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SLK230
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Discussion Starter #1
Has anybody else had a really horrible customer experience with Mercedes?

I'm at the point where I want to declare my 2003 SLK230 a lemon. It has an intermittent problem where it will suddenly and completely lose power in traffic. Two of the last three times it's happened while I was on the highway in a high-traffic situation. Fortunately, I didn't get in an accident either time, but only because the drivers behind me were paying attention.

After it spectacularly failed in the middle of a big merge, I brought it into the dealer for the fifth time with this same problem. I tried to help them out by providing a detailed incident report, as well as a letter explaining all the contributing factors that I could identify. They took the car in, ignored the letter. At the end of the week, they called me up and said they'd fixed the problem by replacing the mass airflow sensor. I told them they were wrong, since that was the part they'd replaced the very first time I'd brought it in with this problem, and it had manifestly not fixed it (as they would have known if they'd read my incident report). They said "Well, we tested it, and it was out of spec so that's the problem." I insisted that it wasn't the problem, because it hadn't fixed it before, and, hey, if it had gotten that badly out of spec twice in 18 months, maybe something else was going on. The service rep looked at me patronizingly and said "Well, we replace a lot of those sensors." I told him I'd be back with a broken car and I'd be really upset when I was.

Unfortunately, I was right. Four days later, I'm on my way home, and the engine cuts out completely again. Luckily, this time it happened on the surface streets near my place, so I didn't almost die. I brought it in the next morning, and declared that I wanted a new car, because this car was completely unsafe, and I was in fear for my life every time I get in the car.

Now they're giving me the runaround and telling me that "Oh, this time we can fix it", which makes me wonder why I should believe them when they failed the previous five times. And they're threatening to unleash "Corporate" on me for daring to ask for a new car. It's unbelievable. I'm incredibly pissed off. I had a cheap Saturn for 8 years and 100,000 miles. It never once left me in doubt as to whether I was going to get where I was going. I finally save up and buy myself a nice car, and it's a complete disaster, putting my life in danger multiple times in less than two years. And Mercedes won't admit anything is wrong.

Am I crazy? What would you do if your Mercedes were conking out on you every month or two, necessitating a trip to the dealer? Am I overreacting? I'm so angry I can't think straight any more, so I figured I'd toss this out to other owners to see what I should do.
 

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1992 300E-24
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31 Posts
Mate,
I think I would go and do Something Very Nasty to someone if I had your experience! Fortunately guns are illegal in Australia!

This is exactly the experience I would want to avoid. (See my recent posting on MERCEDES BENZ QUALITY)

Go and buy a Hyundai. They are near the top of the J D Power quality ranking.
 

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1991 300 SE
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18,534 Posts
OZE1 - 5/2/2005 8:27 PM


Go and buy a Hyundai.

…well, let’s not get too crazy…[:0][xx(]

Better yet get yourself a classic Benz; mine have been reliable, look great, and are fun to drive.

No, you are not over-reacting – you have every right to be as upset as your are. Problem is: does DCX care?
 

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SL500, ML320, E320
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538 Posts
nehrlich:
You might want to add your location to your profile - -it would certainly be more valuable to know where such an incredibly incompetent dealership is located. Perhaps others have endured a similar experience with this dealer ?

Inquiring minds want to know !

regards
 

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E320 (w211)
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96 Posts
Are you living in the States? 5 times is a lot and I think your entitled for a replacement vechicle. Don't know about other states but heres what California Lemon Law has to say:

"Your California Lemon Law Rights

The law provides that when a manufacturer cannot repair consumer goods after a reasonable number of attempts, it must either replace the defective product or refund the consumer's money. Generally, the manufacturer of your "lemon vehicle", as opposed to the selling dealer, bears the final responsibility to re-purchase or replace your defective car, truck, boat, RV, motor home, or motorcycle.

Generally, the consumer, and not the manufacturer, has the option to select either a replacement or a refund. Moreover, consumers do not have to demand what they are rightfully entitled to under the law. Instead, the law requires that the manufacturer initiate an appropriate offer to the consumer once a reasonable number of attempts to repair the defective vehicle has failed.

When To Seek Legal Help

If a manufacturer fails or refuses to offer a replacement or a refund for a "lemon," the consumer has the right to file a civil action in a court of law. When the consumer wins a lemon law case, the manufacturer must:
Provide a replacement or a refund
Pay the consumer's costs and expenses, including attorney's fees.
In some cases, the manufacturer can also be liable for a "civil penalty" of up to twice the consumer's damages (usually the price of the defective goods). "
 

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Oh and one more:

How many times do I have to take my car back for repairs?
The law states that the manufacturer is entitled to a reasonable number of attempts to repair the vehicle. The law does not specify what "a reasonable number of attempts" is. As a rule of thumb, four repair attempts for the same problem is generally considered a reasonable number. This is only guideline that may vary depending upon the seriousness of the problem. Another factor to consider is the number of miles between repair attempts.

http://www.normantaylor.com/faq.html#7
 

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SLK230
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Discussion Starter #7
Oh, this is Mercedes Benz of Oakland, California. Definitely avoid them.

I've consulted with a lemon law lawyer, and he thinks I have a case. Unfortunately, he also said that in his twenty years of experience, Mercedes almost never settles cases, and forces each owner to go to court to get satisfaction, a process which can take over a year, during which time I would have to garage the car (because I do feel it's unsafe to drive) but still have to make payments on it. Basically Mercedes won't admit it made a lemon car unless forced to by a court. Which is a pretty obnoxious policy.

It might be too late for me, but I figured I'd give a heads up to anybody else out there who might be considering a Mercedes that they treat their customers terribly. I got much better service from my Saturn dealer. You'd think that with the price of each Mercedes, they could afford decent customer service.
 

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'82 380SL+'02 ML320
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Fortunately or unfortunately, public humiliation is still the most effective weapon when reasonable people are not treated in a reasonable manner. Remember Audi and 60 minutes; and Audi did nothing wrong. In contrast, my Dad sued Volvo many years ago and in winning, wore himself out, recovered about 1/2 his losses, and was still driving a POS that broke down twice per year.

I am naive enough to believe that someone in Montvale NJ will listen if you talk to a person and get them to look at your service history (it's in their computer). Your intent would be to get the dealer squeezed in the middle of you and MB. The problem with a lawyer is that for MB, lawsuits are a cost of doing business, and for you it's real money.

If they won't treat you right, I would write up the whole story and email it to every DMX person and newspaper you can think of.

It is hard to believe that, in this plug and play world, anything other than body integrity cannot be fixed properly. But again, I can be quite naive.

Keep the world informed.
 

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You would be very foolish NOT to pursue a claim against M-B Oakland and M-B USA. That's what they are hoping. They want to frustrate your attempts and hope you will go away.

Don't allow yourself to get caught in that trap!

You do not have to garage the car for a year! Just continue to drive the car as you are expected to do and live your life the way you are expected to do.

And for any who think lawyers are just after $, this is a perfect example of why they are necessary. The lawyer gave him good advice, but don't take it the advice. Go aggressively after M-B.

If I were practicing at the moment I would take the case in a heartbeat for the benefit of those who have been, are, or will be disadvantaged by such manufacturer's actions.
 

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1984 280SEL AMG
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Try and goto a diffrent MB dealership, for gwads sake their a buttload of them all over cali.. Just don't tell them you've been to this other dealership. make it sound like this is the first time it happened... If the problem happens again, take all service records to the State Atterny General... That's what he's there for.. That would make 6 repairs in 2 diffrent ships with no statisfaction...

If at first you don't sucseed LIE YOUR ASS OFF!!!
Omit- DO NOT ADMIT
 

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I have to say something here. I have always heard that this car is better than that car, this brand is better than that brand, etc, etc. My personal opinion is that most major car makers make some good/reliable vehicles,...and some bad. I have a 1987 Ford E-150 van with 101,000 miles, and it does not leak oil from anywhere(302 V8 EFI), it has the original transmission(4AOD), and it has never failed to deliver me from point A to B in 5 years. She can sit for two-three weeks, and she will start right up, hot or cold, rain or shine. I replaced her alternator, exhaust manifolds, and U-joints(About $300(US)parts). In comparison, I have a 1994 E320(6 cyl/Auto), I have had it for 6 months, and it leaks a ridiulous amount of oil, has since 77,000 miles(has 89,000 miles now), the shop wants $1500(US)to fix it. The Benz dealer said it was fixed the last time they collected their $595 for it, it was not. I did not own the car at the time, it was my sister's, she bitched a little, they did nothing. Now..., knowing something about cars, I would have stormed in there, and they would have made it right, but I did not own the car at the time, and I was unavailable. Since I have had it, I have replaced the MAF, the plug wires($100 for 3 of them), A rear window motor assy(Van has power windows that still work) and it looks like soon, I may need a water pump. This car(E320s) is said to have a transmission problem, I can only hope that was already fixed. All I am saying..., from a relaibility and cost to operate stand point, it appears that my Ford, is a better vehicle than my Mercedes. My girlfriend has a 1988 Audi 90 Quattro(350,000+ miles, no major repairs, original clutch), it is one hell of a car. Her ex-husband said, "she should not let a regular mechanic work on it, because it was a special car". Though it is a special car, it is still only a car, it works in much the same way as any(ANY) other car. I have found nothing on it that this regular guy cannot diagnose/fix. Buying a Mercedes or any other "so-called" super brand, is no garranty of "long term" satisfaction. A "super brand", means as the car ages, it will cost more for parts/service when repaired, than a regular brand.
If there is any doubt that a Ford(others) can compete with/beat(value) a Mercedes, read the review on 200mph+ cars(Automobile mag)>>> http://automobilemag.com/reviews/coupes/0501_200mph_club/index.html >>> . Compare the GT40 to the pack...notice the price! Don't get me wrong, I like this Merdedes, and I may grow to love her yet, but I refuse to accept that they engineer an overall better car than many others. Yes, driving the E is more comfortable than my van, certainly more refined, 8-9 mpg better the the van(though the van has a GVW of 6600lbs), but I have no more confidence in her(89K) delivering me from point a to point b, than I do the van(101K), or for that matter, our 85 F150(130K), the Audi 90Q(350K+), or our Infinity G20(141K). And, in the case of the E & F series, certainly the cost to operate, is going to whip all the others silly. I don't want to make any enemies here, and I do appreciate the differences in engineering. I marvel at many of the techno improvements of the breed, I guess I am a little soured at this time. She does accelerate very well for a non-boosted six cylinder, and I am getting more "looks" from the hotties, than I do in the van,(though the van is handy, when they say yes). :)
 

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2002 430clk;2005 Yamaha YZF R1;08 Range Rover Sport
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I know what i would do......an you say "matches" or leave it running in a bad neighborhood...or if you gotta do it the honest way, trade it in
 

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Please take your car to another dealer. I used to live in San Francisco and could not believe how many dealers there are! Me being a Mercedes dealer tech ,I do sympathize with your situation. At my dealership cars in for the 3rd time get sent to the shop foreman,car is kept 2 day after repair and Quality Checked by another guy and driven repeatedly.If problem still persists,special tech sent up to repair. Sounds to me like MB of Oakland has an incompetant Shop Forman,they are the heart of the Service Department and have immediate access to Mb techincal suppport.
 

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Couple of serious suggestions: don't get emotional. Remember what you want is a car that functions properly, not to "get even".

I have returned a sports coupe to Fiat (in Germany) after a two year court fight which made the legal journals. We, my lawyer and I, set some legal precedents but two years was a long time. Here in the States I returned an '81 Olds Diesel to GM after a self managed struggle guided by a format set up by the Center for Auto Safety in Washington, D.C. You can find them on the net, I'm sure. The Center has lots of information to help you. Most State Attorney General offices can also provide helpful info as well as the Better Business Bureau. I strongly believe the sooner you establish yourself with Mercedes Regional or main (US) headquarters the sooner they'll come up with a solution.....which is what you really want. Once you get a lawyer involved, unless he works on contingency, you are going to pay out lots of dollars and probably be no better off than if you'd managed the problem yourself.

Don't get emotional, just follow the primary objective. Lots of luck!
 

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2008 E 320 Bluetec (ELEGANCE) 2005 CLK500 (avant-garde)
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I'm not sure about California, but in other states if you haven't altered the car in any way and it's still in warranty (2 years is a long time to do this) you can return the car to the dealer, take off the tags and tell the dealer verbally and by registered mail that you are refusing delivery and you have cancelled the insurance and will not be making any more payments on the car. That puts the ball in their court (especially effective if you financed through Mercedes-Benz Credit).

Good luck
 
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