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My experience with Mercedes Benz of Derby... Advice please!

Discussion in 'General Mercedes-Benz Related Discussion' started by Stilyaga, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. Stilyaga

    Stilyaga New Member

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    Location:
    Coventry
    Your Mercedes:
    Smart Car
    Hello,

    I'm not a Mercedes owner, I'm a Smart owner. However, since this relates entirely to the Mercedes garage, not the car, I thought that this might be the best place to come... This will be a VERY long post, but I really need some help with this, so I think the best thing would be to tell my story from the beginning.

    I own a used, ten-year-old Smart car. I bought it from a small garage through Autotrader in 2010. It ran like a dream, with only one or two tiny issues until May 1st this year. As I was driving to work one morning it completely cut out in the middle of the dual carriageway and wouldn't start.

    I managed to get it sent up to Mercedes Benz of Derby on May 3rd. I spoke to a woman called Claire, who booked it in for that day (Thursday) with Adam. Everything was going well, so I continued with my booked long weekend to Edinburgh that day. On the way home (Saturday), we were passing Derby so I called the garage to see if we could just pop in and pick it up. Adam told me that they would probably not be done with it until after the bank holiday. Fine, I presumed the booked slot wasn't long enough to find the problem.

    I was then contacted on the Wednesday (9th), about 15 minutes before their closing time to be asked "do you have any information about what exactly went wrong when the car broke down?" I assumed this was a different member of staff (I thought it was a guy called Neil, but since have been told it was Adam... no idea), so I told him, and he then informed me that it would now have to be a "full diagnosis" costing £90 rather than the normal £45 one. I thought fine, it's clearly a big problem, this will get it sorted.

    The next day I was called again by the same person and he told me that the battery wasn't charged enough to complete any tests. He told me it would be £120 for a new one and without that there was no way they could find the problem. I asked him whether there was simply a spare battery they could just connect for the test because I wasn't sure if I even wanted to fix the car if it was going to cost too much. (I'd been planning to sell it that month). They said no, you need a new one, so I said I'd think about it and get back to him.

    I called back that evening and I asked why it had taken seven days for Mercedes mechanics to find a flat battery, and why this hadn't been found out in the booked appointment one week earlier. This time I was told I was speaking with Neil, and he explained that Adam was on holiday until Friday and was the only person who could answer these questions. I assumed that this was why Neil needed to call to find info about the breakdown.

    After telling my boyfriend (an engineer) all of this, he decided that we would buy our own battery and bring it to them, where he would fit it and then they could get on with the tests, saving me about £100. He spoke to Neil on the phone because I was starting to feel out of my depth and not taken seriously due to my age (I was only 22) and my gender (girl). They agreed about the battery and also that the £90 "full diagnosis" wasn't necessary since they had only found a flat battery. So we bought one for £47 on Saturday May 10th, and took it in on Monday 14th. Neil met us and told us that Adam would fit it for us for free, and have it sorted and ready for testing in moments. We popped out to a supermarket but heard nothing from them. We went home. In hindsight we should have gone back in but by now I was starting to feel frustrated and embarrassed.

    That evening, I called to ask about the progress. Adam assured me that it was half an hour away from being sorted and that he'd call me back. I heard nothing that day.

    I was called the next day, (Tuesday 15th) to be told that finally there was a diagnosis. One of the parts had got wet (just like I found out on the internet 2 hours after my breakdown) and they needed a new part. It wasn't there right now but it was on order from Germany. Should arrive in a few days. Total cost would be £214.40. Excellent news! Almost.

    I wasn't contacted again, so I called them the following Monday (21st) to ask about progress. They told me the part should arrive "tomorrow".

    I called the next day (Tuesday 22nd). The receptionist assured Adam would call back. He didn't.

    I called again Thursday (24th). Adam told me the part would arrive "tomorrow" and then progress could start.

    Then I heard nothing [Bear in mind that I was quite busy with work so I couldn't be spending all day waiting around calling them etc.] until May 28th where I got a text message saying that they were gaining an ETA “today” and would inform me as soon as they knew. I called them on May 29th, to complain about the waiting and the terrible service and the lying and the being ignored. I was told I'd get an update when they had received their ETA for the part. (What happened to "tomorrow"?)

    The next day I got a voice message saying that the part wouldn't be available until July but that they would keep trying to get an ETA and would keep me posted.

    I was not contacted until I called them on Monday June 18th at around 2pm. I was promised a call back straight away. A message was left just before closing time (I was working) saying the part could be earlier than expected but they would keep me updated.

    I called them on the Tuesday afternoon, spoke to the receptionist because Adam wasn’t there. I declined a call back because I never got them, but I asked if I could leave a message for Adam because I was leaving the area in a few days. (I could tell she wasn’t writing anything down). She assured he would contact me very soon. No contact that day.

    I called Saturday June 23rd. Adam was unavailable so I asked to be put through to someone else who could help. The receptionist said someone would call back soon. For the first time, I got a call back from reception to say that there wasn’t anyone available, sorry, and could he take a message. (Thank you, Norman). I left a message explaining that I’d be unavailable for 6 weeks starting July 1st but was happy for work to be done during this time.

    On Monday June 25th I called and complained about all this mess and get a REAL ETA. I had still not been given a single date. I was put through to Adam, who told me that he wasn’t aware that my car had been booked in with him on the first day (May 3rd). He also told me that it was him who had called to ask what went wrong with the car, not Neil. He didn’t mention his holiday at all, and he basically implied that for about two weeks not a single thing had been done with my car. By then I was frustrated and tired and bored and there was nothing I could do without the part anyway. So I left for my residential summer school job and forgot all about it.

    During the six weeks I got one text message on July 20th saying that they were STILL awaiting an ETA. They said they’d contact me the following week with any info. I heard nothing.

    Then, after my job ended and I moved house, I finally decided to call them again. I called them on Monday September 17th. I was promised a call back, and for the first time, got one within the hour. Adam told me that he “was actually going to call me” that day (how convenient!) because the part had been “released” so they should have it all ready by “tomorrow”. He also said he might be able to give me a deal on the price because of the wait... He said he’d call me in the morning when it was all done.

    I got a text message the next day saying the repair was “ongoing” but would probably be done the next day. They said they’d speak to me when it was completed.

    Then on Wednesday they called me to say it was all done and running and lovely and shiny and happy rainbows and unicorns. They mentioned a leaking shock absorber which would probably need sorting (they would do it for £200) and that there were a few other minor things. I said I couldn’t pick it up yet because I needed to sort out insurance and MOT and tax and all that rubbish. Not to mention I’ve just moved house and I currently don’t have a job. They said no problem come and get it when you want, but we will call you again soon with a total price for everything, including some sort of discount.
    Today is September 24th and I’ve not heard anything since.

    My car has been at that garage, totally stationary and having not been started for four months and three weeks. You can see how I’ve been treated during this time. I have a couple of questions:

    Are leaking shock absorbers a result of it sitting around for 4 months?

    What sort of compensation (if any) should I expect/demand? Do they owe me anything? Should I ask them to repay the 2 months of insurance I paid for a car that was 80 miles away? Should I ask them to MOT and fix it up for free? Should I get the whole repair free? What about a free service?

    The thing is, I know my car isn’t worth more than about £1000. But the reason I went there and not to some other place was because my family and my family in law are all loyal Mercedes customers and the service is always impeccable (kudos to Mercedes of Cheltenham). So to be treated like this for whatever reason (cheap car? girl? young?) is really insulting. I just don’t know what to do or say to get it sorted. Not to mention I’ve been without a vehicle for 4 months and nobody seemed to care.

    This is so long. I’m sorry. If they’d sorted it when they said they would this would only be about a 6th of this length, so you can blame them for that too.

    Thanks
    Sinead
     
  2. Xtractorfan

    Xtractorfan Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    S class
    I really wouldn't like to have an argument with you Sinead...
    But onto your other problem, the car..
    Wait until you get their bill and then take action, this is gonna be along drawn out affair if prices and settlement don't match your expectations...
    I always suggest people like trading standards in issues like this, because solicitors and lawyers will give u hmmms and haaas and no clear answers...
    What you have written down would stand up well in any argument, so use that as your defence/argument....
    As for shock absorbers leaking by standing around... noooo..
    The only items on your car to deteriorate whilst standing or sitting around will be rusty brake discs, and, tyres if the car isn't moved ..
    Only one point I can make in their favour.. If the car is ready to go and properly repaired ..they can charge you for storage,but only from the date the car was properly repaired... Soooo.. do not mention it.........
     
  3. malcolm210

    malcolm210 Senior Member

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    Sorry to hear about the situation with your car.

    Firstly - I would say you can't sort a situation like this out by phone, email or text, a visit to the dealer is long overdue and you will need somebody with you who has an understanding of cars and garages etc.

    Secondly - The time has long passed where you should now be talking to the service manager or one of his superiors to try and get this resolved, sounds like your car has been pushed into the corner of the workshop for the apprentice to fix.

    Thirdly - I would try and resolve this amicable, your various jobs, holidays and movements around the country seem to have put this repair on the back burner.

    Finally - I would try and get one of your family to help if you feel out of your depth with the garage. You mention that they have Mercedes cars and know the their local franchise well, so time to talk to them regarding assstance. The time period you mention, 1st May to date, is far to long for any repair so as you say a good discount should be offered on the cost of the job and goodwill.

    Hope this help!
     
  4. television

    television Always remembered RIP

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    Location:
    Daventry
    Your Mercedes:
    2002 SL500, 216 CL500, all fully loaded
    Hello and welcome, I will leave it to others to comment in general, but the battery bit was wrong, it is stated in WIS the when the car is joined to STAR a charger should be in place so that the customer does not get the car back with a flat battery, so the test could have been performed without you buying a new battery
     
  5. Miffy

    Miffy Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    CLK 320 CAB Elegance C208
    It could be that they suspected the battery to have a cell fault, so sticking 12v through it might give rise to excess gassing so decided to not try it
     
  6. Mic

    Mic Senior Member

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    Oxfordshire
    Your Mercedes:
    MB SL500(2003), MB SLK320(2001), Volvo V70 XC AWD(2001)
    Hello and welcome......a sorry tale and an outrageous time frame.

    As others.....you need a firm but polite meeting with the General Manager in the first instance c/w your email to this Forum and all the supporting diary entries/documentation that you can pull together. Don't go alone but not mob handed.....just two of you, preferably someone who can add gravitas to the meeting.....someone who has a few grey hairs and has been ''around the block a few times''

    Don't expect too much.....be realistic......your car is fixed (allegedly), make certain that it is......try to reach an amicable mutually agreeable solution as quickly as possible......I know that it is irritating but the scale of the problem is not worth too much sabre rattling by either you or the dealer.

    Good Luck

    Mic
     
  7. Miffy

    Miffy Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    CLK 320 CAB Elegance C208
    Its always a little worrying when a new member makes a public rant like this, and does not return.
     
  8. OP
    Stilyaga

    Stilyaga New Member

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    Location:
    Coventry
    Your Mercedes:
    Smart Car
    I'm still here! I've been dismantling a shed... What fun. I thought I'd post and then wait a while to see if anyone could be bothered to read my essay. Turns out you could!

    Thanks so much for the advice guys. I knew this was the right place to come :)

    I spoke to them on the phone today and organised picking it up on Friday, plus meeting with the GM so fingers crossed I will get to show them what I've showed you. I think even just telling them how ridiculous they've been would be good enough for me to be honest.

    I think my main issue isn't even the waiting around, because i really don't know what sort of stuff goes on with getting parts (though 4 months does seem a little extreme...) it's more all the stuff that went on before they even starting faffing with ETAs.

    Any more advice would be greatly appreciated, and I'll post again if I get any kind of result from this whole fiasco.

    Thanks again!
    Sinead
     
  9. Miffy

    Miffy Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    CLK 320 CAB Elegance C208
    Thanks Sinead. I do feel for your situation here, but we do get a fair few who want to post just in the hope of causing grief to a certain business. Glad to see your actually looking for a resolution.

    Mind you, after 4 months, I am not sure I would have been quite so polite with them.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2012
  10. Richard Elliot

    Richard Elliot Senior Member

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    Lisbon, Portugal
    Your Mercedes:
    1999 E270CDi
    That is a formidable and objective diary of events - print it out. Make an appointment with someone in management, don't be intimidated, and remember your car is as worthy of respect as any Mercedes
     
  11. OP
    Stilyaga

    Stilyaga New Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    Smart Car
    Well the thing is, being so young and girly and frankly rather allergic to all things car-related, I really don't know where I stand with all this. Clearly it's been waay too long but what if there genuinely was a massive delay and they had no control over it? Is that even possible?

    I've been rather firm with the service guy, Adam, over the phone a few times now but he's always so charmingly polite that I feel like a hysterical idiot getting angry when he's actually being really friendly. I just wish I had more of an idea about the extent to which I've been totally screwed over. I guess that's why I wrote here originally; if you guys thought that I should be getting angry then I would know that my situation is actually a big deal and not a totally clueless person making mountains out of molehills (as the Mercedes people seem to think I am)...

    They have dropped the price of everything down to £180 which is a nice gesture but really I'm not sure if that's enough... Especially since I had to find alternative transport for the last 4 months and swapping a nippy, hyper efficient Smart for my boyfriend's lumbering, petrol guzzling Saab for city driving has cost me SO MUCH MONEY.

    I guess I just want to know HOW angry I should be right now. Because honestly after this long the original anger has sort of died down, and I just want it all to be OVER so I can sell the stupid thing.
     
  12. Miffy

    Miffy Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    CLK 320 CAB Elegance C208
    What ever they are guilty of, I am sure its nothing to do with your age or gender. It could be a very genuine issue but just handled completely wrong. Many here have given you some sound advice, so take that, stay calm and discuss this with them. Lets hope you get some answers, and a result.
     
  13. SQ_W211

    SQ_W211 Active Senior Members

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    Your Mercedes:
    W219 CLS55 AMG
    The main think i would like to flag with GM is the lack of responses. This is not your average brand, MB are top brand and their dealership should reflect the standard. I have recently experienced some shabby dealership service managers who don't care or understand customer needs. But like any place, there are good and bad member of staff.

    I would explain the situation to GM, also flag up following:

    * Why did they take so long to do initial diagnostic
    * why you were made to change battery before any diagnostic
    * Is there a part which can take upto 3 months to deliver from Germany?
    * Lack off updates and you having to spend your time to chase up when you were promised callbacks
     
  14. Some guy on the internet

    Some guy on the internet Senior Member

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    Why on earth did you leave the car there for over 4 months? What were you driving in the mean time?
     
  15. OP
    Stilyaga

    Stilyaga New Member

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    I didn't have much choice as it wouldn't start and was over 40 miles away at the nearest "specialist Smart" garage. I didn't know the area and in the "my car has just broken down" panic, I thought a Smart dealer would have the best chance of fixing it. How wrong I was. Trust me, if I had been able to start it I would have driven it away and taken my custom elsewhere.

    I was driving my boyfriend's car for a couple of months and then I worked on a residential summer camp so didn't need to drive.
     
  16. Nemo20

    Nemo20 Senior Member

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    Herts
    Your Mercedes:
    SL500
    They were fortunate that you were able to find alternative transport, but that in itself then meant you weren't pressurising them enough to get the job done. Four months is a ridiculous amount of time for a repair - I suspect most of us here would have had them hung out to dry long before now! The dealer is therefore lucky to be dealing with you!
    A sorry tale but you have had some great advice so do follow that and let us know the outcome.
     
  17. Some guy on the internet

    Some guy on the internet Senior Member

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    Most of us would have moved the car somewhere else.
     
  18. Xtractorfan

    Xtractorfan Senior Member

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    Well I think you should not get angry at all, I think you should remain calm and very focused on the points you wish to make ..make a list, or use the list you have already made, keep a copy handy in bigger print so you can refer to it when talking to anyone about your dilema..
    Then when they say things that make you happy, smile and say thank you, then ask where can we go from here, and remember they need to be heading into your comfort zone...

    Oh and remember how much trouble ADAM got us all into when he decided to cavort with EVE..
     
  19. Cardinal Biggles

    Cardinal Biggles Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    CLS 320 (09) W219; C220D (07) W204
    Yes indeed. I think Id be asking them if this is typical of the Derby MB service provision, and when they say no, Bingo, you have them in a half nelson for a reduced bill.

    When they rant about third parties and not being liable for spares part production, your issue is with what and when they told you. Their irregularities and promises, in setting your expectations incorrectly, prevented you from seeking a solution elsewhere, but they clearly did nothing on the car during that period. You also contracted for a diagnosis and didn't receive one in a reasonable period. I would be asking them exactly why the battery had to be replaced - in great detail no less.

    Does the local paper have a consumer rights section? There being young & female and being taken advantage of by the big rich Merc dealer works to your advantage. Use it if you cant agree a deal with Derby MB.
     
  20. harrisis

    harrisis Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    w203 C-coupe 220Cdi
    Sorry for your pain!

    Theres some great advice in the thread, and you have some good documented evidence to backup your complaints.

    I think a lesson to all of us, to document the who/when/whys whenever we are dealing with any sort of call centre or customer service team.

    And to add to the hints and tips you've had...

    1) Take along your diary of events. Its hard to disagree with such good proof.
    2) Ask them to explain what happened to you and your car.
    3) Ask them to explain why it took so long and why they did it so poorly.
    4)..The real kicker... Ask them how they will prevent it happening to you or anyone else in the future.

    These guys will have been trained in the customer service shadow boxing, you need to make them own the problem. You are currently not a happy, fee paying customer, its their job to make you one. It's not their job to hush you up. Sadly, many of them forget that bit.

    Good luck!! And not all garages are the same. Shop around now you have time, and find somewhere that you trust and that respects you and your pride and joy!
     

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