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PLEASE HELP - Mercedes Benz Finance Dispute


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Please can someone advise me.

 

I am in a dispute with Merc Benz finance because their customer service is appalling. (The worst we have ever come across).

 

When we agreed the new lease agreement for our car (my girlfriend and i) in september we were under the impression that they had started collecting the new payments. In Oct i went to get the car serviced and was told that our account had been settled. After more digging we were told that they had no record of the car on the system and that as far as they were concered we had returned the car! When we checked our account no payments had been taken for the 3 months.

 

When the error was sorted and the car put back on the system we started recieving very curt letters saying that our account was in arrears and that we need to make a payment immediately or else. They then tried without prior warning of any nature to take £5000 out of my partners account! Are they allowed to do this with informing us first? is it legal?

 

At this point we enetered into a dispute with them which was nearly resolved until we have had a debt collecting agency call us. We are sure this will have an affect on our credit rating.

 

Should they have passed our details onto the debt collectors if we are in a dispute? Afterall the only reason we are in arrears is because they lost the car from their system!

 

Throughout the whole process we have said that we will make our account up to date when the issue of the way we as a customer have been treated is resolved. Afterall we were honest enough to tell them that they had made a mistake and that we still have the car.

 

I have the original complaint letter i sent and an e-mail trail between myself and the customer service manager who is now contradicting himself and back peddling. I have escalated the case to his manager.

 

Please please can anyone help/advise me on what my rights are and how far i can take this. Your help is greatly appreciated.

 

Many thanks in advance. :-)

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I suggest you prepare a formal letter of complaint and post a draft here, minus confidential information, detailing your problems with them.

 

I will then try to proof it for you. I then suggest you send it to them by Royal Snail SPECIAL Delivery (NOT Recorded). They will have 8 weeks to provide a satisfactory response or you take it to the Financial Ombudsman Service (which costs them £500 just for the case fee).

 

You should be able to get some compensation. In the meanwhile write/fax any debt collectors telling them the matter is in dispute and you are lodging a formal complaint with an intent to take the matter to the Financial Ombudsman Service, therefore any further correspondence from them will be deemed harrassment and a material breach of the Administration of Justice Act 1970 and the Codes of Conduct to which they subscribe and you may issue court proceedings against them.

  • Haha 1

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Thanks or the advice legalpickle. Below is the original complaint e-mail i sent to them and subsequent e-mails. We need advice on how to move forward. I believe that they are doing some serious investigations as i have not heard from them in 2 days. My partner (who's name has been changed in the letters below) is worried that her credit rating will be affected moving forward due to them instructing debt collectors.

 

Below are the myriad of problems we have encountered with Mercedes Benz/Smart in as accurate an order as we could remember.

Alternator went 6 months into lease – stuck at airport (Lisa was cabin crew). Called Smart and was told in an abrupt manner that she couldn’t have a courtesy car as she hadn’t booked in for a service. Pointed out that the reason she got a new car was because she was on 1 hour standby to Gatwick so needed reliable car.

Took car in to explain problem with tracking which kept flashing on and off randomly. Was dealt with patronizingly by Nayna who suggested that I may be driving too fast/wrong. There was absolutely no interest in sorting out the problem or looking at reasons why this may be occurring.

We took the car in for a service and asked repeatedly for a light bulb to be replaced inside the car. Had to take car in 3 times, the third after an all night flight and had to make a fuss in reception to get it done. When it was done it took 30 seconds. We specifically wrote on the service card that we wanted specific things to be looked at. When the car was returned none of the repairs we asked for had been done, so we had to take the car back again which wasted more of our time and money.

The technician that serviced the car also recommended that we change our tyres on the car as they were worn out and on the verge of being illegal However when he checked with “someone” on the phone at Merc Benz, who had not seen the car the mechanic was told that the tyres were acceptable and therefore he would not be given permission to change them. This then meant that we had to bring the car back AGAIN in a few weeks to get them changed… Wasting even more of our time and money. Not to mention the possibility of them becoming illegal before we brought the car back. This is particularly shocking as we could have potentially incurred points on our license, and we did not feel able to use the car in the normal manner during this time. Considering that we PAY YOU a large amount of money on a monthly basis in order to have the ability to get the car serviced and tyres changed, we felt extremely cheated by this reaction.

A few weeks later when I called to book the car in to get the tyres changed I was told that Merc/Smart no longer changed the tyres and that I had to go to Kwik Fit to get them changed. When I arrived at Kwik Fit they had no idea that they had an agreement in place with Merc and checked with their internal team. They said that they did not have the required tyres in stock anyway and I should go to another branch where they were in stock. So I did and faced the same problem there. I then called Merc back to inform them that neither of the Kwik Fits I had been to had any knowledge of this supposed agreement.

I was then told I was not supposed to go to Kwik Fit and that whoever told me that was wrong. I was then told two completely different things by Nayna again and was not apologised to for being given incorrect information. I was then asked to take the car into the Brentford garage after 5 hours of driving around to Kwik Fits waiting around and numerous phone calls. A waste of my day off which I can never get back, time and more money. The tyres were finally replaced, but only after both of us having taken time off work and wasted our weekends. A very stressful experience and not once were we apologised to.

I thought I’d also mention that when I took the courtesy car back and signed it back in the courtesy car keys were not taken from me and only when I got home did I realize their mistake and took the keys back. More time and money on my part.

When we decided to extend the finance agreement, which we were perfectly entitled to do, we had the paperwork faxed through to old Lisa’s old office. She faxed back the signed documents and we heard nothing more so we assumed it was all sorted.

Nov – I took the morning off work to take the car in for a service. As I did not wish to take too much time out of my day I booked the car in for as early as possible around 8.30am. When I arrived I was told that we did not have a service contract in place and that the account for the car was settled and closed. I was told that if I wanted to get the car serviced it would cost me in the region of £375. I spent the best part of the morning looking into the mistake and arrived back at work around lunchtime. So was not very popular in the office and had missed a very important meeting with a client who’s business I subsequently lost.

Lisa and I looked through our bank statements and found that the finance payments had not been going out, so we called to ask what was going on and why the payments were not being taken. We were again told by Mark that our account had been settled and as far they were concerned the car had been returned and that there was no record of us having the car. There was no record of our renewed finance agreement. Mark was supposed to call Lisa back straight away to find out what had happened to the car, and he took half an hour. When he called back he apologised for taking so long, and explained that it was very strange, this has never happened before, but that all records of the car were off the system and they had no record of me having it’.

In my opinion this clearly shows that there was some error at some point with Merc updating the records on our account properly – an error which we seem still to be paying for, despite having the honesty to have called straight away to try and rectify the problem

Mark sent Lisa paperwork to continue lease through the post. This goes to my parents address, and they can also state that this did not arrive. When Lisa spoke to Mark on the phone she explained that she could not afford to pay anymore than the current rate of around £154 a month. Mark explained that there was a plan costing £148 that was pretty much the same. She was asked if she wanted the service plan but no extra cost was mentioned for having it, it was implied that it was included in the price. At no point was a monthly cost of anything more than £148 mentioned, and further to that the paperwork sent through very cleverly omits to mention anything other than the £148, negating to mention that rather than including the service plan and interest this must be added on. I have send this off to an independent body for their opinion, as far as we are concerned this at the least misleading and the most false advertising.

We signed the form again quickly as we were put under pressure to make a quick decision and sent it back assuming that the direct debit payments would continue. I must point out that it occurred to me that we could have got away with keeping the car for free but we are honest people therefore we looked into the issue. At no point were we sent an apology letter or a thank you letter or were even told thank you by anyone.

Dec – Without any communication – especially regarding the contact we had made with Merc during the last few weeks Merc tried to take £5000+ from Lisa’s bank account with no prior warning letter or phone call. That caused a hell of a lot of stress as we thought we had been the victim of fraud. Lisa was absolutely devastated at the time as she found out the money was gone on a Sunday evening when the banks were not open.

We then spent the best part of our Sunday evening investigating where the money had gone, and thankfully were able to access online banking.

Although when a Direct Debit is set up this does allow you access to Lisa’s account to take money, the Direct Debit agreement does state that, ‘in the future, if there is any change to the date, amount or frequency of a direct debit you will be given 5/7 working days notice in advance of your account being debited’. The bank were more than happy to cancel Merc’s attempt to take this money as they said it should not have been allowed’.

How dare you as a company try to take £5000 from our account without a letter or a prior phone call?? The amount of stress and upset that caused to us and our family is unforgivable.

Lisa then called in the following day and spoke to an incredibly rude customer services rep who tried to fob her off and tell her that she was in the wrong for not having noticed that the DD had come out of her account and that it was her fault. Infact we had actually been on holiday during the last week of October, so she had not regularly checked her account, and I took the car in to be serviced before the November payment was due to go out. When Lisa explained that Mark had told her that they couldn’t figure out what had happened as they had no record of the account, she basically accused Lisa of lying, saying ‘how can that be true if I have them infront of me now?’ Lisa, quite unsurprisingly, not being an argumentative person was somewhat upset by this treatment and asked to be put on to a superior, at which point we were put through to Deborah Skelton.

Deborah sent through the paperwork that was required and as far as we were concerned the problem was rectified. At this point Lisa spoke to her bank and asked them to open the Direct Debit back up so Merc could take the payments.

A few weeks later we received a very rude letter telling us that unless we paid £500 and something by the 27th of Jan the car would be taken from us. No-one had made any attempt to call or email, despite Deborah having Lisa’s email address, and no paperwork was sent out to her in order to set the Direct Debit up again. When Lisa called up she was told that a new Direct Debit needed to be set up, but no-one could tell her why no paperwork was sent to her, or no other attempt made to contact her.

At this point Lisa called in again to be spoken to rudely at this point she no longer had the patience to deal with anyone from Merc ever again and asked me to speak to take over. I must point out that Lisa is a very reasonable person, who works in customer service herself. She has a lot of patience, however the fact that she could no longer deal with your incompetent rude staff speaks volumes as I have never seen her so upset and frustrated that she feels she is no longer able to deal with such a situation.

This amount was then settled, at which point we were informed that we didn’t owe that amount but owed around £800, and when I called in to confirm this I was told by Leigh that she had the letter in front of her and that it was wrong!

Every time we have called in we have had to explain the situation again and again which is very tedious. There seems to be no communication between your staff and there are obviously no notes being made on our account regarding the problems we are going through.

When I spoke to a customer service agent whose name I will dig out if required was firstly told that she didn’t understand why Lisa had asked her to contact me… Therefore clearly your staff have no empathy and she failed to even realize that a customer was frustrated to the point where they did not have the patience too deal with them anymore, even though Lisa had explained that she was passing the situation on to me. I was then told that the rude letter that was sent was a mistake and should not have been sent out and that the amount on the letter was incorrect. I told her that I wanted to deal with a manger and for a manager to call me back. A week later Deborah Skelton called me back. She had no interest in what we had been through or even trying to understand where I was coming from, all she was interested in was us agreeing to an amount that we were not happy with. When Lisa agreed the new term she was told that the payments would be around the same amount as we had been paying before therefore when we were told that the new payments were over £200 per month as it costs around £50 per month for the service contract. I told Deborah that we wanted some form of compensation for the way we had been treated and that the service pack should be wavered as a gesture of good will. Deborah said out right “You’re not going to get that”. Is that the way in which a customer service manager should speak to a customer that has been through what we have been through? This is when I asked again to be put through to her manager. I was called a week later by Anita Bailey. I had to explain the whole situation AGAIN. I must say Anita was more sympathetic and willing to listen. However when I explained the service issues we had she was quick to say that they were another department and that they had nothing to do with your department. Surely the point of a customer service department is to deal with customer complaints and queries, therefore liasing with other departments should be a primary part of what you do. A customer service department deals with the issues of the whole company, not just those that have arisen within their own department. Anita also told me our account had been in arrears!! This is when I pointed out that our account had NOT been in arrears, Merc had lost and closed our account on the system. This is when she asked me to email you as you were on holiday.

There seem to be serious issues within the Merc Benz customer service department, as none of the complaint process seems to have been properly logged on your systems and not once has anything been followed up.

Lisa and I both found Deborah Skelton rude and abrupt to deal with she had no empathy and has zero listening skills. We would like this to act as a formal complaint on the manner in which she dealt with us.

You have wasted our time our money and have worn our patience down to the point where I am prepared to take this a far as it will go. You have made Lisa very upset, and caused her family a lot of worry and stress. Mercedes Benz is supposed to be a leading world class organisation. I am sickened by the way we a paying customer have been treated.

I am prepared to take this all the way to the top if need be and in a declining market where every customer counts I’m sure you will want to come to some kind of resolution.

We are very reasonable people and have been throughout this process. You have pushed us to where we are now with your sheer incompetence. If we feel that you have still not taken notice of our problems then I will have no choice but to send a copy of this letter to every director in your organization. Along side that I am ready to set up an internet forum to find other customers that have been poorly treated by your company as I’m sure we are not the only ones. We are then ready to take all of those complaints to BBC Watchdog to consumer Which and other such organisations on line and in the media. Lisa actually works within the automotive sector and has access to a database of over fifty thousand customers, many of whom are in the media, which she is able to contact for advice on where to broadcast this further.

In today’s market when people buy a car they not only buy a car but they hope to also receive exceptional service. One of the reasons we decided to get a Smart car was because we felt that Merc’ Benz were a highly reputable company with high business and moral standards. Unfortunately this has proved wrong, we have had poor service from Smart during the lease and absolutely appalling service from Mercedes.

I have asked that as a gesture of good will for the service pack to be waived. We think this is the least you as a company could do in order to start rebuilding bridges. We would also like someone to make the effort to call us in order to rectify this, as had this happened in the first place this whole situation would have been avoided.

Best wishes

Please see below email thread after the above letter was received by e-mail.

Dear Mr D,

Many thanks for your email. I will now review your concerns in detail using

the document you have provided. I will also review your agreement/contact

history and listen to the calls in question. Once I have concluded my

investigations I will respond with our decision and intended resolution

plan. It is my sincere hope that we can find a amicable solution and

resolve your complaint. I will begin my investigations and have either an

update or the final response ready for you by Monday 16th March 2009.

I look forward to speaking with you soon.

Kind Regards

Ricky Napoli

Customer Services Live Manager

Mercedes-Benz Financial Services UK Limited

******************************************************

Dear Mr D,

Further to our conversation today, please accept my apologies on behalf of

Mercedes-Benz Financial Services for the standard of care shown when

dealing with your account. I have investigated the case fully which has

included listening to all of the telephone calls between Lisa/yourself and

the Customer Services Team. Although I cannot point to an instance where

you were provided incorrect or misleading information, it is clear that we

failed to service your needs to the high standards that we would expect.

From listening to the phone calls I genuinely believe that each of my

agents intended to assist Lisa and tried resolve your requests, however it

is clear that the important details were not communicated as clearly as we

would have expected.

As a result of your concerns regarding the extension quotes clarity, I

fully intend to review our extension letters and make amendments where

necessary to help ensure that the extension monthly rental is as clear as

it can be stated.

The problems you have experience have been compounded by the account

arrears caused when your contract was finally extended. The arrears

currently stand at £821.52 (Oct, Nov, Dec & Jan rentals). We feel that as a

gesture of goodwill we are happy to write-off £500 of this outstanding

value. This would leave only £321.52 remaining to be paid.

I hope that you find my investigation and response satisfactory, should you

wish to accept our offer of goodwill then continue to pay the extended

finance and service products as signed for, please feel free to contact me

on this email address or by phone on 01908 620 650 or if I am unavailable

you can leave a message via the Customer Service Team on 0870 8470700.

As you are concerned that the car requires a service soon I can confirm

that once we have resolved the current arrears, you will be able to use

your service contract as per normal.

Kind Regards

Ricky Napoli

Customer Services Live Manager

Mercedes-Benz Financial Services UK Limited

*****************************************************

Dear Mr D,

Reference: your on-going complaint and the Collections activity undertaken

by Anglia on our behalf.

I have investigated the events surround the initiation of Anglia credit

management working on our behalf to collect your current account arrears.

It appears that your contract was issued to our agents in line with company

procedure in connection with said arrears. When the case was issued to

Anglia, the collections agent involved checked the account history first.

The last note on the account at that time was from Lee Gentry post your

conversation, they presumed that the agreement was now being handled by

collections and activated the standard procedure. In hindsight this was

obviously not the case. I have requested that we withdraw the your account

from Anglia without charge. This has been agreed to and actioned.

I strongly feel that we were working towards a agreeable resolution and for

this issue to take place is unfortunate to say the least. I do however want

to reassure you that as one of our authorised third parties, no data

protection or compliance rules have been broken. My biggest concern relates

to any further complication caused by this event. I accept that the real

effect of this activity has been to cause additional strain for yourself

and Lisa.

Therefore in order to bring a swift resolution, please accept my apologies

and I can offer the following:

We will send bunch of flowers to Lisa in apology

I will increase our offer of compensation to £550.

Please feel free to contact me and discuss my proposal.

Kind Regards

Ricky Napoli

Customer Services Live Manager

Mercedes-Benz Financial Services UK Limited

MK7 8ND

*****************************************************

Ricky,

Reference:on-going complaint and the Collections activity undertaken

by Anglia on our behalf.

Please can you explain to me why from September to November 08 did Merc not take any payment from our account nor did they write us any letters or contact us in anyway as to why no payment had been made and why our account was in arrears? Only when we went to get the car serviced and Lisa contacted your department informing you that you had not been taking payments did we start recieving letters that we were in arrears. Also if you did not recieve the newly signed contract from Lisa in Sept why were we not contacted to return the car in those 3 months or asked to make the final payment?

As far as we were concerned the money had been leaving our account on a monthly basis as we had extended the agreement. The arrears as you like to put it are there due to your own doing. Since then we have put the account on hold/dispute until this matter is resolved and at no point have we ever said that we have no intention to pay you as we have been in regular contact with you.

The real effect of this has not only caused additional strain but it now means that Lisa needs to pay for an Experian credit report to check if any black marks have been put on her file. This takes up unessasary time and energy when it could be spent doing something far more productive. It's not something we should have to do.

Thank you for the offer of flowers however we would prefer not to have a reminder around of all the stress your comapny has put us through due to your sheer lack of incompetance.

I will contact you again once we have checked Lisa's credit report and taken some legal advice as to you passing her data over to a debt collecting agency when we were in fact engaged in a dispute with you.

Please feel free to contact me to discuss.

Kind regards

*************************************************************

Ricky,

Please see below from Lisa.

I have been advised by Anglia that my credit rating is likely to be affected by the actions of Mercedes Benz that potentially could have very serious effect on my ability to borrow in the future, including my ability to get a mortgage. I have been advised to ask you to immediately amend my credit file and send me a written confirmation to this – which should have been done already. I would appreciate it if you looked into this immediately and get back to me so that I know some action is being taken.

I am still waiting for a credit report, however I have been informed by RBS that this is potentially very serious and you may need to write to all companies that I have credit with, and all the credit report agencies, to ensure that the ‘black mark’ is removed from my records.

I cannot stress the seriousness of this matter and request for our case to now be escalated to your manager immediately.

*************************************************************

Dear Mr D,

Thank you for your response and copying Lisa's response to me

I have arranged to discuss your case with my manager tomorrow.

In the meantime I hope a I can clarify the credit reference issue somewhat

for you.

We are legally obliged to provide the credit reference agencies with

information on all our customers payments. We do not chose what to send

and what not to. At present there are 4 months of payments outstanding

on your agreement, therefore we have to show these on your credit file.

If once your account has been rectified (arrears paid) we can

legitimately amend the credit files to show no payments problems.

I fully accept your agreement that the rentals were not collected by direct

debit, however the rentals are due (as you have had use of the vehicle and

knowledge that they were required) and that to date you have not made

payment for said rentals.

The resolution of your complaint does not need to be linked with your

credit file, if you wish to have this rectified immediately we can do so on

receipt of cleared funds for the outstanding arrears.

 

Your help with this matter is greatly appreciated.

Kins regards

Chancerz

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Please can you remove the formatting and space it out a bit so that it is readable?

 

I still recommend you send them a formal complaint by Special Delivery. I also recommend you cease communicating with them by e-mail.

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:!: All the information I impart is my advice based on my experience. It does not constitute professional advice. If in doubt, always consult with a professional. :!:

 

:-) If you feel my post has been helpful, please click my scales. :-)

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Legalpickle thanks again. I will send the below to the director of customer services and the financial ombudsman. Is there anywhere else i can get some advice on my consumer rights? I also failed to mention that the agreement we signed in Sept that they seem to have lost does not state the total figure of the monthly payments which we feel is misleading.

 

Below are the myriad of problems we have encountered with Mercedes Benz/Smart in as accurate an order as we could remember.

 

Alternator went 6 months into lease – stuck at airport (Lisa was cabin crew). Called Smart and was told in an abrupt manner that she couldn’t have a courtesy car as she hadn’t booked in for a service. Pointed out that the reason she got a new car was because she was on 1 hour standby to Gatwick so needed reliable car.

 

Took car in to explain problem with tracking which kept flashing on and off randomly. Was dealt with patronizingly by Nayna who suggested that I may be driving too fast/wrong. There was absolutely no interest in sorting out the problem or looking at reasons why this may be occurring.

 

We took the car in for a service and asked repeatedly for a light bulb to be replaced inside the car. Had to take car in 3 times, the third after an all night flight and had to make a fuss in reception to get it done. When it was done it took 30 seconds. We specifically wrote on the service card that we wanted specific things to be looked at. When the car was returned none of the repairs we asked for had been done, so we had to take the car back again which wasted more of our time and money.

 

The technician that serviced the car also recommended that we change our tyres on the car as they were worn out and on the verge of being illegal However when he checked with “someone” on the phone at Merc Benz, who had not seen the car the mechanic was told that the tyres were acceptable and therefore he would not be given permission to change them. This then meant that we had to bring the car back AGAIN in a few weeks to get them changed… Wasting even more of our time and money. Not to mention the possibility of them becoming illegal before we brought the car back. This is particularly shocking as we could have potentially incurred points on our license, and we did not feel able to use the car in the normal manner during this time. Considering that we PAY YOU a large amount of money on a monthly basis in order to have the ability to get the car serviced and tyres changed, we felt extremely cheated by this reaction.

 

A few weeks later when I called to book the car in to get the tyres changed I was told that Merc/Smart no longer changed the tyres and that I had to go to Kwik Fit to get them changed. When I arrived at Kwik Fit they had no idea that they had an agreement in place with Merc and checked with their internal team. They said that they did not have the required tyres in stock anyway and I should go to another branch where they were in stock. So I did and faced the same problem there. I then called Merc back to inform them that neither of the Kwik Fits I had been to had any knowledge of this supposed agreement.

 

I was then told I was not supposed to go to Kwik Fit and that whoever told me that was wrong. I was then told two completely different things by Nayna again and was not apologised to for being given incorrect information. I was then asked to take the car into the Brentford garage after 5 hours of driving around to Kwik Fits waiting around and numerous phone calls. A waste of my day off which I can never get back, time and more money. The tyres were finally replaced, but only after both of us having taken time off work and wasted our weekends. A very stressful experience and not once were we apologised to.

 

I thought I’d also mention that when I took the courtesy car back and signed it back in the courtesy car keys were not taken from me and only when I got home did I realize their mistake and took the keys back. More time and money on my part.

 

When we decided to extend the finance agreement, which we were perfectly entitled to do, we had the paperwork faxed through to old Lisa’s old office. She faxed back the signed documents and we heard nothing more so we assumed it was all sorted.

 

Nov – I took the morning off work to take the car in for a service. As I did not wish to take too much time out of my day I booked the car in for as early as possible around 8.30am. When I arrived I was told that we did not have a service contract in place and that the account for the car was settled and closed. I was told that if I wanted to get the car serviced it would cost me in the region of £375. I spent the best part of the morning looking into the mistake and arrived back at work around lunchtime. So was not very popular in the office and had missed a very important meeting with a client who’s business I subsequently lost.

 

Lisa and I looked through our bank statements and found that the finance payments had not been going out, so we called to ask what was going on and why the payments were not being taken. We were again told by Mark that our account had been settled and as far they were concerned the car had been returned and that there was no record of us having the car. There was no record of our renewed finance agreement. Mark was supposed to call Lisa back straight away to find out what had happened to the car, and he took half an hour. When he called back he apologised for taking so long, and explained that it was very strange, this has never happened before, but that all records of the car were off the system and they had no record of me having it’.

 

In my opinion this clearly shows that there was some error at some point with Merc updating the records on our account properly – an error which we seem still to be paying for, despite having the honesty to have called straight away to try and rectify the problem.

 

Mark sent Lisa paperwork to continue lease through the post. This goes to my parents address, and they can also state that this did not arrive. When Lisa spoke to Mark on the phone she explained that she could not afford to pay anymore than the current rate of around £154 a month. Mark explained that there was a plan costing £148 that was pretty much the same. She was asked if she wanted the service plan but no extra cost was mentioned for having it, it was implied that it was included in the price. At no point was a monthly cost of anything more than £148 mentioned, and further to that the paperwork sent through very cleverly omits to mention anything other than the £148, negating to mention that rather than including the service plan and interest this must be added on. I have send this off to an independent body for their opinion, as far as we are concerned this at the least misleading and the most false advertising.

 

We signed the form again quickly as we were put under pressure to make a quick decision and sent it back assuming that the direct debit payments would continue. I must point out that it occurred to me that we could have got away with keeping the car for free but we are honest people therefore we looked into the issue. At no point were we sent an apology letter or a thank you letter or were even told thank you by anyone.

 

Dec – Without any communication – especially regarding the contact we had made with Merc during the last few weeks Merc tried to take £5000+ from Lisa’s bank account with no prior warning letter or phone call. That caused a hell of a lot of stress as we thought we had been the victim of fraud. Lisa was absolutely devastated at the time as she found out the money was gone on a Sunday evening when the banks were not open.

 

We then spent the best part of our Sunday evening investigating where the money had gone, and thankfully were able to access online banking.

 

Although when a Direct Debit is set up this does allow you access to Lisa’s account to take money, the Direct Debit agreement does state that, ‘in the future, if there is any change to the date, amount or frequency of a direct debit you will be given 5/7 working days notice in advance of your account being debited’. The bank were more than happy to cancel Merc’s attempt to take this money as they said it should not have been allowed’.

 

How dare you as a company try to take £5000 from our account without a letter or a prior phone call?? The amount of stress and upset that caused to us and our family is unforgivable.

 

Lisa then called in the following day and spoke to an incredibly rude customer services rep who tried to fob her off and tell her that she was in the wrong for not having noticed that the DD had come out of her account and that it was her fault. Infact we had actually been on holiday during the last week of October, so she had not regularly checked her account, and I took the car in to be serviced before the November payment was due to go out. When Lisa explained that Mark had told her that they couldn’t figure out what had happened as they had no record of the account, she basically accused Lisa of lying, saying ‘how can that be true if I have them infront of me now?’ Lisa, quite unsurprisingly, not being an argumentative person was somewhat upset by this treatment and asked to be put on to a superior, at which point we were put through to Deborah Skelton.

 

Deborah sent through the paperwork that was required and as far as we were concerned the problem was rectified. At this point Lisa spoke to her bank and asked them to open the Direct Debit back up so Merc could take the payments.

 

A few weeks later we received a very rude letter telling us that unless we paid £500 and something by the 27th of Jan the car would be taken from us. No-one had made any attempt to call or email, despite Deborah having Lisa’s email address, and no paperwork was sent out to her in order to set the Direct Debit up again. When Lisa called up she was told that a new Direct Debit needed to be set up, but no-one could tell her why no paperwork was sent to her, or no other attempt made to contact her.

 

At this point Lisa called in again to be spoken to rudely at this point she no longer had the patience to deal with anyone from Merc ever again and asked me to speak to take over. I must point out that Lisa is a very reasonable person, who works in customer service herself. She has a lot of patience, however the fact that she could no longer deal with your incompetent rude staff speaks volumes as I have never seen her so upset and frustrated that she feels she is no longer able to deal with such a situation.

 

This amount was then settled, at which point we were informed that we didn’t owe that amount but owed around £800, and when I called in to confirm this I was told by Leigh that she had the letter in front of her and that it was wrong!

 

Every time we have called in we have had to explain the situation again and again which is very tedious. There seems to be no communication between your staff and there are obviously no notes being made on our account regarding the problems we are going through.

 

When I spoke to a customer service agent whose name I will dig out if required was firstly told that she didn’t understand why Lisa had asked her to contact me… Therefore clearly your staff have no empathy and she failed to even realize that a customer was frustrated to the point where they did not have the patience too deal with them anymore, even though Lisa had explained that she was passing the situation on to me. I was then told that the rude letter that was sent was a mistake and should not have been sent out and that the amount on the letter was incorrect. I told her that I wanted to deal with a manger and for a manager to call me back. A week later Deborah Skelton called me back. She had no interest in what we had been through or even trying to understand where I was coming from, all she was interested in was us agreeing to an amount that we were not happy with. When Lisa agreed the new term she was told that the payments would be around the same amount as we had been paying before therefore when we were told that the new payments were over £200 per month as it costs around £50 per month for the service contract. I told Deborah that we wanted some form of compensation for the way we had been treated and that the service pack should be wavered as a gesture of good will. Deborah said out right “You’re not going to get that”. Is that the way in which a customer service manager should speak to a customer that has been through what we have been through? This is when I asked again to be put through to her manager. I was called a week later by Anita Bailey. I had to explain the whole situation AGAIN. I must say Anita was more sympathetic and willing to listen. However when I explained the service issues we had she was quick to say that they were another department and that they had nothing to do with your department. Surely the point of a customer service department is to deal with customer complaints and queries, therefore liasing with other departments should be a primary part of what you do. A customer service department deals with the issues of the whole company, not just those that have arisen within their own department. Anita also told me our account had been in arrears!! This is when I pointed out that our account had NOT been in arrears, Merc had lost and closed our account on the system. This is when she asked me to email you as you were on holiday.

 

There seem to be serious issues within the Merc Benz customer service department, as none of the complaint process seems to have been properly logged on your systems and not once has anything been followed up.

 

Lisa and I both found Deborah Skelton rude and abrupt to deal with she had no empathy and has zero listening skills. We would like this to act as a formal complaint on the manner in which she dealt with us.

 

You have wasted our time our money and have worn our patience down to the point where I am prepared to take this a far as it will go. You have made Lisa very upset, and caused her family a lot of worry and stress. Mercedes Benz is supposed to be a leading world class organisation. I am sickened by the way we a paying customer have been treated.

 

I am prepared to take this all the way to the top if need be and in a declining market where every customer counts I’m sure you will want to come to some kind of resolution.

 

We are very reasonable people and have been throughout this process. You have pushed us to where we are now with your sheer incompetence. If we feel that you have still not taken notice of our problems then I will have no choice but to send a copy of this letter to every director in your organization. Along side that I am ready to set up an internet forum to find other customers that have been poorly treated by your company as I’m sure we are not the only ones. We are then ready to take all of those complaints to BBC Watchdog to consumer Which and other such organisations on line and in the media. Lisa actually works within the automotive sector and has access to a database of over fifty thousand customers, many of whom are in the media, which she is able to contact for advice on where to broadcast this further.

 

In today’s market when people buy a car they not only buy a car but they hope to also receive exceptional service. One of the reasons we decided to get a Smart car was because we felt that Merc’ Benz were a highly reputable company with high business and moral standards. Unfortunately this has proved wrong, we have had poor service from Smart during the lease and absolutely appalling service from Mercedes.

 

I have asked that as a gesture of good will for the service pack to be waived. We think this is the least you as a company could do in order to start rebuilding bridges. We would also like someone to make the effort to call us in order to rectify this, as had this happened in the first place this whole situation would have been avoided.

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I'll read this later, but I recommend you don't send anything till I have proofed the letter for you and asked questions.

 

You can't complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service till you have made a formal complaint to Merc Finance and either 8 weeks have passed or you have their final response.

 

Please can you detail when the agreement was entered into, the amount of payments agreed to and the schedule agreed to? Also did you sign an agreement when you started or did you only sign the agreement they pressured you into? Do you have a copy of both agreements if you signed two? If yes can you post them here, erasing personal details?

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:!: All the information I impart is my advice based on my experience. It does not constitute professional advice. If in doubt, always consult with a professional. :!:

 

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Sorry... i will dig out the original contract what i have ready to send is the lease extention. This is part of the reason for the dispute.

 

We were told that the monthly payments were going to be around £150 as that is what we were paying before (and all we could afford). This included the service agreement.

 

We signed and sent back the extention in Sept 08 and heard nothing back until i went to get the car serviced in Nov. We thought they had been taking payments over the 3 months. Thats when they said the account had been settled. (all this is explained above)

 

When they realised it had not been settled they sent out another agreement (the one i am going to attach) and said that the payments would be the same around £150. At this point they were putting extreme pressure on us to sign the agreement and send it back. My partner having been put under pressure gave it a quick look over and sent it back immediately as the document says that the payments are around £150. However we then found out after that the payments were £200 inc the service pack. The lease extension did not state this clearly or a total monthly payment figure clearly. Therefore we feel they mislead us as the person on the phone said that the payments would be around the £150 mark. Their paperwork is also misleading as it does not quote a total monthly figure as mentioned.

 

This is when i complained over the phone and via e-mail. After this incident all the others followed - like them trying to take £5k without prior warning and consent! Instructing debt collectors even though we were in a dispute!! Sending us threatening letters that we were in arrears!! Eyc...

 

We are so frustrated by these people and really feel like we are being bullied! And it's our credit rating etc... that is being dragged through the mud because of them :mad:

 

I hope this clarifies the situation a little!! :)

 

Your help is very up apprecited. Thank you

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Sorry, i'm new to this!

 

How can i attach the contract? I have it in a JPEG format!

I'll read your other post and post back later, quite busy at the moment.

 

It's Ok, we were all newbies once! In the box below the first box where you type the post, there is a second box with various options. One of them is "Manage Attachments", click on this and follow the instructions.

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:!: All the information I impart is my advice based on my experience. It does not constitute professional advice. If in doubt, always consult with a professional. :!:

 

:-) If you feel my post has been helpful, please click my scales. :-)

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Should be attached if i have done it correctly :confused:

 

Am away this weekend but will reply on monday. Will also try and dig out the contract on for Monday.

 

Many thanks for your help and patience! :grin:

Smart Lease Extension Blanked out details.jpg

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Please see below latest response from Mercedes! (Names have been changed)

 

Should i accept their offer and call it a day??

 

He still has not answered my questions i asked in my previous email.

 

 

 

Dear Mr D,

I would like to update you on the recent activities that have taken place

in relation to Lisa's account with us.

Firstly I have been provided advise and authority to amend Lisa's Credit

file, this has taken place already and now reflects no payment problems on

her contract with us. It is felt that in fairness to Lisa, we are able to

update her credit file immediately so not to negatively effect her in any

attempt to gain credit at present . We must however advise that will have

to change this to reflect accurately the events if we are unable to agree

and complete a resolution to the account arrears. I am happy to provide to

Lisa a screenshot of the amended credit history if she requires.

As requested review of your complaint case was completed with Paul Maxted

our legal secretary. Paul's role was to ensure that we had taken your

complaint seriously, provided a fair and reasonable response and will taken

action to ensure that the same mistakes cannot happen in the future. From

this review it has been agreed that our offer of £550 in compensation for

any distress caused is both a significant offer and represents a fair a

reasonable response. Further to this we would again like to offer our

sincere and genuine apology to you and Lisa.

I now intend to produce and send to both you and Lisa our final response

letter. Within this I hope to summarise and asddress your main concerns, as

well as set out a suggested course of actions to resolve your complaint and

allow you to continue with your agreement without further problem.

I thank you for time and efforts in seeking the resolution of your

complaint, I plan to have my letter produced and sent within the next 5

days. I will ensure that my response has been reviewed and agreed by both

Paul Maxted and my line manager to ensure that your case has been treated

as importantly as possible.

 

Kind Regards

Ricky Napoli

Customer Services Live Manager

Mercedes-Benz Financial Services UK Limited

MK7 8ND

Tel: +44 (0) 1908 620650

Fax: +44 (0) 1908 621650

Mob: +44 (0) 7920 287191

mailto: [email protected]

The preferred provider of financial services for Mercedes-Benz, smart,

Maybach, Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge.

Mercedes-Benz Financial Services UK Limited

Court of Registry: England: Milton Keynes, England/Courts of England &

Wales

Company Registration No.: 2472364

Edited by Chancerz
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I'm unavailable till Saturday night. I'll come back then and go through everything for you.

 

Till then relax and have a great weekend.

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:!: All the information I impart is my advice based on my experience. It does not constitute professional advice. If in doubt, always consult with a professional. :!:

 

:-) If you feel my post has been helpful, please click my scales. :-)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Final Respose from Merc

Dear

As previously discussed and promised, please find below our final response with regard to your complaint.

We appreciate and agree that your account has not been handled to the high standards that our customers expect from Mercedes-Benz Financial Services. For this we thank you for your efforts in raising your concerns and apologise for any inconvenience or disruption caused. We regret that you have felt it necessary to raise your concerns with us and furthermore, that we have yet to agree a resolution that you feel is adequate.

 

We have now completed all our investigations and your case has been raised and discussed with senior management. As a result of your complaint, we have highlighted changes within our administration of accounts designed to prevent similar problems occurring in the future. From the investigation and management reviews of your complaint our final positions is as follows:

 

We have made an offer of £550 as compensation for any costs and or inconvenience caused by our actions, this represents in our opinion a significant offer of compensation. The goodwill value of £550 is our final offer with regard to the compensation aspect of your complaint and this is not negotiable.

We have and will continue to show flexibility regarding your account arrears. At present there is still £821.52 outstanding which represents the monthly rentals for October, November, December 2009 and January 2010. As Miss has signed the extension agreement and had use of the vehicle during the months in question, combined with your comments that you have never stated that you have no intention to pay the rentals, mean that we are happy to agree a method and timescale for payment of the arrears. We are happy to use the £550 goodwill gesture to reduce the outstanding debts if you wish us to do so. At present there are no bad payments that have been registered with the credit reference agencies with regard to these arrears.

Given that we have apologised for any information, slow processing or documentation that has caused you concern or confusion, we feel that our suggested resolution above combined with our genuine regret and apology, display a fair and just response to your complaint. We would now hope that we can put the problems behind us and continue with your agreement without further disruption. To accept our offer please feel free to email, write or call me and we will make the arrangement with immediate effect.

 

In your email of the 26th March 2009, you specifically ask why from September to November 2008 we did not take any payments from you, nor chase you for payments or the return the vehicle?

 

It appears that in our best efforts to provide a high service level to Miss, we stopped the balloon payment from polling to her bank account. We did this as Miss had verbally advised us that she was extending her agreement and sending the signed extension confirmation. At the contract maturity the extension confirmation had not been received from Miss. On creation of the extension quote, a diary event is created for the expiry date to prompt us to review the account. If a signed extension confirmation has been supplied we would extend the agreement, if not we would release the balloon for payment. It is apparent that this diary event was not actioned as expected. We must advise you that the balloon amount still existed in our systems; your contract status in our systems was matured. The information provided to you has clearly not communicated the position or status of your contract effectively. I can confirm for you that at no point was your contract settled. As we had not received the signed confirmation of extension, we could not process the extension on our systems. We regularly perform checks via our defleet function (where we process our returned vehicles) to ensure that no accounts are missed. As the vehicle would not have been returned we would have identified your account during our internal audit. In this case the error was identified by Miss before any such event took place.

 

I hope that our response to your question helps to explain the actual events as we see them, our response is in no way designed to suggest any fault nor blame by either party.

 

Please find attached the following:

 

Attachment A - Computer record of credit file

Attachment B - Summary of important events (account activity - significant events)

Attachment C - MBFS Complaints Procedure

 

It is with sincere regret and genuine hope that we can put the problems experienced to date behind us. For your reference I have posted a copy of our final response to Miss at the contract address.

Kind Regards

 

Ricky Napoli

Customer Services Manager

Mercedes-Benz Financial Services UK Limited

MK7 8ND

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