A month ago my four-year-old Mercedes-Benz GLC had a serious malfunction as I was driving through town. On a bend, the power steering failed causing the car to jerk severely to the left and leaving me with no control over the steering. The fact that I was driving slowly almost certainly saved me and our one-year-old child from an accident.
The car had to be towed to the local Mercedes dealer which has identified a faulty power steering electrical motor. I have been told that this is only supplied as part of a complete steering rack, and have been quoted about £3,500 plus labour costs.
I bought the car used from another Mercedes dealer two years ago and it has a low, 34,000, mileage. I was not told of the importance of having the car serviced at a Mercedes dealership, and it has received two services at local garages.
This has seemingly nullified any goodwill that my local Mercedes-Benz branch is able to offer. It feels unreasonable to have to replace a sealed unit which you would expect to last the lifetime of the car. To me, it is clearly not fit for purpose. It would seem there is no course of action other than a small claims case, but who do I level the charge against?
I am always amazed at how the German carmakers treat customers, many having spent well in excess of £30,000 on vehicles that develop serious faults not long after the warranty has expired.
Mercedes recalled GLC cars made in 2019 and 2020 in both Australia and the US for having faulty power steering, but claims those problems are unrelated to your earlier model. A search online will show that GLC models have been beset by steering problems.
I asked the company about your case, and it has now offered to repair the car for a discounted rate of £2,250 as a gesture of goodwill. It has also offered a courtesy car while this is resolved.
This leaves you with a dilemma: you can either take its offer, and stump up the cash through gritted teeth then seek to recover some of your losses in the courts; or get the car fixed more cheaply by an independent garage.
The Consumer Rights Act allows you bring a claim against the retailer – the dealer you bought from, rather than Mercedes itself – for up to six years. I think most courts would agree that an electric power steering motor should last longer than four years, or 34,000 miles, and would make some kind of award in your favour.
The lack of a Mercedes service history should not make any difference because the power steering motor would have not been touched. The dealer has so far refused to reply to your letters, but will probably have a change of heart when presented with the official court claim.
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