You should know there are few people more particular than me when it comes to good workmanship and integrity.
I read through all of these threads and have something to add.
First of all, you seem like a good guy and your heart is in the right place. I sense no malice from you.
In looking at your case, you mentioned you ordered the valve body online and saw this:
Item Number MSRP Core Price Price
211270000688 $819.00 $45.50 $638.82
I highlighted core price, because right there you were looking at EVIDENCE that the part you are buying is remanufactured. Core price is written whenever something is remanufactured because they want to use your old casing so they can remanufacture it and then sell it off again. In this case, you would have paid $45 if you did not give up your old part. The Dealer should have told you that you had a choice to keep the old part and be charged $45 or to surrender the old part and not be charged $45. On your invoices, look for anything referencing core charges, that's how you know that you dealing with a remanufactured part.
Also, if that is not enough for you. Any Mercedes-Benz part number ending in 88 (which is the case for your valve body) is a REMANUFACTURED PART.
On your service invoice, you have that part number written on there, so they did indicate to you right away that this was a remanufactured part.
Somewhere on the invoice (either front or back) there is a fine print that will explain this to you (What the numbers mean, etc.). The invoices I get from Mercedes-Benz (and believe me, I have plenty) state this, but I admit, some other dealerships do not have this preprinted and would call them on it.
I would not be outraged about Mercedes-Benz remanufactured parts. When it comes to complex things requiring many parts, like transmissions, engines, alternators, fuel injection pumps, water pumps or valve bodies--those are usually just available as remanufactured from Mercedes-Benz. They use an old engine block, but the stuff inside is new. An engine block can last hundreds of years for it is not a moving part, its a shell. The same with the transmission bell housing or the casing of an alternator. It costs a lot of time, money and damage to environment to make newly casted engine blocks or transmission bell housings especially when so many existing ones can be reused (if a casing of anything is cracked, Mercedes-Benz rejects it, so don't worry). If your block of a Mercedes remanufactured engine cracks during the 4 year warranty period, you are covered. I get disappointed when Mercedes-Benz does not have remanufactured items on things like the smog pump for my 1992 190E or a differential for my 1985 300D--they offer those as new only. Why they went to the trouble of recasting those cases is a puzzle to me. The smog pump is $1600 because its new cast metal. I wish a rebuild were available from Mercedes-Benz because it would be a lot cheaper without any compromise to quality. I do not want to deal with independents doing the rebuilds (too unreliable, use of inferior parts).
You can't compare a remanufactured valve body by Mercedes-Benz to a refurbished product by XYZ. Mercedes-Benz stands behind their products. They use the old casing, but the entire guts of the component are going to be new. There is no compromise in quality. I would not buy rebuilt engines, for example, from anyone because who knows what corners were cut. But this is Mercedes-Benz rebuilding it (not the dealer, the actual manufacturer). They have access to the original parts, so you cannot get more original than that.
I don't even think there is a such a thing as a new valve body for your car anyway.
You mean if you had a choice between a Mercedes remanufactured part or Mercedes new part for a valve body, you would even think about going for the new? If the part was rebuilt by someone else other than Mercedes-Benz, I definitely understand going for the new Mercedes part.
Like someone stated earlier, the dealers are trained to do thorough work on cars. Replacing only the conductor plate on something as complex as a valve body is usually not a good idea. You want to be thorough in order to save on labor costs in the future. Changing a conductor plate now and then a spring later does not make sense considering the labor costs of removing and replacing parts. If one brake caliper goes bad after 10 years, change the one on the other side as well to be thorough. If you keep one old and one new, you may have calipers not in sync and that is a safety issue. Chances are the other caliper is on its last leg (its gamble I rather not take).
In sum, it sounds like you got your discount. Don't worry about a rude service advisor, you took care of that while bringing the issue up with the manager (good job!). Don't worry about Mercedes-Benz remanufactured parts, its a blessing and no compromise to originality, quality or warranty. Worry about rebuilds from anyone else, though. Do not complain anymore to MBUSA about the remanufacturing issue, but make sure to tell them that ALL dealerships should indicate on their preprinted portion of their invoices that part numbers ending in 88 are remanufactured (but they already indicate core charge, so that solves the problem too).
Just make sure your car is running fine now--this is what you need to focus on.
So, I hope you got educated in all this. I am all for writing complaint letters, but your case is not one of them yet (lets see how your car holds up). We all need to reduce the number of complaints and only strike when its something more clear cut, otherwise MBUSA will not take any of us seriously.
There are lots of dealers out there that misdiagnose and then refuse to refund customer for the diagnostics. Some dealers use non-genuine Mercedes-Benz parts without telling the customer. Some warranty repairs never get done properly. There are plenty of more things one can complain about, but lets make sure we educate ourselves thoroughly before going to that next level.