My FJ Chicago experience - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-03-2007, 04:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thumbs down My FJ Chicago experience

I spent $125,000, sight unseen, on a low mileage SL65 at FJ Mercedes-Benz of Chicago and would never buy a car from them again. In the middle of May I found the car on autotradercom. It looked good black/black all options and a reasonable price so I e-mailed them to see if it was still available. I got a response back that it was from a used car salesman named Ken Montijo. He was incompetant and dishonest. In other words the stereotypical used car salesman. Here are some of the things that occured:

1) He forced me to pay for the car in 2 days. I know, never let them force you into anything, but it was low mileage, all the options, carfax ok, from one of the largest dealers and my brother had a look at it. So in other words I responded quickly to their request.

After they got my money everything slowed down.

2) I asked for a price to change the wood trim to carbon fiber. I requested this from Ken 3 times. Finally he said that he can't get it without a VIN from a car that has it. So I went on autotrader and found 1 and sent him the details. Next day I had a price. Why so many requests? Why couldn't he find a VIN? Incompetent? Lazy?

3) Right from the beginning I was asking for the service history of this vehicle. It took 3 weeks to get it! At first he said it's so new that there is no history. Then he said that he checked and it's private information. Finally I called and spoke to service directly and they faxed it to me in 5 minutes! Incompetent? Dishonest?

4) When I finally received the car it did not have a nav disc. I called Ken and informed him of this. He said he saw it in the car. He's was sure it's in there. It was a #6 cd. I informed him that my car is an 05 and now they have DVD nav disc's. Dishonest? Incompetent?

5) I sent a negative review to MBUSA. The next day Ken called me and wanted to know why I responded that way so I spent 15 min. explaining. He appologized and said he would try to get me a nav disc and would definately get back to me before the end of the day. He didn't call that day, nor on the next. Finally I called him again. Again he appologized and promised a response by the end of the day. Again no response! Dishonest? Lazy?

6) So I finally decide to speak to his manager, G. Storm. I explain what happened and he says "what do you want me to do?" I ask and he pays for a nav disc. Not really interested in fixing a problem or earning some customer loyalty back but getting rid of a disgruntled customer.

These are demonstative of my experience at FJ Chicago. I was never loud or aggresive with them. I thought that dealing with a large, somewhat repected, MB dealer would result in better customer service. I told them that I also wanted an s65 so they should not have thought that they'd never see me again. My brother is a doctor at a nearby hospital so why treat me this way. Do they think he'll ever buy a car from them?

I don't understand why they don't treat their customers well. It seems logical that you treat them well and they'll come back, but you treat em bad and you won't see them again or anyone that listens to your negative experiences.

I'm from Canada and that happens up here too, like that video about the dealer in Vancouver. But for the most part Canadians have a reputation of being "nice". What is this world coming to when you spend $125,000 and are treated like crap.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-03-2007, 06:57 PM
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Depends on the dealer. I purchased an 05 CL65 from a Chevy dealer (yup, a Chevy dealer) in Phoenix. Found it on the web. Drove the car then bought it on the spot. Very clean deal. I asked for several things to be fixed and they took it to the MB issues, no hassles. Got the repair reciept for the work done. Car is perfect.

Can never tell. It fully depends on the dealer.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-03-2007, 07:10 PM
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What do you want for lousy $125,000?

Just kidding. Sorry to hear of your bad experience. I've never heard of that dealership. I go to Loeber when I want to get screwed.

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-03-2007, 07:34 PM
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I think he means Fletcher Jones...

"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-03-2007, 08:08 PM
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As a former car salesman: the guy was not on top of his "to do list", maybe lazy, & just not well informed as to what he can & cannot do & whom to ask when he needs help. Unless he is a long term salesman with that dealership who just happened to be dealing with personal issues at the time, he likely won't be there long. His boss has better things to do than babysit him & field complaints.

'87 300E: sold after 11years @ 230k & still on the road somewhere in rural Tennessee.

'94 C220 with 93k totalled 10/06 by hit & run broadsiding monster truck: not a scratch or bruise for me
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-03-2007, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by johnamoss
As a former car salesman: the guy was not on top of his "to do list", maybe lazy, & just not well informed as to what he can & cannot do & whom to ask when he needs help. Unless he is a long term salesman with that dealership who just happened to be dealing with personal issues at the time, he likely won't be there long. His boss has better things to do than babysit him & field complaints.

I wouldnt sleep until i made their lives a LIVING HELL.

Just an idea... LOL

It really depends on the dealer and employees, But FJ seems to have their haeds up their ass... FJ motorcars in Cali was the same way....

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-03-2007, 08:58 PM
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Nothing that you posted suggested that there was dishonesty or anything particularly incompetent. Now lazy, poor customer service...YES.

Depending on when you picked up your car [end of month is very bad time to get details and extras squared up] you might have just caught either a very busy salesman trying to juggle 10 cats or a new salesman trying to figure out how to operate the order software.

There is also the issue that you are from out of town which I inferred from your post. Internet sales are still somewhat new to some dealers and they don't always understand that just because someone is coming from 500+ miles away doesn't mean they won't be repeat customers or that the word of mouth is relavant.

My overall guess is that you went in expecting perfection and when you ran into roadblocks to that, issues piled up. You will feel better if you send a note to the general manager letting them know of your experience. Sending a copy to MBUSA will be a waste of either email or a .41cent stamp.


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Last edited by mcbear; 07-03-2007 at 09:00 PM.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-03-2007, 09:32 PM
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In theory, I think for $125,000 you really ought to have received white glove service. This was not some casual purchase.

In practice, though Fletcher Jones is a Mega Dealership concern, like Autonation, and the Newport Beach store is the the highest volume MB place in the country.

They are pretty busy in volume places like that. The advantage you have, though, is that in those kinds of places you can hammer them on the purchase price pretty good, as it doesn't matter too much if they take a thin profit or "blow out" a car, once in awhile.

Buying long distance, of course, put you at a disadvantage to press your desires.
I'm sure you made a good decision to jump quick at the car, but unfortunately, your eagerness to buy worked against you. Ideally, in those situations, it is best to be appear indifferent, that the car is just a hunk of metal that you have to buy, and could do it anyplace, but you would do it HERE. today, if the price was right.

I'm pretty certain in Illinois, amongst the papers you sign when you buy a new or used car, is a document called a "due bill". It states oral promises are invalid and unenforceable, and the following items are "due" with the sale.

This is where you should get from them them the important concessions and everything you'd be reasonably due, and they MUST provide them; copies of service records or the VMI (thouogh they have the right to deny the actual invoice copies of service records if the car is used, to protect the "privacy" of the buyer, dealer practices vary); floor mats or aftermarket dealer accessories at cost from the parts department; an extra set of keys and nice keyrings from parts dept. that you chose; little bottle of touch up paint at no cost; things like that. The "DUE BILL" is a contract that expires usually in 90 days, and for the money you have the right to expect a lot.

Generally, once your check clears the bank, the dealer is a tougher customer than you would ever be.

Sounds like the kink in this experience was the sales person himself. He was indifferent, and generally a bit unresponsive. You weren't there inperson to press your case, and maybe he was dealing with a high volume of sales and this was just one more. If he was really bad, he probably won't be there very long.
Car sales is generally not a job where people stay too long at one place, or in the business.....

Critical things like the Navigation CD, and the service records got sorted, at least.

Hopefully, you can avoid the place for warranty work, if the Service Department has a bad reputation. At least the car itself, in the end, was in good condition and worked, right?

Customer relations counts for a LOT. I don't know why at some places it is so bad. The dealer experience should always be good. If it is, it's expected, and you might tell a few friends. But if it's bad, you'll tell everyone you can. I don't know why they don't get it sometimes, it is simple human nature...

When dealer sales or service is REALLY really awful, some people will refuse to buy another make of the car ever again, they got so mad. It really happens.

<--- superschnelle 300 hp 10:1 ECE euro HV, Hochverdichtung = high compression (11/2011) ... Wie im Freien Fall. Nur horizontal.

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Last edited by cascade; 07-03-2007 at 09:37 PM.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-03-2007, 11:26 PM
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Originally Posted by doin12volt

I wouldnt sleep until i made their lives a LIVING HELL.

Just an idea... LOL
I like that idea ....

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-04-2007, 02:53 AM
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Thumbs up

When I bought my Lexus, I was treated like a member of the royal family. The salesman even went to the dealer's accessory shop and got my son a toy Lexus car so he couls also have a Lexus. Guess what? I actually paid for the car 10 days AFTER I took the car home!
Every Lexus dealer is A++ regarding customer service.
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