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Rusty C43 AMG - Mercedes Watford don't want to know

Discussion in 'Bodywork, Tyres, Wheels & Trim' started by Gridlock, May 12, 2009.

  1. Gridlock

    Gridlock Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    1998 Azurite Blue C43 AMG
    What do people know about the "good will" process, specifically relating to the recycled East German tin fences Mercedes used to make my car and hence the disgusting rust appearing in the wheel arches?

    [​IMG]

    Mercedes Watford told me they won't consider it unless I've owned the car 6 months, but by then (5 months from now) it'll be terrible.

    I want to get this fixed, and I'd have thought Merc wouldn't want a flagship £52,000 11-year old AMG driving around looking immaculate other than the obvious manufacturing defects but what I'm really keen to find out is why they even said they consider these under goodwill unless there's a tacit acknowledgement in place that they made low-quality bodywork (have you seen some of the 2000MY E classes? :shock:), and if this is the case then why do I have to have owned the car for 6 months?!

    Previous car was a 20 year old Audi Quattro with no rust anywhere. My weekend car is a 1990 Golf (supercharged VR6).. with no rust anywhere.

    Car has a full Merc service history up until 10K miles ago (previous owner), was originally a Merc demonstrator and has had no expense spared, but I don't see why i should shell out on a bodyshop when the only reason Mercedes won't consider it is some arbitrary 6 month rule. Not trying to use the "angry potential customer" route but I was planning on maintaining this car via the main dealer, now I'm tempted to just sell the rusty POS and get a car from a manufacturer who didn't melt down baked bean cans to save a few pfennigs.

    :-( :mad:
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2009
  2. television

    television Always remembered RIP

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    Your Mercedes:
    2002 SL500, 216 CL500, all fully loaded
    MB Watford have a lousy name when it come to helping customers, and I know of many who will never go near that place, even though they live in Watford.

    I would go to another dealer and ask them for help or go direct to MB in Milton Keynes
     
  3. MarkCL

    MarkCL Senior Member

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    This is a rule that helps to trap traders wanting to evade paying for bodywork repairs - by asking for you to have owned it for 6 months they can at least ensure that you ARE an owner as opposed to just someone wanting to make a quick buck at their expense.

    Correction - £6000 flagship C class. The car is 11 years old - stop kidding yourself.

    No admission of poor quality bodywork, just that there is a 30 year warranty in place that has specific criteria under which it applies. One of which is consistent use of the main dealer network for servicing so that they can keep on top of any rust issues and sort them as they come up. As soon as the car leaves that servicing regieme then some of the responsibility falls to the owner - it's actually quite reasonable really and in a lot of cases has still worked out well when you approach the right dealer with the right attitude. Go in all guns blazing and the only thing you'll do is antagonise people.

    Why? I say again - the car is over a decade old now and you are not the original owner and the car is no longer main dealer maintained. How many owners has it had by the way? See above for my explanation of the 6 month rule...

    Again - Why? There really is no need - for this age of car you're much better served finding a good local independant MB specialist. Dealership servicing on a car of that age is only for those with more money than sense IMHO - doing it just to preserve the bodywork guarantee is not enough of a reason really and certainly not financially sound. The money saved by getting servicing etc done by an indie will easily cover any rust repairs that become necessary I would have thought.

    So sell it. If you honestly think your C43 is QUOTE "a rusty POS made from melted down baked bean cans" then you obviously don't get what the AMG C43 is all about at all. I personally love mine, rusty bits on the wheel arches and all, and I'm perfectly able to shoulder responsibility for maintaining it myself, bodywork and all due to the age of the car. If you're not, well then happy hunting on your next car...

    Just me 2p,
    Mark
     
  4. OP
    Gridlock

    Gridlock Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    1998 Azurite Blue C43 AMG
    I went in very reasonable, under the impression (apparently correct) that Merc are looking after the cars they built poorly. I left with questions about just what this goodwill scheme is, and what criteria it's assessed under. I know I didn't spend £52K on this car (I'm delighted with the amount of car I got for my money) but I'm confused about whether or not MB will help me out. The fact it cost 52K is more about the fact that it's not your average car, it's a model carrying a brandname that currently sells cars for between 50 and 300 grand and have a deserved reputation for motoring excellence. Unfortunately they built a car using bodywork that can't survive 11 years on the road, which is something the Italians might be good at but if the Germans want their reputation intact then they have to work for it.

    Merc Bristol owned it, then it was leased by them, then an owner in Basingstoke who kept up the main dealer history, then it did under 3K miles in 18m with the owner previous to me, who had a service done by a MB specialist - so it's been outside of the MB network for 3K miles/18m and one minor service, and has had no bodywork done ever as far as I can tell. I have pretty much the best service history possible right back to the supplying invoice (and even the yellow German certificate of compliance or whatever it is).

    I haven't had a quote yet but it's 4 rusty arches and some scary wing creep - I guess Merc servicing is expensive but I shudder to think how much it'll cost to get my arches matching the rest of the car (which is almost immaculate, and is being paint corrected next weekend)

    I love it too, I knew exactly what I was getting into or I'd not have bought a rusty Merc C Class for nearly 6 grand.. I just wish I could work out (hence this post) whether there's *any* mileage in persisting with MB (waiting 5 months on the off chance doesn't appeal) or whether I should just get someone else on it. It was all going swimmingly at MB (they were going to photo, measure paint depth and submit a claim) until I mentioned the recent purchase date and then all the wheels fell off so I'm left deciding between a £1K+ paint bill or waiting 5m or trying another MB route.

    If the goodwill scheme didn't exist I'd be happy, but I bought the car thinking there was a reasonable chance Merc would want to do right by it and I want to know if this is still the case.

    Not being all high and mighty and angry, just genuinely want to understand my options.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2009
  5. bigasotonuk

    bigasotonuk Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    C43/55 AMG 1999 / C230K 1997
    Hi,
    MB Watford have neglected to say that even once you have owned the car the qualifing period of 6 months, it won,t be covered as if your vehicle is pre October 1998 apparently it isnt covered by the 30 year rust warranty, and as yours is an "R" plate it will not be covered by the warranty, goodwill or not MB have absolutly no obligation to you I,m afraid, you could try e-mailling MB directly, but they will tell you the same regarding the 30 year warranty.
    To be honest this should not of come as too much of a surprise to you as I told you this in a past thread regarding the 30 year warranty, (see post 27)
    http://forums.mercedesclub.org.uk/showthread.php?t=48067&page=3
     
  6. Dosco

    Dosco Senior Member

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  7. OP
    Gridlock

    Gridlock Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    1998 Azurite Blue C43 AMG
    I thought the 30 year automatic warranty kicked in Nov 98, but they would look at goodwill for vehicles older than this.

    This is what ****ed me off, leading me on and getting me booked in only to reveal right at the last minute they wouldn't consider it due to the length of ownership. Now you're saying there's yet another reason they shouldn't have even done this, and seeing how they took the reg right at the start there's no excuse really. R plate = pre sept 98 = no deal.

    This is why I'm confused, no-one seems able to give me a straight answer - why even book in an R-Reg car for a goodwill estimate? Can I wait 5m or will they tell me FOAD again?

    If I were resorting to really arguing the case I could point out that MB initially sold the car after this date following a period as a demonstrator, but as it's a gratis warranty I doubt this has any bearing.

    I have experience from a previous life of dealing with the MB network and they weren't exactly helpful back then so I wasn't expecting much to change, but OTOH this dealer just missed a massive opportunity to book some work at MB-GMBH's expense (maybe they're too busy selling new cars though?) and get me on-side for the next 30 years of buying cars. As it is I'm confused, have wasted my time and am weighing up whether to spend 1500 quid on a 6 grand car for temporary results, watch it rust into a parody of a Luton Taxi or flog it and buy something else that has similar performance but intact bodywork.

    Cheers for the answers guys, seems I bought a car slightly too old for Merc to care. Lesson learned. Seeing how 2000 C43s with the tiptronic and covered by the warranty go for not much more than I paid, seems the market hasn't cottoned onto this either. I could probably chop mine in for a 2000 year C43 and still have spent less than getting my bodywork looked at.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2009
  8. OP
    Gridlock

    Gridlock Member

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    What's the best/only email address by the way? Probably easiest (as all I'm looking for is definitive information) to just go straight to them.
     
  9. littlebrooklyn

    littlebrooklyn Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    2016 A180d
    Totally agree with Malcolm here. We are in Watford and when we went to MB Watford to buy our first Merc a few years ago we felt the Sales guy was looking down his nose at us :rolleyes: We were offered a paltry amount of money in PX for our existing car and ended up finding a better and cheaper car at MB Swindon. When we bought another one last year we didn't even bother going to Watford and found just the one we wanted down at MB Chichester.
     
  10. MarkCL

    MarkCL Senior Member

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    W211 E320 CDi Avantgarde
    It does sound like the dealership have messed you about a bit. Either they genuinely don't know the particulars of MB's own warranty conditions etc or else they're leading you on. In either case I'd walk away from them and look elsewhere. Direct contact with MB in Milton Keynes is most likely your best bet to be honest.

    Why temporary results? If done properly then they should be good for at least another ten years - it's only if you get bad work done that things may start up again. There are good places to get the work done - find one and give them the business and sit back knowing that it's been sorted properly :cool:

    Well good luck on that front - don't know of many 300bhp out of the box cars you could look at short of maybe an Audi S8? Or Porsche, but then you lose the practical side of 4 doors and a big boot - depends on what you want really.

    Personally I'll always be happier getting bodywork done to MY spec and at a place of MY choosing so that I can ensure as good a job done as possible. If you get the job done right, even if it means wing/metal replacement, then you will KNOW it's going to last. Some of the MB warranty work I've heard of being done in the past appears to have been just a blow overs, and stuff like that never lasts :(

    Be interested to hear how you get on with any claims or if you choose to chop it in. Really can't think of many cars for the same money that would give you as much as the C43 though...?

    Cheers,
    Mark
     
  11. OP
    Gridlock

    Gridlock Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    1998 Azurite Blue C43 AMG
    My list ended up at AC Schnitzer-tuned 540i, E34 M5, S8 or possibly a Monaro. AMG won easily, as I wanted an auto (this is my daily North Circular driver, I have a fun manual too) and this example is much straighter than similarly-priced anything else, other than the arches (mostly service history and general condition).

    I have a load of docs from Purslow Merc including membership of their Platinum Plus club (40% off labour etc) so I think I'll go there next, they have massive history with the car. I think they have a stealership in Slough so not a million miles.
     
  12. OP
    Gridlock

    Gridlock Member

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    Normally I'd agree, but after searching "rust" on here... :eek:
     
  13. SQ_W211

    SQ_W211 Senior Member

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    40% minus merc prices = indie prices, however indie will look after you and do a proper job when Merc can be awkward and just do brush up work to get on to next customer
     
  14. philharve

    philharve Senior Member

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    W202 C230K Auto 2000
    Confused (still)

    Hi All

    This thread has reignited the argument as to when MB will cease repairing those vehicles, under warranty, that suffered during those years of poor manufacture. My own C class being one of them.

    My car suffered relatively slight rust - I've seen much, much worse and of similar age - due to 'poor paint' and my car was repaired under warranty 3 times during its first 8 years of life. It is due to visit the bodyshop again for rust in the bottom of 2 of its doors. Not severe but still a nuisance. The previous repairs, which date back almost 7 years, are still sound. These include 2 doors, bonnet and all 4 wheel arches.

    These repairs and future professional repairs should last at least as long again even though the repairs are guarantied only for 2 years. I dread to think what my car would look like now had remedial action not been taken.

    Reading this thread made me realise that I still don't understand at what point MB will say, 'your car is now too old to be considered for repair under warranty for defects introduced during manufacture!' I would maintain that such defects must, if left untreated, shorten the vehicle's natural life.

    I fully expect that I will be funding the next repair and any future repairs, which seems likely if I chose to keep the car.

    My car is now in its 9th Year and I would guess is now 'too old' to make a claim for rust even though it is in otherwise excellent condition and has many years life left in it. It has been maintained by an indie using 'genuine parts & processes' for the last 4 - 5 years.

    I have long held the belief that any MB model manufactured during the 'bad years' and older than 8 years is probably 'too old' to be repaired under warranty even if professionally maintain during this time by a MB dealership or an indie. Is this not so?

    I feel sorry for 'Gridlock' because the C43 is a future classic. However, there must come a time when MB will reject all future claims relating to manufacturing defects. Consequently, its maintenance becomes solely the responsibility of the current owner. He/she needs to have a thick wallet and deep pockets.

    REGARDS

    Phil
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2009
  15. The Rock

    The Rock Senior Member

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    Gridlock, If it were me I'd wait the extra months and persevere with a claim whilst keeping a sensible perspective on the subject. You might get some sort of compromise ie they'll pay something but not all. I wouldn't pretend to be a "future customer". In fact, buy purchasing an 11 year old car you've actually proved that you aren't likely to buy a newer car any time soon, haven't you?

    As for servicing and mechanical repairs etc., I'd find an indie specialist and not use the main-dealer at all. On a car like that the main dealer won't be able to give you the time and effort that you are looking for. You want an expert with the time to get to know your car inside out. A main dealer technician just doesn't get that opportunity. An indie is more flexible because he isn't governed by head-office.

    Lovely car by the way.

    Rock
     
  16. OP
    Gridlock

    Gridlock Member

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    No pretending needed, as a business they should be treating new business like gold dust if they want to succeed long-term. Doesn't matter if I'm a pauper or a captain of industry, they don't know either way.

    I saw a tasty silver L-Plate C36 on the road this morning, complete with intact arches. Made me realise that Merc went through a proper shoddy patch and that the C43 is a future classic but only if there's a pool of maintained cars out there. At current pricing this isn't going to happen.

    I really wonder why no previous owners tried to get this sorted.
     
  17. turbopete

    turbopete Senior Member

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    im sure someone will tell me if im wrong, but i had 2 earlier w 202's both 96 reg'd, 1 on an N plate, the other a P plate. i believe that on cars of that era that the 30 yr perforation warranty was a 20year one on those cars and that the current unwritten rule of 8yrs old for goodwill repairs was 6yrs at the time! thats what we were told by 2 different dealers we know! however, repairing them neednt cost the earth. my p plate had the beginnings of problems before its demise 2 and a half years ago. admittedly i get the 10% trade parts discount but a genuine front wing from MB was £75 inc vat. and im sure that MB or other panel factor will produce rear arch repair sections, if theyre bad enough to require them, for £20-30 a side at a guess? or you could try what im going to do with my w210, grind out as muc rust as possible, treat with POR15 then have it painted to match the car! hope some of my ramblings are of help to someone!
     
  18. television

    television Always remembered RIP

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    If the edges are too bad on the rear arches it does not cost that much to have new metal welded in suitably shaped.

    My local man is doing that all day long on all makes of cars
     
  19. turbopete

    turbopete Senior Member

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    thats what i was meaning by the repair sections Malcolm. many places have ready made sections you just cut out the rot, cut the repair sections to size, weld in, skim over and paint! ideal if your not the best panel former around!
     
  20. television

    television Always remembered RIP

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    Thank you and nice to know :D:D
     

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