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Old 03-28-2002, 01:19 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: SW Colorado USA
Posts: 296
BAD dealer experience

Six weeks ago I bought a new '01 S600V from Fletcher-Jones Motorcars in Newport Beach California. To date there is still one aspect of the sale not yet completed to my satisfaction.

The car has 20" Brabus wheels fitted with high performance tires. I live in Minnesota and need different shoes for winter. I worked a set of factory "take off" wheels into the deal. The salesman told me the S500 16" wheels would fit. I questioned him on this, he assured me they would work. It took five weeks and a dozen phone calls to actually get these wheels sent to me. I had been told on the day of the sale that the wheels would be at my home within a few days. Not quite as promised. I of course was ready. I had my new snow tires from the Tire Rack in hand when the 16" wheels finally arrived. I mounted and balanced the tires and tried to fit the wheels. The S500 wheels will NOT clear the front calipers. I notified the dealer immediately. They have not been in contact with me since. I called the salesman two days later, he told me they shipped the 17" S600 wheels to me. I had to dis-mount the 16s, repackage the wheels and pay to return the tires to the Tire Rack. Over a week later I finally get the 17s. Last night I opened the boxes, the wheels were FILTHY with brake dust and dirt on the face. They were poorly packaged which, in conjunction with the dirt, scratched the face of the wheels. They also neglected to include the center caps. I put a call into the General Sales Manager at 4pm CA time. As of noon today I have had no response (again).

Keep in mind that this is only ONE of the issues I have with these people. I have tried contacting them. Through all of this, dozens of calls over a month and a half, I have yet to hear from the GSM on these issues. I also contacted MBUSA by phone and a letter. I had sent a letter to FJM on March 14 also, never heard a thing on that either. MBUSA reminded me that the dealers are independantly owned. I am tired of excuses. Is that how MBUSA wants its dealers to handle customers? Do something dang it!

I am at a loss. All I really want now are the center caps. A couple of times the thought of showing up and going "postal" crossed my mind. How can any dealer treat customers this way? Wake up guys, I spent $125k on a car, how about some satisfaction! I have only been able to put 200 miles on the car in six weeks, the weather has been pretty funky here. If they would have done as promised I would be enjoying my new purchase. As it stands all I can do is RANT.

Is it just me or is this a shoddy way to treat a customer?
1995 G320
1984 280GE
1971 Unimog 416
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Old 03-28-2002, 02:59 PM
J.HIDALGO's Avatar
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Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Jax, FL
Posts: 1,785
Unhappy It is very unfortunate but,

NOT unusual. If you do a search you will find some "horror" stories just like yours. However, not ALL the MB dealerships are that way. For me, an independent, is the way to go but, in a new car?
You would think the best cars in the world deserve the best customer service in the world. WRONG! That is why Lexus and some other car manufacturers are concentrating on customer service/satisfaction and getting some of the MB market.
You already tried the right way to do it, now is time for your voice to be heard, call/write the BBB, consumer groups in your area, TV news consumer protection person (if there is such a thing), etc, etc.
I feel for you G-man. Shame on you MB, when are going to get it?
'86 300E
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Old 03-28-2002, 03:15 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Western Michigan
Posts: 1,080
Is it just me or is this a shoddy way to treat a customer?

Not at all. MBUSA and ITS dealers treat all customers like that. They got your $$$,$$$, so why should they make you satisfied? After all, they are not Honda and Toyota dealers who make the customers happy.

The excuse that the dealers are independent are just MBUSA's BS! The allow ITS dealers rip off customers and when customers complain], they always say "it's not us, it is the dealers, we do not sell cars to them, they just buy cars from us and then re-sell."

If the center caps is the only issue now, you might just get four from your local dealer as they should not be that expensive. But on a $125K car, MBUSA might charge a limb for a center cap.
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Old 03-28-2002, 04:02 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 3,126

Sorry to hear you are having problems....

I hope everything works out for you soon!

p.s. I find that a certified letter to the owner works fairly well (cc to the BBB of their city)
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Old 03-28-2002, 04:33 PM
JCE's Avatar
JCE JCE is offline
Down to the Wear Bars
Join Date: May 1999
Location: So Kalifornia
Posts: 2,189
Sorry to see you are in the same boat as anybody else dealing with a dealer! We just yesterday got our C230 back, 2 months after it was taken in to MB of Laguna Niguel for the slipping transmission (after they rebuilt it and/or replaced parts twice by 21000 miles!). YUP, OVER 2 MONTHS WITH NO CAR!!! Never any response to certified mail letters to the General Manager, no response to faxes or emails, and it took 1 month before the MB area rep got around to phoning me (and then he complained about my having been upset in my latest letter that it had taken him a month to respond!) MBUSA took 2 weeks to respond, with a form letter saying that the area rep was in charge and his decision to not do anything until the trans failed was final ("no matter how many of your friends, coworkers, car pool riders document the slipping, it aint slipping if there are no codes and we don't see it slip! But we will consider goodwill repairs within a reasonable time!").

Finally the only leverage I had was to cancel the extended warranty on the car through my credit card company to reclaim some funds to apply towards the transmission in case they don't cover it when it fails. After the card company contacted them, they 'offered' to refund the warranty. When I took delivery of the car, the deck lid looked like it had been keyed over a 1" x 5" area, and I had to wait while they tried to polish most of it out of the finish.

This is not how a manufacturer stays on top (if that is where they are!?!)

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Old 03-28-2002, 05:07 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: SW Colorado USA
Posts: 296
Hey guys, you aren't doing anything for my confidence here! I suspect the finger pointing will continue. The dealer is saying that the reason the first wheels were so late was because they had the wheels sent from CEC, the local Lorisner dealer. I spoke to them(CEC), they understand customer service. The guy I spoke to a couple times was very helpful, very knowledgable, and very efficient in helping me. HE even called the dealer for me once or twice trying to figure out what the hold up was. The dealer is pointing fingers at this guy??? From what I have seen they should hire HIM to run the dealership.

I must admit, I have had similar problems with BMW at the corporate level, no help at all. I have also gone around and around with Ford GM and Chrysler, I kind of expect it from them, not from MB.

I put a request in with the parts shop here to check out these caps. In my letter to the dealer I did reference the cliche' "take the money and run" profetic words it turns out.

JCE, your tale is the worst I have heard. They should have provided an MB loaner. I have finally found a BMW dealer worthy of my businesss. They provide BMW loaners. When some of the new 3 series cars had a problem, taking the cars off the road for some time, this dealer put these folks into X5s for the duration of the wait. THAT is how it should be.

I think the BBB complaint is next. If MBUSA is as unresponsive as you guys say, I will have no choice. Problem is, they have fullfilled their obligation to the letter, far from the intent, or what I was told, but exactly as the PAPER states. So they did it but, they did a crappy job.
1995 G320
1984 280GE
1971 Unimog 416
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Old 03-28-2002, 05:46 PM
David C Klasse's Avatar
CheFrac is Back!
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Mission Hills in the City of San Diego
Posts: 2,352
Red face

We always get our Mercedes from Fletcher Jones, here in Newport Beach. My family and I have always been treated greatly. I know of many customers that have been MORE THAN satisfied with the service they have received. However, I have heard just as many stories about the deplorable service that was provided, though most have been C-class owners, etc. I'm suprised with an S600 you get this kind of service. I would suggest speaking with Garth Blumenthal or Phil Rodar (sp?). I'd try Garth first as he has been more than helping me with my customer service related issues! Good luck! I wish you the best.
2006 E350 w/ 155k miles (Daily Driver)

1993 300E 3.2L Sedan w/ close to about 300k miles
2003 E500 Brilliant Silver (Had 217k miles when totalled!)
1989 300E with 289,000 miles (had for <1 yr while in HI)
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Old 03-28-2002, 06:30 PM
Posts: n/a
My opinion is most of these problems are caused by the owners of the dealers. I have never dealt with a MB dealer, but did take my 88 XJ6 into the Tulsa Jaguar dealer (it was part of a Ford auto collection dealership setup) for repairs on several occasions. Even though it was an old car and they did not sell it to me, I always thought the service was excellent and the prices were high but not unreasonable. The service manager always arranged to have a Hertz car ready for me to rent at the service entrance when I drove in.

However, in recent months the dealership was bought by Penske, and is being run from California, and every expense in the Jaguar sales and service unit is being nitpicked, down to questioning whether they should be paying printing and postage costs for the local Jaguar Club newsletter (which won second place in the USA last year from JCNA). Do these guys understand they are selling $75,000 automobiles? And if even one person every ten years decided to buy because of the newsletter, well, never mind....

The service department has already lost a great parts guy due to the change in ownership, shudder to think what will be next. Last year, this dealership won JCNA dealership of the year. Any guesses on chances for a repeat? These dealership owners fail to realize people buy luxury cars precisely because they want to own luxury cars, not because they want expensive cars that are a miserable experience. Nickling and diming each customer and treating them badly is a sure way to stop any repeat business.
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Old 03-28-2002, 06:38 PM
Van Helden
Posts: n/a
I'am curious as to why you didn't buy from Sears or Feldmans in Minneapolis. Would you have had any better service in your back yard rather than from a distance? I learned that lesson once myself in dealing with a California Lexus dealership on a Lincoln Continental. I had them where it hurts and threatened to report my problem to their DOT and then I got the results I wanted. Good Luck!
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Old 03-28-2002, 08:20 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: SW Colorado USA
Posts: 296
I didn't buy from Sears because they burned me years ago on a BMW service issue. I had been working with Charles Gibbs at Feldmans for quite some time. The biggest problem is that the Mpls dealers rarely if ever have an S600 to sell. Ironically, upon returning from our trip, there was a message from Charles, he had a lightly used 2001 S55. Unfortunately we had already bought the 600(though I do not regret it at all). I suspect that your assumption is correct. I definately would not have had these issues with Feldmans.

markluta, You hit the nail on the head, they are nickel and diming on this deal. Funny, I didn't treat them that way when I chose to buy the priciest car on the lot. I would have taken 15 minutes to clean and package the wheels properly. Along with that a few extra bucks toward quick shipping would have been a very nice gesture. Those two simple items would have made all of the difference. But nobody really cares, the only thing they are watching is the bottom line. As a business owner myself, I am quite sure that they will watch it shrink if they do not change the behaviors displayed after my transaction.
1995 G320
1984 280GE
1971 Unimog 416
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Old 03-28-2002, 08:48 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 140
G Man:

You bought a top of the line MB, S600. If I were you, I would have lunch with one of my local newspaper editors/reporters. The local newspaper loves to publish these consumer horror stories. However, you should have all the proof about the incident. You could be liable for defamation.

Good Luck
Car Nut
1999 E430 Sport
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