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My ‘Mercedes bad Experience’ has gotten worst

Since my last post on Mercedes almost a year ago, I am sorry to report that the experience with Mercedes not only didn’t improve but actually has gotten worst.

In late January 2017, we finally got the car we ordered in October 2016 and promised would be ready before Christmas 2016. Five months into the car’s young life, we noticed the car’s computer system was having some issues. At one time the car just died after we stopped at a traffic light and wouldn’t start again. Dealer informed us that a faulty switch causing the computer to shut down.  It was a safety concern and they fixed it a couple of days later while we waited at the shop.

Since December, we started noticing the car makes loud squeaking noise sometimes when we hit the brake or backing up.  It was close to the one year manufacturer recommended maintenance time, we decided to wait until after the New Year to take the car in to the dealer for service.

January 2018, called and scheduled the maintenance. We were told that for services such as maintenance, loaner car is not provided per Mercedes’ company policy. What? That’s news to us but alright we will just wait at the shop again then.

And, by the way, the manufacturer recommended maintenance service is NOT covered by Mercedes and we have to pay for it. No one mentioned that to us before we brought the car!  We are talking about just basic annual manufacturer recommended maintenance. One would think a premium luxury brand such as Mercedes should have that covered! Even the Honda Odyssey we brought provided 3 years basic service in 2003.

What about the loud squeaking noise the brake makes? Oh it happens when the weather gets cold and nothing can be done about it, according to Mercedes. What!! Really?? Our 13-year old ML-320 didn’t make that noise. Nor did the X3, Mini Copper, or the Honda. How can a not yet one year old Mercedes makes loud noise and it’s normal and nothing can be done about it. What happened to Mercedes’ high quality standards and customer experience??

We will be shopping for a new car soon and it will NOT be a Mercedes. In fact, it will NOT be a Mercedes for a long long time!!

 

My ‘Mercedes (bad) Experience’ continues

Many years ago, Mercedes Benz used to boast about ‘The Mercedes Experience’ to show customers/potential customers how good their products are and the superiority of their services. My husband and I used to joke about our ‘Mercedes Experience’ when we were owners of the 2000 ML320.

I still remember vividly the very nice salesman Roberto at the Silver Star dealer in Long Island City that sold us the car in 1999 (for the 2000 model). Our initial experience was very positive and we enjoyed driving the ML320.

As the car aged and we went to a different dealer that was closer to home, the experience changed. By year 5, we started to see issues with the car and had to visit the dealer more often than we liked. The Service Manager would say to us ‘well, it is still a car’. I guess that was their justification for why the car had to be serviced frequently. But it’s a Mercedes, NOT a Honda! See my 2007 post about the ‘Experience’.

So when we were looking for a new car in 2012, we decided to go with BMW, not Mercedes. We got the X3 in silver on a 3-year lease the way I liked it. We had never leased a car before. I loved the X3 but not the lease method. The Habberstad BMW dealer’s customer service is superior and unparalleled. They followed up with every appointments and survey after services.

A lease meant we have to shop for another car again last year. The X3 was a great car but the design has not been updated for 7 years so we wanted a different one. For reasons I can’t understand, my dear husband is also very adamant about NOT getting another BMW as a replacement. After much research and comparison, we decided to give Mercedes another try. The newly introduced 2nd year GLC300 seems like a very good crossover vehicle and perfect for our needs.

On October 10, 2016, we went to the local Mercedes dealership and ordered the 2017 GLC300. The salesman said it should take about 2 months and we would get the new car around the time our X3 lease ends on December 7. Great. Looking forward to the new car.

December 6, one day before I had to turn in the X3, I called Mercedes to confirm that they had or would soon have the car for me. I got the manager on the phone since the salesman was not in. The manager was surprised to learn that I had not gotten a call from the salesman because my new car was not ready. In fact, it hadn’t even been built yet! He said the salesman would work with me on a solution regarding the lease car that I had to turn in the next day. A loaner car could be the answer.

The next day, the sales guy called to say that I should extend the BMW lease and the new car would be ready 1st week of January. And he would call me before that to let me know the status.

Thanks to BMW’s financing group, I was able to extend the lease another month and didn’t have to go through extra steps. The lease would end on January 7, 2017.

Since we don’t live in the city, public transportation is not readily available and we rely on cars heavily. Without the X3, we are down to one car, a Mini Cooper, the ‘hockey puck’ as we call it. Not only is it inconvenient, when it snows we can’t drive the Mini.

On January 13th I called the sales guy for a status on the new car. Now I was told that the car had been made and was on a boat somewhere coming from Germany. It is expected to arrive on January 24th in Baltimore. I expressed my concern that the car had been delayed from early December to early January. And now it is changed to late January or more likely February. We need to have an alternative until the car gets here. The sales guy said to come in on Monday to discuss the car and he would speak to his manager about a loaner car.

Monday, January 16, we went to the dealership. From our discussion, it was crystal clear that the salesman had never intended to provide us a loaner car. And it was also clear that he didn’t really care about the sale since the GLC was a popular car and he would have no trouble selling it. That may explain why the guy had never initiated a call to provide update on the delays. As a customer, I had to call for an update every time!

I am once again very disappointed at the ‘Mercedes Experience’. I was hoping that things had changed since we last owned a car from them. What do we do now? The GLC300 received great reviews and seemed like a really good car. However, do I really want to go through this ‘experience’ again? I don’t even have the car yet and I am being treated like this already. Imagine what it would be like after I sign the dotted line? The Jaguar F-Pace is looking really good right now!

Funny how things turn out

We picked the pool company (again) and finally signed the contract last night to build a pool in the yard.

It’s funny how this worked out.  We were ready to sign the contract with a different pool company on Monday then something happened… I was ticked and didn’t want to use this company.  You see, we picked this first company because the day before we discussed with them and agreed on a price with discount.  Being a finance person, I put all the numbers onto a spreadsheet and expect the total to be X.  The guy started to put all the numbers down on his contract sheet but didn’t bother with the discount that we agreed to the day before.    When I pointed out to him that he missed the discount, he started by telling me ‘but I included this and that for free’ and wanted to see what the other company is giving me in the pool package.  He also made a math mistake by somehow tagging on an extra 10K to the total price.  He did realize his own mistake and fixed it.  By then, I was soooo ticked that I didn’t want to deal with this anymore.  So we called it a day.

Then, I called the other company and spoke to the sales guy and asked him to give me a better price and throw in some of the options that the first company was giving for “free”.  Of course nothing is free, you are paying for it one way or the other.  It’s included in the price.  Free is when you don’t need to pay anything and they still give it to you.

That was Monday Columbus day where we were all taking a day off.  My plan was to sign a contract on Monday so we can start the process of getting a permit from the town while I am away for 10 days starting on Wednesday.  Well, things didn’t quite work out on Monday so it leaves only Tuesday.

Tuesday morning before 8:30, the first guy called a few times but I was still upset and didn’t want to talk to him.  Work was busy and didn’t get to speak to the second guy until afternoon.  Finally got the numbers and they looked OK but 10% more than the first guy.  The truth is we can’t really compare the two companies solely base on the total cost because they are providing two different options.  Since our house is on a slope, we need to have retaining wall built for the pool.  The first company suggested using a lot of boulders for retaining wall (turns out the guy bought a lot of them and need to use them somehow) so the price is cheaper by more than 10% for the wall.  The second company suggests building retaining wall using interlocking block system and won’t even suggest using boulders.

From the beginning, I was not comfortable with boulders and kept asking if they may roll down the hill.  I am also not too crazy about the natural unfinished look of using boulders.  I much prefer retaining wall with the finished look.  So I got what I wanted (as always).

The funny thing was I got what I wanted only because the first guy didn’t give me the discount (it was less than 5% of the total price).  I ended up paying 10% more but got what I wanted.

The Mercedes Experience

Our Mercedes experience is less than perfect. In fact, a lot less than perfect. It is not an experience one wants to have if one can avoid it.

We have the 2000 year model of ML320, the Mercedes SUV. Granted, it is a 7-year old car. But still, it is a Mercedes. It is supposed to be a premium luxury car, not a Honda.

We have issues with this SUV since day one. In the first year, we had trouble with the running board. Then not until when we had to replace the side mirrors did we realized that we did not get the auto dimming feature on the mirrors that we paid for as part of the premium package. Then, there was the recall on the steering wheel fuel connector. Early this year the muffler had a hole and was making such a loud noise that I was embarrassed to be driving in it. Then came the last incident on July 30th.

It was Jan’s first day at work and I volunteered to drive us to the train station. I forgot to turn off the light after I parked the car. The car did beep but I thought it was the seatbelt and ignored it. I thought about it after we got on the train and rationalized that the car will turn off automatically so didn’t bother to ask Jan. When we got back to the train station on the evening, the battery was dead and we needed to jump start the car. At first Jan called his dad but then I came up with a great idea. Why don’t we ask the taxi driver at the station and see if he can help us to jump start the car. Great idea….. only if we can open the hood! We got the taxi to come with us to our car only to find out that the hood of this POS (Piece of Sh*#) wouldn’t open. I called AAA and they promised to send a tow truck in an hour. We waited over an hour and finally the tow truck came. He couldn’t open the hood either so we had to have it put on a flatbed to our house.

The next day my father-in-law came up with an idea by using the cigarette lighter charger port to charge the batter. At least we didn’t have to flatbed the car to the dealer. Jan made an appointment with the dealer for Saturday morning at 7:30.

So we went to the dealer Saturday morning and guess what they told us! There is no secret way to open the hood other than to break the perfectly OK grill, open the hood, replace the mechanism and replace the grill! I have never ever heard of such an absurd way of opening the hood but we had no other option. It would take a couple of days to get the car back because they have to order the parts. Total cost, over $1,100 to open hood. What kind of car the hood won’t open! Well, a Mercedes!

We love the Mercedes experience so much (NOT) that we decided to get a BMW X3 or Lexus for our next car which we are hoping to get in a few months. I want the 2008 model and BMW’s 2008 model year is not out yet.

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