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Loaner Cars...

 
Old 01-21-2012, 09:22 AM
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Loaner Cars...

Took the E coupe in for scheduled maintenance and a host of other issues.

Dealership was Prestige Mercedes-Benz Paramus, NJ.

Everything went smoothly until I got my loaner.

Usually, loaners are freshly washed. Even the interior is vacuumed and wiped down for the most part every time I get one.

Today, I noticed my loaner had a fresh layer of road salt on it. I figured, what the heck, we just had gotten a few inches of fresh powder so who cares if the car is dirty. But when I opened the door and got in... the stink of stale cigarette smoke hit me in the nose. The thing smelled like a wet ashtray.

Weird. This is a loaner, there is a NO SMOKING policy... isn't the point of it so that the NEXT CUSTOMER doesn't have to deal with that ****?

Sooo, I ask the valet shyly... Hey, this car smells like smoke. And though the guy hardly spoke a drop of english he started looking around seeing who could help. While this was happening, a wirey, old bespectacled advisor who always wears these really really distinctive wool sweaters (you will know him if you frequent Prestige Mercedes. I believe he is a service manager.) comes out and asks me what's wrong.

Thank god, I thought. I was worried I'd have to go back to my advisor or the receptionist (who seemed like he was still hungover) to bring up the issue.

I explain to him. The car wreaks of smoke. It smells like an ashtray and I'd prefer a car that doesn't smell like one.

His reply? "Sorry, it was the customer before you. There is nothing we can do about it."

Mind you, I JUST signed a paper saying I wouldn't smoke in the car and this guy is saying that while I am standing next to a row of more than 6 or 7 loaner cars, ALL freshly washed without a speck of dirt on them except for mine.

Angry, but slightly embarassed, I shook my head to show my disapproval and climbed into the depths of this dank smelling vehicle.

The longer I drove, the angrier I got. I sent an inquiry through the dealership's contact us page and will be calling later to speak with a manager if I can.

I just want to hear your take on this. It's not like I asked them to wash the car before I drove it out in the slush. I think I had a valid complaint about an issue that shouldn't even BE an issue given the rules of the rental agreement. Is this something I should expect of my dealership?

I know the smokers might think... HEY A LOANER I CAN SMOKE IN. But be reasonable and rational in your response. I HATE the smell of cigarette smoke, I don't even let people get in my car immediately after smoking.

Last edited by dcjwlee; 01-21-2012 at 10:15 AM.
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Old 01-21-2012, 10:02 AM
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I, personally, wouldn't have left the dealership before I got a car that does not stink.

If the guy in the ugly sweater was not high enough manager to do it, I would've found the next one. And so on, until somebody gives me the keys to a non-stinking one.
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Old 01-21-2012, 10:07 AM
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I can confirm that the man I spoke with was one of their two service managers. The only person above them I can contact is the service & parts director.

http://www.prestigemb.com/about_us/s...embers/Service

Though he didn't look so sharp today, I can identify the man I spoke with as Anthony Pinho, Service Manager, Prestige Mercedes of Paramus, New Jersey.

It's upsetting to me that, of all people, the manager would be the one to dismiss my complaint as if it were of little consequence. And to think his personal profile says... "He... enjoys assisting customers with their issues and concerns"

Do they not realize that there are two more perfectly competent dealers in the area that would love to take my money?

If I can get this thread rolling enough, I will email the link to their managers and service director to show that poor customer service can go a very long way.

Last edited by dcjwlee; 01-21-2012 at 10:53 AM.
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Old 01-21-2012, 10:47 AM
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Unacceptable to say the least. I would have talked o someone else before I left and gotten a different car. You would think after spending that much you would be afforded better service.
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Old 01-21-2012, 10:59 AM
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I would not have taken the car. The car was unprepared for service having been damaged by the previous user. I would have suggested they contact the previous user to arrange the cost of repairs, and escalated the conversation to anyone and everyone on site to get a different car. Be assertive, but not aggressive! Stand your ground with civil and polite discourse, but hold to your position firmly!
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Old 01-21-2012, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by dcjwlee View Post
Do they not realize that there are two more perfectly competent dealers in the area that would love to take my money?
What are the other competent dealers in the area?

When I would get a loaner the paperwork said "No Smoking" and they would charge you to deodorize the interior if it was returned with a smoke order. I always got the best results by writing an e-mail to the manager of the employee with which I had an issue.
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Old 01-21-2012, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Efivehundred View Post
What are the other competent dealers in the area?

When I would get a loaner the paperwork said "No Smoking" and they would charge you to deodorize the interior if it was returned with a smoke order. I always got the best results by writing an e-mail to the manager of the employee with which I had an issue.
Benzel Busch Englewood and Mercedes of Nanuet. There is also a small Indy that works exclusively on Mercedes, over on ridgewood ave in paramus, but I am not sure of the quality. Visits to the stealership are so infrequent that proximity and convenience aren't big issues.

Edit: I'm not saying Prestige Mercedes sucks. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the quality of the work they do. All the work I asked to be done was done. I just don't think something so stupid should have to be an issue at all. Especially if there is the possibility of keeping the car for the weekend.

At another dealership, I once had an SA leave for the day when I was shuttled from their dealer and told her I needed my car back that night. I waited until 45 min before closing to call them and find out my car was done. Their drivers had left for the day so I had to find someone in the next 15 minutes to drive me the ~20 to the dealership. I got there to find out she had performed a $300+ "transmission diagnostic" when I had explicitly asked her to perform the scheduled maintenance, transmission fluid flush, and to call me if a nagging transmission issue wasn't resolved before she did anything else because she couldn't explicitly state that a "transmission diagnostic" would fix my issue!

That was bad. This was just stupid and a little embarrassing.

Last edited by dcjwlee; 01-21-2012 at 08:07 PM.
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Old 01-21-2012, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Efivehundred View Post
What are the other competent dealers in the area?
Globe Motor Car Corp. in Fairfield, NJ (http://www.globemotorcar.com/). My dealer for the past 6 years, gotten about 7 or 8 cars from them so far. Love them ! Both my sales guy and SA go out of their way for me. Give them a try if you get a chance. All their loaners immaculate inside and out and are brand new. I've never gotten a loaner with more then 3,000 miles on them. Both sales and service is great. PM me if you decide to go and want my SA's name.
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Old 01-21-2012, 05:49 PM
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Your rep is a lazy dick. From the way you explained it you sound like you have a non-confrontational personality and your rep knew it so he told you that he exploited it by saying that he couldn't do anything about it just so that he didn't have to put more paperwork in.

In matters like this be more assertive while maintaining a polite and professional attitude. If he still says no then ask to speak to the service manager > problem solved. Take this as a life experience because it won't be the last time some ***** is going to try to pull the same crap on you.
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Old 01-21-2012, 06:12 PM
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Just re-read your post that your rep was a service manager > looks like it's time to move on to another dealer or if you stay don't take his **** next time.
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Old 01-21-2012, 09:11 PM
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I've had that experience as well. In fact there were burn marks on the a pillar that I didn't notice at first. Never a problem brining it back. Just amazes me, I know if you are a smoker fine, smoke in your own car. Why crap up a vehicle with only 5K miles? it is just inconsiderate....
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Old 01-22-2012, 12:38 AM
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Happened to me, but I'm one of those guys that really don't care as long as the dealership knows that it wasn't by me. I do always check the loaner and make sure they get all the damages so when I return it I know it wasn't my fault. I would've def made sure they wrote it down that the person before me smoked in it and not me. But if it was my brother, I know he would've asked for a new car so you're not being irrational, I would def talk to the supervisor, especially if you have kids because a car smelling like a ashtray isn't the best thing to pick up your kids in.
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Old 01-22-2012, 09:27 AM
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Complaining to someone in the sales area loud enough for prospective customers can overhear might be something to try. Never done it myself, but it might embarass them enough that they'll give you something else to drive to shut you up.
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Old 01-22-2012, 09:58 AM
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Like he other posters, I would not leave the dealership if my loaner stinks. Instead of finding another dealer and since I feel you like them in general, I would just ask for another loaner since you know they have others available and suggested them to clean the one you got. If they give you a hard time, you can tell them you are allegic to cigeratte smoke and they will be responsible for the reaction.
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Old 01-22-2012, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by alphaforcex View Post
Like he other posters, I would not leave the dealership if my loaner stinks. Instead of finding another dealer and since I feel you like them in general, I would just ask for another loaner since you know they have others available and suggested them to clean the one you got. If they give you a hard time, you can tell them you are allegic to cigeratte smoke and they will be responsible for the reaction.
Actually, if you're going to fib a little....say that your kids have asthma. Playing the "kid card" might provide better resuls. :-)
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Old 01-22-2012, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by dcjwlee View Post
I can confirm that the man I spoke with was one of their two service managers. The only person above them I can contact is the service & parts director.

http://www.prestigemb.com/about_us/s...embers/Service

Though he didn't look so sharp today, I can identify the man I spoke with as Anthony Pinho, Service Manager, Prestige Mercedes of Paramus, New Jersey.

It's upsetting to me that, of all people, the manager would be the one to dismiss my complaint as if it were of little consequence. And to think his personal profile says... "He... enjoys assisting customers with their issues and concerns"

Do they not realize that there are two more perfectly competent dealers in the area that would love to take my money?

If I can get this thread rolling enough, I will email the link to their managers and service director to show that poor customer service can go a very long way.
Yes, I got a similar experience with "Tony". He was very rude and it is a pity that Prestige just got such a wonderful facility but keeping such a horrible service manager. He does not know what "Service" means, obviously.
I leased and bought vehicles from that dealership but my next one will not be from them for sure!
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Old 01-22-2012, 02:43 PM
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At my mercedes dealerships, I am lucky to even get a loaner! :p

Though yes, I would be pretty outraged myself. Not at the fact that the car had smoke smells, but that the manager didnt even want to try to help or provide an explanation of why he couldnt help.

I know usually loaners are in high demand and they are usually all booked up so chances are the other loaners around you were all called for. And since you didnt put up much of a fight, he would rather disappoint you than the next customer who would get that loaner.
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Old 01-22-2012, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by LaicepsYdobon View Post
Globe Motor Car Corp. in Fairfield, NJ (http://www.globemotorcar.com/). My dealer for the past 6 years, gotten about 7 or 8 cars from them so far. Love them ! Both my sales guy and SA go out of their way for me. Give them a try if you get a chance. All their loaners immaculate inside and out and are brand new. I've never gotten a loaner with more then 3,000 miles on them. Both sales and service is great. PM me if you decide to go and want my SA's name.
Thanks but, I questioned the OP about other "competent" dealerships because I thought he might be referring to Globe Motor Car. I despise them! Yeah, their loaners are usually nice, although I did once get an ML that was filthy in and out. My gripe with them was multiple poor service experiences and my SA. I couldn't even get a return call from my SA. There is a lot more to it, but I don't want to relive the frustration. I will never go back there for anything. I'm thinking they treat you well because you have given them a lot of business. Please PM me your SA's name.
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Old 01-22-2012, 09:02 PM
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While at my dealer it never stunk of smoke. We once got a loaner that was filthy inside. I didn't realize it at first as I just jumped in and took off, (had to get to work). But then I noticed coffee stains all over the interior, sticky, the windshield was filthy (on the inside) with finger smudges everywhere.

I had the car for a weekend and it was so bad that I actually cleaned the car myself. IT took a good hour, windiex, leather wipes, everything. I was very unhappy and now I always make sure that the vehicle is clean. I have also complained to the service manager and he has assured me they will actively make sure vehicles are clean.

In their defense, it was a car that was JUST returned, otherwise I needed a non-mercedes loaner, so they didn't have enough time to clean it. But this just means that they need more loaners...
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Old 01-22-2012, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by jctevere View Post
I had the car for a weekend and it was so bad that I actually cleaned the car myself. IT took a good hour, windiex, leather wipes, everything.
hahahhahahaahhaaa! are you joking? it's not even your car! Did it suck that bad? I thought I was crazy when I cleaned the steering wheel once on a loaner with a baby wipe... Maybe you should have detailed the exterior for the dealer as well!
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Old 01-22-2012, 09:49 PM
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I really hate that stale smoke smell too, and have only had it in a loaner once. I just dealt with it, figured I'd only have the car for a few hours. The whole loaner booking/reserving must be a nightmare for the dealers, so I cut them some slack if needed. I would just make sure that they acknowledged the smell in the car before you took it. I do a good walk around to look for dings and scratches before as well.

Maybe I'm a little soft on this, but it can't be easy managing the service reservations, drop ins, shuttles, and the loaners.
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Old 01-22-2012, 10:51 PM
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You can give them the courtesy of living the car with bacon grease on the dashboard when you're done.
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Old 01-23-2012, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Efivehundred View Post
Thanks but, I questioned the OP about other "competent" dealerships because I thought he might be referring to Globe Motor Car. I despise them! Yeah, their loaners are usually nice, although I did once get an ML that was filthy in and out. My gripe with them was multiple poor service experiences and my SA. I couldn't even get a return call from my SA. There is a lot more to it, but I don't want to relive the frustration. I will never go back there for anything. I'm thinking they treat you well because you have given them a lot of business. Please PM me your SA's name.
That stinks; sorry to hear that. I'm the same way with the Porsche dealer near my house. They get a lot of good reviews but my experience with them was appalling and I decided not to give them my business. Good luck with finding a descent dealer. From experience I can tell you to stay away from MB of Manhattan. I had nothing but problems with their service department.

I've also sent you the PM...
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Old 01-23-2012, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Naughty Pants View Post
You can give them the courtesy of living the car with bacon grease on the dashboard when you're done.
You're such an amateur--bacon grease? Piker. Empty your kitchen garbage can into the back seat, or better yet, pipe some septic waste into the trunk.

Hyperbole is the last refuge of the uninspired sophomore (high school).
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Old 01-24-2012, 01:22 PM
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I thought of buying a pack of cigarettes and puffing one out of spite, but they are ~$10.... not worth it to smoke one cigarette out of spite.

I will be filling out a survey today and will note the problems with the loaner and service manager while still giving them high marks in all other segments.

I will mention this thread as well...

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