Wrong repair done still charged

I hope someone can help me out. I have been dealing with this “issue” since Aug and its now Dec. Here is the short version. Since August my car has had what seemed like transmission issues, low to no acceleration and high RPMs sporadically and erratically. I took it in (warranty ran out few months prior) they found no problem but did the 60,000 mile service for me. Two or three weeks went by and problem became worse, called they said bring it in, it stopped doing it again, then it started doing it I brought it in, they “cleared” the adaptations in the computer and the problem stopped for another two weeks. I brought it back again for them to take another look. They said it needed a new transmission, for 8,000!!! I almost cried, being a part time teacher I do not make enough money to cover that kind of repair. I read in a blog about this issue (it is an issue my car year was the last for this transmission) that sometime the factory will cover part of the cost of this replacement, I spoke with them while my care was being diagnosed. They agreed to cover all but $3,300 of the new transmission. I agreed and borrowed the money. Once it was fixed (5 days later) I took it home. Less than two weeks later the exact same problem occurred, loss of power on acceleration and high RPMs, IDENTICAL. I called the dealership and they were unhelpful stating they were really busy (it was a holiday week) that I could bring it in but they could not promise me they could look at it. Now I love more than an hour from this place, it is difficult to go there and wait for a diagnosis and I just spent 3,300 to fix this problem that is now re-occurring. So I left a message for the service manager. He finally got back to me and offered me a loaner if I brought in the car while it was doing “it” Well the problem was not consistent so I waited. Then emailed him after the holiday and let him know it was consistently doing this daily but not all day long. I also stated I thought they replaced my transmission when that was not the problem. He assured me it was the problem but also had someone come and get my car and they gave me a loaner.

So the end result was my voltage was low and giving off bad electrical signals to the tranny. They gave me a new battery and did not charge me and the problem is solved. My issue is I am convinced I never needed this new tranny at all that I was charged $3,00 for a new battery that fixed the original problem. What is my recourse? They are denying it all saying my transmission was bad.

I would like to have my $3,300 refunded at this point because I think they are covering up their mistaken diagnosis.

Any suggestions?


First of all, it would help if you provided the year, make and model of your vehicle and the number of miles on it.

Second, the low voltage sounds bogus to me. I suspect that it was something else because if the voltage was that low, you would not be able to start your car/truck/SUV/motorcycle or what ever it is.

I don’t really doubt the voltage issue as many transmissions these days are so sensitive in terms of electronic controls that voltage fluctuations could be going on while driving that wouldn’t necessarily create large, noticeable problems. Its also possible to have something like an extra small problem only in some circuits that exacerbate the issue. At least some of those legendary Chrysler transmission problems in their early minivans actually came from a simple bad ground strap for the transmission. Lots of people spent thousands for want of a $1 worth of decent ground connection.

Anyway…we surely do need to know year/make/model/mileage. That would actually play into how plausible I would find a power issue.

Also, are we talking about a user dealer? Or a regular major manufacturer dealer? If the latter, skip this place that obviously is wanting for competency. Go straight over their heads to corporate.

Hmmm, tough one. Hard to prove that after driving it like that with the transmission slipping, that it wasn’t damaged. Considering that it wasn’t damaged, you still got a new transmission after 60K. There is now way they will be able to put the old one back in and they did share the cost in the first place. There is a principle of not being unduly enriched even though you didn’t need it, you still received a new transmission. Had they charged you full price in the first place, you would have a better case.

Maybe transman can provide better info on how tough a diagnosis would be on this.

There’s not enough info known about this problem, especially in regards to codes that existed or how any diagnosis was arrived at, so it’s impossible to really say.
Still no info on type of car, maintenance history esp. with the transmission, and so on.

Just theorizing for a moment, maybe this was an intermittent engine performance fault and not related to the transmission at all. An intermittent electrical fault (ignition switch, fusible link spade, junction terminal, etc) could be responsible for a loss of power and an intermittent high RPMs when the engine bangs back to life.
The same theory could apply to the transmission if an electrical connection at or in the transmission, at the ECM, etc. is making a poor contact and leading to a severe voltage drop.

If the lack of power and high RPMs was really related to the transmission slipping then odds are you did new a new transmission because slippage can kill a transmission PDQ. It could be (theorizing again) that an electrical fault affected something in the transmission which in turn affected the fluid pressure in ? and which then killed the transmission.

Year, make, model? They are not going to give you your money back because they don’t have to…It’s as simple as that…You are probably right, they guessed wrong the first time. Happens all the time…A bad alternator with a lot of A/C ripple is more likely to give the control computer spasms than a bad battery…The service manager can tell you anything he wants to, the entire story is mostly unknown…

$8,000!!! I too would sure love to know what year,make and model we are dealing with.


You can probably safely figure that there was some money made on that 3300 dollars all depending on exactly who the dealer was, type of car, and if this was an alleged Good Will warranty of some sort on a brand new, not reman transmission. The only question woud be how much money was made.

Going halfsies and so on in a warranty repair usually means the customer is footing the entire bill but the smoke screen usually covers that.

I think you are correct Asta99, the whole issue was due to the low electrical power. This would mean another needless repair was done because proper testing wasn’t done to find the real trouble. Intermittent problems can be very hard to find and pin down though. Unfortunately you may be stuck with the repair bill as it is.

Sorry for not posting the year make and model. It is a mini cooper 2006, CVT Automatic transmission, 71,000 miles on it.

I have called the service manager and left him a message asking him to do the right thing and refund the cost of the transmission. I have also researched the BAR and plan to file a complaint with them and they will investigate the complaint. I also plan to let the credit card company know the charge is a dispute.

We will see if it goes anywhere. I have all the paperwork showing the problem before the new transmission and then again after the new transmission, all form the dealership service department.

I could see a new, not reman, transmission from Mini costing 8 grand. That wouldn’t be out of line, all things considered, and especially a CVT.

A few questions. Did they claim this new transmission to be a factory new unit, not a reman, rebuilt, etc?

Did they claim this transmission was replaced under some type of Good Will warranty? (Meaning that Mini footed part of the bill and so on.)

I’m trying to figure out as best as possible if there was game playing going on with any warranty claim. If warranty was not involved and this was a new transmission there’s the possibility that your old transmission is not a core; meaning that the old transmission is yours in reality and will not be sent in to be rebuilt.
Just wondering if they still had that transmission and what a teardown would reveal.

Yes it was new. And yes it was a good will transaction not warranty, they stated it was no longer under warranty and this was their way of offering me something.

No warranty. It was the Factory that footed the bill (mini USA) not the dealership. But the factory does not know yet about this new development of the problem still existing after the transmission was put in and then fixed with the new battery.

I doubt they have the old transmission, that was two and a half week ago. Don’t know if it matters but I am female and know little about cars. But I am educating myself as this goes.

The main point is, I believe a new battery would have fixed the problem with the old transmission since the exact same problem existed with the new one until the battery was replace. Essentially they did not fix the problem with the new tranny.

Thank you for clarifying the part about this apparently being what’s called a Good Will warranty. (Meaning the factory and dealer in cahoots covers all or part of the bill.)

At this point I think you should contact the regional office for Mini and drag them into this for several reasons.
One is that the problem could well have been misdiagnosed and you could be running into stall tactics.
Two is that it could be a way of verifying that the dealer actually did put a new from Mini transmission in your car.

I’ve never worked for Mini so I’m not familiar with their labor times, parts pricing, and so on but I don’t see them as being any different than any other car maker when it comes to policy. With the way warranty works (and Good Will is a warranty process) what often happens is that the customer actually ends up paying for all or most of a GW warranty repair.
This is due to the “actual cost” of the transmission in this case, the alloted markup by the dealer, and when it comes to labor there are 2 factors; the warranty labor time is used and that is heavily discounted as to what Mini pays along with the per hour flat rate charge.

To make this easy to understand consider this very simplified example.
Assume a problem occurs and the customer has to pay for it. Say labor is 400 dollars (figure 4 hours at 100 per hour) and the part is 400 dollars per the over the counter retail price to you. That’s 800 dollars (excluding taxes and so on) that you would pay.

If this were a GW warranty the labor time may be 1.5 hours at 80 per hour for a 120 total labor.
The actual cost of that 400 dollar part would be used and the dealer would be reimbursed at that rate + 25%.
Assume the actual cost of the part to the dealer is 200 dollars and tack on 25%.
So you’re sitting there with a total warranty reimbursement of 120 + 250 for a total sum of 370.

Compare that to the full cost of 800 dollars. Now in this theoretical GW warranty case see what happens if they agree to “meet you halfway”? You pay 400 dollars and that covers this hypothetical repair at no cost to them.
With the rock concert fog machine turned off and paperwork brought out in the sunshine it could be that this 3300 dollars you paid footed the entire tab.

Hope that helps anyway. :slight_smile:

Thank you for that. I had no idea!
I was the one who contacted the factory for the good will warranty, however it would be good perhaps for me to follow up with them. Plus it makes me feel a little better about asking for my reimbursement. I was feeling like I was asking too much. But really and truly I think they screwed up here. and I want them to admit it and make restitution for it. This is not good business practice for a reputable dealership.

If you know BMW then you know Mini as they are one and the same.