A Mini Odyssey
If you make a mistake and do, DO NOT have it serviced at Brian Harris! If you make that mistake as well, you WILL be terribly disappointed! My wife and I have a 2010 Mini Cooper S. During a torrential downpour in New Orleans (Is there any other kind?), the sunroof unexpectedly began to leak. About a half an inch of water found its way into our car. My wife removed the water with towels and then drove it to our mechanic. Along the way, the car stalled. It was the beginning of our Mini Odyssey. Our mechanic recommended that we have it towed to the dealership in Baton Rouge, which we did. Brian Harris acknowledged receiving the car and told us they would call us back as soon as they had a diagnosis. After two weeks, we still hadn’t heard from Mini. So, we called them. To our horror, they couldn’t find our car. They had left it on the lot without doing any paperwork. Needless to say, they hadn’t looked at it either. They apologized (for the first of many times) and told us they would get back to us as soon as possible. We had filed an insurance claim, but Mini assured us that the repairs would be minor. After another two weeks, we still hadn’t heard back from Brian Harris. When we called them, they told us what we would hear again and again and again: “I’m sorry Mr. Dunbar, but we’re still diagnosing the problem. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible…” Which, of course, they never did. After over two months of commuting to the West Bank of New Orleans on my bicycle, I finally threatened to complain to Mini National. It was only then that Brian Harris offered to give us a loaner. A few days later, they dropped off an ugly blue Countryman with a broken windshield and a missing gas cap. They didn’t have us fill out any paperwork nor exchange insurance information. We were not surprised. Every week we called Mini for an update and every week they told us the same thing: “We’re still trying to diagnose the problem.” They also apologized and told us repeatedly, “Because of the extreme inconvenience, we will only charge you a small portion of the repairs.” This gave us at least some reassurance – reassurance that would not last… During the 5th month of our Mini Odyssey, I actually drove up to Baton Rouge to check on our car. The service manager said, “I apologize Mr. Dunbar. I want you to know that there’s a new sheriff in town. I’m gonna personally take over this case and reunite you with your car as quickly as possible.” Two weeks later I went back up to Baton Rouge. The new service manager obviously didn’t recognize me and said, “I apologize Mr. Dunbar. I want you to know that there’s a new sheriff in town. I’m gonna personally take over this case and reunite you with your car as quickly as possible.” Frustrated beyond belief, we called the national organization and lodged a formal complaint. I was hoping that Mini USA would at least be a bit more competent (Brian Harris set the bar pretty low), and would hopefully try make things right. I was wrong on both counts. Like the Baton Rouge dealership, they didn’t return phone calls and, when they finally did, they made excuses. We then heard from Brian Harris. (Wow!) They told us that they had tested the sunroof and it had failed. (Keep in mind, we told them that the sunroof was broken when we sent it to them.) They told us there had been a “major malfunction” and that it needed to be replaced at a cost of more than $3,000. We were then told that the full cost of the repairs would be in excess of $13,000. (Beaten up by the streets of New Orleans – another reason not to buy a Mini - the car is not worth that much!) This was the first time we had ever received an estimate for repairs. And, we had never approved any work. We resubmitted an insurance claim, but the company told us it was the manufacturer’s fault. We called the manufacturer and they advised us to file an insurance claim. Can you say, “catch-22”? When we then threatened to bring in a lawyer, Brian Harris grudgingly took off the service fees and had Mini USA kick in a grand. Our hellacious Mini Odyssey would only cost $5,000! Finally, after more than SIX MONTHS, we got a call informing us that our car would be ready after the weekend. They were excited to “reunite us with our Cooper.” When I called on Monday to make arrangements, no one answered, so I left messages for the manager and mechanic to call us back. Another two weeks passed before I got that call. Our Mini was finally, actually ready! When I picked up the car (No, they didn’t offer to bring it to us.) they didn’t have the paperwork, and they had lost the tow hole cover. After only three weeks back, the engine light came on. After over a month, we still hadn’t received the tow hole cover! Imagine that?! This was, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the worst customer services experience of our lives! Period. A better company would have charged us nothing or given us a new car. Since the beginning of our (not so) Mini ordeal, we’ve talked at least three people out of buying a Cooper. I’m sure there will be many more… Next time our car breaks down, we’re either taking it to the dealership six hours away in Houston, or we’re setting it on fire or pushing it into the lake. I have more trust in Volkswagen. I repeat, DO NOT buy a Mini Cooper! If you already have, DO NOT have it serviced at Brian Harris!
New Orleans, Louisiana
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