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FA22 12-19-2000 09:37 PM

After 3 weeks I went to pick up my ML55 today at the MB dealership. This cars been taken to the dealer numerous times, for leaking oil, trim falling apart, rattling, loose seals, and steering problems,ect. I was deeply dissapointed, The car was sent in 3 weeks ago to get the front seated releathered due to sratches that came on them. What came back was a sloppy non porfessional job of stuffing the new covers to the pads, not only was the job horrible but they told me all of them are like that, luckily there was another ML55 in the showroom. After comparing the brand new cars smooth seats to my wrinked rippled and loose ones, they still gave me a load of BS. The car was also testdriven through cemant, the inside had dust and mud on the carpet and there was moister in the HID lights, So I left the car there.The cars been falling apart eversince day 1, and all the dealer does is sometimes fix a problem and create a ton more. I would have rather have scratch seats from the factory than have the dealer touched my car! This car has Spent more time being fixed than Driven. Any suggestions, expirance or feedback on what I should do next!


[Edited by FA22 on 12-22-2000 at 02:27 AM]

Benzmac 12-19-2000 09:41 PM

If you take it back more than 3 times for the same problem and jump up and down and up and down again, it wouldn't be unheard of for them to give you a new vehicle. I have seen this a few times.

Also, you need to go to the top on this one. Don't trust who you're dealing with IF they are giving you this load of sh--.

bstreep 12-20-2000 12:07 AM

Not sure where you are from... Most states have lemon laws, and dealers HATE to hear about threats to invoke lemon laws. I've also successfully parked a vehicle in front of a business with a large sign or two on it... Just make sure it has a disclaimer on it! Something like "I feel like I bought a lemon" (notice the "feel" - "think" works, as does "ask me why" or "before you buy" ) with an arrow pointing towards the offending dealership. I think they owe you a new vehicle.

roas 12-20-2000 12:46 AM

Sorry to hear that!

This is exactly the stuff that Mercedes should be running to Resolve, instead it sounds as if the dealer is Hiding! Obviously saying that "all of them do that" is not good enough! Fix it right or replace the damn thing. This is poor Customer Service and poor Standards!

I am sure that ML55's are not exactly a dime a dozen, the very least you deserve is exactly what you paid for, a NEW (defect free) Vehicle.

Go to the top and let them have an hear full. Get in touch with the highest person involved with resolving this and then tell them how you feel, consider this your legitimate chance to give someone a real Ass Chewing! This is your right as a Customer! Maybe it will light a fire under someone's behind to resolve this.

Good Luck!

12-20-2000 02:03 AM

Call Mercedes on this. I had to have the factory rep come out and deal with several issue with me. He was great. The dealer didn't like it but I didn't give a ***** after the service I got from them. The dealer was given fair warning. I didn't see it happen, but I think some poeple got an ass chewin' when I left.
I have also had my car come back with dirt marks, dust and road grime, dirty footprints etc. I didn't take the car in that way. I just think most of them don't care.
Sorry to hear about all the grief. Really, just start calling Mercedes direct. It took mr a few phone calls to get the right person, but it was worth it.

420SEL 12-20-2000 08:47 AM

I have only had experience with 3 dealers in 3 different cities. 2 of them were slow in doing the service and did not always fix what I wanted fixed. The best was in Halifax. Great service, always washed and vacuumed the car before they gave it back, and always fixed what I wanted fixed the first time, with no problems afterwards. Not all dealers are bad, but I guess not all are good either. I would make them give you a new car. You certainly deserve it. If I were shelling out money for a new Benz, especially a top of the line model like yours, I would not expect to have to take it in until the first oil change, and I would expect to be treated like royalty by the dealer for life.

mbdoc 12-20-2000 09:42 AM

Well if one dealer is bad, then all of us are? Don't see logic to this as this rule would apply to all different phases of life. Don't start condemming all for the acts of ONE. This is one of the reasons for checks & balances all thru business. Suggest you pick up phone & call MB home office instead of saying ALL ARE BAD.

LarryBible 12-20-2000 10:11 AM

I understand your frustration. I went through something similar with my '96 E Class. But MBDoc is right, not all dealers are bad.

You have an opportunity here to help not only yourself, but all MB owners and future buyers in your area. You can take advantage of this opportunity by calling 1 800 FOR MERCEDES, ask for your area representative and DEMANDING satisfaction. If they have to give you a new car so be it. But you MUST let MBUSA know what kind of BS you're getting from these people. I raised enough you know what in '96 that I ultimately got things taken care of.

Keep us posted about whether or not MBUSA takes care of this. If they don't let us know, we have enough people here who don't want to see this kind of thing, we can absolutely tie up their switchboard with complaints until they do something about this.

Good luck and Merry Christmas,

Benzman500 12-20-2000 10:25 AM

Sorry to hear that
I don't even trust the delear with my used mercedes every time I took it to Jim Harp in Omaha Nebraska i Had a 900 dollar bill. Thier are some good delars but there are few. I would defenly look in to lemon laws in your state. We got a brand new Suburban when our gm broke a axle the 4th time.

Ted2222 12-20-2000 02:41 PM

As John said, don't overlook the necessity to file your complaint in writing in addition to the phone calls.

I discovered years ago that dealers really hate it when a customer writes to MBUSA. It causes the dealer to have to respond in writing to the complaint and to have to provide a lot of paperwork.

The combined telephone/writing campaign to MBUSA, always being courteous but firm, should yield the results you are seeking.

You are entitled to more than what you have gotten. Hang in there. Good luck.

FA22 12-20-2000 06:38 PM

Hello Everyone, Thank you for all your suggestions and ideas regarding my ML55. A real boast in confidence. I have currently been on hold for 15min trying to contact MBUSA. I will get to the top of this and let you guys know what happens. Again thanks for the replies and Happy Holidays!

Car Nut 12-21-2000 02:19 AM

Certified Return Receipt
When you send in your complaint to MBUSA, you should remember to use the Certified Return Receipt to send it in. This way MB knows that they can't deny the mail got lost during the Holiday season.

In a similar incident, I sent my 2 pages well written descriptive complaint to Honda USA with the Certified Return Receipt, Honda regional customer service contacted me within 4 days. The first thing she asked me was where would you like to have your driver's side power window fix, of course Honda would pick up the tab.

So don't go cheap on the postage, the extra $1.50 or so for the extra service is well worth it. Also there is nothing beats a well written "essay" to describe your problem, but you should always stay at professional manner, no slang or non-standard English.

Good Luck
Car Nut
99 E430 sport

JCE 12-21-2000 04:26 AM

The certified letter is a good idea. Another idea to try if you don't have any luck is the following: when I didn't get any response after 2 weeks to a certified letter to my homeowners association, I re-sent the letter, marked in bold at the top "Second Request", and in bold print at the bottom "cc Law offices of (our family lawyer's name)". Two days later the apologies and resolutions came pouring in from 3 different officers of the Association. Unfortunately, many people won't play fair until it looks like you are ready to go for the throat with an attorney.

LarryBible 12-21-2000 07:55 AM


It's very unfortunate that what you say is sadly true in many cases.

Merry Christmas,

SLKBoy 12-21-2000 10:19 AM

What's MB's policy on older, past warrantee cars? Our 1994 C280's passenger seat belt braket has a crack in it..the seatbelt does lock, but i'm not sure if it's going to be safe in an accident. The car does have 102,000 miles...I wrote to MBUSA on Friday and got a call on Tuesday...the rep was very nice, but said that it was way past warrantee for them to replace it. There are other problems as well, though not as serious (hazard switch often do you use it?!), fuel guage stuck sometimes, cracks in the wood trim, 3 check engine lights in 3 months...basically they said there's nothing they car do...sigh..guess i have to fix these things on my own.

LarryBible 12-21-2000 10:55 AM


Your car has twice as many miles as the warranty covers. It is also a year or two past the time limit. I will fight tooth and nail for work to be done within the warranty period, but I think that a car this far out of warranty should pose no question. MB can't take care of your car for you forever.

Best of luck and Merry Christmas,

zonajoe 12-21-2000 11:12 AM

I know what you are going through I have had my car in over ten times since June 2000. I have been with Infiniti since 1990 and hardly ever in for service.I now have my first Benz 99 CLK 430. I love the car but I have been in for warranty work way too many times for a car in this price range. The dealer has always been courteous and seem to try their best to get the job done. I always tip the service rep and that gets me a little better service. There is no excuse for that many trips to the dealer. I have contacted MB Customer Service and put them on notice!


bstreep 12-21-2000 11:15 AM

Seat Belt Problem

If you have a problem with your seat belts, you should report them. In the late 80's/early 90's there were hundreds of thousands (maybe millions?) of seat belt recalls because of defective plastic used to secure the clip. Last month we had them replaced, free of charge, on our '89 Nissan truck! Just my opinion, but a safety device that you can't really test should be designed for the life of the car. I know that seat belts CAN wear, but I've seen lots of high mileage cars with little or no wear on the belts. How would you feel if you got into a wreck and the airbag failed to deploy? If the automaker said "oh well, it was out of warranty...".

JCE 12-21-2000 01:27 PM

I second bill's omments on the safety equipment. The safety belts on our 88 Acura were replaced 2 years ago by Acura after everyone made enough noise. Acura's initial response, picked up by many newspapers, was that the belts were not defective, it was just that Americans were a dirty people and the messy junk in their cars jammed the seat belts!!! That was such a brilliant PR move on their part that they wound up replacing all kinds of things besides seatbelts when they eventually admitted the problem!

WmHarlow 12-21-2000 05:53 PM

I also must put in my $.02.

I have had only one lemon of a car... 1993 Ford Taurus SHO. I bought it new and within the first 60,000 miles it was in the shop 22 times. Mostly for electrical system problems and faulty O2 sensors. There was numerous factory recalls, but none of them major. I constantly complained to the dealer and to Ford about the lack of confidence in the electrical system, but they just kept 'fixing' what broke down. I received 2 driver's power seats, 1 passenger power seat (whole seats), 2 starters, 1 driver's power window module, 7 O2 sensors, 1 wiper switch, 1 wiper motor, 1 climate control module, 1 complete moon-roof and required electical....... you get the point.

The dealer fixed everything right up to the warranty ran out, after that, I was on my own. Three months later, a little old lady tried to drive her Oldsmobile THROUGH the front end and driver's side. The car was totaled! And, as I expected, the air bags DID NOT DEPLOY due to defective sensors or wiring. Ford takes no responsibility for the faulty system because of the history of electrical problems of this car and being out of warranty. Oh-well, that's why I have a lawyer!:)

Bottom line, complain in writing to the dealer's general manager, the owner of the dealership, and to MBUSA. Document everything, and I mean everything! Keep after them and sooner or later they will give you a car to make you go away.

Recently my father's new GM truck had some kind of transmission failure (for the second time in less than 6 months). He called and wrote to everyone including the president of GM. Now he is driving a new truck with leather -- no extra cost!

SLKBoy 12-22-2000 01:47 AM

Thanks for all your help! Here's a pic of the seat belt bracket in question..the black plastic bascially split in two. The part itself is about $70 from the dealer. They said it won't take long to install, so I figure 1 hour of labor. That's about $140. It's not bad at all..I was just hoping MB would cover it because the safety of the passengers might be compromised (I bet Ford is taking tire complaints pretty seriously now).

The rep at MBUSA that i talked to said that the gas cartridge in the seat belt should not be affected, so it will not affect the seat belt tensioning system in case of an accident. Does this make sense? I realize the other little stuff won't be fixed just because the car is WAY over warrantee. =) But it was worth a shot letting MB know that I feel the quality of their cars has gotten a little worse in my opinion. Thanks for all your help guys! I really enjoy this site a lot. Thanks to all the great moderators and members who have always offered their help...Have a great holiday!!

Jimmy Hwang

[Edited by SLKBoy on 12-22-2000 at 12:52 AM]

Richard Eldridge 12-22-2000 02:35 AM

Creative complaining
When complaining, I have had best results when I try to put myself in the company's shoes and keep personalities out of it. The assumption is that no one wanted you to get a bad car or a bad repair, it just happened, and that you are doing them a bit of a favor to report the problem before you conclude that your car is a lemon or that all dealers are incompetent. I can say only this: I was never able to find an honest RENAULT dealer.

Tell them exactly what happened that you did not like, and describe exactly what remedies you want them to take that would please you entirely. Do not skimp, it's not your money; but be realistic.

It is best to write a letter, since this way both you and MBUSA and the dealer (and possibly your family lawyer). Enclose copies of all mail sent this far and make a copy of everything sent. Sending a letter Certified Return Receipt Requested generally gets maximum attention if addressed to the person in charge, while jabbering on the phone gets an underling who is poor at taking notes.

Be courteous, but insist on a resolution to the problem: insults generally aren't useful in getting things done.

JCE 12-22-2000 03:00 AM


You also might check your state laws on safety equipment. In the Peoples Republic of California, There is a requirement for mandatory (but not necessarily listed)extended warranty on emission and safety equipment that goes way beyond what the factory says they offer, and there are state agencies (Automotive repair, consumer safety, Atmospheric Quality, etc.) that live to go after companies.
It may or may not help.
That is one of the reasons Acura finally replaced our seat belts. On the other hand, our friend asked for everything necessary that could possibly be a problem to be fixed on her BMW 1000 miles before it ran out of warranty. They did all the maintenance, and 500 miles out of warranty her timing belt failed 9500 miles early. After all the shouting and dealer/manufacturers reps and state agencies, the bottom line was "will you be using cash or credit card on the new engine?". The modern definition of Fair seems to be "the first 4 letters in Fairy Tale".

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