Mercedes I Want My Metris!

by on September 1, 2016

Metris Mercedes Sprinter

Tootling along in our loaner Metris van, my twenty-year-old (Cole) suddenly noticed the check engine light blink. The blinking code indicated that the loaner would soon need a routine service check. Cole and I started to laugh hysterically. And then the check tire pressure light came on, and we laughed even harder than hysterically. Your confused? What the hell are we doing in a loaner Metris? Didn’t we just buy a new Metris van a month ago?

Well, yes we did. It seems that we are special.

I’ve hesitated to write about this “issue” because, you know, how many car issues can you have before people start to wonder about you? Heck, I wonder about us! OK, fine. I’ll tell you all about it. 

We bought a 2016 Metris Sprinter after months of investigative work (you can read about it here and here). As soon as the van moved into the garage, we customized it for our pup day-camp business. Everything had a placethe pups, our leashes, the supplies, and Rascal our Jack Russell. We took the van to have the windows tinted. Every morning, we grinned from ear to ear when the engine turned over and started. Our campers traveled in style, with bright shining faces, to and from day camp every day. That is, until the morning the happy ended. The van started right up, but the moment I tried to turn the wheel, I realized either we didn’t have power steering or I had lost all the strength in my arms. Fortunately, I guess, it was a power steering issue. I wasn’t overly worried. New cars sometimes have problems that need to be worked out. I called the dealership, and they told us to come right in, which was easier said than done; nevertheless, my strong boy manhandled the van back to the dealership. On the way, I told him how I had driven my Honey Bee Datsun without power steering, back in the day. He may have been grunting too hard to have been impressed.

The dealership checked the van right in and walked us over to wait in their waiting area. The accommodations included comfy chairs, conference areas, charging stations, large televisions, and a complimentary breakfast sandwich. I chose the Applewood bacon, eggs, and cheddar on a sourdough English muffin with basil mayo and paired it with Peet’s coffee. It was very tasty. I don’t remember which sandwich Cole chose, but he enjoyed every bite. After about 45 minutes, our service rep came over to discuss our van’s power steering problem, which, they informed us, they had never seen before. The Metris has been around forever in Europe but is new to the United States (it was introduced around October 2016). The service technician could barely contain his excitement when he told us that a special engineer was being called in to further examine the van and that he was hopeful it would be fixed in a couple days. He said the dealership would be happy to loan us the exact same van until they could fix ours.

“Exact same van” meant everything except customized for a pack of pups. Shaking my head, I explained that all our gear would have to be transferred to the loaner van. The service tech nodded knowingly and empathized with us by telling us that he often traveled with his dog (his one dog!). Sighing, we transferred all the leashes, collars, keys, blankets, and the various and sundry supplies we need to the loaner. Once home, we added crates and tried to organize the loaner. And then we carried on, hopeful we would have our van back soon.

Fast forward 10 days. We still don’t have our van back. Everyone on both sides of the ocean, I’m told, is trying to locate a very special wiring harness.

We’re a priority. Meetings are being held on our behalf, and e-mails are being sent to high-level corporate people. A troubleshooter at Mercedes corporate even called me, and towards the end of the conversation, thanked me for taking the phone call, to which I replied, “No problem.”

Today (Wednesday) was not a good day. Our update from the dealership included the news that the “most wanted part” has still not been located. I suggested sending someone to Germany to find it. They thought I was kidding. I can’t help but wonder if the part even exists, so I brought up the repurchase option. Essentially, this means that they will replace the van and pay for the customization work, but it can take up to four weeks to pull together all the paperwork, and let’s not put the van before the pups. Everyone is hopeful that they will locate the part next week, after Labor Day. Nobody works the Friday before a 3 day weekend they said (doesn’t this make it a 4 day weekend? Oh well). Nobody does not include me. I work. The conversation ended with a promise of another update next week.

Most people would be angry, or so I’ve been told more than a few times.  But I’m not angry. They can’t install a part they can’t find or don’t have, and I really do believe we are a prioritya priority without our van, but still a priority. I believe that this will be resolved and that we shall overcome, and perhaps be better off than before. But, darn it, I am so disappointed.

My next step was to call the general manager of the dealership. I planned to be firm and to explain our situation: we needed our vanit was customized to our business and not having it was costing us money and, for gosh sakes, I’d only had it long enough to make one car payment. Instead, I burst into tears on his voicemail as I left my name and phone number. To his credit, he called me back.

Now, we are the general manager’s priority. He will become personally involved. I believe him, as I’m pretty sure that he doesn’t want me in his service department waiting room waiting for our loaner to be serviced and wailing into my breakfast sandwich, “I want our VAN!” 

Stay tuned for part 2.

Odd Loves Company.

{ 15 comments }

Mike

That is awful. It looks like everyone is doing what they can do but I am frustrated just reading about it. Hope part 2 has everything worked out to your satisfaction plus some.
Have a good one.

Katybeth

Thanks. Read the replies from me for an update (below). I’ll update again when I know what “we” are going to do. Perhaps a happy car story is right around the corner!

Liz

Nooooooooooo!!!! That is just too sad after everything you went through. I know it will be resolved but still what a bummer. Hope part 2 has a very happy ending.

Katybeth

Thanks Liz. Read the replies from me for an update (below). At this point I am not sure what a happy ending looks like.

Debbie

You know Mercury is retrograde, right? (Until Sept. 22) So, not to be a soaking wet blanket, but I wouldn’t look for this wretched situation to improve much until then. (Sorry for the bad news; please don’t shoot the messenger!)

That said, Kb, you’ve shown remarkable strength … and patience. I’m not sure I’d have been so understanding. I mean, c’mon, this is a Mercedes van, for Pete’s sake! We’re not talking about a used lot special. Surely somebody somewhere can get this vehicle back in your garage so you can run your business?? Gee, I’m waiting eagerly for Part 2 — and I’m hoping for a happy resolution!
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Katybeth

I do. There is also a double eclipse this month, A solar one today (the first) and Lunar on the 16th. So I am not expecting a lot from this month….but in general Mercury is usually pretty good to me. Some miscommunications, sure, but in general I just hunker down and we try to get along. BUT I did hear from the dealership a couple of hours ago and the news isn’t good. The part my van needs does not exist. They made all of the usual parts but none of the “special ones” because it is like a 1 in a billion chance that a complete wiring harness will go out on a car. And here I thought the German’s were good boy scouts and always prepared. They are going into production to make my car one and maybe a few extra’s but it’s going to take a while. The general manager and I are going to have a sit down and discuss our options. May the car gods be with me or better yet, I am going to make him negotiate with my sweet Mom! I’ll update when I know more. And Thanks, I am trying to keep my sense of humor but. . .What kind of car did you end up with?

Debbie

Well, this is my birth month, so I’m feeling the misery all around! I think you’re being lots more understanding than I’d be. This isn’t your fault (and perhaps it’s not really the dealership’s either), but doggone it, somebody needs to man up and accept the blame! As for getting Mom involved — yeah, I’m all for that. Anybody who can control a Dobie is a force to be reckoned with! Me? I bought a Nissan. Looks very much like my totaled Kia (even the color’s the same), and is lots of fun to drive. Of course, I don’t tote around lots of doggins either! Hang in there, Kb!
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Campo

The patient is suffering from an obvious case of “van envy”. Nothing will help except for giving into her demands. She must have her damn van, or she will react like VanDam.

Katybeth

Envious of whom? Or is the dealer envious and wants my Metris back? Update: It’s not good. I just heard from the dealership. Part that we need does not exist. Plan D. What ever that may be.

Sarah

Oh wow. What an ordeal. I can’t even imagine the angst not to mention the paperwork that is sure to ensue. It does sound like a good dealership and hopefully they will make things right for you. Keeping my fingers crossed that part two has a happy ending.

Katybeth

Thank you! . Would you mind keeping your toes crossed too? Happy Ending are my speciality but first the drama. I guess, the universe wants me to be really happy at the end!

Beth Ann Chiles

I read the entire post and all the comments. Bless your heart. I do live in NC now so I can say that. I also shared with Mr. Diamond who said that they should just replace the whole steering column or some such thing. It seems like there should be an easier answer for you than going into a production mode but what do I know? Your sense of humor will keep you going but doggone it—-I know this is more than inconvenient. Hang in there and in the meantime go get a Starbucks.
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Katybeth

Thank you. That sounds like a very genuine BMH. The entire electrical harness has to be replaced. Which would be a less of a problem if they manufactured this part. But they didn’t. So the part I need does not exist (I would have figured the Germans to be better planners). They now have a need to put the part in production. But it will take 6-8 weeks and that is before it is shipped. And, I bet if you told Mr. Diamond that he would beat on himself laughing—well no worries, I am not buying it either. I am guessing closer to 6 months if not a year. So. I am suppose to have a sit down with the General Manager and figure out what to do next. I am “a priority” but he is planning to take tomorrow off—so I guess the meeting will be sometime next week. I am asking for a lifetime of free breakfast sandwiches for starters and then going from there. Thank for caring.

irene

What a damn mess…. So sorry this is happening to you after all the research & customizing. What a drag! Consult your mom & dad which I know you’ve been doing. 3 heads are better than 1! Good luck!

Katybeth

Thanks, it is disappointing. Mercedes is in the process of replacing the van. But it will still have to have be customized all over again. And even if they foot the bill there is a sizeable amount of time and labor involved. Of-course, as Cole said (I do love this kid) “Mom, I learned a lot the first time around that I can use this time around.” True enough.
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