MINI of the Woodlands, or MOTW as it is known, is a strange bird. I have had the interesting opportunity to purchase a new MINI from them, and have all my free 2 year maintenance done there, as well as some warranty repair. I was there at their grand opening of their new facility, and I have the feeling I will be around for it’s closure.
In order to really understand my experiences I will need to divide this up into three sections; new car sale, complimentary service, and warranty repairs. This is also fairly chronological so you can see how things seemed to have changed over there.
New car sale
My new car sales experience was excellent. My salesman was polite, professional, and as you might expect from someone at a MINI dealer, fun. We poked and prodded at all kinds of MINIs, played with the controls, talked about what was coming in the next model year after this one, and so on.
I needed a larger MINI so that pushed us towards the MINI Countryman which we test drove. He suggested a route which had plenty of curves which he encouraged me to take in a spirited manner, and I obliged. Then, at the end of the evening when he could tell I was still unsure he let me take the car I thought I wanted home for the night. That was a really evil move, I was in love before sunrise.
He was also around not only through the sales process but afterwards as well. Happily answering my multitudes of questions about how things worked or where I could get whatever. This was great since I had to bring Buster back a couple times to get the graphics done; once for the stripes and again for the roof graphic.
When I could not find my salesman the sales manager was always helpful in finding him or getting me what I needed. These two people really made me feel like part of the MINI family. I was very pleased with the whole purchasing process through MOTW.
When I bought my MINI I received two years of complementary service which included things like oil and air filter changes. They also did free inspections to make sure you didn’t have other issues. The car was always returned to me cleaned and washed by friendly staff.
One time when I took Buster in for service he had a noise which sounded like some leaves had somehow made their way into the air conditioning fan. Turn the fan on, noise, turn it off, no noise, turn it up, more noise, turn it down, less noise. I asked them to look at this while they were servicing it.
When Buster was done and they brought it back up I noticed there was still a noise so I asked about it. The service adviser told me that they didn’t do anything about it because it was being caused by one of my mods. At this time I had very few mods, mainly running the wires for my radar detector and dash cam under the trim and to the fuse box.
I told the service adviser I disagreed and asked them to take another look. I said if it is my mod, I will pay them to fix it, if it is not that it should be covered. After a while they brought Buster back up and told me it was indeed some leaves that had fallen down beside the cabin air filter. They replaced the cabin air filter and cleaned out the leaves and it was all good now. Indeed the noise was gone.
While this was a very minor thing it should have been a red flag for what was to come.
Around mid 2019 I had a couple issues with Buster that I needed taken care of under warranty. These issues included the comfort access button in the driver’s door quit working, there was a pretty big leak in the windshield washer system, and I was having a problem with an electrical drain.
While I did think about my previous experience with my mods I didn’t really see an issue except for the electrical drain since I have several electrical mods on the car. To make sure this was not an issue I unplugged my amateur radio charger (cigarette lighter plug in) and removed the fuse for the undercarriage lights. Surely this would be the only things they could have issue with.
They called me a couple days later and told me they could not find a leak in the windshield washer system, that the electrical drain was probably from me leaving a door open overnight, and that the door handle button was not covered under warranty because the door handle had been modded.
The problems with this are as follows:
The windshield washer system was going through something like a gallon of fluid a month, even if you never used it once. Getting ahead of myself in the story a bit when I took Buster to Momentum MINI’s service clinic, they filled the system up with water, lifted Buster in the air and the mechanic, my wife, and I all watched it raining water out of the tank. No flashlight needed, no removal of panels needed, nothing. Obvious to anyone who isn’t legally blind.
As for leaving the door open, if you own MINI you should know you can leave all the doors and boot open, the MINI will shut off all the lights after a few minutes so that could not possibly be the issue. I told them this and they said that I must have come out repeatedly and reopened the doors to force the lights to stay on and drain the battery. What? You’re saying I spent my night intentionally causing a problem with my MINI?
Lastly they were kinda right with the door handle as I had put a black carbon fiber cover over the handles. This would require the mechanic to grab the cover, pull to remove it, and then continue with his repairs. Once completed he could then snap the cover back on, or leave the covers in the passenger seat and I could do it. But no, that was a mod and so the entire door handle assembly was no longer covered under warranty.
In addition, they wanted to charge me over $100 to fix absolutely nothing.
Calling the service manager got nowhere, he was never available and would not return calls when messages were left. Several days later I resorted to calling MINI corporate to get assistance and they called the dealership. This caused the service manager to call me. He listened to my complaints and assured me he would look into it.
The next day he talked to the service adviser and mechanic and said that they could not cover the door handle because it was modded. I almost lost my cool and explained to him exactly what that “mod” entailed and asked him if he had actually looked at the car and he said no, but that he would and would get back to me.
I received a call the next day from him and he said he did look at the car and that he too could not believe the mechanic wanted to deny warranty coverage for something that just clipped over the door handle and did not even touch the comfort access button that had obviously failed. He said they would take care of it and also they had found a leak in the transmission pad gasket that they would replace.
I asked him how much this was going to cost me and he said I had a deductable on my extended warranty of $50, at this point I asked him point blank, so what is the total amount I will have to pay when I pick up my vehicle, his reply was $50. I said thank you very much and waited for a call telling me Buster was ready.
All this time I was still talking to MINI corp and they must have gotten a call from the service manager because shortly after my conversation with him I received a call from them. They wanted to know if the situation had been resolved to my satisfaction to which I said as long as they do what they say, yes. MINI corp closed the case.
A couple days later I get a call that Buster is ready to pick up. Not being the trusting sort after all of this I asked how much the bill was and was told $150. I responded by saying no, it was supposed to be $50 as the service manager told me personally just a couple days ago. The arguments started. I tried to call the service manager and got the same thing as before, never in and didn’t return calls. I finally called MOTW back and told them I would come pick up Buster but it would be the last time they would see me.
You might think this is where the story ends, you would be wrong. I posted reviews about this to several review sites to let others know what kind of shady business this was. Some of those reviews received a reply supposedly from the MOTW service team saying basically that they were sorry about my experience and that the service manager would like to personally talk to me and make things right, giving the phone number to contact him directly.
Sounds good, right? Except for the facts that again he was never available and would not return calls when I left messages, and then you add in the fact that you can not reply to a reply on these reviews. This makes it seem like the last thing that happened was the dealership reaching out to make things right. A little research turned up they did this all the time. Got a negative review? Post this canned reply to make it look like the dealership cares and solved the issues. So I posted another review pointing all of this out, that review did not get a canned reply.
Now you are thinking that this is just me, that I had a personality conflict with them or misunderstood what I would be charged etc. Right? Well let’s add a couple things into the mix such as the fact that MOTW does not respond to BBB complaints, at all. Go ahead, look them up at bbb.org and see for yourself the complaints. In fact as of this writing they show to not be accredited by the BBB and have a rating of F. Go figure.
Now you are looking at reviews for them saying that they have like a 4.1 on Google and similar on Facebook, I must be delusional! No, that is for new car SALES, check out their dealerratings.com service department listing, 1.6 out of five, and I think that is being generous.
In all fairness I will say the actual work they did was good, but the nightmare that surrounded it was insane. I highly recommend you not ever go here for service of any kind.
I should also point out that as of November 2019 there are rumors that they are closing their brand new location and moving back in with the BMW dealership. This at a time where the news reports MINIs selling at an all time high. Wonder why that is? (not really)