Not sure where I'm at... Took the car home from the dealer.
Paint depth meter reading on every panel of the car. hood 5.5 drivers side door panels 6.0-6.5.
Pax side all 4 panels were painted. 7.5-9.5 over there, Pax 1/4, pax front and rear door, and pax front fender were all painted.
Paint where the front fender meets the hood isn't really glossy, and has a greyish tint (it's a black car) Very small and hardly noticeable from 3' but if you look closely its there. Almost looks like white wax that didn't come off.
Dealer had receipt for work done by MB authorized shop (and gave us a copy), but doesn't show on the CPO or VMI (I guess this is how they do it) Our CPO said "Passed" on scratches and paint.
So you know that the car was painted. Is painting an issue with a CPO? I believe that the real problem here is that if the car was painted, they can't easily tell if other work was done (hiding an accident). I don't see why painting over surface imperfections (scratches etc.) would cause warranty issues as long as you can prove that the work was done by a MB dealer. This is where the VMI is supposed to come in.. I still don't understand why they didn't and still won't put what they did in the VMI. There should be no reason not to unless they are hiding something. You probably should ask the dealer to do this.
IMO this is what you really should figure out. I know MBusa gave you lame info, but perhaps you can as them some specific questions on this:
1) "What is in the current VMI on this vehicle?" This is to see if the 2nd dealer put something in there that says something like "vehicle discovered to have been painted - warranty no good"
2) This should easily lead you to "What is the process for a dealer painting a car that they are in the process of reselling as a Mercedes CPO and what needs to go in the VMI?"
Here you are trying to find out if what they told you is the truth. I wouldn't be surprised if sales is in charge of CPO vehicles and service is in charge of the VMI. If the sales guys don't need to get their work put into the VMI then they weren't lying to you. I believe that some dealerships don't have body shops in house and they contract the work out. If the work order to do this came from sales, it is possible that no one would put the work into the VMI. You should be able to see the work that was done in the CPO process (including the CPO check itself) in the vmi - things like tires mounted, wiper inserts ect should all be there along with the date this stuff was done. If they don't need to update the VMI for a paint job, then you have the receipt for the work that was done and the date will be before the CPO work so you have the evidence.
if MBusa says all work including paint during CPO process needs to be in the VMI then I would ask,
3) "well I bought this CPO car, the paint job along with whatever else was done wasn't in the VMI, is this the type of service I should expect from MB"
The following two questions should be asked regardless of what the answer to number 2 above.
4)"is this vehicle's warranty (incl the CPO extension) in tact"?
5) "why did the second dealership deny my warranty claim?"
If you do have a conversation like this with MBusa, ask the person you are working with tho put this in the case file and follow up with an email. You don't want to have to go over this every time you go in for service without something in writing.
Personally, if the dealer lied to you I would also state that I want MBusa's help to get my money back or to find a suitable trade. It is your call as to how far you want to take this.
Dealer had picture of car when they took it in, and gave us a copy, but it's from 10' away and super fuzzy, no scratches are able to be seen so I guess we'll take their word.
There really should be no "I guess I'll take their word" here. This is on you to verify or not. Some guy that just sold you something it telling you "don't worry about it, you'll be fine". Talk about a huge red flag waving around.
So CPO buyer beware, there can be no records of a repaint provided at time of sale even if you look at the VMI or CPO report. Looks like you should bring a paint depth meter even with CPO. It really is a marketing tool to jack up the car price for 1yr more of warranty.
Dealers solution (and MBUSA) was if I ever have warranty problems in the future (I'm still under original factory), have 3rd party dealer call the original sales dealer and they will figure it out.
If you are going to go this route, I strongly recommend that you keep a copy of that receipt from the dealer about the paint work in the car at all times. You never know where you'll be should something happen.
To me, that is all a CPO is, a 1 yr 50kmi warranty along with assurances that they put tires and brakes etc on if needed.