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Old 09-16-2001, 09:11 PM
TomE500 TomE500 is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Milton MA
Posts: 336
E500 ASR problem - Final Chapter - I Hope

Foreign Motors West - A Class Act

I received a letter from the President asking 3 questions regarding my experience using their service. I responded with the following email:
We Appreciate Your Business!

Mr. Frederick S. Tierney, President
Foreign Motors West
253 North Main Street
Natick MA 01760

Good afternoon Fred!

I received your letter today with the above caption and can easily answer "yes' to all three questions that you asked. What you did not ask is was I satisfied with the experience in dealing with your dealership. That answer is a definite NO!

Sometime back in late July, I drove my vehicle into Chambers in Somerville with an ASR trouble code. The SA (new to the dealership that week from a Chevy Dealer) asked me what it was. I told him. He then told me that it would be a 3 hour diagnostic charge to troubleshoot the problem. When I informed him that the tech would plug in his HHT interface into the ASR computer and the computer would read out the codes, he reduced it immediately to an hour and a half labor time. I arrived at the Dealership at 4:00 pm that day and was told that the TA had to be replaced and that it would be a 6 hour charge plus the part. I told him to "button it up" and left.
Although I purchased one of my four Benzes from that dealer, Herb will never see my business again.

I brought the vehicle to a nearby independent MB tech and asked him to do the work. He cleaned the TA but could not resolve the problem and graciously delivered the vehicle to your shop to have the TA replaced. Clair parts had quoted me $687.00 list for the part and informed me that the manual allowed for 1&1/2 hour labor install time and to clear the codes and reset the throttle stop. Your SA informed me by telephone that the part including gasket was $967.00 and an hour and a half install time.

I thought a 50% mark-up on the part was ridiculous but was tired of dealing with Authorized Dealerships at this point and told him to proceed. When I arrived to pick up vehicle, the labor charge not only increased to 4.5 hours but the invoice stated that I was informed that the estimate would be 1500.00 and that is a flat out lie.

If the vehicle with only 32,250 miles were still under warranty, the MB Warranty rep would have thought that both you and Chambers were smoking dope asking for that install time and part cost.

I am sad to say that this experience has left me with a feeling that this will be the last Benz that I will own. I bought my wife a BMW 540It last year only because MB did not offer an 8 cylinder station wagon at the time. When the time comes for me to purchase my next luxury vehicle, maybe BMW will be the way to go.


Tom Phinney

cc: Herb Chambers, Chambers Motor Cars of Boston
Paula Lyons

Chambers - A Classless act IMHO was the first to respond:

Tom -

It sounds like our estimate of 6 hours plus parts was right on the money (4.5 hours to replace the throttle actuator plus 1.5 hours diagnostic time). I don't think the "MB Rep" would think we were "smoking dope" since that is the standard time for such repairs. It also seems like we could have saved you an enormous amount of frustration had you opted to have the repair done with us back in July.

We try to be fair with our service prices, realizing our clients not only expect, but demand that! We shop other garages quite often and find that our pricing is usually lower or right on the money. Of course, independent garages don't have nearly the overhead we do. They also don't have technicians that are constantly trained. As a matter of information, it costs us about $20,000 per year to keep a technician up to date on training. Because of that, most clients choose to do business with us rather than independents.

I'm sorry that we were not able to earn your business this time around, but hope that in the future, you keep us in mind.

Mercedes-Benz offers great products. But, as these vehicles evolve and become more complicated, we recommend extended warranties to cover the cost of unforseen repairs. Fortunately, Mercedes-Benz now offers those plans! BMW does not. And, as noted in almost all quality reports, M-B is way ahead of BMW.

Thanks for your feedback and, again, if we can help you in the future, don't hesitate to contact me personally.


Bernie Moreno
Director of Operations, Mercedes-Benz
The Herb Chambers Companies

cc: Herb Chambers, President

I received a telephone call from the Assistant Service Manager of FMW this past Friday. He apologized for the problem that I experienced at his dealership and informed me that they would re-imburse my credit card for 3 of the 4.5 hours of labor and $100.00 off the cost of the part. I thanked him for his sincerity and generosity as I HAD agreed to the cost of the part in advance.

I have not heard again from Chambers or Mercedes Benz of North America, nor do I expect to.

You can add Foreign Motors West to the list of Good MB shops that seem to care about whether or not the customer is important to them. This point is apparently lost to MBNA and Chambers Motors of Somerville.


Last edited by TomE500; 09-16-2001 at 10:43 PM.
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