Mercedes – the story continues

This time last year, and in December, I had a mighty whinge about my car and how disappointed I was with it. Twelve months on, it’s still with me – I can’t get rid of it until June 2017 – but the nonsense just keeps on coming.

One of my principle gripes was the performance of the satnav. Now, in the context of most things in the world, this is a trivial matter and there are many who might consider that I should just put up with it. I am after all, driving round in a Mercedes. That is a perfectly valid argument, of course, but somewhat misses the point.

Yes, I am driving round in a Mercedes, but one which is faulty and neither Mercedes nor my dealer can do anything about it. I have a car that does not do what I was promised when I paid for it and I am getting pretty short shrift from those that are supposed to be helping.

The car went to the dealer for its 46,000 mile service two weeks ago. As usual, in addition to the service itself, the dealer always asks whether there is anything else that I would like sorting. I advised that I would like the satnav voice turned off properly, but that I knew that there would be nothing that they could do about the traffic data arriving at the satnav in anything like a useful time frame.

On one of the previous occasions that they had reinstalled the software into the dashboard (getting close to double figures now) they had managed to introduce a bug whereby the woman’s voice that tells you to “Turn left in 300m” could not be turned off permanently. Each and every time the car was started, the voice would come back on, leading to the convoluted procedure via the stupid trackpad thing where the hand brake lever would be, just to silence her for that journey. Stop and buy some diesel, and she’s back. By removing the sound files from the SD card that drives the satnav, they seem to have cured the problem. Hoorah!

Or so I thought.

On putting in my home destination from the dealer, I was stuck in slow M6 southbound traffic. I looked to see whether Herr Benz had managed to let me know what was going on, and there was no traffic there at all. The dealer had, in his infinite wisdom, disabled the whole of the traffic function completely. I returned the car the next day, to an apology and a promise that it would only be a 30 minute fix. 45 minutes later, I was told that they had broken the computer that controls these things and that they would need to order a new one.

They fitted the computer last Monday. When I went to collect the car, I was told that it hadn’t fixed the problem and that they would need yet more software written for my car (unique – one of a million C-Classes sold, yet mine needs unique software apparently). By Friday, they still hadn’t got any fix from Germany, so I now have the car back with me, but still not functioning properly.

This has been the most expensive car I have ever owned. This has also been one of the worst cars I have ever owned, if frustration, annoyance, aggravation and irritation are taken as judging criteria. It’s just one below a Fiat Panda that used to require a can of WD40 per journey squirting on the electrics on the engine to keep it going. But that only cost me about £1500.

I have written to the CEO of Mercedes Benz UK. Not unexpectedly, but very disappointingly, he has just passed the buck back to the dealer, but at least I am now making arrangements to see the Dealer Principal and hope to see him on Tuesday.

Apparently, they want to do everything that they can to “keep me in the Mercedes family“. Really? Why should I give them a second chance, when I have had the car 18 months, driven 46,000 miles, had a dozen or more dealer visits, but they still can’t fix a problem that’s been there from day 1, and have now broken my car, potentially irrevocably?

We have gone way, way beyond that.

What I want is to leave the paperwork and the keys on his desk and walk away with my finance agreement cancelled, but I know that’s not going to happen. Maybe I should seek legal advice?

I should never have left the BMW family. I never had any of this kind of crap from them.

Oh, and the brakes needed doing again. 23,000 miles is obviously the standard life of pads these days. In Mercedes World.

<And relax>

And paint the fence at the bottom of the garden…

I should mention of course, that this fence is only in a position to be painted because Ann previously cleared out the border of all the weeds and bushes so that the dog could see the rabbit.

It’s been a long time

Well. It must be about 7 weeks since I last posted an update here. That hasn’t happened in the last 7 years, so I must be getting into a much more relaxed frame of mind about things.

The Orkney holiday is a dim and distant memory now, but there is a large canvas on the wall in the spare bedroom of the Ring of Brodgar as a reminder of a very good holiday. It is a long way there, though, but we made it back in one piece in two days, so that’s not too bad. Now, in August, everyone in the world seems to be on their holidays and those of us who are able to take one outside of the school holidays feel a bit left out. So, a couple of nights away in a country house hotel in south west Wales have been booked, so that’s something to look forward to. Will try to get to Tenby for the first time ever – it looks really nice – provided we can avoid the crowds.

A birthday has come and gone since my last update too. It’s a bit upsetting when you have received a letter from a pension company saying that you have to decide what to do with your pension fund at your birthday. Nothing makes you feel quite as old as when you have to deal with a pension. Still, it wasn’t a very large pot, so I took the tax free lump sum of 25% and we will have the bathroom refurbished with that money (if we can ever find someone to do the work for us…). It’s also been my Dad’s 80’th birthday this month, so I went to visit him and my Mum and take them for lunch a couple of Sundays ago, which was nice.

Health-wise, things are fine. I am pleased that I decided not to have the CT scan this Christmas coming. It’s one less stress-inducing event that I can probably do without. I attended a meeting of the National Cancer Research Institute consumer forum last month and it will be good to get into that more deeply as the autumn comes along. I have a two-day training session to look forward to in September, which will help a great deal. Unfortunately, I found that the other lymphoma consumer on the panel, a man with whom I have exchanged a couple of emails and met for the first time at that recent meeting, died unexpectedly this week. That’s a bit of a shock as he seemed perfectly well when I met him and he was good company in the workshop sessions. I know that he will be missed by the NCRI. Let’s hope that I can take up the baton he has left behind.

I have also attended two fundraising events on behalf of Bloodwise. Firstly I shook a bucket (without shaking it) at Aldi in Neston and raised £35 in two hours. Takings are down over the year without a doubt. Last weekend I helped out at the Strawberry Tea, organised in a house and garden also on the Wirral. Again, takings on a like for like basis were down again here too. All a bit disappointing, but it was a good afternoon and lots of people enjoyed their scones and strawberries. And lots of tea.

This weekend coming will mark the first anniversary of us moving to this bungalow. Blog posts previously have charted our progress in doing the place up and we are definitely coming to the end of the interior now. I mentioned a while back that we had ordered a new front door. This was delivered and installed a few days before we went to Orkney and has made a huge difference to the look of the bungie from outside and brought loads more light inside.

Once the bathroom is done, I think I will gather a collection of before and after photographs into an album, to remind us of the hard work and time that has been put into transforming that old lady’s bungalow into our home.

So, as the summer, which really only lasted two days in July this year starts to turn to autumn (14C on the way home this afternoon), thoughts turn to Goodwood Revival in September and the Leica One Challenge in Lisbon in October. These things come around so quickly…