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True, but...................... (archive)

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Posted by David on April 24, 2000 at 19:58:21:

In Reply to: On the OTHER side of the coing posted by Mike Zamarocy on April 24, 2000 at 03:45:56:

You're right, Mike. Compliments are always appreciated. And at 53 years of age (with the purchase of about 30 new cars under my belt), I've left a trail of praise when it was due. But most dealers in my experience assume that the customer is wrong about mechanical problems, and they try to avoid warranty claims. We had an oil leak from the engine of our 93 300E from day 1. The dealer retorqued the head bolts three times and played around numerous other times, but the leak persisted. They changed the head gasket within a month of warranty expiration, and I had been after them to do so for about two years - prior to that, the service manager had "explained" that the leak was because the engine is alloy! Yes, they did finally cover it because I had the shop receipts to prove I'd complained about it for 4 years! But they weren't very nice about it - and I was.

Right now, I'm having trouble getting my Benz dealer to find out just what wire they connected to the electric brake pin in the dealer-installed Bargman trailer connector on our ML. The service manager told me it ran directly from the taillights! When I explained that you need a brake controller, and that the wire should run to the output of this device, they told me I don't know what I'm talking about. Fortunately, the owner of the dealership has towed horses and did know what I'm talking about - but he still hasn't gotten the info I need (i.e. is there a wire already in place from beneath the dash to the connector or did they really wire it to the taillights?). Making it worse is that there was a brake controller (installed by me) on the Chevy K1500 I traded on the ML. And when I showed it to the service manager, he told me you don't need one on the Benz!

The answer to the question, "If you know so much, why don't you do it yourself?" is that I won't do work on a car that's under warranty or that I've already paid the dealer to do. I'm certainly not pulling apart the interior of my wife's brand new Mercedes to run a wire from the dash to the trailer connector when I paid the dealer $500 for a towing package. Although some of the messages on this board suggest that the authors aren't as calm and dignified as they might be when complaining, I have to agree that I've found more dealers to be poorly informed and unaccomodating than are praiseworthy.

Praise for dealers? I've got gobs of it for David Penske Chevrolet in King of Prussia, PA and Otto's BMW. There are outstanding salespeople like Allan Kirsch at Devon Hill BMW and outstanding service writers like Mike Aiuto at Devon Hill. But they are sadly in the minority.


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