In which I battle a corporation for money

You may remember when I got my mini cooper a while back. Not long after acquiring said car, I needed to replace the power steering pump. It was a known defect in certain cars, and though it worked most of the time, it was not fun to be driving when suddenly my power steering went out. Luckily, it was tax time, so Uncle Sam gave me back some of my money and I was able to get this fixed.

Not long after that, like less than a month, mini sent out a recall notice. They stated specifically that if we had already replaced the part, they would issue a reimbursement. I got all my paperwork together and sent it in on June 5, 2013. I was told to wait 6-8 weeks.

So I waited. And heard nothing. I gave them a call, just to make sure they received everything. They had, and Good News! They were reimbursing me the full amount, with parts and labor came to almost $1000. So that was excellent. Also, by this time I had a new address, so I gave them that so there would be no confusion. Then I continued to wait, already making plans on what to do with the money once I got it back.

And I continued to wait.

Every 3-4 weeks or so, I would call mini again to find out the status. Every time I called, I had to verify all my personal info, including the address (which I had changed, remember). This is an important detail to stow away for later.
Every time I called, they promised me a different release date for the check. First it was the original 6-8 weeks. Then it was “by the end of the month.” Then, the end of the year. Then, they just stopped giving me estimates.
A few times, they couldn’t find my records at all, which was hilarious and maddening all at the same time. Lucky for everyone involved, I myself had kept detailed records. When I gave them this information, my “case” was finally found again. I even asked to speak with supervisors and managers. Once I was transferred to the “I want to be financed for a brand new BMW*, please” representative. That was just all kinds of wrong. They are supposed to pay me! 

Eventually I got the news that an actual physical check had been cut in my name. So I checked the mail every day, and continued to wait. After another month or so, I called them again. Much back and forth led to the discovery that my mystery check had been sent to my old address. You know, the one I changed about a month into this whole ordeal, and had to verify with every biweekly phone call? So I re-gave them my new address, though at this point I’ve lived here for about 9 months.

And I continued to wait.

(I did receive an email asking me to participate in a customer satisfaction survey. I decided they didn’t want me to fill that out until I actually got the thing I’d been fighting almost a year for, so I saved it til later. I’ll still fill it out, but at least now there’s closure to my case.)

Until today, Lo! A Fedex envelope that required a signature. The return address said BMW. I was almost in tears as I opened it. Did I really get my check, after literally 50 weeks? I had almost started to believe it was a myth. My elation was cut short, however, as I noticed several pages attached to my check. Did.. did they send me extra money? No. They sent me 5 other people’s checks paperclipped to my own. Some goon at the BMW head office was handed a stack of checks, instructed to mail them, and didn’t bother to see if they were all going to the same place. Mine happened to be on top, so they all came to me.

Interesting side note, they spelled my city incorrectly. Apparently I put in additional syllables and letters when I say my address. Or someone doesn’t bother to double check anything. Just one more thing that may have been able to speed the process up.

My own check went immediately into the bank, before there was any case of BMW calling backsies. I was tempted to call  (or at least reply to the email) to let them know of their error, but then I figured that if I had fought this long and hard for my check, these people probably have too. If I tell BMW they effed up, they’ll cancel the checks and those poor bastards will have to start the process over. So, I’m going to write each person a little note explaining what happened, and send the checks out myself. Maybe there will be some karma, or maybe these people will flip out and call BMW themselves. Either way, my battle is finally over.

The end.


in the three weeks since writing this post, I’ve heard from 4 out of the 5 people I sent checks to. I received 2 emails, one handwritten card, and one person even found me on facebook. They all had the same story: they’ve been battling for at least a year for this money with no end in sight, and they were all very grateful. Not grateful enough to send me a portion of their newly acquired money, but that’s ok. 😉



*BMW is the parent company of mini.


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