21 December 2016 at 6:46 pm #102588
I bought this MERCEDES-BENZ GLA 220 4Matic AMG in May 2015 – eventually. The original car that I wanted to purchase was sold to two different people by the same franchise – Hamilton in Scotland.
After having the car for one month, the automatic stop/start failed while I was waiting to turn right in the middle of the traffic lights. Imagine the screams from my daughter as the car was stuck in the middle of the traffic lights with cars moving in other directions. At this point the MERCEDES-BENZ franchise in Teesside (my local garage) decided to replace the starter motor without even identifying if the starter motor was faulty. This led to a heated debate with the lead mechanic at the MERCEDES-BENZ franchise – how could he claim to fix the problem without knowing if the part he replaced was the cause of the problem?
One year later, the engine started over-revving randomly. If the car was driven for several miles the performance became very sluggish until only two of the seven gears were available (and a random message appeared about the reverse gear being unavailable). This is a very dangerous situation with the car slowing to around 15mph, at the time on an A-road but it could have been on a motorway.
The roadside assistance was unable to fix the problem as their servers were down (they had been down for one week so why did they send a person who they knew could not help me?).
The car was taken to the local MERCEDES-BENZ dealership and I collected it a couple of days later. The car had allegedly received a software upgrade and a road test. After driving the car for less than 5 minutes it was apparent that the problem had not been fixed. During this short drive I identified that the problem disappeared if the auto start/stop was disabled (back to the original problem). The car was returned to the MERCEDES-BENZ dealership that night.
The dealership, relaying information from the MERCEDES-BENZ HQ, admit that they have never seen this problem on this type car. In a poor attempt to resolve the problem they have replaced the clutch (major work on a car of any age – never mind a car that is only one year old) without rectifying the issue (they are guessing at the cause of the problem). This has not fixed the problem.
The repairing garage has now replaced the gearbox and tell me that the car is ready for collection. They won’t tell me that the car is fixed, because they can’t diagnose the fault, they are merely trying to make the symptoms disappear until the warranty runs out. I am refusing to collect the car as I have no faith in it being fully fixed.
The car has now been in the dealership since 5th September and they refuse me a replacement. The reason that I can’t get replacement, via the original purchasing dealership at Hamilton, is apparently that they haven’t seen the car since I purchased it, and therefore haven’t had their one attempt at repairing the fault. The Hamilton dealership have been kept fully informed of the faults and location of the car for repair. They have never asked to have the car returned to Hamilton and are happy for the repairs to be completed elsewhere. How can they get to see the car when it is in bits at an alternative dealership in the north of England? They could ask their colleagues for photographs or travel down and review it – but no – just hide behind the fact that they are remote to me. During the sale of the car, the Hamilton branch were happy for me to test drive a car at the local branch and sell it to me via the Hamilton branch without me viewing the car. That is called ‘double standards’.
I am now paying a lot of money for a car that I do not have and MERCEDES-BENZ cannot fix. The customer service has been shocking, refusing to return my e-mails and refusing to send me a copy of their customer care charter (I was eventually sent one that told me to contact motorcodes.co.uk) – so
that I cannot follow the agreed complaints procedure. The Hamilton franchise is not even a partner with the motorcodes.co.uk – The Motor Ombudsman.
I have no faith that the problem will be permanently resolved no matter what the MERCEDES-BENZ mechanics achieve, this problem has re-occurred in the past when they said it was fixed. They are unable to get to the root cause of the problem and definitively fix it.
The car is not fit for purpose.
I am suffering from Breach of Contract as I am paying for a car that I cannot use.
I have since asked for a record of the work that has been completed on my car. I was initially sent the service history – just one line of text. I queried this, and was then sent a more detailed list of repair work (well a strange list of the times that the car had been ‘in tow’ etc.). However, the list of repair work does not include, replacement of the starter motor (completed in June 2015), upgrade of the software (September 2016), replacement of the clutch (September 2016) or replacement of the gearbox (October 2016). This is the standard practice for the franchise (Teesside). Surely this is not a true reflection of the history of the car.
I then went on to ask about how that would affect the future sales value of the car. The service manager then went on to tell me that the repair history was not available to anyone else and was only available to me as I was the current owner of the car. He said that if a prospective purchaser of the car asked for the work that had been completed on the car, they would only be provided with services carried out on the car (the initial one line of text that I had been sent).
You have to ask yourself why they would do this. Surely, they are trying to hide all of the remedial work completed on the car and in turn drive up the re-sale value of the car. At best this is unethical and at worst, it must be illegal.
Does anyone have any advice on what I can do?
23 December 2016 at 1:21 pm #102727
I would suggest you contact Mercedes-Benz UK and relay the above to them, and express your dissatisfaction with the level of service provided by their franchise dealership(s). Usually a kick up the behind from the manufacturer helps to speed things along.
Also, have a read of our article about resolving a dispute with your dealership.