Friday, July 21, 2006

The BMW Mini Saga Drags On

Since my last post on the subject the Mini saga has dragged on. The car has spent three more days with different BMW dealers, with a fourth scheduled for next Friday to finally fix the air conditioning problem that I was charged £211 for on its first visit.

I sent the link to the report on the car's first servicing in an email to BMW Battersea and BMW Customer Services. I never received a reply from either party, or had a return phone call from BMW Battersea. I decided to get the two problems - with the air conditioning and the satellite navigation system - fixed elsewhere and booked the car in with BMW Wimbledon. Alas, they told me they might have to charge me another £211 to even look at the A/C and that I really needed to return it to BMW Battersea who had supposedly effected the original 're-gassing' if I wanted to avoid a second charge. Sod's Law said that while they found the problem with the sat nav that BMW Battersea claimed to have fixed, it involved needing a complete replacement which wasn't in stock. So I scheduled another day for the car to go in and thankfully, after three days at various servicing departments, I now have a Sat Nav system that works. Hoorah! :)

Getting no reply to my phone call or email to BMW Battersea I drove there in person to speak to the service manager and explain that the single item I thought they MIGHT have fixed, and which I'd been charged a lot of money for, actually wasn't fixed. They claimed not to have received the email or voicemail phone message I left, but the sales manager was polite and courteous, apologised and agreed to take the car in today to fix the air conditioning properly. I'm pleased to report that they found a cracked pipe was the cause of the leak and that they've refunded (or will be refunding) my original £211 re-gassing fee since clearly this was only necessary because of a defect that should have been fixed under warranty.

It does make one wonder what all the claims about having tested the system with coloured dyes for leaks and found nothing, when justifying the 'not covered by warranty' regassing fee was all about, given that the gas appeared to have leaked out completely within hours of having been 'fixed'. Of course, yet again it turns out that the replacement part that is required is not 'standard' so yet another appointment will have to be booked. All these servicing centre visits are costing me a fortune in lost time at work, but fingers crossed it might actually get fixed this time. In the current weather driving without air conditioning is no fun.

My BMW 'TLC' warranty package officially ran out today. Should I pay the £540 for another year's cover when I use the car so little? Given the inconvenience of using BMW to fix what should have been two straightforward problems I think I'll pass, even though it's worrying that a car with so little usage (less than 9000 miles on the clock) should seem to need expensive components replacing so soon!

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