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Category: Just Stupid

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!

Fedex: “Yes it is our mistake but It’s your loss”

Everybody knows Federal Express ships stuff and believe it is a reliable company to get the job done.  Well at least that’s what I thought until now.

On September 18 I shipped two cases of wine to one of my customers in Manhattan.  When the Fedex guy picked up the two cases, I asked if Fedex ships wines since the cases are fragile and easy to break.  The guy said ‘oh sure, no problem’.  I told him the two cases are quite heavy and please handle with care.  “Sure” replied the Fedex agent.  I assumed all is well and didn’t think much about it until my customer called a few days later and asked if I shipped the wine.

September 25, I called Fedex to followup on the shipment tracking since I had not heard anything about it and my customer is asking.  Fedex told me 1 case was damaged and was being ‘send back to shipper’ and they need to trace the second case.

September 26, I called and a Fedex agent told me the tracking case is now closed.  The shipment was damaged and will not be delivered and I should file a claim.  I filed the claim online right away.

October 7, I received a letter from Fedex dated 10/1 that the claim was denied because it did not meet Fedex requirement for shipping alcohol.  What requirement? So I called Fedex and spoke to a lady named “Daphne” from the claims department.  I was told that I need to have an agreement with Fedex in order to ship wine.  Since I don’t know about the agreement therefore don’t have it, my claim is denied.

I asked Daphne if this is Fedex policy then why didn’t the Fedex guy ask me if I have the agreement and allow to ship wine.  I specifically asked him if I can ship wine before he pick them up.  Daphne said the guy doesn’t have the information and only the claims department know that I don’t have the agreement in place.  In other words, Fedex will take my business and my money but will not assume any responsibility on the shipment even if it is Fedex’ mistake.

I asked Daphne what did Fedex do with my 2 cases of wine.  If they were damaged and couldn’t be deliver and I am not getting any reimbursement from Fedex, then I want my products back.  Daphne said the products were damaged and can’t be returned and I am to take the loss.  This is unacceptable and I asked to speak to her supervisor.  She kept on insisting that the supervisor will give me the same answer and there is nothing I can do.  I want to speak to a supervisor anyway.  Daphne took down my phone number and I am to get a call within 24-48 hours.  Also, I was told that I can’t email my case to Fedex and can only use phone call.

I filed a complaint on Fedex’ online forum anyway on October 7.  Next day, October 8, I received an email from Fedex saying the case is under review and they have routed it to the appropriated department for followup.

October 15, no one from Fedex call yet so I called again.  After few run around (>Gina>Keisha>Dennis>Tracy>Bridgett) finally talked to Bridgett, the supervisor.  She informed me that since I don’t have agreement to ship liquor, Fedex will not reimburse me but I can sign the agreement now then I can ship.  Really?  I told her my call is about what was damaged and what Fedex plans to do about it.  Going forward, my options are many and does not have to involve Fedex, especially with the experience I am having with this now.

I asked Bridgett what happened to the 2 cases of wine that was ‘damaged’.  What proof does she have that they were damaged and not ‘misplaced’ (like someone took them home if you know what I mean…it is liquor after all).  I asked her what is Fedex’ internal policy in terms of monitoring and tracking shipments.  I don’t understand why Fedex will gladly take my business and shipping fee but will not take any responsibility when it is their mistake that my shipment was damaged.  I again asked to escalate the case and to speak to her supervisor. I am told that I will get a call within 24-48 hours.  We will see about that.

I am at a loss as to how Fedex can get away with this.  They charged me the full price for the shipping cost (including insurance), damaged the product but didn’t say anything about it until I called to followup.  Then they told me that ‘oh sorry, we made the mistake and damaged your shipment but since you don’t have agreement with us, we will keep the shipping cost but you take the full loss.  And, by the way, you can sign the agreement with us now so we can have more business from you in the future.’

Is this how a reputable company handle business? Only concerns with generating revenue but does not take any responsibility? Why would anyone want to do business with Fedex?  UPS here I come!!

Stay tuned for further update on this ‘Fedex Nightmare Experience’ that you don’t want to have.


Nathan’s Hotdogs and “those Chinese”

This past Saturday the family and I went in the evening to the Christmas Tree Store in the Tanger Outlets at the Arches. The kids didn’t have dinner so first we stopped at Nathan’s Famous for food. I’m a fan of their Chili Dog.

My wife had a different than usual experience: she was insulted and treated badly. She’s since then received an apology on the phone from both Tanger Outlets and the Nathan’s franchise owner. They have both offered her coupons and vouchers to make up for the treatment. She doesn’t care about that, she just wants an apology via email.

Except for removing the name of the person who insulted her, here is the complaint she sent Nathan’s famous as well as Tanger Outlets.

Dear Nathan’s Famous Corporation,

I want to file a complaint regarding certain members of your staff at the Tanger Outlets at the Arches Deer Park location.

What happened to me was discriminatory, disrespectful, and insulting. The behavior of the Nathan’s staff was absolutely uncalled for.

Looking at the time on my receipt, on Saturday December 4, 2010 at 5:27pm I was with my family at the Tanger Outlers at the Arches Deer Park location. I ordered Clam and Chips for myself and some other food for the family.

When we got to our table I discovered that the clam was very rubbery and didn’t taste good.  I went to the counter and I explained that I wanted something else or a refund.  The cashier who took my order was very nice and professional but I guess she needed to ask for approval from some senior staff.  That’s when a man named —— (that was the name on his shirt tag) commented “Next time, when those Chinese order make sure they know what they ask for.” He said that as if I don’t speak English and didn’t know what I ordered.  Yes, I am a Chinese American and I am one of “those Chinese”.

Even the female cashier was taken aback by ——‘s comment and gave him a look.  —— then said “Did she know what she ordered or what?”  The cashier said “Yes, she ordered the clam and chips.” I then explained that I in fact knew what I ordered but didn’t like the food and wanted an exchange or refund.  He said “This is how clam tastes you know.”  I said “No, clam taste better and not rubbery like this.  I don’t like it.”  —— then started walking away to the back and kept saying about “She didn’t know what she ordered” and “Those Chinese”.  That’s when I said “Do you have a problem with Chinese?”  He angrily and loudly responded “NO” and walked away.  I told the cashier that I wanted it replaced with fish and asked to speak with the store manager.

I soon found out that the manager was not any better.

The manager came to the counter and I started to explain to him that I don’t like to be called ‘those Chinese’ and I was not happy with the way I was being treated.  It was discriminatory and disrespectful the way —— talked to me and I wanted to file a complaint.  The manager’s response was “OK, so?  You are making a scene here.”  We went on back and forth like this for a few minutes.

That’s when I had enough and I called my husband over. Obviously “those Chinese” didn’t matter to him either and the whole situation was “just so” not a big deal to him.

I explained what happened to my husband. He tried to calmly speak to the manager at first.  You see my husband is not one of “those Chinese”. He’s Caucasian and we are both U.S. citizens.  My husband said “I understand.  I used to work at White Castle so know how it is.” But no matter, the manager wouldn’t hear it.  He interrupted and said “She’s making a scene.  I don’t know if this is your girlfriend, wife, or what but she came at me and is making a scene here”.

That’s when my husband said “Do you have a number for your headquarters so we can call them?”  The manager said “Yes, I have the number but she’s making a scene here” and he started to lecture my husband again. At that point my husband said “That’s enough.  We are done here.  We will look up the phone number on the Internet.  Let’s just walk away.”  And that’s what we did, with my replaced fried fish.

I strongly believe that I was discriminated against by being labeled “those Chinese” and treated disrespectfully by both —— and the manager.  I think the least the manager can do was to hear my complaint and acknowledge that ——‘s comments were wrong.  Instead all he cared about was for me to be quite and leave and not make “a scene”.

I can understand someone like —— without approving of his insulting behavior. It is possible that —— simply does not know any better.

However, the manager is a professional with your corporation. I assume that your company maintains EEOC training and familiarizes the management on recognizing and preventing discrimination. At a minimum his actions certainly do not represent good Human Resources practices. It’s not how you treat a paying customer.

Simply put, your manager knows better and behaved insultingly to a now ex-Nathan’s customer.

While my wife has received a phone call and an apology, she is still waiting for an apology via email.

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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