First timer’s experience buying a Certified Pre Owned from Mercedes Benz of Colorado Springs

I just wanted to take the time to share my experience in purchasing a 2013 Certified Pre Owned (CPO) Mercedes Benz C300 4MATIC from Doug Dieterle at Mercedes Benz of Colorado Springs.

The back story, I was looking to trade in my 2007 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab Prerunner for something nicer, newer and more comfortable.  I’ve always liked the look of a C class Mercedes Benz’s but I wasn’t finding one with the specs and in the price range I wanted.  On a whim, I took the family to Mercedes Benz of Colorado Springs just to see what they would offer for my trade in and to finally go see the C classes in person.  We fully were not expecting to purchase the day we just came to look, on August 9th.

Now, we drove up in the 2007 Tacoma and I feel we don’t look like the typical Mercedes owners.  I am tattooed, a minority and dress casually during my off time.  I am also an officer in the US military and have been for the past 8 years, so I can comfortably afford the vehicle I was interested in.
With that said, I don’t think that should or did have anything to do with our experience but I will note all aspects of our buying experience.

We arrived around 4pm that saturday afternoon, checked in with the front desk receptionist who said someone will be with us shortly.  Soon after we were greeted by Will Harold (Sales Manager) who said he’d send someone to help us.  So while we waited we decided to walk around and look at the cars on the lot.
After about 5 minutes of looking, Doug Dieterle approached us and asked if we’d been helped yet.  We informed him that Will Harold said he’d send someone over to us, so Doug went to confirm then came back and began helping us.

We told him our position and what we were interested in.  I told him I’d been researching all the Mercedes Benz dealerships in Colorado and that we were willing to travel (we’ve purchased a year old Mini from Mercedes of Loveland).  I also told him that I didn’t see the specific model with packages i was interested in on their website for CPO’s.
Doug in his diligence had a list of vehicles that were not posted on their website.  After reviewing his list he found the model with all the packages I was looking for, in the color combination I was looking for and just a bit outside of my original  planned price range.  Thank you Doug Dieterle for finding the car we were looking for!  Only issue was that it was currently being used as a dealer vehicle and one of the employees had already taken it offsite for the evening.  At this point it was already past 5pm (dealer closes at 7pm), but he made the necessary calls to have it returned to the dealership immediately.
Around 6pm the 2013 Polar White C300 4MATIC sport sedan with 16k miles and almond beige interior returned to the lot.  We immediately started looking at it in order to make a decision.  Since it was being used as a dealer vehicle it came back in a “driven” condition.  It was dirty, as in not having been washed recently but looked okay.  The only glaring issues we found in our quick short walk around and sit in was a small door ding on the passenger side and a curb rashed wheel.  We noted those issues with Doug and said we’d take it.

Next step in the process was the price.  After a bit of negotiating and a healthy amount of paperwork we were on our way to completing the purchase.
Our experience with this Mercedes dealership was going pretty well at this point.  It was great customer service which came to be expected with such a premium brand, even if we were buying their entry level model.
But if I would have known the hassle we would experience with some of the issues we found after later inspection of the vehicle, I would have scoured over it with a fine tooth comb during our initial walk around and sit in.

The next dealership employee we dealt with was Jerry Garsez the Finance Advisor.  Our plan is to register the vehicle in Florida, since that is my state of residency.  Jerry was not helpful in the fact of explaining to us why we couldn’t use our Colorado Springs address for all communication but register the vehicle in Florida.  My wife definitely felt that he was rude in his interaction with us or at the least short, and unhelpful.
This ended up becoming the biggest issue with the car buying experience.  We were assessed CO sales tax even though the vehicle is now titled and registered in FL.  (Today, on January 17th, 2015, 5 months after purchase I received final word from Wil Harold that the dealership can do nothing about the sales tax and I would have to take it up with the City of Colorado Springs on my own…)

After purchase, Doug directed me to call him on monday to set up appointments to take care of the door ding and curb rashed wheel.  After emailing and calling a few times that week I was finally able to reach Doug.  He informed me a service advisor would be giving me a call to set up the appointments but that did not occur.

The following Saturday after purchasing a new to me Mercedes I had a new found interest in auto detailing. After giving it a hand wash and detail I noticed that other wheels had curb rash and that the lower area of the front bumper was very scuffed, to the point where there was deep gouges and paint exchange from speed bumps or parking blocks.
I immediately brought this up to Doug and did some research and found that Mercedes Benz offers a Vehicle Exchange Privilege program.

Every Mercedes-Benz Certified Pre-Owned vehicle is sold with a seven day/500 mile Exchange Privilege*.  If you are not satisfied, return within seven days/500 miles (whichever comes first), and the authorized Mercedes-Benz Dealer will exchange it with another Certified Pre-Owned vehicle of equal or greater value (if the buyer wishes to pay the difference).

I definitely was not satisfied and certainly hoped that corrective actions would be honored.  After all, it is a premium brand and I’d expect they would do everything possible to reasonably satisfy a customer.  To me, MB seems like a brand that aims to earn customers for life.  Not to make quick sales to as many one time customers as possible.

Given that it was the seventh day, we decided to just take our C300 back to the dealership and get the issues noted.  Upon arriving, Doug informed us that Wil Harold would be assisting us.
Will spent a few minutes with me and explained that the appearance part of making a Certified Pre Owned MB is

A Certified Pre-Owned vehicle is a clean-skinned beauty, as free as dings, dents, rips, scratches, and scuffs as we can make it, with high quality fit and finish, inside and out.

He mentioned a “3 foot rule” which I understood as they take care of everything appearance wise within a 3 foot view.  He then goes on to tell me to give him a call the following monday to make the appointments to get things taken care of.  I always like to assume the best in people so I took his verbal word and returned to my car where my wife and son were waiting.
My wife, thankfully being the realist, said that was unacceptable and demanded this in writing.  At that point she went to speak with Will and finally left with his hand signed word the issues would be taken care of.

We left the dealership with optimism that the issues would be taken care of.  While driving to our next destination, service advisor Greg finally called to make the drop off appointment for wednesday the 20th of August.
That morning came, I dropped off the C300 informed the service advisor helping  me at the time it was in to have the wheels refinished and bumper fixed.  He asked for and I provided him a copy of the bumper fixing that Will Harold had drafted since it wasn’t part of the “We owe/I owe” document during the purchase process.  They also gave me a 2014 GLK350 as a loaner vehicle which has been very nice.  They also informed me my car would be ready thursday.

Friday, two days later Greg the service advisor calls me and in a hesitant manner tells me that my car is ready.  Wheels are refinished and door ding repaired.  The hesitant part was when he was telling me that they weren’t going to fix the bumper because it was approximately $180 and that it wasn’t part of the “We owe/I owe” list.  I immediately responded saying that I provided a copy of the agreement Wil Harold made to have the bumper fixed.  Greg replied saying he’ll do some research and give me a call back.  Within minutes, he calls saying that it will be fixed but that their “paint guy” is only in on Tuesdays.  He said I can either come in get my car then bring it back or just continue to use the loaner vehicle.
At this point, I’m a bit frustrated.  It seems as if they planned or would attempt to not have to fix the bumper!  If not, why would they take the information at the drop off appointment to fix the bumper but not tell me that their “paint guy” wouldn’t be there until next week?  They estimated my car would be ready thursday. Why would they estimate that knowing one issue can’t be addressed until next Tuesday?

Aside from all that, this review has been 5 months in the making.  I’ve held off on publishing until I the tax issue was closed.  And unfortunately, I was wrongly assessed sales tax by Mercedes Benz of Colorado Springs and have to deal with it on my own.

I love the car and have come to love the MB brand.  But I will never give my business to MB of Colorado Springs after the headache and hassle that their Finance Director, Jerry Garsez has caused me.

Additional note, we purchased a Frozen Black Limited Edition Mini Cooper Countryman from Schomp Mini a couple days ago.  After explaining that i am an active duty service member, Florida resident, and that I would be titling/registering the car in FL, they reviewed the paperwork and DID NOT ASSESS CO SALES TAX!!!.  Given that experience with Schomp Mini, I now know it was possible for MB Colorado Springs to have done the same, they, for whatever reason known only to Jerry Garsez decided not to.

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