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Quarter of Mini customers head to independents despite already paying for franchised service plans

Mini has said 25% of owners are leaving the franchised network to go to an independent for servicing despite having already paid for a service plan.

Mini has launched a new website which lets customers check the status of their TLC service plan to make sure they are not missing out on servicing work.

Mini TLC is priced from £275 and covers all servicing costs for five years or 50,000 miles. The TLC pack has a 97% penetration rate with Mini customers. The TLC service plan is fully transferable between owners. It could be possible that when Minis are sold on, the fact the TLC is transferable is missed when the car is sold which could account for some of the 25% figure.

A spokesman for Mini told AM: "If a customer with a second hand Mini takes it into a Mini dealer and it has TLC then it is honoured, regardless of whether or not they knew about it. This of course would not be the case if the customer takes the car for service outside the network.

"When purchasing a used Mini from an authorised Mini dealer, the vehicle’s TLC status would be advertised. This might not be the case if the car is purchased from an independent garage or privately. This could contribute to a lack of understanding."

Richard Price, Mini aftersales director, said the brand does not like seeing its customers wasting their money.

He said: "Our TLC servicing pack represents great value but only if people use it. The new site is designed to help owners see if they have servicing value left on their pack, helping them to avoid paying twice. For those who have already used the full value, the site will help them get a fixed price servicing quote."

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  • umesh samani - 24/06/2014 12:54

    I've said this before about many manufacturers / dealers. I think in most cases the customers don't know what they have been sold , the sales people / process has added it all in without clarifying to the customer what they have actually for and the 'benefits'.! I've bought quite a few cars with service plans on them and the customer has not taken the car back to the main dealer, I even questioned some of the customers as why they paid for a service when they car has a service plan? " we were not aware " is the most common answer. I guess some of the dealers/ manufacturers are happy as the customer has paid without taking the services !

  • Graham - 24/06/2014 13:13

    No real surprise you need a good CRM like the MDF360 system in order that you stay in touch and keep your customers informed.

  • JH - 24/06/2014 14:08

    Why would you want to go back to the dealer? BMW has made its customer service such a horrible experience (huge prices/poor warranties) that they are best avoided. I have owned 7; NEVER again though!

    • tomseymour - 24/06/2014 14:10

      @JH - But if you've already paid for the services, you'd be losing out on money. Would you still leave even after putting up £275 for the TLC service package?

    • JH - 24/06/2014 14:26

      @tomseymour - Probably not; but BMWs refusal to deal with faulty wheels on their premium/performance models and their desire to charge £60 for a festoon bulb leaves a very bad taste. If you want value for money and good service - don't go to BMW!

  • Steve - 24/06/2014 14:11

    With TLC on the majority of Mini's purchased the easiest way is to use the most up to date tool you have at your dealership, your own DMS. But getting it to work for you maybe your only issue! Each month download a list of your customers showing as due in the coming month, break it down and check a few every day for anyone due who has not booked in and has a TLC package showing live - then pick up the phone, not rocket science and a no brainer. Your DMS provider will be able to help in building you a report to download the due customers if you don't already have one set up, normally for a one off charge (or in some cases it may even be free).

  • Steve Coulter - 24/06/2014 15:35

    Interesting thread. I put a MINI in for a paid-for TLC service a couple of years ago on the understanding it was service only, advise anything else. £40-£50 p/hour trade service rate is better than double or more at BMW for simple repairs. The car, came back with a list of 'Advisories' and with a quote that the uninitiated private owner may have just had done. They were incredibly OTT and the tyre prices were eye watering, I've also witnessed horrendous tyre invoices in 5 Series service packs. This is what they need to attend to. My friend, Kevin Fulbrook (Sussex Road & Race) and an ex-John Cooper senior technician, runs an old school workshop but wins MINI Owners Magazine Independent Dealer Of The Year Awards and his regular servicing costs if broken down aren't much more than a TLC package - the bonus is that typical consumables like pads, discs and tyres and silly problems are much cheaper than MINI, plus common sense repairs - He's not the only independent this competitive. Also, enthusiast owners would rather AVOID main dealers and go to a trusted co-enthusaist for servicing. Another problem main dealers have brought on themselves. On a similar note, I used to be a BMW Technician, I would have been SHOT if I hadn't stamped the service book plus I'd only advise genuine work and still achieved high efficiency and productivity. Maybe the mid-80's were BMW's quality of service heyday.

  • Brian Elliott - 30/08/2015 09:54

    My wifes mini was 4 years 11 months old, had done 41,000 miles and had a 5 year 50.000 mile TLC pack. Booked it it to a mini dealer who said we would have to pay as it had already had two services? I said we had the 50k 5 year TLC which states that low mileage cars should be serviced every two years. But would not cover it. I wrote to BMW MINI who just gave me waffle. Now trying to take it further as I belive they are selling a product (TLC) which does not do what it says on the tin.