My MB experience

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I was in the market for the MB C240/320 and the BMW 325/330i and recently went to both dealerships and test drove each car. First the BMW, and second
the Mercedes Benz.
When I walked into the MB dealership I had an appointment with a sales person that I had arranged days before showing up. I even called and confirmed the appointment two days prior. I showed up for the appointment, but the sales person decided not to come to work that day. I stood at the reception counter for 10 minutes while the rest of the sales staff were huddled in the back laughing and telling one another jokes. There were no other customers in the building and they saw me standing and waiting. Finally one of the sales staff approached me, and in a snide voice asked if I needed help. He explained my sales person took the day off. Since he nor any of the experienced older sales staff wanted to deal with a 30-something middle-class buyer, they assigned a 20 year-old boy with one month experience to try and sell me a new MB.
The test drive was a joke. The sales person insisted on driving first, only to show me how you can recklessly drive through traffic, swerving side to side with rap music playing on the radio. Every question I asked of this kid was responded to by a "I don't know. I'll have to look into that". This kid knew nothing about the car's he was selling besides what the 0-60 time is.
Back at the dealership I was offered cookies and coffee, and $4,000.00 less than blue-book on my trade in. After another hour of mistreatment and diversion I got up and walked out.
Two hours later I found myself back at the BMW dealership. The dealership was immaculately clean with professional sales staff waiting to make the buying experience pleasurefull. Although I already had a sales person I was working with I was approached a half-dozen times by different sales persons offering to get me coffee or make polite chit-chat. Another hour later and I was signing papers for my new Steele Gray BMW 325i.
The following morning I was driving to work in my new BMW when the MB sales manager called me on my cell phone. He snidely explained that my trade in was a piece of shi* and he could only offer me another $500 for it. I told him, thanks anyway, but I am driving my new BMW as we speak. And don't look for me ever to return to a MB dealership after the unprofessional treatment I received. He huffed and I hung up.
On a side note. The MB interior was cheap. The options meant to impress the small minded. That coupled with the dealership staff and reputation of horrible reliability, I will NEVER OWN A MERCEDES.
-Mike Rollins New BMW Owner
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"Rollins" wrote ...

Congratulations on your new car, I know you will enjoy it for a long time. And good for you for being wise about where you spend your money, it helps everybody, not the least you yourself, who will have an extra good memory every time you get in your car over the years. Out of curiosity, what part of the country are you in? It would be great if one of these companies really did have a solid claim to universal professionalism, but I know that with different dealers I could invert your BMW/MB dealership experiences (if I were so inclined, which I'm not!). ;^)
Have fun, and keep the rap music UP UP UP homie :-p :^D
-- barnz1 Oakland, CA --you can email me if you want, but NOT REALLY snipped-for-privacy@NOTREALLYmarblelogic.com
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This dealership is in Omaha Nebraska. They are the only MB dealership in and around Omaha so I guess they feel they can treat people the way they do because they have no other MB competition. Well they forgot this time that the have other manufacturers as competition.
I truly was going to buy the C320. It was my wife's first choice. Maybe in a few years when we look to replace another car (not the BMW) we will look at MB again. But for the time being I don't want anything to do with them.
-Mike

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Your experience reminds me of one I had a few years back (1991). I was/am self employed and unless I am seeing a client, can dress pretty much any way I want.
Mercedes Dealer #1 did not greet me or send anybody out to even talk to me. I left.
Mercedes Dealer #2 was great, test drive, the whole nine yards.
BMW dealer was also good, test drive of brand new car just off the carrier, follow up notes, etc.
Infiniti dealer friendly, not pushy, test drive.
I bought the Infiniti based on the car and the dealer.
I think the moral of the story is that when there is no competition, the dealer people can act like jerks. I refuse to do business with jerks.
Ray 300SD 84
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Sounds oddly like the treatment I got at a particular Lexus dealer. There are bad dealers everywhere. Hopefully, you're in an area that has lots of different ones for each brand, but you didn't say where you were.
BTW, my shopping usually involves multiple test drives and checking out multiple dealers. Glad you're enjoying your BMW, but you should always be aware that a sample size of ONE doesn't make a good statistic...
ken
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Here in Vancouver, BC Canada, most highend luxury car dealerships will profile you when you walk in.
You get great service if you are older white, young rich ethnic. if you are 20-30 dress casually, they will watch you like you might get their show car dirty.

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"Kalman Rubinson" wrote...

I just don't buy that. (No pun intended). Of course it "works," but that doesn't mean it actually works better, or even as well as a more direct and open-minded approach. In my own personal experience, time-wasters (as opposed to 'legitimate' customers) as just as likely to be white, middle-aged, and dressed without imagination. My experience is only my own, but the question I ask is if I, as one single salesperson, have experienced such a range of customers to totally blow away the notion of profiling; is it more likely is it that *all* of the exceptions have somehow come through my shop, or that these exceptions to the "conventional wisdom" profile exist everywhere but fail to get noticed by salespeople who are untrained or close-minded?
barnz1
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On Thu, 31 Jul 2003 17:11:29 GMT, "barnz1"

Of course, I cannot dispute your observations but without any statistical data, we cannot approach the validity of this profiling. That said, my comments were only intended to state that such behavior is a fact and that many entities (which may have those statistics) practice it in what they see as their best interests. They may be wrong but how do we know? Not from anecdotal observations.
Kal
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On Thu, 31 Jul 2003 18:57:03 GMT, "barnz1"

I do not dispute this analysis. However, that's a sampling problem. It is entirely possible that a hypothesis, based on decent sampling, demonstrates that it is cost-effective to ignore black swans, even when they apppear since their usefulness is statistically insignificant. In other words, if there's a limited availability of services, utilizing them in low probability-of-payoff situations is discouraged. Again, this assumes that it is based on valid information about the population and not on bias.
Kal
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Kalman Rubinson wrote:

Kal, you're even more insightful here than on the audio NG's - keep up the good work!
Cheers,
Roger
--
Roger Jones, P.Eng.
Thornhill, Ontario,
  Click to see the full signature.
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It ticks me off!
mcbrue tickedoffedly under the bridge in the trailer down by the river
96 S420
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What is the name and location of the dealer?
Rollins wrote:

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My experiences at MB and BMW dealerships in my city were exactly the opposite. The BMW dealer snorted when I asked for a 3-Series with a 5-speed. The lowest-priced car they had on the lot was over $40,000 and they frankly didn't care about not selling me a car. I never got to test drive a 3-Series because the dealership didn't want to sell me one.
The MB dealership, on the other hand, gave me a car to test drive without the salesman even being in the car. I was treated very professionally, even though I came in on a Sunday, dressed in shorts and a T-shirt (I was on my way to a baseball game). And I've had nothing but professional treatment since my purchase.

I'm glad that you like your new car and that it's a great car. I'm sorry you had a bad experience at the MB dealership you went to. However, it does seem that your other justifications for never owning a Mercedes, which apparently wouldn't have prevented you from buying a car before the dealership treated you poorly, have suddenly gained importance because of your experience.
Mercedes' initial quality has been slipping over the years, largely thanks to issues with the M-Class (a car you weren't interested in buying, anyway), although the C-Class is also known for a higher rate of initial-quality problems than the other families of MB cars. However, initial quality isn't the same as reliability over the long haul. My car had a few issues at delivery, but those problems have been resolved and my car seems even more solidly-built a year after I picked it up than it did when I drove off the lot with it.
By no means should you ever again set foot in the particular MB dealership where you were treated so poorly, but please dont' assume that all MB dealerships are so poorly run. You should definitely name names here. And you ought to write a letter to MB USA and let them know that the dealership cost them a sale. It wouldn't hurt to address your other concerns about the car's quality and interior cheapness, either. You never know what might happen in the future.
--Paul ** Note "removemunged" in email address and remove to reply. **
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On Thu, 24 Jul 2003 17:16:55 +0000 (UTC), Paul Wylie

That was exactly how I was treated at the BMW dealership (VOB) and Mercedes (Euro Motorocars) in the Washington DC area.
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I presently own a Mercedes but the '78 BMW 530i I had many years ago was the best car I ever owned. It was very well engineered with a complete different philosophy from Mercedes.
If a Jap/US car would use 3 bolts to perform a job, Mercedes would use 5 bolts. BMW would have 0 bolts and have everything interlocking like a puzzle and have a clip holding the master piece.
BMW was a dream to work on yourself. Mercedes is very hard to work on.
-Kent
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you're kidding, right? a beemer is easy to work on, sure ... but so is a merc. i have the feeling that 'easy to work on' is part of the design brief of both marques.
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"On a side note. The MB interior was c heap. The options meant to impress the small minded. That coupled with the dealership staff and reputation of horrible reliability, I will NEVER OWN A MERCEDES. "
You're basing this on ONE dealer and ONE car. On the flip side of this I was in the market for either a BMW 750 or Mercedes S500. Both late 90s as I don't care for the 2000 and up S class. First dealer I visited was the BMW one. Sales guy who I HAD an appt. with smiled and PASSED me over to some old guy with bad breath. TACKY TACKY. Maybe because I was dressed casual and not wearing a BMW tuxedo........although my shoes cost more than his Sear sucker outfit. Anyway get in the car and was turned off by its appearence and lack of cleanliness. And the fact that certain interior parts weren't working! Nice way to display a car! Told the old timer I'm gonna go to lunch and think about it. Ok I lied...
Promptly went to the Mercedes dealer down the road who had an IMMACULATE 1999 S500 out front and who DIDN"T pass me off to some lackey since he had an appointment with ME. Once inside the car my mind was made up -- talk about ROOM! Parts didn't feel as tinny as the BMW and the drive was great! Salesguy even said "c'mon kick it a little" but I just felt like babying the car at the time. Hell it wasn't even my car YET. ;-) Needless to say we sealed the deal later and after a week (they prepped the car...fixed some minor scratches, waxing, etc) I picked it up with my Starmark warranty. The dealer even threw in 4 new tires! All in all a great experience. Now this doesn't mean I'll NEVER look at BMW again. I know better than to judge BMW based on that ONE dealership. Just wanted to throw some BALANCE on this topic.
Tony
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Hello,
It is too bad that you have to declare Mercedes-Benz automobile non grata based on ONE VISIT to the sales centre. You could have used the bad experience to YOUR ADVANTAGE!
Let me tell you what happened to me twice...
I was flabbergasted when the Mercedes-Benz sales consultant insisted on me paying $3,25 for each brochure because they were quite expensive to print. I vented my anger at the receptionist about being treated such. The public relation specialist overheard me and felt pertified about intervening and assisting me. I wrote the letter and posted it to the general manager, indicating that I was deaf and felt very insulted by his treatment on basis of my deafness. He was so crassy about writing down for me to understand. Prior to the letter, I despatched a few hearing friends of mine there who obtained the brochures with no problem. They were quite terrified of legal consequence so they went above and beyond to accept my offer for contract hire of E420 (that was 1997) for four years at $300, month with all inclusive fee and 15.000 miles/year cap. No credit history checked. No enrolment fee. Just neat $300 a month for four years. The similiar setup would be $699, a month with all of requistive and exorbitant fees hadn't I made noise about the treatment.
The other experience was my best friend who got shafted by the sleazy sales consultant who pestered her with incessant phone calls at her home and at her work. I made her return to the Volkswagen sales centre albeit approaching the different sales vultures. Whilst she was busy haggling, I made small talk here and there for name of general manager. Later, he appeared in the office where we haggled with the feeble consultant. She was mortified and didn't appreciate my ulterior motives behind her back. I forced her to speak out her dissatifaction. That paid off in four hours later when the general manager came back to salvage the deal after exhausting five sales vultures. He caved in to our threat of propagating our dissatifaction and the centre's new ill-reputation to friends, co-workers, and like. Consequently, she signed the contract hire for her 2003 Volkswagen Jetta GL 1,8T for four years at $305, a month with same amount for the first payment. She realised the whole point of returning to the same centre and made good of her threat.
Again, I think you, Mike Rollins, are doing yourself a disservice of not taking advantage of bad situation, aka making lemonade out of lemons...
Oliver
Rollins wrote:

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The dealership was Lithia MB of Omaha, in Omaha NE.

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Lithia of Omaha... that's interesting! I was recently at the Lithia Jeep dealership in Anchorage, Alaska trying to sell my 1996 S500 Coupe. Every salesman on duty went out to look the car over and the fellow I was talking with seemed very interested in buying the car. He claimed he wanted it for himself. I told him I only wanted enough $$$ to pay the loan off because I had recently bought another car. He said he'd call a "sister dealership" in Nebraska to check the price... After the call he said he could only offer me half of the value of the car because the Nebraska dealer said that's all it was worth. Not neccessarily related to your experience but very interesting. Car's still for sale. Dale (not Camille)
Rollins wrote:

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