Service plus repair update

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Storm, Sep 11, 2008.

  1. Storm

    Storm Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    As requested, here's an update of my car going in for some work

    I took my car in with two problems:

    1) drastically increased fuel consumption (getting 250 miles out of tank instead of near 400)
    2) Aircon not working.

    They can't find anything at all wrong which could be causing the problem with the fuel consumption (they've hooked it up to their computer and checked for leaks). They said that the only thing left to try is replacing the air filters.

    I asked whether or not it's possible to look at the air filters and determine if they need replacing, but apparently that's impossible. However, my car is due a service in 1000 miles, at which point they're due to be replaced anyway. I asked if it was possible to get my car service today under serviceplus, but was told that it wasn't. I asked how far before the 0 mile deadline I could get it serviced and they weren't sure. Nice. Does anyone know the answer to that question? I would've thought that just under 1000 miles to go was reasonable.

    So... on to the second problem. The air-conditioning. Apparently it's totally out of gas. Not a bit left in. I'm guessing that re-gassing isn't covered by Serviceplus because it's not "wear and tear". They've also said that not only do I have to have it regassed, but that they also need to put a dye in to see if there's any leaks. Cost for that £110+vat.

    Now I can hang on two weeks (that's how long it'll take me to cover almost 1000 miles) for a service and have the filters replaced for nothing, that's just an inconvenience (I would've hoped that they'd accommodate me today...).

    However, I'm not sure what to do about the aircon issue. Has anyone ever had their aircon regassed under service plus? Doesn't serviceplus cover the likes of oil replacement - so shouldn't it also replace the gas in my aircon?

    I've said I'll call back when I decide what to do. I'd appreciate any advice from serviceplus regulars!
     
  2. OP
    OP
    Storm

    Storm Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Oh, and just to note, I mentioned that I could get my car serviced for nothing under serviceplus on the phone and then 60 seconds after the conversation ended I got called back and was asked who I took the serviceplus out with.

    I explained that it was directly with the serviceplus team themselves and was told that I needed to let them know this sort of information in advance. I asked why and apparently it's to make the process smoother... Uh-huh. :crazy:

    Regardless, I told them that I was covered by serviceplus when I booked in.
     
  3. pammy

    pammy MB Club Veteran

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    Aircon is NOT covered by Service Plus - however if you have a faulty system and it's not just a re-gass then I would expect there to be something from MB in terms of being fit for purpose etc as service plus only covers wear and tear. Aircon is not a serviced item hence not covered by Service Plus. It depends so much on how you use it as to how much gas you might expect it to have. I recently had mine regassed at Jay's - 5 years old and it still had 65% of it's gas in. So for yours to be empty might be suspect and point to another fault. Sorry I can't remember what car you've got or how old/mileage etc.

    As for the rest - sounds really silly tbh. I know my dealer would have done the service at 1000 miles to go. And losing 150 miles per tank seems huge fall in economy for there to be no cause.

    I get the impression that this dealership doesn't like Service Plus - but that's tough on them. They do have to get authority from SP to undertake work beyond the routine servicing, eg replacing brake pads etc as they have to be satisfied it is wear and tear and not a defect in which case you're looking at fit for purpose etc etc.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    Storm

    Storm Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Ah, it's not? I've just read through my contract and was under the impression that it was!

    • Any repairs (scheduled and unscheduled) which are necessary as a result of fair wear and tear resulting from normal use. This may include the replacement of items such as:
      • Brake pads
      • Brake discs
      • Wiper blades
      • Clutch assemblies (where applicable)
      • Batteries
      • Exhausts
      • Major Units
      • Electrical Items
    It goes on to talk about replacing oil etc. and Aircon isn't mentioned as an exclusion.

    My car was built in 2005 (CLK), so based on what you've said, it is unusual for it to be totally out of gas.

    Perhaps my best option is to fork out for the regassing/dye, and if they find it's leaked then try and get it repaired under serviceplus and also reclaim the regassing cost as part of the repair...

    I really don't like how this is looking though...
     
  5. Bobby Dazzler

    Bobby Dazzler MB Club Veteran

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    I know of two recent examples of where the service has been completed with 2000 miles plus to go on the countdown.

    What I don't know is whether they've already exceeded the standard mileage interval due to gentle driving, topping up oil, etc, and whether the dealer or Service Plus even care about that.

    I personally get my car service when it breaches 1000 miles, and I doubt many go to zero, so I reckon your request is reasonable.

    Whether they had the capacity to do it same day is a different question - especially as they don't appear to know what the procedure is for Service Plus, and so they may be reluctant to do the work until they know.

    I don't recall re-gassing being an exclusion. If it's not, and that it's not due to accidental or deliberate damage, then I'd be arguing the case for doing it under Service Plus. If a component has worn, allowing the gas to release, then I'd expect re-gassing to be part of the repair.

    Good luck!!
     
  6. pammy

    pammy MB Club Veteran

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    I'm sure it said on my SP guff that aircon was excluded - could be wrong though. In which case I want my £35 back that I paid jay:D :D
     
  7. OP
    OP
    Storm

    Storm Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Thanks for the info.

    My car needs regassing and checking in two weeks - so I'll get it serviced then, it just saves an argument.

    When it comes to the regassing and who should pay, I take Pam's point that it's aircon regassing isn't a service item (however, it it runs out in 5 years then surely it should be?!), but if it's empty then this is likely to be due to a component failure.

    Gah, I think I'll call them up and argue the point that it's not classed as an exclusion on my service plus agreement and because it's likely to be caused by a fault then it really should be covered by SP. Of course they're going to say the fault was caused by it not being run enough (seems like that's a common cause) but of course it has - it's a convertable and if it's not on all the time the windows really mist up.

    Interestingly, a lot of websites seem to say that it's impossible to gauge how much gas is left in without actually emptying it - so how do they know it's empty?

    This is going to be a very interesting conversation, and I expect they're simply going to refuse to do the work.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    Storm

    Storm Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    What is not covered?

      • Fuel
      • Insurance
      • Replacement of windscreens or external glass
      • Body or paint work
      • Damage to the interior trim
      • Cleaning and valet
      • Road Fund Licence
      • Tyres (unless quoted for as an extra for new vehicles only)
      • Daily checks and top ups
      • Repairs which are covered under Warranty
      • Betterment
     
  9. OP
    OP
    Storm

    Storm Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    :mad: Well, that went about well as expected. Car returned with nothing fixed. Serviceplus have refused to have anything to do with the repairs stating that it's not something that's covered during a service. I've checked my service agreement and is specifically states that it covers "repairs" multiple times.

    I'll be discussing this with SP tomorrow, and if that conversation doesn't go the way I want I'll document my concerns in a letter, requesting that the inform me specifically where in my service agreement that it states that I'm not covered for this work. If I'm still not happy with the result I'll either pursue a small claim or contact the Motor association (quoted at the back of the contract.

    Very irritating.
    :mad:
    What's even more annoying is that the wife's car has been in with Lexas for an MOT and service today as well as a quote for a dent. She had excellent, friendly communication from them all day, the car was dropped off ahead of schedule and was cleaned inside and out (to a very high standard, all seatbelts had even been cleaned and their buckles polished). During the MOT the wipers were discovered to be needing replacement. Which they did. Free of charge. The also facilitated the quoting and repair of the dent at a reasonable price. Honestly zero hassle at all and an outstanding service - what we've come to expect from Lexus.

    I love my MB, but I'm slowly getting sick of the hassle of having to fight with MBUK just to get certain things done.
     
  10. Bobby Dazzler

    Bobby Dazzler MB Club Veteran

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    If speaking to the Service Plus team yields the same result, it's worth a call to MB Customer Services (not your dealer) to explain the situation.

    If all fails there's someone at MBUK you can write to and you'd be surprised how quickly things move when his 'office' is involved.
     
  11. OP
    OP
    Storm

    Storm Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Ultimate peace of mind - my ar$e

    Just when I felt that I was getting somewhere...

    Almost three weeks about I contacted the ServicePlus team directly and asked them to kindly explain why my car wasn't covered. The rep on the end of the phone said that she would look into it immediately and call me back.

    Within an hour I had a phonecall, she explained that the work wasn't covered... BUT if I could get my dealer to contact the maintenance team at ServicePlus then they should be able to work something out.

    So I immediately contacted my local dealer and it's taken them until yesterday to make that call... however, I've been told that they want me to cover 10% of the costs as this is a goodwill claim. "Fair enough" I thought, I can live with paying 10% of £140, it seems a bit pathetic, but I'll not argue over £14. However, apparently 10% of £140 is £48!

    Obviously I've asked for clarification and I've been told that the cost of replacing the condenser is about £480, I explained that the fact that the condenser needs replacing is news to me as I was told (and was thusly claiming for) that my car needed re-gassing including dye at a cost of £140.

    Interestingly, my car hasn't been in since this quote, so I'd love to know how they now know that the condenser needs replacing. This is slowly turning into an absolute nightmare...

    I've ask for an explanation of the works and I'm waiting for a phonecall. :crazy::mad:
     
  12. Dryce

    Dryce MB Club Veteran

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    I would suggest that you phone ServicePlus and politely explain that you have had informal legal advice from somone who has looked over the contract and that you believe:

    1) The Aircon unit is not excluded.

    2) That their response is unreasonably tardy and that their refusal is also unreasonable.

    3) You want it explained clearly *in writing* exactly what they claim the contrat covers and does not cover.

    4) Mention

    - small claims court for the current problem
    - breach of contract
    - misrepresentation

    5) Be polite. With regard to the small claims thing mention that you are preparing 'letter before action' and that you will be chasing the full amount of the repair as quoted by the dealer.
     
  13. Rory

    Rory MB Club Veteran

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    This reminds me of my wheel alignment issue - dealer said wheel alignment not covered as it's "wheels and tyres".
    "No it's not", I said, "it's suspension and steering".

    "What" I asked, "would be the response if I asked for wheel alignment under warranty?" "Well sir" said the service advisor, "we wouldn't do it under warranty as wheel alignment is wear and tear." She then realised what she's said and agreed they'd check it.

    Picked the car up and they'd test driven it (under 1 mile) and declared it to be fine and not to need adjusting.


    On the issue raised here, I don't see any reason why a/c service and repair shouldn't be covered in full, although there is an easy get out as they could say the condenser had been damaged by a stone. Normal running low on gas is certainly wear and tear - it always runs down over time. My daughters VW service contact covered it without a murmur.
     
  14. OP
    OP
    Storm

    Storm Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Thanks for the pointers. This is getting a bit messy as I'm having to deal with ServicePlus, my dealer and whichever team it is that dishes out 'goodwill' payments.

    If the condenser is knackered (and not damaged by a stone or whatever) then I'd expect that to be covered under my serviceplus agreement anyway as it's a "major unit".

    My car is booked in for next Wednesday, where they said they would fill it with gas and dye to confirm that it is the condenser that is faulty (however, I suspect they're just going to replace the condenser anyway) and I think I'll contact serviceplus in advance and try and get that pre-authorised to save me having to take my car in for a 3rd time (because there's just no way they'll make a decision on the day at this rate).

    This is far from the ultimate peace of mind that I expected.

    I'll follow the advice above, and try and resolve it politely over the phone. If that fails I'll write a polite (but firm letter) and take it from there.

    I'm *really* hoping that I don't require any more work in future as this is a silly amount of hassle.

    Thanks again - expect an update from me next Wednesday when it's all been resolved to my satisfaction (yeah, right).
     
  15. Satch

    Satch Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I find this rather depressing to read because I have had a fair bit of work done under Service Plus in the past year without much hassle.

    The reason for that is simple:my dealer has all the battles for me, being in no doubt from past experience that Mr S. is not a mug, loathes being treated as such and is perfectly happy to litigate.

    Having picked up car this morning I understand from the chap I normally deal with they are becoming increasingly difficult and are (very stupidly) attempting to push back on all sorts of things that are quite clearly covered so he had to work quite hard to get the stuff I needed doing past the guardians of the ServicePlus purse.

    However, the senior people know full well they would thus lose miserably if it ever came to court but the people on the phone have do what they are told

    Working for a financial institution no shortage of contractual lawyers around so I had my service plus contract looked at by three of them who all came to the same conclusions:

    Unless knocked out by the contractual exclusions it is very wide ranging and provides near unlimited cover

    Whoever drafted it is possibly now in alternative employment, especially given the billateral penalty clauses for early termination

    They are in time honoured fashion relying on bullsh1t, obfuscation, blank denial and delay hoping customer inertia/ignorance will get them through.

    Very high probability that any court would always find for the customer in a case where pushback was unjustified, especially so if shown some of the original ServicePlus marketing literature which I was told by one chap was in legal and commercial terms "unwise"
     
  16. Matt45

    Matt45 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Storm, I had my SL Air Con re-gassed on tuesday at my local MB dealership including the dye check and a conditioner. Total price £90.76 inc VAT. Plus, they reset all the temp sensors on the system too. I find it hard to understand how they can be charging you so much more when they all get their 'fixed price' from MB UK. Matt
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2008
  17. OP
    OP
    Storm

    Storm Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Satch - that's a very interesting read, thank you. It's great to have a legal take on it. That said, the wording is very simple, and it seems very obvious that the vast majority of things are covered (basically everything that isn't specifically excluded). I'd have been willing to contribute £14 to save my sanity, but there's no chance I'll be paying £50 when I'm already paying them a small fortune for cover.

    I'm left with no choice now but to push back to ServicePlus once again, and I'm more confident of my position thanks to your post.

    Matt - that's just shocking. If I'm placed in that situation again I'll be sure to phone other dealers for quotes before agreeing to anything.

    My concern is now that my car really needs £90 worth of work, which probably works out at around £50 cost price to MB, and I'm being expected to contribute £48.
     
  18. Rory

    Rory MB Club Veteran

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    Absolutely - it's quite absurd that the OP has to negotiate with serveral parties. Can you imagine Lexus forcing you do this?

    I've said several times in previous threads that the contract is ludicrously generously worded - blithly saying things like "major units" is almost insane.

    I guess it was done from the basis of full maint cover in the way that company lease cars are covered - after all, that's the kind of organisation that ServicePlus is part of.

    When my car neared the end of warranty I grabbed the max 3yrs until just before its 6yrs old.

    Other people have sought clarification from MB on the wording, but my view is "why bother?" Once they write to you and point out exclusions then you're in a difficult position.

    If push comes to shove and they refuse work on my car then I've resolved to pay the bill and sue them in the small claims court.

    However (touch wood) my car has required nothing other than normal servicing and the dealer was most dismayed to have missed an opportunity to change the pads and disks recently - they told me they looked quite new but when I said they were the originals they wanted to pick the car up next day and change them. I said no, and they went into a sulk!!
     
  19. Satch

    Satch Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    "When my car neared the end of warranty I grabbed the max 3yrs until just before its 6yrs old."

    Snap!

    "If push comes to shove and they refuse work on my car then I've resolved to pay the bill and sue them in the small claims court."

    I made just such an offer last year when they tried to exclude the replacement of suspension parts even though dealer said that car would fail MoT without work being done! Sent an email to dealer authorising them to carry out the work at the quoted cost (not cheap) and informed them that I would pay them in full but that was not a problem as I was confident of full recovery with costs from MB UK in an action for Breach of Contract.

    Work approved 25 minutes later.
     
  20. Dryce

    Dryce MB Club Veteran

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    Sickening isn't it.

    A lot of companies use a standard fending off strategy on the basis that the wronged customer will back down or not feel sufficiently confident to pursue.

    Looks like MB have done this with Service Plus.
     

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