Gripe ~

Howdy, all - from a longtime reader and sometimes poster.
If you all will entertain me, I need to post a gripe about an unpleasant Mercedes Dealership experience here in the Detroit Area.
I've got a '74 240D (yes, with an auto trans and LOTS of patience). Over the past few months, I've sucessfully ordered pieces/parts from my local MB Dealership, Mercedes-Benz of Bloomfield Hills, MI.
Yesterday, when I went in to place an order for replacement wiper blades for my fine brown taxi, I was greeted with a new face (and a new attitude) at the MB Parts Counter. When I produced the original Cardex for my vehicle (to meet the VIN request of the young man behind the parts counter - the VIN request was something new to me) he asked if my car was European. Being in somewhat of a mood, I retored "no, it was built in Chicago". The look on his face was priceless. I then continued on, pointing at the German Language Writing on my vehicle's Cardex and answered honestly this time, "yes, it's German". He then stated that I had to go through MB Classic to order my wiper blades, and that they (at the Dealership) could not order them for me due to the fact of the age of my vehicle. When I stated that just the week before, I'd ordered and picked up a replacement headlamp retaining ring for my old Benz, the Gentleman's reply was "whomever you dealt with took a chance, and we're not supposed to order parts without using the VIN - and we can't use your VIN becuase it's European". Having been in contact with MB Classic before, I stated that MB Classic simply provides current part numbers, and that they (MB Classic) do not take parts orders themselves. What was really the kicker was the fact that the parts counter clerk that helped me the week before was standing in the background (along with two other parts folks by now) watching the whole scene, saying nothing and definately avoiding eye contact with me at all costs. My order was completely refused by my local Dealership, and I returned home in disgust (of course stopping at Starbucks on the way for some caffiene reinforcements).
Upon returning home I immediately called MB Classic and explained my situation. The rep on the phone asked if he could ask where I was from. I replied "Detroit". His response was "oh, let me guess - Mercedes-Benz of Bloomfield Hills, right?". He went on to say that he alone takes usually five complaints a month from disgruntled older MB owners such as myself regarding MB of Bloomfield Hills. He then gave me a name and number of a supplier in Anahiem, CA that he gauranteed could help me order my simple little wiper blades. He was right; the cat in CA was more than gracious, offering me $10.00 below the cost that I would have been charged locally for the wiper blades, and threw in 2-day air shipping as well! He was laughing on the phone with me, saying how ironic it is that "someone from Detroit - the Motor City is forced to call a dealership on the other side of the country just to order parts for his old MB". He also stated that he himself has spoken to many disgruntled customers of the local Dealership here.
How sad it is that a Company that offers 24/7 roadside assistance to ANY owners of their vehicles of any year or condition treats their customers in this fashion. . . To say that I'm disappointed is an understatement.
<sigh>
Thanks for your patience,
- Bill '74 MB 240D '66 Porsche 912
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Wow... that's alot of patient on that taxi of yours. More importantly... wow... I haven't met a part counter like that... Maybe MB will shut that dealer down due to stupidity. Eh... but you know... it only take one stupid person to take the whole dealer down.
I rarely goes to the dealer for parts... because I get more hassle and pay tons more for the part. Sometime, it's an emergency... like one of my rubber fuel line hose for the diesel sprung a leak. One piece of rubber hose 27" long... no special fitting or anything... just a piece of hose... Part counter said he would have to order it.. and would cost me $31!!!!
I was going to replace the other rubber hose that runs along the one that leaked... This one may have one fitting on one end... I can't see it... really tight spot... And guess what he quoted me? Rubber hose about the same length with one fitting on the end.... $62!!!!
$93 for a rubber hose that is about 54" long and maybe $5 fitting. Is that criminal or what!?
I agonized...drove all over the town for fuel injection hose... everyone just seems out of stock or have regular hose only... and found it... fuel injection line can handle 100 PSI and regular hose 50 PSI... the part counter gave me transmission cooler line rated for 400 PSI... isn't that perfect?! My cost? $8.24
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Heheheh... I feel your pain, Bill!
We've got the complete opposite attitude with one of our dealers here.
A co-worker recently adopted a clean, well-loved '73 450 SL (stole, would perhaps be a better term... he paid $1000 for this great driver/good looker!)
Wanting to ensure it was in proper order and also to freshen up the interior for his wife's new "baby", they brought it to the local MB dealer. Not only were they very accommodating, but also were genuinely excited to keep this beauty in pristine condition, charging him far less than I would've ever expected (everything from new brake lines to new upholstery for under $4K!)
The service manager explained that it's great publicity for the MB dealership when people see these classy old dames on the road (I think he was referring to the car, not my buddy's wife! :o)
Cheers,
Paul
--- http://www.astro-nut.com ---
"Bill Schmidt" wrote:

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Thanks for your note, Paul. It's good to hear that what I expected as far as attitude from my local MB Dealership was not unrealistic. I may just produce your note to the Service Manager to ask their opinion of Customer Service. . .
Thanks agian, - Bill
"Paul Hyndman" <nospamma-mia> wrote in message

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As a former newspaper journalist and editor I can tell you that if you find out who owns the dealership (or the top man at the organization) and write him a letter with the information you've included here, you will get some action. Most people just take this nonsense sitting down. Me? I go right to the top. Believe me, most want to hear about situations like this. The next staff meeting can produce some blistering suggestions (read orders). In my opinion consumers need to be more proactive when dealing with service and product suppliers. Good luck.

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Thanks much for the suggestion - it's appreciated, and a great idea.
- Bill

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Bill, when the parts clerk asked if your car was European, he was trying to distinguish between a Benz made for North America and a Benz made for Europe, and brought over privately. I have a Euro wagon (280TE) and a 300D Turbo. Both are 123 bodies, but some parts are different on the Euro. It wasn't a dumb question. His "look" was one of restraint.
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Thanks for your clarification.
In all truthfulness, I'd wager that the parts clerk did actually believe me for a moment when I told him my vehicle was produced in Chicago.
O.K., so Karma got me back. I deserved it.
So being that my vehicle's VIN begins with "115", would this indicate that it is a European "Gray Market" vehicle brought to the States privately?
Thanks for your response,
- Bill

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Bill Stemmed wrote:

115 is just the chassis type, I have a 115 300D, similar with a different engine.
I thought it was funny, it is the kind of thing that wakes somebody up when they are dozing on the job.
I emailed the dealer, but they seem to ignore constructive criticism or do not care. Time for you to find a good independent or start buying all your parts online.
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My Euro wagon VIN is just numbers, whereas the 300DT VIN is mixed numbers and letters. The Euro doesn't even show the WDB at the start, which normally indicates country of manufacture (W=Germany), company (Dimler Benz), and factory. If your VIN is missing the WDB it most likely is European, and the parts computer can't find it, thus the guy's question.
The parts differences are sometimes obvious (Euro headlights) and sometimes subtle (different horns).
More here: http://www.vinguard.org/vin.htm http://www.autoinsurancetips.com/vin.htm
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Thanks for the great info - it's appreciated. I'll be doing some VIN researching shortly. . .
- Bill

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