Helpdesk - Mini One finance problem

Article 36 of 51 See all
  • Mini One suffers severe engine damage and is starved of oil
  • Owner faces £2500 repair costs
  • The finance on the Mini was settled and £850 refunded

When Yvonne Jones picked up her 57-plate Mini One from Motor Base Midlands in Loughborough, she didn’t envisage spending the next four months commuting on the bus.

The engine warning light appeared as she was heading home from Motor Base. Tentatively, she drove the 45 miles back and a faulty sensor was replaced. Days later, when the light reappeared, Yvonne was loath to travel to Loughborough again, so Motor Base agreed a local garage could inspect the car.

Yvonne took the Mini to a BMW main dealer. After several inspections paid for by Motor Base, the BMW dealer diagnosed severe engine damage that would cost £2500 to fix. Worse, the engine had been starved of oil and the warranty company wouldn’t pay out.

Yvonne had been told the car would be serviced prior to purchase. There wasn’t any paperwork to back this up, though. The car’s service book was missing, too, although the service history was detailed on a sheet of paper.

Motor Base wanted to recall the car to its preferred garage, but Yvonne had had enough and asked finance broker, Car Loan 4U, to reject the car.

All parties accepted but then everything went quiet. Despite having rejected the Mini, Yvonne’s finance was still active with Car Loan 4U. By the time she contacted Helpdesk, she’d paid £850 for a car she’d barely driven, and spent some £400 on bus fares. Yvonne had also placed a £250 deposit on a second Mini, which was now in jeopardy since her application wouldn’t clear until the current deal was closed.

We called Car Loan 4U, and it explained that while Motor Base had refunded Yvonne’s deposit, the dealer couldn’t settle the finance. Car Loan 4U then offered to see if Motor Base would be willing to hand over a car in lieu of cash. The dealer agreed. Finally, Yvonne was reunited with her money and the finance agreement closed.

‘We always endeavour to seek a positive outcome for the customer and go above and beyond our legal obligations,’ said Car Loan 4U.

Motor Base said: ‘We sell a substantial number of cars and when occasionally there are issues, they are dealt with swiftly and at our cost. We’ve never had to buy back a car before. We’ve now had the car repaired by our preferred garage, and it cost us £900 to rectify.’

What if this happens to you?

  • Choose a dealer that subscribes to a code of practice with a complaints and conciliation service, such as rmif.co.uk and motorcodes.co.uk.
  • Never buy without evidence of a full service history. Also consider an independent inspection before you buy.
We've prepared lots of useful advice, including a full guide on warranties that could help you with either a new or used car.

If you need our help, email us at helpdesk@whatcar.com with a few details and we'll be in touch.

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