Stabbed in the back by Mini USA!

This is a post on an SCCA club mail list. This guy was partially sponsored by Mini USA Motor Sports division and competed in National competitions with his Mini. Mini used his successes to promote their product.

Then Mini USA cancelled his car's warranty for racing!!!!

Autocorss is not considered racing!!

Read below:



This saddens me greatly to make this post, to the point where I
nearly feel like I have lost a wonderful friend.

In opening, I would like to say how wonderful Mini USA has been to me
over the past 3 seasons with their support at Mini USA with
contingency through their Motor Sports division as well as the
wonderful service at Baron Mini here in the KC area. If it had not
been for the support by Mini USA through their Motor Sports
contingency division, I would not have been able to travel across the
country competing at National Tours and Prosolo's in my 2004, 2005
and 2006 Mini Cooper S's as well as numerous other competitors 2005
and 2006 Mini Cooper S's. During these three seasons, I have had
great success competing in Mini's with 15 National Tour/Prosolo wins,
something like 25 podium finishes at NT's and Prosolo's with one
National Championship and a 2nd place at Nationals in 2007.

So, for 2007, I decided I would purchase a new 2007 Turbo Mini Cooper
S. I actually signed the paperwork on the purchase at the end of
September thinking I would probably keep this one for quite a while
since I enjoyed the R56 so much.

Anyway, when I took my Mini in for the oil change a couple weeks ago
to Baron Mini, I mentioned to them that I had a very annoying squeak
in the clutch mechanism when the cabin was warm from the heater. To
my horror, when Baron called me to let me know that my car was
finished, here was the basic scope of the message that my service
advisor had left for me......

Hi Craig, this is XXXXX from Baron, your car is all set to go here
with its service, we replaced the oil, the micro filter and the other
first scheduled service.... ....."But, on the other item with the
clutch, we can't do any work on that item, (the list says)not
warrantable due to racing, not warrantable due to racing, warranty
voided by Jeff White, its on the vehicle history, the dealer
communication History, saying vehicle used at racing competition
events, repairs or defects not covered by BMW warranty, date posted

Amazed that this is now January and I had never been notified that my
warranty was cancelled, I hopped on the phone for a quick call to the
dealer, but, I was thinking to myself that surely there is a mis-
conception to what I have been doing over the past several seasons, I
remember thinking, "these guys think that I have raced my Mini on a
track or something". I was concerned, but, figured with one phone
call we could get things worked out. So, I decided to just call the
dealership and talk to the service manager about it thinking we could
get things cleared up easily enough. This was on a Friday afternoon,
and, the service manager said he would call this Jeff White and see
if he could get this cleared up, but, that this was something
initiated by Mini USA, not the dealership, but, anything non-
mechanical would still be covered(so, when I say warranty voided, I
am referring to engine, tranny, suspension, anything moving). I
decided to also call the head of the Mini USA Motorsports guy,
Vincent K, and speak to him about this since the previous Mini USA
Motorsports guy Jeff S said my warranty would never be canceled due
to autocrossing since I had expressed my concern over this during one
of our conversations that we had last year. I was delighted to find
that Vincent fully supported me and actually knew my name from the
several contingency submissions I had made throughout the past season
in various Mini's that I had competed in, none of which were my own
besides the National Championship where I placed 2nd this season in
GS. He actually seemed very upset that this Jeff White was messing
with me. He also said that there was noone who had access to my
contingency submissions, so, it wasn't something that came from the
contingency submissions, it must have came from somewhere else. So, I
called the dealer back and requested that they let me know why they
thought I had "raced" my car, since first off, I didn't consider
autocross racing. The dealer didn't know where Jeff White got the
idea that I raced, but, there was one note that indicated that the
proof was from Nationals Results. I still was convinced that they
were thinking I was racing my Mini on a track. I received a call back
from Vincent and he mentioned to me that he was going to speak with
Jeff Whites boss on the following Monday to see if he could get this
sorted out and he also mentioned that this started at the dealership
level and it didn't come from Mini USA, he promised to get back to me
the following day though. Unfortunately, thats the last time I have
spoken with Vincent and I still have yet to hear from Jeff White and
it has been nearly 2 weeks. This is what takes the cake though, my
dealer calls me today and starts reading off contingency submissions
emailed to him from Vincent K from Mini USA Motorsports division as
proof that I raced my vehicle which they are now using to void my
warranty on anything other than non-mechanical items. He also
received an email from the Jeff White guy that initially got this
thing rolling, he said they stood by their stance. I was able to
convince my dealer to replace the clutch mechanism last week luckily
though since he believed the fact that an autocross event wasn't the
cause of the pedal to squeak, but, he is worried that he possibly
won't get paid for the repair and probably won't since Mini USA has
taken this aggressive stance to void my warranty on my brand new Mini.

Bottom line is, I have gone out there across the country and have
supported MiniUSA in a partnership to the best of my ability and I
feel I have been stabbed in the back. Why would they void my warranty
on a brand new Mini with someone who has promoted Mini USA by doing
what they advertise you can do when you purchase a Mini? I
autocrossed one event, Nationals, since I signed the paperwork. And,
they are using this as grounds to void my warranty on anything other
than non-mechanical items? This is just flat WRONG!!!

All I can say is, Mini owners BEWARE! Think twice before buying a
Mini, and, if you autocross it, make sure you don't submit
contingency on it if you want to keep your warranty! I never thought
I would ever be in this position with Mini. I love their product but
am now being forced to hate their aggressive, careless actions
towards me with voiding my warranty on my BRAND NEW MINI! I have
refrained from making this public until now, I have simply exhausted
all avenues of communication with Mini USA representatives since they
only care to communicate now through my dealer than directly with me
for unknown reasons. And, I am told that one of the top guys at Mini
supports voiding my warranty. The dealer now says maybe it was
initiated by them due to it being their responsibility, regardless, I
am sickened by the actions of Baron as well as MiniUSA regardless.
Wow is all I can say...

Once again, nothing saddens me more than making this post, I have had
a wonderful past 3 seasons running Mini's, I almost shed a tear that
they decided to burn the bridge with me for unknown reasons. Why
would Mini jack with me of all people? Heck, there were Mini USA
representatives at Nationals to help support us, why now burn the
bridge? Mini loaned us 5 different Mini's at various autocross events
this season including Nats. Why void my warranty over one event in my
new Mini? Mini took pics of the winning Mini, used my name in various
publications, why void my warranty on my brand new Mini? We
instructed several BMW club members at our local autocross school
this past summer, including SEVERAL Baron BMW employee's, why void my
warranty on my BRAND FREAKIN NEW MINI?

I now shed a tear with the ended relationship with Mini USA, I feel
stabbed in the back by MINIUSA as well as Baron Mini and still
confused as to why I was attacked by MiniUSA and not backed a bit
more by BARON with a pretty much voided warranty.... .

Oh, one thing to add, I asked my dealer if i could have a copy of the
emails he received from Mini USA and he said sure. When I asked him
where the email was later on today, he stated that MiniUSA said he
could not forward them to me since they were to property of MINIUSA.
Just goes to show you their hostile but cowardly attitude.

Craig Wilcox

2007 Mini Cooper S (on the way to Carmax as soon as possible)
2008 Mazda Mini MSR package? on the way in... ;-)
WOW, I am truly sorry to hear this........ I just bought an R53 and they tried say that the top corner molding pieces are not under warranty as they just seem to have flown off the car. they were mistaken and they will be replaced as warranty items, but is was still a hassle. I cannot imagine what you are going through.