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Oct 8, 2012 By Justin Hide | Motoramic
This time it is a group of Florida plaintiffs that are getting together to file a class action lawsuit against the BMW Mini Cooper. The lawsuit is due to reliability issues in the Continuously Variable Transmissions specifically for the first generation Cooper hatchbacks made in 2002 through 2006, and in the convertibles made in 2006 through 2008.
When you own a sports car, you inevitably get a little paranoid about how it's treated when in the care of strangers. One South Carolina man was worried enough that when he took his 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS in for service at a Chevy dealer, he hid a voice recorder in the car. He was right to be worried: The recorder caught mechanics doing burnouts and discussing how to make the owner pay for a ruined clutch the car didn't have before coming in. Now the Internet Justice League has taken the wheel.
William Clark says he took his Camaro to Best Chevrolet-Kia in Easley, S.C. for a clunking noise in the car's six-speed manual transmission. After a previous visit to a different dealer, his Camaro had died shortly after Clark retrieved it; while he suspected the staff at that dealership of joyriding, he had no proof at the time. This time, the voice recorder hidden in the door pocket catches employees doing several burnouts and hard launches in the Camaro; Clark later says the techs drove it harder in 20 minutes than he had in three years. Once back in the shop, the mechanics realize the Camaro's clutch has been fried, and come up with a plan to blame the damage on Clark, saying to "write it up as him buying a (expletive) clutch," while saying another part failed under warranty so that General Motors would pay for its replacement.
Clark says he's taken his evidence to the dealer and Chevrolet customer service; the dealer offered to reassess the damage or take the Camaro as a trade-in on another car, but refused Clark's demand to buy the car back. Clark says Chevrolet customer service washed it hands of the problem, saying it was an issue between him and the dealer.
As of the last update, the car's smoked clutch remains untouched. Unfortunately for Clark, there's few other steps he can take that don't end in court. Dealers are regulated by states; Clark can file a complaint with South Carolina officials, but even with an audio recording the assessment of damage isn't so clear-cut as if the mechanics had wrecked it on a test drive. Instead, other Camaro owners have taken up the cause, posting Clark's video to the dealership's Facebook page and otherwise making noise about the problem. You can hear the entire exchange, including the profanity, here.
A lawyer for Best Chevrolet, in a request to Yahoo Autos to take down this story, told us in an email that the audio was "misleadingly edited." Clark has said the dealership has threatened to sue him over the audio, but has also spoken with him about buying the Camaro back. The dealership may soon learn that in the Internet era, one burnt clutch can create quite the stink.
UPDATE: General Motors says in a statement that if the recording is valid it does not condone the behavior described, and that it is "actively working closely with the dealer to resolve this situation to the customer's satisfaction."
UPDATE 2: Case Closed. According to Clark, the dealership has bought back the Camaro at a price somewhat above its value, and any proceeds from the transaction will be donated to charitable causes..
Source; Yahoo! Autos
July 16, 2012 by John Storey
Complaints about this issue have been coming in from all over the place about Mini owners experiencing the same sudden CVT failure, and being frustrated at how Mini dealers are handling, or should we say not handling the situation, leaving owners with unresolved issues and not happy campers at all. Last year it was a group from California that formed a class action lawsuit against Mini for the exact same reasons. The California legal action known as "Brad Aarons V. BMW of North America, LLC" was to seek restitution, damages and other relief for the included plaintiffs who had to spend between $6,000 to $9,000 to have their CVTs repaired or replaced. This is a third to a half of the original purchase price for the Minis and some owners couldn't afford the repairs and had to sell their vehicles, suffering major losses.
The premature transmission failure is the same reason Florida is forming their own lawsuit against BMW of North America. More specifically, and very similar to the California lawsuit, the U.S. District Court in Miami has received the filing that alleges BMW violated the state's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. It affects 2002-2006 hardtop Mini Cooper versions and 2005-2008 Mini Cooper convertible versions.
Source; Wall Street Journal