fad and Alon:
First, sorry about the anti-dealer rant. I would truly like to find a dealer I can rave about. So far no luck.
fad, all your points are good ones. I try to go in to a dealership in a positive mood and giving them the benefit of the doubt. My discussions with the service reps are friendly and upbeat. Unfortunately, the results of the service have almost always left a bit to be desired. I understand that the service reps are not responsible for the irresponsible actions of the technicians so I take that into account when dealing with the reps.
When I provide feedback to the dealer about my service experience I highlight the highs as well as the lows. But I do give them feedback.
One of my major objections is that I need to pay for the service before I can get into my car and inspect it. I'm going to try to get a look at the car first from now on.
I am just about at the point where I am going to do as Alon suggests, that is, photo document the car in the as-delivered (to the dealer) condition, inside and out. I've had brake parts cleaner sprayed on paint adjacent to the wheel wells requiring a strip and repaint, and a large scuff in the forward right corner under the bumper that I know was inflicted by the dealer's service technicians--but I couldn't prove it. Also, sometimes the damage or the litter isn't evident until a couple of days after getting the car back. So I am afraid that I am going to have to take several of the steps Alon has suggested, including a very thorough pre- and post-service inspection of the car with the service rep present.
Anyway, I'll be out of warranty in another year and won't have to see a dealer again until I buy a new Merc or BMW or Audi.
92 300E (Black/Grey interior: wife's car)
94 E320 Wagon (White/Saddle interior, Eibach springs, '96 E420 16 x 7.5 wheels)