Bought a repainted car, dealer fraud? - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 10-05-2008, 10:39 AM Thread Starter
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Dealer repaint fraud?

I just bought this 07 black on black C230 with 13xxx miles from a local Benz dealer as a Mercedes CPO or Certified Pre Owned vehicle. I was told it had no body work and was given a clean CARFAX report. I took it home and a few days later washed it for the first time. I found a fist size spot on the hood that looked like it had sanding marks and a round paint spot that was not quite as shiny. This made me more curious and I looked closely at the rest of the car. I found a small tape line along the passenger side body crease showing the upper part of the front and rear fenders had been painted. I took the car to a local body shop who found three fenders, the roof, hood, and the front bumper had been painted. The front bumper had not been reinstalled properly and had a torn part underneath. Supposedly body work only needs to be reported if it is over 500 in damage. The shop said it would be about 1800 just to fix what was still needed. I went back to the dealer and looked at a few other 07 C230s on the lot and found another black one that "had no damage". This also had both rear fenders repainted.
I understand reconditioning of a vehicle sometimes means painting a scratched panel but when is a dealer required to disclose this? What recourse do I have to resolve this misrepresented vehicle? Can I report this to CARFAX and have the report corrected?

Last edited by sme430; 10-05-2008 at 10:56 AM. Reason: title correction
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 10-05-2008, 01:17 PM
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Can't help you with legal dilemma with the dealer, but you have obligation to report only accidents totaling more than $500.
If somebody did refreshing coat of paint, this is not accident related. Than on car that new the paint suppose to be in showroom condition. When somebody repainted it, it had to be because of damage, not the age. Get somebody with instrument to sense Bondo, under the paint.
Did you check MBUSA.com what CPO exactly covers? Some members with more experience might add more.

Last edited by Kajtek1; 10-05-2008 at 01:20 PM.
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 10-05-2008, 01:33 PM
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hey, how are you, to be a certified starmark vehicle, the vehicle has to have no obvious paint work or previously repaired damage, a good benz tech will be able to spot this in about five minutes after a close inspection, our dealer turns down cars and trucks all the time for this type of thing, alot of dealers will do "touch up" work to fix small problem areas, but also should disclose this to anyone who purchases the vehicle. there are very few body shops who can repair a panel or the whole side or section of a vehicle without obvious tape marks or panels that dont blend properly, it takes a sharp person to be able to spot this type of repair, unless its obvious. Dont fret, im sure you bought a nice car, but hardly any pre owned vehicles will not have touch up work done, unless its been covered or garaged frequently, and well pampered. good luck and if you ever get in upstate south carolina and i can hel you, please dont hesitate to call me, you can reach me at 864-213-8000, just ask for ron in service, take care

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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 10-05-2008, 03:30 PM
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I think if they found no indication of collision damage, or it was repaired by a private party, they can claim good faith. I have heart some dealers make the seller do a disclosure statement. You have to remember that dealers roots swtart with horse trading!
Go back treaten legal and see if they give yo any finacial relief
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 10-05-2008, 06:05 PM
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If you don't want the car, take it back. Tell them the car has been re-shot and at the time of purchase it was your understanding that the car had "no body work". There's no shortage of black 2007 C230's. They're coming off their 27 month leases all the time, so the dealer should be able to sell you one that you'll be satisfied with. A good dealer will be happiest when you're happy. This is based on the assumption that you have only had the car a few days.
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 10-06-2008, 05:33 AM Thread Starter
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Further research shows the car was originally titled in Orlando Florida. Being that I am recently a replant from West Palm Beach I am no stranger to "weather damaged vehicles". The repaint work is mostly on the top surfaces and not on the doors so I am wondering if the reason was storm related such as hail. The paintwork was very good, other than the one spot on the hood. I pulled the dealer service history and googled the VIN both show nothing significant. Are there any other ways to research the VIN? I was told the Auto Insurance Underwriters (for insurance companies) keeps good records but I have no way to search them.
I checked all the bolts I could see and found the radiator crossmember support bolts, hood catch, etc all had signs of turning. None of the front fender bolts were turned. I checked three other cars on the lot and found the same thing. Is there a service or inspection reason for this?
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 10-08-2008, 07:18 PM Thread Starter
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Here is the VIN if anyone knows another way to research it WDBRF52H77E026421.
Thanks!
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 10-08-2008, 09:29 PM
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Have you at least tried talking to the dealer and seeing if they will put you into another car of equal or greater value? I'd try that first, then find a good lawyer. Depending on what you signed when you purchased the car, you may have a really good case here. A letter from a lawyer may be all it takes for the dealership to trade the car out. This could turn into a major PR story if this got out.
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 10-08-2008, 11:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Guenther View Post
I think if they found no indication of collision damage, or it was repaired by a private party, they can claim good faith. I have heart some dealers make the seller do a disclosure statement. You have to remember that dealers roots swtart with horse trading!
Go back treaten legal and see if they give yo any finacial relief
They have a nice little ocular that lets them measure depth of paint. They check that when they certify.

Since the CPO states the car has NO damage, the paint does constitute damage from ORIGINAL. It does not matter who did it, how or when, just that is is NOT original.

First, you will want an independent inspection to CERTIFY this.
Second, notify the dealer and request they refund your money NOW.
Third, Get the State's Attorney General involved if you do not get immediate satisfaction.

Mercedes Benz USA will be ZERO help. They will tell you that this is a problem between you and their fully independent franchise dealer [yes, I have been there]. You need to be very quick and very firm. You have DIMINISHED VALUE because, should you trade the car, a dealer is going to give you LESS for it because they will deduct for the paint.

Good luck with this.

McBear,
Kentucky

Being smart is knowing the difference, in a sticky situation between a well delivered anecdote and a well delivered antidote - bear.
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 10-09-2008, 05:49 PM Thread Starter
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SO after a little, ok a lot of yelling, the dealer took the car back and put me in another almost identical (except for the paint work) Black C230. They basically made the first deal "go away" and back dated the new vehicle to the original contract, price and all.
I feel sorry for the next person who buys this car without knowing what they are getting. The fact that the dealer now has knowledge of the paint and should disclose it may help but I doubt it.
Hey does anyone know for sure that the CPO guidelines say "original paint" or "limited reconditioning" or something similar? Also is this a MB USA guideline or just a local rule? I wonder if MB USA would be interested in knowing how far off the guidelines their dealer is. While I was looking through the inventory of silver and black C230s I found two others with CPO and at least two painted fenders.
Thanks for all the pointers and I guess this is a wrap! Needless to say I will never go to the unnamed dealer in the Eastern Maryland boating town ever again. All my service work will go elsewhere.
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