINI in Schaumburg) and am going to ask some pointed questions regarding the problems their customers are having with their new MINI's.

Thanks for the info and as for the guy on his 6th windshield - - you have a very strong constitution regarding your love for this car...God bless you. :smile:
 
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Old 03-09-2004, 06:16 PM
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There are so many threads running now about the windshields that I decided to post in all of them, sorry for the repeats.

I am one of the many who have had a stress-cracked windshield (after 2 months in my ’04 MINI), and one of the fewer who have had it replaced under warranty. Now, after 4k miles on windshield #2 it looks like someone took an ice-pick to it. I have one ¼-inch size pit along with at least 30 to 40 sand size pits. In my previous 4 cars I have owned (Ford, Honda, Chrysler), after having driven 550,000 miles combined, I have yet to see a windshield this soft!!!!

Anyway, getting to the point, I checked my current windshield and it does not appear to be the ‘new’ windshield discussed on this board recently. So, tonight I called 866-ASK-MINI, described my problem, and then asked about the new improved windshield. Unfortunately, the response was that she had not heard anything about this…..but, she was willing to take my information and said they would call back after researching it. She was polite and did not talk down to me like my dealer has in the past. I am pretty skeptical of anything coming of this, BUT, if we ALL took the time to call 866-ASK-MINI and complained about the windshields and requested information about an improved product it would be another way to slowly beat home the point that these windshields are miserable excuses for glass and we are tired of MINI’s avoidance of the problem!!

 

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