You make several excellent observations, and I wanted to add that not in all cases can the “owner” you are buying from provide a service history, or permission for the service history. In fact, what I found out was that from the perspective of the MBUSA rep with which I spoke, the privacy issue is between MB and the dealership(s) where the car received service. Not the owner(!) This is a topic onto itself.
Without going into a lot of detail, in the scenario where you buy a used car from a dealer, all you get is whatever the car comes with. This may or may not include the service history book, or any other paperwork the car comes with. Or you may get nothing.
When I called MBUSA the rep respectfully said the car’s history was between any dealership(s) the vehicle was taken to and MB. They implied it had nothing to do with any previous owner(s). Funny perspective they have, but probably accurate. While the dealer I called essentially backed them up, once I explained the circumstances they were very reasonable and helpful.
I haven’t looked at the paperwork for the car since last December but your comments prompted me to dig them out to see what I got. My previous comment was wrong: In all I received 19 pages of screen dumps from the dealership. It showed only information significant to the car’s maintenance and nothing about the owner or any amounts paid or how paid.
All of this is said to simply elaborate that it is possible but not exactly easy to get the car’s service history (at least work done at MB dealerships) without violating the privacy of the previous owners. Violating the “privacy” of MB or the dealerships is another issue.
Anyway, like you, I bought this car in part because I was able to find out the service history of the vehicle. I simply had to work a little more as I like primary documents whenever possible. IMO no one had any potential liability due to the information I received. I’m actually kind of glad the dealership were I bought the car was not able to provide this information. Having independent confirmation of the car’s history was important.
The issue of privacy is important, to be sure. And fortunately for me, the service advisor I spoke with understood the difference between the spirit of helpfulness and the necessarily issues of privacy. Just because I didn’t have an owner to turn to should not, and did not, make the service history of the car inaccessible. At the end of the day it all went to selling a car, which is part of what MB does. Doing otherwise would essentially be shooting themselves in the foot…