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  #1  
Old 10-23-2013, 12:56 PM
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Bradenton, FL
Posts: 286
Sarasota Area-S&S Mercedes Service & Repair

S&S Mercedes Service & Repair
1705 Cattlemen Road
Unit N7
Sarasota, FL 34232
Tel: 941-312-6453
eMail: MercedesRepair@live.com

Long time residents and visitors to the Sarasota area may remember Sam Hazeltine, former multi-decade Service Manager at the Glauser Mercedes Dealership in Sarasota. Known for his extraordinary technical skills, fair & honest business dealings, and solid Customer Service, Sam eventually opened his own Mercedes specific shop, S&S Mercedes Service & Repair.

Equipped with up to date Star Diagnostics for every available model, and an array of the MB 'Special Tools' to enable prompt problem diagnosis & repair, Sam, brother Sal, and SA Rob Fetterolf field an impressive team pro's to care for our great cars at affordable rates.

In my own 20+ years of MB ownership, these guys are some of the best Service providers I've come accross.
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Bob Jones
Bradenton, FL
'87 560SL-Sold
'99 SL500 For Now
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  #2  
Old 09-01-2014, 11:57 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 3
I would have to respectfully disagree with SunGuy here. I found these guys to be particularly shady, and in the future I'd either go to another mechanic or simply bring my Benz to the dealer; the price is just about the same anyhow.

Going in for an alignment, they gave me the hard sell on new axles for my e320 wagon by virtue of the fact that the boots were ripped. The car was turning just fine with a minor tapping noise every now & then, and they offered me two options: brand new axles, or disassembling mine, cleaning the components in the parts washer, re-greasing them, and then putting them back on the car with new boot covers. I chose the latter.

They gave the car back to me in much worse shape than when I'd brought it to them, and before I even got in the car, Sam approached me to say that it hadn't worked out as he'd hoped (understatement of the year) and he told me that for an additional $500--on top of the high bill he'd just presented me with--he would install genuine Mercedes axles that had been rebuilt by Mercedes. He told me that Mercedes had recently ceased rebuilding axles, but that he was lucky enough to have located a pair on the shelf of a dealer.

"So why didn't you give me this option in the first place, and I wouldn't have had to go through this twice?"

"Um, I didn't know it was an option."

Really...? In the business of repairing Mercedes exclusively for 20 years and you didn't know? When I called another mechanic--an old-timer who works on my Alfa Romeo--to ask his opinion, he told me that these axles aren't meant to be taken apart if one doesn't have the correct, very expensive equipment to put them back together: it was a "rookie mistake" for Sam to have taken apart axles like that. Regarding the "located the last pair of genuine Mercedes rebuilds at a dealer" story, he laughed and told me to call the Sarasota Mercedes dealer and inquire about it. Sure enough, Mercedes never ever offered factory-rebuilt axles.

Before I left their driveway, I immediately realized that what had previously been a minor intermittent tapping noise was now a disturbing metal-on-metal grinding every time I turned the wheel. With the wheel turned maneuvering out of the parking spot, the car jolted to a stop, and I had to really gas it to move. It felt as if I'd driven over a 2x4, but there was nothing under the wheels at all.

I should have gone elsewhere at that point because I hate being lied to, but I didn't. When I picked up the car the second time with genuine rebuilt Mercedes axles (allegedly, as they refused to demonstrate them to me beforehand), I asked that they give me back the boots that I'd paid $200 for a few days earlier in Sam's failed reconditioning attempt. Sam told me no; they needed to return them with the cores.

"But wait--you said that these were the last remaining pair on the shelf of a Mercedes dealer, and that Mercedes no longer rebuilds them. Now you're telling me that you need to send them in with the cores for credit from a rebuilder. Which is it?"

"Um, er...I don't know where Rob ended up buying them from." (Speaking of Rob Fetterolf--who, by the way, hawks his real estate cards like a carnival barker from the S&S business desk--the guy is an unmitigated disaster as far as general people skills go. When I went to pick up my car the first time, Sam told me that it was out for a test drive. Odd, I thought; both Sam & Sal are standing right there in the shop. Rob finally returned with my car--he later told me that he knows nothing about the mechanical end of the business--and I could see by what he was carrying that it wasn't so much a "test drive" as it was a situation where gas is expensive these days and it would better serve him to run his errands on the customer's dime. When he saw that I wasn't pleased with him having driven my car for personal use, the feigned charm went right out the window: "I don't work for you; I don't have to tell you anything" was his response when I asked if he officially works there, or if he's one of Sam & Sal's friends who hangs out there and answers the phone. Bravo, Rob. Bravissimo.)

From their lot, I did a quick google search on rebuilt Mercedes axles, and it appeared that CVJ Axles in Colorado is the go-to place for rebuilt Mercedes axles. When I called CVJ and asked if they needed my boots to be returned with the cores in order to receive credit, they told me no; that all old rubber goes straight into the garbage before they begin the rebuild process. When I passed this info to Rob in the office, he refused to show me any documentation that proved to the contrary. He then changed the story, saying the 4 hours (?!?) required to remove the boots from the bad axles made it not cost-effective for me to have them back; if I'd be willing to pay 4 hours of labor, I could have them. I asked him to bring them into the office and I'd remove them myself, but again he refused.

"So the bottom line is that you will not give me the parts that I paid for less than a week ago?"

"Yes."

I don't know about anyone else, but that's stealing in my book.

In summary, these guys showed a serious lack of ethics and pretty much zero moral compass. I can accept that we all make mistakes, but the fact that they made my perfectly drivable car essentially un-drivable and then not only didn't offer an apology, but had the nerve to double-down and tell me it was my fault for "begging" them to do the failed recondition attempt instead of buying new axles really annoyed me. On top of that, they would not give me back the boots I paid for, which I'm told by those who are savvy about this industry have likely already been sold and installed into the Benz of another unsuspecting S&S customer.

Even if I had the luxury in my line of work to botch a customer's property while carrying out a reparation I'd suggested, charge them for it anyhow, and then charge them a second time to repair it correctly, my conscience would not let me do it.

S&S Mercedes in Sarasota is definitely not recommended.

Last edited by TimDrummond; 09-03-2014 at 06:05 PM. Reason: Clarity
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  #3  
Old 10-03-2014, 04:40 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Anna Maria Island, FL
Posts: 9
not sure what part of town you're in, but there's Ray Banicki on Central Ave in Sarasota, Paul at Paul's Automotive in Bradenton, and Robby Self at Grooms Motors on Anna Maria island. Each of those is an exceptional mechanic who can help you with your MB, and they are above all honest. Thats hard to find in a mechanic nowadays. no offense but you did get played on the boot covers. I feel for you. Happens to all of us at some point in life.

The Playboy
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  #4  
Old 01-09-2015, 06:33 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 3
After having the issue forced upon them, S&S Mercedes has just admitted through a consumer rights advocate that they in fact returned the boots I paid them $195 for to CVJ Axles in Colorado. According to S&S Mercedes, they needed to return the brand new boots they sold me to CVJ in order to get credit for my axle cores from CVJ.

The only problem is that Steve, the owner at CVJ, has assured me that they have no such requirement. They provide new rubber boots as part of their axle rebuilding service, and they have no interest in getting rubber boots back with the rebuildable cores.

Thus I have proven S&S Mercedes to be not truthful. They sold me a pair of rubber boots at the full retail price of $195, discovered that the repair attempt was not viable, and then installed rebuilt axles from CVJ into my car that came with their own set of rubber boots. As a way to squeeze more $$ out of me, they kept the initial pair of rubber boots they'd sold me under the guise of "need to return for core credit" though they evidently either sent them back to their supplier for a refund, or they sold them again to the next chump who came along.

S&S Mercedes has accused me of "blackmail" (?!?) by posting my dealings with them on the internet, and they are well aware that I have mentioned my troubles with them on this site. Why no reply here from S&S? Because they know that these are car guys on this board. These aren't bean counters at the credit card company or desk people at the BBB who are easily confused by the autospeak and the twists & turns in this sad interaction.

So come on, S&S. Why not respond, and tell these car guys how CVJ Axles in Colorado would not give you your credit for my axle cores unless you included the rubber boots you sold me? When you do reply, please don't spin off on a tangent about how I begged and begged you to take apart my bad axles and clean them in the parts washer, which you claim you reluctantly did even though you allegedly warned me that it wouldn't work. Just stick to your story that CVJ requires rubber boots to be returned with axle cores for credit.
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  #5  
Old 03-22-2015, 08:12 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 3
Radio silence, S&S Mercedes...? Cat got your collective tongues, men?

To confirm, I have in writing (thanks Florida Division of Consumer Affairs) a statement from S&S that they did purchase my rebuilt axles from CVJ, who they claim require the rubber boots in order to receive their core credit. When I shared this disclosure with the owner at CVJ, he confirmed that they have no such requirement regarding rubber boot covers, apologized for my treatment from S&S, and assured me that naturally he had nothing to do with this evident scam that S&S has pulled on me.

(I would like to point out that the rebuilt axles from CVJ are excellent quality, and I have absolutely no issue with the CVJ company whatsoever.)

Now there is no "he said/she said" and no speculation: it's all in writing, cut-and-dried. I'm not sure I have the time to take off from work to deal with small claims court over this relatively low dollar amount, but I do plan on breaking the internet one post at a time to get the word out about the ethics--or lack thereof--that S&S has displayed. As shameful as it is for them to fabricate such a story in order to beat me out of a few hundred dollars, it's downright pathetic to go so far as to drag the name of an unknowing and honest axle rebuilder into the equation.
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  #6  
Old 08-23-2017, 12:38 PM
Larry Delor's Avatar
What, Me Worry?
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Sarasota, Fl.
Posts: 3,112
Whenever I needed work done on my Benzes, I took it to Horst's Bavarian Auto works, in Venice. I never felt taken advantage of. Plus, he let's me tease him about working on BMW's.
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