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Discussion Starter #1
Here is the text of a letter that I have sent to my local Dealer Principle (what ever one of those is!)

I bought a MINI Cooper form Vines of Gatwick on 9/7/2001. All my dealings were with Geoff Owen and have been cordial on all occasions. I would like to stress that in all our dealings Geoff has acted completely professionally and sympathetically.

My problems stem from the quality of materials and version of the seats that were installed in my MINI. Approx (from memory) a week before delivery Geoff informed me that the car would not have sports seats (as it is a Chilli pack car it should have them), the passenger seat would not be height adjustable and the car would have a radio cassette rather than a radio CD. The options that I was given were that I accepted the car as it came or I waited 10-12 weeks to get the car I really wanted.

As I had already been waiting four years (since the MINI was first seen at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1997) for this car, I was unwilling to wait any longer, So I accepted the car. As way of compensation I had a CD stacker fitted in the boot in September. My understanding was that as the Seat Height adjustment cost £170 and the difference between the CD and the cassette player was a further £70 that this was about right. There is no cost difference between ordinary and sports seats. Geoff was made aware that, though I would take the car because I couldn't wait any longer, I was not happy about not getting the sports seats.

On 9/7/2001 when I went to pick up the car, before I even got in it, I was singularly unimpressed with the standard black panther leather seats (Geoff should remember my comments). When I considered that I was spending an extra £970 for them I thought them inferior before I had even sat in them. They looked flat and lifeless (they reminded me of the seats that Austin put in the original Mini). My first impression then I sat down was that you sat ON them rather that IN them. I then found , when driving, that they were positively dangerous. When I went round a roundabout, because there is no lateral support at all, that my backside SLID ACROSS THE SEAT. If I hadn't had the steering wheel to hold onto, I would have lost control of the car. As it was, my wife ended up smeared across the passenger window. I make no bones about it - it frightened the life out of me. My wife has got used to it now - whenever I go round a corner she braces herself against the door!.

The car has now done 6,500 miles. The look of the seats has deteriorated so they look like they have done 100,000 miles - not just the base but the back as well. All the leather has gone slack and wrinkled. I went to a MINI meeting at Gaydon on October where there were more than 100 MINIs.
There were four cars with the standard black panther leather seats. All of them looked to be deteriorating badly.

My last car was a Ford Mondeo Ghia X with leather seats. Those seats looked and felt as good when the car had done 50,000 miles as there were when it was new. I could drive that car for 3+ hours and get out and walk away from the car. If I try that in my current seats, I can barley walk when I get out of the car. Is it right that Ford use better materials than BMW in making the seats?

I believe that the motoring magazine EVO has a Cooper on long term test with standard black panther leather seats. They have spent £800 to have the seats stripped down and rebuilt properly because they found the quality and design so poor.

The MINI is a brilliant car. It is without doubt the best drivers car, for the money, on the road. Unfortunately, I cannot drive it as its meant to be driven because the seats will not let me stay where I should be - behind the wheel. I now find that instead of getting into the car thinking what a great car it is - I'm thinking how bad the seats are.

Unfortunately, I appear to have been unable to get anything done about them. I have been speaking to MINI Customer Services and yourselves since I've had the car and have got nowhere. You say I have to speak to Customer Services - They say I have to speak to you (I only learnt of YOUR existence today!). I am now completely frustrated and disillusioned and have decided that as I cannot get the car perfect (even though it cost me nearly £15,000), I shall have to get rid of it. This also means that unless I can get a resolution, I shall be cancelling my order for a Cooper S that I have with you - I'm number one on your waiting list.

I have been a Mini/MINI fan all my driving life. I have had six classic Minis and was delighted to be one of the first in the country to get the MINI. It is a great car, but, it is being completely spoilt for me by the poor design and inferior quality of the seats. Please don't make me one of the first to sell a MINI in the country.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
BMW now tell me that they are going to get thier area manager to look at the car. If he agrees that the seat need replacing (rather than repairing) because of the poor quality of the materials, then BMW will fit sports seats (for a small fee - small has yet to be defined).

If they don't then that will be the end - goodbye MINI.
 

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Let us know when they reply :) :)
 

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Surely they should fit the sports seats free as a gesture of good will:confused: :confused: :confused:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
After the fights that I've had with them in the last five months, I'm not sure that they know what the meaning of the word "goodwill" is.

But, you never know, they could prove me wrong.
 

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peteb said:
After the fights that I've had with them in the last five months, I'm not sure that they know what the meaning of the word "goodwill" is.

But, you never know, they could prove me wrong.
Any news on this yet peteb ?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Car is being picked up on 15/1/02 to be looked at by the area service manager.

Hopefully I'll know soon after that. I'll let you know next weekend.

But, even if they say no - I have one other thing to try. That's the motoring press. I'm sure they would like to make a story about it.

Car manufacturers hate bad publicity.
 

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peteb said:
......I have one other thing to try. That's the motoring press. I'm sure they would like to make a story about it.
Well, hopefully it won't come to that peteb.

hope all goes well for next weekend ok.

cheers
 

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Peteb
I think my MINI Cooper kept yours company at Vines of Gatwick yesterday with the chap from BMW.
We have the part leather part cloth seats so have not had the same problems as you have had with yours.
I have nothing but praise for Jeff, but he is being let down by BMW/MINI and the product.
On Saturday we gave Vines a letter rejecting our MINI and demanding a replacement.
Let us know how you get on, I will keep everyone posted via the site
 

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Discussion Starter #10
BMW have now looked at the seats in my car.

The area service manager reviewed them and guess what.

He says they are perfectly ok and only show expected wear. He then didn't even have the common decency to ring me but got one of his minions to do this while he then left the dealership. I then was left with nobody to discuss this situations with.

I ACCUSE BMW OF DOUBLE STANDARDS AND NOT CARING ABOUT CUSTOMER SATISFACTION.

I have looked at 2nd hand 3 & 5 series cars in my local dealership with leather seats and up to 20k miles on the clocks. The seats are perfect. Mine are crap and thats ok?

As far as I'm now concerned BMW can stick my MINI where the sun don't shine. I've had it.

I have cancelled my order for the Cooper S (which I've had since Nov 2000) and will be part 'exing my MINI asap (I wouldn't be able to sell it privately with the seats in such poor condition.

I expect to lose a great deal of money. My MINI cost me £14,800 in July last year. I now expect to get less that £10,000 for it. Once this car has gone, it will be the last time I EVER go into a BMW Dealership.

I do intend to talk to all the motoring and the national press about this. If BMW are costing me money, I intend to see if I can cost them money with some bad publicity.
 

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peteb said:
BMW have now looked at the seats in my car.

The area service manager reviewed them and guess what.

He says they are perfectly ok and only show expected wear. He then didn't even have the common decency to ring me but got one of his minions to do this while he then left the dealership. I then was left with nobody to discuss this situations with.

I ACCUSE BMW OF DOUBLE STANDARDS AND NOT CARING ABOUT CUSTOMER SATISFACTION.

I have looked at 2nd hand 3 & 5 series cars in my local dealership with leather seats and up to 20k miles on the clocks. The seats are perfect. Mine are crap and thats ok?

As far as I'm now concerned BMW can stick my MINI where the sun don't shine. I've had it.

I have cancelled my order for the Cooper S (which I've had since Nov 2000) and will be part 'exing my MINI asap (I wouldn't be able to sell it privately with the seats in such poor condition.

I expect to lose a great deal of money. My MINI cost me £14,800 in July last year. I now expect to get less that £10,000 for it. Once this car has gone, it will be the last time I EVER go into a BMW Dealership.

I do intend to talk to all the motoring and the national press about this. If BMW are costing me money, I intend to see if I can cost them money with some bad publicity.
I'm really sorry it's come to this peteb.

BMW have seriously lost the "public relations" plot. These sorts of matters should be able to be dealt with in a rational polite fashion.

I do not blame you for wanting to air your grievances to the press, and although I have not generaly been in favour of it, perhaps it's the only way anyone is going to get these issues sorted out.

That's a serious depreciation level as well. Have you considered talking to a lawyer to see where you stand ?. Might be cheaper than dumping the car, and BMW may respond in a little less off handed way with a pending action against them for selling something thats not fit for the purpose. You still have those statutory rights don't you ?.

Is there anyone here from BMW who reads these forums ?.
Peteb here bought a MINI off you, and has (had) an S on Order. For goodness sake, i'd go broke overnight if i treated my customers in this fashion.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for your comments Basil. When it comes to litigation I've got to be honest that I have such a nasty taste in my mouth after the way I've been treated that I want nothing to do with BMW in the future.

The MINI is (was in my case) a great car. I hope that everyone else that buys one doesn't have the same problems that I have.

Please, everyone else - enjoy!!
 

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peteb said:
Thanks for your comments Basil. When it comes to litigation I've got to be honest that I have such a nasty taste in my mouth after the way I've been treated that I want nothing to do with BMW in the future.

The MINI is (was in my case) a great car. I hope that everyone else that buys one doesn't have the same problems that I have.

Please, everyone else - enjoy!!
Yep, peteb, I understand how you feel on that score.

And all things considered, thanks for your last note, thats very gracious of you. You could easily have taken a bitter pill here, but you havn't. good on you.

Please keep in touch, and let us know what you bought to replace your MINI. If the Type-R threads still going, chuck it in there........it needs a bit of livening up anyway. It'll get binned soon if it doesn't.

Keep smiling

cheers

:)
 

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What you gonna buy instead PETEB:confused:
 

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PeteB,

I'm sorry this whole thing has turned out so badly for you. Would it be possible for you to post some pictures of the seats so everyone could see how they look? If you'd rather not that's certainly understandable - thanks anyway.
 

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Peteb
I had the same response from BMW. What got me was the fact they did not even say sorry in the letter I received from Vines.
This morning I have emailed the BBC's Watchdog programme and started my letter writing to the motoring press.
On Tuesday I am seeing my lawyer.
 

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Hi All,
I've been away on holiday so I'm just catching up but things still don't look good.
Although my car was successfully rejected and my replacement has been ordered for delivery mid March, I would be in favour of clubbing together to speak to Watchdog or similar as BMW have to be named and shamed on this.
I've got a MINI One with CVT until my new Cooper arrives, but even then they can't get that right. I arrived home last night and my girlfriend drove me to the dealers to collect my loan car. They had given me a spare key so I could just pick it up, but what a surprise they had left out the wrong car!!
Therefore I had to wait this morning for them to drop me off my car, making me two hours late for work, on my first day back. Not even an apology, nice!!
I must say I'm beginning to get really scared about getting a replacement and not just buying something else. I suppose I'll just have to wait and see.
 
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