Am I out of touch?

MEMERC7

Active Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2013
Messages
134
Car
SLK 250 AMG Sport 125 Ltd Edition
Maybe I have been living on a parallel planet for the past few years because I could not believe the costs quoted & telephone attitude when seeking help from a main Mercedes dealer. But then I was stupid enough to phone in the first place, having a brilliant village garage 500 yards from home & one of the UK's top independent Mercedes specialist about 4 miles way, who concentrate mainly on classics but have all the expertise by factory trained staff to look after 'moderns'. Both establishments have helped with some SLK problems in the past & of course at reasonable cost.
My 25k mile SLC suddenly decides to show me pretty signs on the dash about Cruise Control/Brake Assist/Distance Pilot none of which chose to work. In a panic I rang the main dealer & was advised by what sounded like a young girl just out of school & reading a script that:
"We can check that for you in a couple of days time but as our compute is down I'll have to get back to you"
And she did to say "Sorry the computer is still down I'll ring you at the end of the day"
To her credit she did & said
"We can book you car in but to diagnose the fault will cost you £190. We may be able to fix the fault when we do the diagnosis. How are you finding the car anyway?"
At this point I was tempted to tell her that I 'find the car' by opening my garage doors. Instead I asked that if I was unable to make my own way home or be collected, could a hire car be supplied.
"Yes sir but we charge £30".
Mmm £220 spent & my car that may still need work. Oh well I let the booking stand but promptly phoned my village garage.
"Delighted to help sir. As you know we have all the necessary diagnostic equipment no different from a Mercedes main dealer. We will charge you £40 or £80 if it takes an hour.
Of course should have done this first, so main dealer visit cancelled & car booked into the village garage. In the meantime the next day all systems start to work OK but I need peace of mind there is not an inherent fault that might re-occur. Village garage do an exhaustive check to find no problems, do a road test & top up the oil & the bill was £80.
However ........ I was told my car is likely to use oil which I'm not convinced about as my SLK R172 never needed oil between services.
Incidentally its p/ex value was not remotely affected by the fact that some servicing was NOT done by Mercedes dealers.
 

davymead

Active Member
SUPPORTER
Joined
Jul 15, 2009
Messages
567
Location
Shanklin Isle of Wight
Car
E350 CDI Sport Saloon 265. Smart ForTwo Limited II Convertible. ‘87 Jetta Gti 16V
Glitzy TV adverts and gargantuan premises have to be paid for. Any decent independent will have the appropriate diagnostic equipment and tools to be able to compete in what is a very competitive market. Personally I’d rather any Mercedes I’ve purchased hadn’t got a FMBSH, but then I’m biased working for a large independent, hearing MD horror stories on a daily basis.
 

Chrishazle

MB Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 13, 2008
Messages
4,523
Location
Nr Ashford, Kent
Car
2008 S204 C220CDI Elegance Estate Auto, 2008 R171 facelift SLK280 Auto.
Unless it affects the supplying dealer warranty, it seems that irrespective of the age of the car, but especially one that is over 3 years old, forget the MB main dealer and look for a respected indie with star/Xentry close by and your wallet will be a lot heavier afterwards. I recently lost all dashboard instruments etc, turned out the dash had lost its programming, local indie fixed it for £80, a diagnostic at the local main dealer alone would have been double that without sorting the problem!
 
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
44
Location
UK
Car
E220d Estate S213 2017
Its not just M B main stealers as my past few cars have always been worse after a MD service just taken there till warranty run out etc, so will now service my own after warranty runs out.
If any probs arise will use good indy.😷👍
 

markjay

MB Master
SUPPORTER
Joined
Jun 24, 2008
Messages
35,361
Location
London
Car
W204 C180 Executive SE 2013 Automatic / COMAND NTG4.7 and Morel speakers fitted by www.comand.co.uk
..Incidentally its p/ex value was not remotely affected by the fact that some servicing was NOT done by Mercedes dealers.

Even if it was... there's still no reason to go to the dealer for repairs (unless, of course, you find your particular MB dealer to be exceptionally good and well worth the price... but that's going into unicorn droppings territory :D ).
 

markjay

MB Master
SUPPORTER
Joined
Jun 24, 2008
Messages
35,361
Location
London
Car
W204 C180 Executive SE 2013 Automatic / COMAND NTG4.7 and Morel speakers fitted by www.comand.co.uk
Unless it affects the supplying dealer warranty, it seems that irrespective of the age of the car, but especially one that is over 3 years old, forget the MB main dealer and look for a respected indie with star/Xentry close by and your wallet will be a lot heavier afterwards. I recently lost all dashboard instruments etc, turned out the dash had lost its programming, local indie fixed it for £80, a diagnostic at the local main dealer alone would have been double that without sorting the problem!

Agreed.

And with the MB Service Care Plan, you can keep to main-dealer service history - if you wish - without breaking the bank, while carrying-out all other repairs at your trusted indie :thumb:

The dealer will only look at the service history at Px time, they will not be interested in your repair bills anyway.
 
OP
OP
M

MEMERC7

Active Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2013
Messages
134
Car
SLK 250 AMG Sport 125 Ltd Edition
Thanks for your positive assurances I do the right thing by avoiding Mercedes main dealers.
I WILL return to them (especially the very large ones) come the end of the restrictions though as they are a useful stop-off for free coffee & biscuits whilst relaxing in a leather chair reading the magazines. Turning up in a Mercedes tends to infer a right to do so & enquiries from salespersons easily deflected. All very satisfying being able to take & not give.
 

John

Hardcore MB Enthusiast
SUPPORTER
Joined
Mar 3, 2011
Messages
13,283
Location
UK
Car
Skateboard
I only use MB main dealers for warranty work where I have no choice as I have an MB warranty.

For many years I've used a trusted inde even with my car under the MB used car warranty as it's no problem to do that subject to conditions.

We're all human and mistakes now and again but the test of a decent inde is how they rectify.

If someone enjoys the service and convenience they get from a main dealer, good luck to them. Their money, their choice.

At £150 + VAT hourly, you bloody-well ought to!

Don't try and preach to me they are worth using for servicing as I don't believe they give good value for money and nor are they immune from cockups as I've seen personally.

I'd rather someone who gave a flying look after my car.
 

Smiley

MB Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Messages
2,236
It was very different twenty years ago with the likes of Tony Purslow and **** Lovett as just two examples of large MB dealers; it felt like you were a valued customer.....over the years it has got worse and worse and I will never use them again.
 

Smiley

MB Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Messages
2,236
LOL the word D!ck seems to be filtered out! It's short for Richard btw.
 

Dickster

Active Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2019
Messages
599
Location
Brands Hatch
Car
SL55
I haven’t used main dealers for years. If I can’t do the work, it goes to my village garage. They are car enthusiasts and so treat me very fairly. And they will tell me if work is beyond their comfort zone, and then I’ll go to an indie.
 

Petrol Pete

MB Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 11, 2016
Messages
6,768
Location
Petrol stations ...everywhere
Car
C55 AMG Wagon
We could ask ourselves if the main dealers are so good why are there so many MB independent MB garages around ? I do think if Mercedes Benz gave a $hit about fixing/servicing older (4 years seems to be 'old' to them theses days) cars they could put them all out of business by offering real MB servicing, they just don't want to . Not their business model, not interested.
And it's that lack of interest that is reflected in many posts on here.
 

BTB 500

MB Club Veteran
SUPPORTER
Joined
Aug 7, 2005
Messages
19,945
Location
Berkshire
Car
R129 SL500, W639 Vito 120, S205 C300
It was very different twenty years ago with the likes of Tony Purslow and **** Lovett as just two examples of large MB dealers; it felt like you were a valued customer.....over the years it has got worse and worse and I will never use them again.

Tony Purslow are now Sandown but give the same service (and the same hefty discounts on older cars) ... I've been taking my R129 there for almost 17 years:


They did some work on our S203 as well, and I'd certainly consider taking our S205 there.

I have an excellent 'village garage' with good modern tech. skills but they had to admit defeat after having our Vito for 2 weeks and not being able to resolve a persistent fault code that was putting it into limp mode. They recommended taking it to an MB dealer, who sorted it in a day. I had a similar experience with the instrument cluster on the Vito ... three 120 mile round trips to the top UK specialist (www.clusterrepairsuk.co.uk) but again they couldn't fix the issue and I ended up back at the dealer. So IMHO you are very lucky indeed if you have an independent garage on your doorstep with the equipment & knowledge to deal with the complex electronics in modern Mercs.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom