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  #1 (permalink)  
Old Jan 8th, 2014, 07:57 PM
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BMW discrimination

This might be the wrong place for this, but what the hell.....
I've been reading lots about the problems with the N14 engine, and all the head in the sand approaches that BMW have taken over the cam chain issues and the high pressure fuel pumps. We in the uk are being royally shafted compared to mini owners in the united states, which have been told that the fuel pumps are now being covered for an extra 12 years or 100k, and letters have been sent out to owners asking them to take their cars into dealerships for inspection of the camchain and associated componants, and to affect a repair where needed. We just get told there is no problem and cough up a not inconsiderable amount of money when the inevitable happens. This is clear discrimination, and especially so since the engines are assembled here in the uk with the same parts and same processes.
Thinking about it more has cheesed me off enough to write to watchdog who have featured the N14 engine issues before I believe, probably do the grand sum of **** all but I've never felt strongly enough about anything before to do it, I suggest other mini owners who have experienced engine problems and BMW's refusal to acknowledge the inherent fault's and cover the repair costs do the same, hell even if you have been lucky so far I'd still suggest you still do it, as you may well need help sooner rather than later.

Again this might get laughed at and many will think crap idea, but the only thing certain is if you do nothing, then nothing will be done about it.
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Old Jan 8th, 2014, 10:14 PM
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Also copy of mail to BMW mini

I would like an answer as to why BMW mini are failing to offer the same level of after care service for their customers in the UK, as they are in other parts of the world, in particular the united states.
In reference to the ongoing problems regarding the N14 engine fitted to 07 onwards mini coopers and John cooper works models. There are many instances of cam chain tensioner failures reported for this engine, which results in a very noisy engine, particularly when started from cold, as the tensioner fails to take up the slack in the chain, and it hits/rubs against the timing case causing wear to the chain and guides. There has been several bulletins issued to mini dealers outlining revised tensioner's, to my knowledge there have been three different tensioner part numbers issued but in the main the response from staff when approached by a customer who's petrol engine sounds like a diesel, is "they are all like that sir, nothing to worry about " but in fact this is obviously not the case, and when things get really bad, the slack timing chain can jump the sprockets causing massive engine damage.
Mini are in the main washing their hands of any responsibility regarding this issue, and that of the frequent failure of the high pressure fuel pump, which again is a major problem for owners of these cars, these fail on a regular basis, and like the cam chain issue, even if resolved by mini there is no guarantee that it will not raise its head again, repeat failure of both these items is not uncommon,due to repeated fitments of substandard parts.
Now on its own these issues are bad enough for a premium brand like BMW, but what is of more concern to the UK owners is the fact that we are being treated far differently to others in another part of the world, in fact I don't think its too harsh to say we are being discriminated against with the level of service you are providing.
As said here in the UK you seem to adopt a head in the sand approach regarding the above well documented faults, and in the main its down to the customer to foot the not inconsiderate bill to rectify your faulty goods. However in America you have extended the high pressure fuel pump cover to 12 years or 100k miles, here the poor owner gets a bill for 771 for the same fault ..... also now mini America are sending out letters to owners requesting they take their car into dealers to have the cam chain tensioner, chain and guides inspected for wear and damage, and if anything is found, then the repair will be at no cost to the customer (I have a copy of this letter) This is outrageous that we in the uk do not have this same level of aftercare offered, especially seeing that the engines are built at the same Hams Hall plant, with the same defective parts and same build processes, how can BMW justify this discrimination?
I have also written to watchdog outlining my complaint, who I'm sure you are aware have featured mini and BMW cars issues before as I feel this situation should not be allowed, maybe the class action that was issued against mini in America forced your hand to offer the above after care measures, and maybe we in the UK don't shout loud enough at times to warrant bothering about, I assure you this is not the case, and on this matter I along with a few others are prepared to shout long and hard enough, to whatever medium it takes for BMW to realise its not fair to ignore the loyal buyers, of what is an iconic British brand.

Yours sincerely

Martin Brown

Ps
Before you trot out the often quoted line that the internet is not really a reliable source from which to gather data .... I put it to you that not everyone can be wrong considering the shear number of owners complaint.
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Old Jan 9th, 2014, 04:05 PM
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Watchdog will only take it on if you do pretty much all the leg work for them and get as much evidence as you can . I'd suggest getting an idea of numbers of people effected by the issue here in the UK, a BMW UK typical response and something in writing from the US saying they are covering it over there. Then send it all to Watchdog. I had an issue years ago with Ryan air losing my baggage one a flight to France and then losing my replacement luggage on the flight back with compensating me for either. When I contacted Watchdog they asked if I had phone call transcripts, receipts, recordings etc.
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Old Jan 9th, 2014, 08:49 PM
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I'm trying to gather info on number's affected, what BMW has said when approached and asked for goodwill cover as the car is out of warranty, and also those in the states who have been granted remedial work at no cost to themselves ...I have a copy of a letter from mini America regarding the recall that's going on, would be useful though if anyone who has had this done could post up their experiences.
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Old Jan 10th, 2014, 08:21 AM
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I seem to remember WatchDog covered this last year some time in the summer. Richard E Grant did a report on it for them after his daughters Minis power steering failed on a motorway. They showed him in a mini with a modified power steering system where they could switch the pump on and off to simulate a failure. They turned it off while going around a roundabout on a test track and he struggled to control the car, yet VOSA took the stance that BMW said it was safe and didn't issue a recall!
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Old Jan 10th, 2014, 11:44 AM
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I think that the law that protects the consumer in the USA is more
pro-active if not just downright more effective.
We seem to get a bit of a 'raw deal' in this country when it comes to length
of warranty and customer service/satisfaction.
BMW seem to talk about customer service being important, however, there actions seem to rather contradict this.
Of course, if your a rich & famous actor you seem to receive superb customer service........a coincidence, I'm sure!
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Old Jan 10th, 2014, 01:28 PM
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BMW flatley denied Richard E Grant's status as a celebrity had any affect in getting his daughter's car sorted, but the immense twitter followers he has seemed to have some affect because as soon as he posted a rant BMW got in touch ...its also noted that the r53 steering pump issues are covered in America but not in the UK.
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Old Jan 10th, 2014, 02:51 PM
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Got a reply from BMW /mini asking for my 7 digit Vin so they can investigate the issue, but as I as yet do not have an issue (fully expecting one in time though) its irrelevant ....anyway below is the reply I received and my further correspondence.

Dear Mr Brown

Thank you for your email dated January 8, 2014.

It is not clear from your correspondence whether this is an issue you have been affected by previously. If so, please provide your vehicle's 7 digit chassis number, to enable me to investigate your concerns.

Thank you for contacting MINI UK. I await your response.

Yours sincerely

MINI UK
John Scholey
Customer Service Executive
Ellesfield Avenue
Bracknell RG12 8TA
Tel: +44 (0)870 50 50 123
Fax: +44 (0)870 5050 205
Mailto: customer.service@mini.co.uk
URL: MINI - New Car Deals - New MINI Cars, Coupe, Convertible, Hatchback

My reply to the above

My chassis number is not relevant at this moment in time as my car currently does not suffer from the aforementioned cam chain and fuel pump maladies, but I feel I am driving a ticking time bomb just waiting for them to appear, I am more concerned with the fact that when they do, and I am under no illusion that they will, then I will be left high and dry by your selective level of responsibility depending on where in the world I happen to reside in, lets be clear on this, the cam chain and tensioner is a no service item, and therefore should last the life time of the engine, this is not the case and in America the owners are being asked to visit their dealers to have inspections carried out, and defective cam chains and tensioners replaced foc, this service should be offered to everyone who has purchased one of your products as you have admitted they have defective components fitted from build, all mini engines are assembled at Hams Hall so all are under the same build process and parts used, if mini America are recalling these engines for remedial work, then so should the owners in the UK.

Martin
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