In 2002 I bought a new MINI, and was over the moon - if a little skint because of it.  The best thing about MINIs financially speaking, was that you could order a TLC pack when you bought it which basically meant you spent £100.00 at the outset and that entitled you to a booklet of vouchers which covered your first 3 years servicing.

£100 for 3 years servicing = a very good deal indeed.

Over time, cars have come and gone but in 2006 we had moved on to a BMW 120d.   On looking at the brochure, I was pleased to see BMW had extended this inclusive servicing idea to their own range and that although 3 years cover was more expensive it still seemed a good deal at £385.00 so I included it in the order.

BMWs, as with several other cars nowadays, don’t have set service intervals.  In the past, your car had to be serviced after a set number of miles - for example every 12,000 - or every year whichever came sooner, but BMWs run a system called Conditional Based Servicing now.

This basically means there are sensors placed around the car which monitor your consumable parts and count down until they actually require replacement - so if you drive sensibly your time between services will be much longer than if you drive like a numpty.

Because of this, and because I’m no numpty, the computer indicated the car needed it’s first service at just under 22,000 miles which is pretty good going in my book.  This first service was duly completed at the garage we bought it from, and nothing was charged although it was really only an oil change and likely didn’t cost much anyway.

This week, the indicator has pointed out the car is due it’s next service - the bad news being the odometer has clicked round to 36,500 miles and I’ve a feeling the service plan only covers you up to 36,000.

I’ve contacted two different dealers to see if perhaps they could sneak it in and do it under the cover anyway but both say that there’s nothing on the BMW system to show that it even has this plan in the first place.

That made me check out my invoice last night and sure enough, it’s there in black and white that part of the order was the 3 year service inclusive.  I pointed that out to the woman at the dealer I purchased it from, but she said she would need sight of it plus if it’s over 36,000 miles then it’s not covered anyway.

What a pain in the neck that is!

Firstly, £385.00 was added to the invoice for this plan so why is there no record of it - who has got the money if BMW don’t?

Secondly, nothing was said anywhere that if you drive like a normal human being then this service plan is nowt but a complete waste of money.  £385.00 would probably have paid for three oil changes!

You may be able to tell I’m not overly chuffed about this - shouldn’t we be rewarding people who drive sensibly these days, rather than penalising them?  If the car had been revved to the red line at every gearchange and driven flatout everywhere then this service would have been due a while ago, well within the 36,000 mile limit (assuming it turns out the car does indeed have this cover).

I’ve sent an e-mail to BMW UK Customer Services to see why the plan isn’t showing as having been bought with the car and to also confirm that all we are getting for our money is one sodding oil change.

(the purchasing dealer’s name has deliberately been left out of this post, but that may change depending on the outcome…)