Horrible experience with parts and service department - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 98 (permalink) Old 03-17-2010, 02:53 PM Thread Starter
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Horrible experience with parts and service department

Sorry if the post is not supposed to be here but I could not find a more suitable section.

Here is my experience with the dealership.

What do you think?

I removed individuals' names but will keep the dealer's name. MBUSA is also aware of this whole situation which I found out that it does not really mean anything

On Sunday evening, March 7th 2010, I had my car towed to the Mercedes-Benz of Fort Lauderdale dealership. The car was in limp home mode, which made it impossible to drive. On Monday, I received a phone call from a service advisor. He asked me what needed to be done to the car. I told him that are two recalls for the car (December 2009 camshaft and air vent campaign). I was told by MB Roadside Assistance that the problem may go away after the recalls are performed. When I mentioned this to the service advisor, he immediately refuted that the recall could be associated with the limp home mode - and he said this prior to having the computer codes from the service department. We came to a compromise and he said when the recalls are done, they can check if the problem goes away. That was a fair approach. He called me later that day saying that when they started the recall job, they figured out that the car's valve body needs to be replaced. After this news, I called my mechanic in Miami, where I usually take my car, for a second opinion. (He is a former technician at an authorized MBUSA dealership with over 20 years experience working strictly with MB vehicles.) He told me that he does not even remember the last time he changed a valve body (a mechanical problem). He said all you need to do is to change the conductor plate that goes on the valve body (an electrical problem).

I went to the dealership on Tuesday. I asked the service advisor if they checked the car after the recall. He hesitated at first and then said, "yes." I got the feeling they did not check the car after the recalls were performed, I do not think they even finished the recalls on the car at the time. He told me that the whole valve body needed to be replaced, otherwise it would not fix the problem. He insisted that I would be coming back to the shop later with the same problem. I asked him if it was possible to change the conductor plate only, and he said this rudely: "I am not going to repeat this to you again. I will not service your car here if you keep asking the same question!" I was shocked as I heard this, but out of respect for my elders I did not snap back. I told him that I always purchase parts from their parts department at their online price (which is cheaper than the regular price) and I do not want to pay the MSRP.

I paid for the parts. I was told the car would be ready either later that day or Wednesday and then I left the dealership. Hoping the car would be ready, I went back to the dealership around 5pm the same day. I decided to talk to the service manager regarding the attitude I received from the service advisor. The manager is a very nice guy. He apologized and asked me to understand him as being an old man. He promised to give me a discount on labor because of the trouble I had with him. He said the car would be ready on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, I went to pick up the car. The manager told me he had given me 20% off discount and the car was ready. I asked him if I could have the valve body that was removed from my car. He said he could not because there was a "core charge" for the part. I had no idea what that meant but he explained to me that the part that they put in my car was remanufactured. I was surprised, as neither the part guy nor the service advisor mentioned anything to me at all about the parts not being new. I was shocked since all the parts I have purchased from them until that day were new.

I e-mailed the parts manager, asking if they sell remanufactured parts. He emailed back: "only new original equipment factory Mercedes-Benz parts." I e-mailed the service manager saying "...nobody informed me a remanufactured part would be used as a replacement.... I am very disappointed and feel cheated." He replied to me, and I quote part of his e-mail: ".... In researching... the part guy he explained to you that it was a remanufactured part and that he would not charge the standard core deposit as the repairs were being performed in our shop and the technician would return the core for return to the manufacturer...." Now I am being accused of lying by the parts guy because we did NOT discuss anything about the part being remanufactured, a core deposit, etc. He stated something to the manager that we did not even discuss at all. This is to me worse than anything because I am not a liar.

I paid $776.98 for the parts and $326.71 for labor. There is no mention of the part being remanufactured on the invoices. At the bottom of the invoice it states, "All parts installed are new unless otherwise indicated." There is no indication at all. I bought new parts but was told after the service was finished that a remanufactured part was used. This is not right.

I am not even sure if they really replaced the valve body or if they simply kept the existing valve body and just changed the conductor plate only or if they fixed anything at all except the recalls. Frankly, at this point I am not even sure if they did the recalls!
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post #2 of 98 (permalink) Old 03-17-2010, 06:30 PM
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I've been through the same sort of situation. Write a very detailed letter to MBUSA. They will put you in contact with the regional MBUSA manager who will work with you to determine who is at fault if that's the case.
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post #3 of 98 (permalink) Old 03-17-2010, 06:51 PM
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I think that you have discovered that the car industry is riddled with liars, and guys who would sell their own mother to avoid admitting that they have made a mistake... That's not just peculiar to Mercedes though.

I had a similar (but less expensive) experience with a Toyota dealership a few years back, who I had patronised during the warranty period of a new car. This car had platinum spark plugs that were good for 80k miles, but during a service at around 45K miles I noted on the invoice that a set of regular plugs were included on the bill. I challenged this charge, and eventually I went into the office of the service manager to get it resolved. He insisted that my car had never been fitted with platinums. So I produced the last 5 service records that showed no plugs had ever been changed at his workshop - proving that I was right. He still wouldn't back down, so I demanded to see the original plugs that had been taken out. He said that they were in the trash and could not be found. That was the last time I did business there.
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post #4 of 98 (permalink) Old 03-17-2010, 07:01 PM Thread Starter
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I even talked to Executive Case Manager from MBUSA. A very nice lady but she offered no solution. She said that the dealers are independent and there is nothing they can do. I wonder what is the role of MBUSA when there is an obvious bad business by the dealer? I asked the serial numbers of both valve bodies to the service manager. I want to make sure they actually put a valve body. As far as I know after this experience, they could just change the conductor plate and leave it at that. How can you trust them after this experience? I will not leave this and will go as far as I can...
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post #5 of 98 (permalink) Old 03-17-2010, 07:28 PM
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I can assure you that MBUSA will get involved if you write a letter to them and do it in a professional manner. If you start throwing around the sue word or become belligerent, forget about it.
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post #6 of 98 (permalink) Old 03-17-2010, 07:32 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Lee Wireless View Post
I can assure you that MBUSA will get involved if you write a letter to them and do it in a professional manner. If you start throwing around the sue word or become belligerent, forget about it.
Actually, the message I posted here 95% is the same thing I sent to MBUSA. I just removed some stuff and the names. That's it.

EDIT: I tried my best in writing the letter and English is not my native language. When I re-read the letter, I put things in this post that I did not put it the actual email I sent to MBUSA, such as the manager is a very nice guy

Last edited by jcbenny; 03-17-2010 at 09:31 PM. Reason: Added info
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post #7 of 98 (permalink) Old 03-17-2010, 08:53 PM
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There have been a few threads from people who had direct dealings with MBUSA about dealer problems. Sometimes they report the MBUSA uses the excuse that their dealers are independent franchises and they have little or no control. Other times, they have gone to bat for the customer. Others have said that the regional MBUSA rep helped them, but sometimes not.

This info is probably of little use to you. But to me, it seems like the people up in New Jersey differ im their responses to customer complaints. If you feel that you were cheated, I would continue to pursue the issue. Like the old saying goes about the squeaky wheel is the one that gets the grease.

Best of luck to you.

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post #8 of 98 (permalink) Old 03-17-2010, 09:25 PM Thread Starter
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This info is probably of little use to you. But to me, it seems like the people up in New Jersey differ im their responses to customer complaints. If you feel that you were cheated, I would continue to pursue the issue. Like the old saying goes about the squeaky wheel is the one that gets the grease.

Best of luck to you.
Could you please explain if you mean NJ is good at customer complaints or not? Sorry, could not understand that part. I was called by the Executive Case Manager from NJ after I sent her an email. I will be the squeaky wheel because I really feel that I was cheated.
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post #9 of 98 (permalink) Old 03-17-2010, 09:46 PM
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I wonder what is the role of MBUSA when there is an obvious bad business by the dealer?
Easy.

IF the dealer treats enuff people badly, its sales will fall below what Mercedes expects and it will cancel them.

BUT ... you're a little unclear on what constitutes a recall.

Recalls are ONLY for safety or emissions issues, and are monitored by the Federal goverment and coordinated with the Federal government by Mercedes. The language of recall letters is VERY clear and will describe the consequences of the problem. Recalls are valid for the life of the car and the work is always performed for free. Until you've read the recall notice or if it's posted here, you have no idea whether a recall problem could cause your car's behavior. It's NEVER EVER a situtation of perform the recall to see if it fixes the problem. Instead if it will is known with certainty in advance. It's again, never ever let's see.

You have grabbed on to the concept proposed by the roadside assistance guy and have assumed him correct and everyone else in error. His idea is clearly attractive because it indicates "free," but there simpy is no particular evidence he was correct. He attached no diagnostic equipment, for one thing, did he?

Know also that the roadside assistance guys are not the dealerhip's top mechanics. Mostly they change batteries and flat tires and otherwise call a tow truck.

Mercedes publishes lots of other technical bulletins describing somewhat frequently occurring problems (not safety/emissions) and these are performed for free only while car is under warranty. After that, owner pays. But, again, the situation is clear to the engineers and so is the language of the bulletin, and the notion of "try it and see if it fixes it" is simply ridiculous. It either will because the bulletin says it will, or the bulletin is irrelevant to the situation.

The reason you've been put off by Mercedes is very likely because you clearly have not presented a clear case. The word of the roadside assistance guy does not represent a case, nor does vague reference to bulletins that may or may not be related, nor for sure is the notion of "try it and see if it will work."

In addition, no one is going to take you seriously when you complain about use of rebuilt parts. They are simply more economical and in no way inferior to new parts--they have a warranty, too. The dealership tried to save you some money, and at this point you'll pay to have the rebuilt parts removed and the new ones installed and you'll pay more for the new parts.

The real moral to this story is it's too bad the roadside assistance guy tried to be "nice." If he'd kept his mouth shut, you and everyone else would be happier.

Kent Christensen
Albuquerque
'07 GL320CDI

Last edited by lkchris; 03-17-2010 at 10:09 PM.
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post #10 of 98 (permalink) Old 03-17-2010, 09:51 PM
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Could you please explain if you mean NJ is good at customer complaints or not? Sorry, could not understand that part. I was called by the Executive Case Manager from NJ after I sent her an email. I will be the squeaky wheel because I really feel that I was cheated.
Sorry if I was not clear earlier. According to what I've read on here from people posting similar complaints about dealing with MBUSA in NJ, the reports are varied. Some owners get help and other do not. Your mention of an Executive Case Manager is the first time I have heard of that position. But these regional reps have been mentioned several times.

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