Author Topic: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed  (Read 1877 times)

Cole

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$150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« on: January 12, 2019, 09:05:19 »
Hello All,

The following is an exchange that I had with Michael Kuemmerle at MB over in Germany regarding their recent, new policy of charging $150 for data cards. If you disagree with this policy, I encourage you to write to him about it as soon as possible. The more of us to speak up on this matter, the better.

===========

From: michael.kuemmerle@daimler.com <michael.kuemmerle@daimler.com>
Sent: Wednesday, January 2, 2019 5:30 AM
To: ...
Subject: Datenkarten
 
Dear ...

The charge we put on the data cards was well considered. We are currently administering 10 million data cards from the end forties to the eighties. To cover some of the cost e.g. manpower, and IT systems, development and maintenance, we came up with this small fee. You also need to consider that this data needs to be handled very careful. Behind each VIN number you find detailed information which is very sensible, for example the key and lock numbers. In a very detailed process we are ensuring, that unauthorized people get access to this Information. This is in the interest of all Mercedes-Benz owners and causes a lot off efforts on our side. So we also contribute to reach the value of Mercedes classic cars.

I hope this gives a little insight and count on your understanding.

Best regards

Michael Kümmerle

---

From: ...
Sent: Wednesday, January 2, 2019 10:49 PM
To: michael.kuemmerle@daimler.com
Subject: Re: Datenkarten
 
Hello Michael,

Thanks for your reply.
...

There are a  few related points here that are worth considering:

* There's obviously many, many Mercedes collectors and lovers all around the world who regularly buy various cars,  parts and services from MB and/or its associates. While this is probably not at the top of MB's revenue list, I would expect it is, nonetheless, a substantial income source for MB and alone defrays or could be seen to defray any lesser expenses in maintaining your archive of data cards and satisfying collectors with them.

* While your archive of ten million data cards is certainly a lot of data cards, such a database with today's technology, as we both know, is fairly minimal considering that it's likely a simple database indexed and accessed by VIN; and once the data was loaded, its use has probably been mainly a matter of retrieval for data cards or similar purposes.

* To fulfill a data card request, it is likely just a matter of verifying the validity of the request, retrieving the  data card from the database and emailing a copy to the requester --the main point being that it's not a terribly complicated or expensive proposition.

* The reasons for needing and wanting a data card can vary, but one scenario is to help a buyer confirm the specs of a given car before actually buying it. And it can obviously happen that the data card discloses something that disqualifies the purchase leaving the buyer with a $150 data card and no car. It's clear that the simplest solution is for the data card to be free, the way it's been for years.

* In short, with all the intelligence, resources and affluence that Mercedes Benz possesses, as well as the fact that many or most MB collectors around the world are already paying well for Mercedes cars, parts and services, MB does not need to resort to this $150 charge. To do so is inappropriate and cheapens Mercedes image. It can easily assimilate the minimal database and organizational expenses and if necessary, comfortably defray these costs elsewhere in the company.

The simple and clear solution is return to the earlier policy of offering data cards for free.
...

I probably speak for many other MB collectors in appreciating your consideration and help with this.

Thanks.
...

Cole

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2019, 22:54:43 »
Update:

    I haven't heard back from Michael Kuemmerle at MB regarding my last email to him on Jan 2, 2019 despite two nudges to him since then. It's possible that this policy is under review or he/they have more or less just dismissed my arguments against their arbitrary $150 data card charge.
    But so far, this policy is still in place so more emails from us collectors will help get it cancelled. Again, his email address is michael.kuemmerle@daimler.com.

Thanks.


Tom in seattle

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2019, 05:35:38 »
Michael: I am a USA owner of a heritage M Benz 250 SL vehicle as well as an owner of new and preowned MB cars for daily use from 1971 until today while I own a 2011 C 300.  While attempting to acquire a data card for my old SL I was informed that I would now need to pay, through a local MB dealer, a $150 fee to get the card.  Not a good plan on your part:  I don’t NEED the card and I’m not going to pay $150.  This is a alienation between MB and me and will not result in my buying a new car from my local dealer.  It will certainly not increase the likelihood that I will want to do business between me and the MB Classic Center .

Tom Averill
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Cees Klumper

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2019, 14:05:33 »
MB is learning that if you start charging for something that was free before, even if it is valuable to the customer and costs you to provide it, people will notice. Had they always charged a small fee, say $25 back in the day, and then gradually increase it (but by more than inflation, as they have been doing on all parts for our cars) then the backlash would have been much less.
Cees Klumper
1969 Mercedes 280 SL automatic white

Benz Dr.

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2019, 15:40:32 »
Inflation has never been that high. Price increases of 2 - 4 times higher in one go are not uncommon.

 When you buy 3 or 4 parts for your car every year you won't notice it. When you buy 3 or 4 thousand dollars worth of parts every month, you will notice.
1966 230SL 5 speed, LSD, header pipes, 300SE distributor, ported, polished and balanced, AKA  ''The Red Rocket ''
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mrfatboy

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Cole

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2019, 06:56:53 »
Good one! Maybe us lovers of frogs, Versailles and French women will consider dumping the SL Glockenspiels in favor of classic Renaults!

Cole

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2019, 07:03:11 »
Well said, Tom. Thanks for speaking up!

ejboyd5

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2019, 14:35:12 »
MB is learning that if you start charging for something that was free before, even if it is valuable to the customer and costs you to provide it, people will notice. Had they always charged a small fee, say $25 back in the day, and then gradually increase it (but by more than inflation, as they have been doing on all parts for our cars) then the backlash would have been much less.
Somewhat akin to boiling a frog.

russelljones48

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2019, 15:19:06 »
I would offer an alternative reason for this charge: to change the thought process of those requesting the "service" from "why not, it's free" to "Do I need it and am I willing to pay $150 for it".  I also suspect that the lack of continued dialog with MB indicates that they aren't willing to discuss it further and have made THEIR decision.  I also suspect that the service costs them far more than $150 per request to provide - I've priced corporate services and this seems a reasonable charge - probably doesn't cover their costs..  Personally I'd like to see the non-sensitive data put into the public domain..  but that's probably also peeing into a strong wind with MB too.

Cole

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2019, 06:32:16 »
Russell,

    I definitely do not agree with what you've surmised about the pricing of data cards and you haven't offered concrete info to support your opinion. The fact that after many years of providing data cards for free,  MB has now arbitrarily decided to start charging for data card does not automatically mean that doing so was right or justified. Also your suggestion that people order data cards because "why not, it's free" is a weak argument and does not hold water when it's more than likely because they simply need and want the specs and data on the data card.
    MB creates a package of data for each of its cars that obviously includes a data card containing basic specs for a vehicle. This data card is created regardless of whether anybody will want a copy of it or not. And, again, MB offered it for free for many years as many of us know.
    So the data card is already in their system and basically all that's needed to fill an order for one is to retrieve it from the database and send it to the customer. I'm an experienced  software developer and know that this is a tiny aspect of MB's sophisticated systems, and given today's software development and database technology is comparatively very inexpensive, contrary to what you indicate.

Here is my last email to Michael Kuemmerle (michael.kuemmerle@daimler.com) on Jan 16, 2019:

"Hello Michael,

    I still haven't heard back from you on my email to you below, on Jan 2, in which I made some important points regarding this recent, very unpopular policy of charging $150 for a data card. I'm hoping that you've been in the process of re-evaluating this.
    A lot of people are against this policy, including people who work for MB here in the U.S. Also, many people are speaking up against it online. The only ones that I know of who supports it is you and people who you work with there.
    This policy is causing MB dissent from it collector base and resorting to this charge affects MB's image. When you dine at a Michelin 3 star restaurant, you aren't charged for a copy of their menu.
    We hope that you will cancel this policy right away.

I appreciate your consideration."

We still need more people writing to MB about this and being very clear about it so as to get this policy cancelled. You can write to the person above or perhaps somebody higher up over there that will rectify this. Please update us if you know of such a person and perhaps include a copy of your email here so we can follow what's happening.

Thanks!
Cole



stickandrudderman

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2019, 15:05:22 »
Homosapien non urinat in ventum .

Mike Hughes

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2019, 17:35:48 »
Homosapien non urinat in ventum .

"You don't pull on Superman's cape..."
- Mike Hughes  -ô¿ô-
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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2019, 19:48:35 »
Poor Michael Kuemmerle. He has to respond to things like this.
Cees Klumper
1969 Mercedes 280 SL automatic white

Cole

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2019, 09:05:38 »
Mike,

    We Pagoda-philes hereby accept your compliment of us as super men... and your offer to represent us admirably when you rise to the occasion, toss on your cape, fly over to Stuttgart and set things right with this data card issue!
    And word has it that Uncles Gottlieb and Karl, the Ghosts of Daimler Benz Past and Future, are on our side.
    Good luck, Mike. This message will self-destruct when you complete your mission.

Mike Hughes

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2019, 20:02:31 »
Hi Cole -

I was merely quoting first line from the chorus of the Jim Croce song "You don't mess around with Jim" from which I thought Stick might have been quoting in Latin.  Alas, when looking it up later I discovered that the second line goes," You don't spit into the wind..." rather than doing something else into the wind!

Now if you know that song, you also know that someone did mess around with Jim and now you don't mess around with Slim.  So go for it Slim!  ;^)
- Mike Hughes  -ô¿ô-
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Cole

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2019, 10:28:16 »
Good on your humor, Mike! I do recall that Jim Croce song, though not all the details.

Regarding the $150 data card saga, I didn't hear back on my last couple of emails to Michael over there which was a little less than cordial. Please let your thoughts be known over there, fellow Pagoda-philes. Every vote counts!

zoegrlh

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2019, 23:55:00 »
Cole,
It has been my experience in the past that Michael at MB Classic Center,  does not return emails and phone calls. When I was planning the P-50 Pagoda 50th Anniversary celebration in Williamsburg, Va. I tried to contact him regarding The Classic Center’s support of the event. Never heard back from him. I guess we are the little people that is below his stature. Anyway good luck with getting MB to drop the charges. Maybe if I go to sell my SL in the future I should add another $150. To selling price because I have the data card.
Robert Hyatt
Williamsburg, VA.

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Cole

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2019, 09:56:26 »
Thanks, Robert!
If anybody knows of somebody higher up than Michael Kuemmerle (michael.kuemmerle@daimler.com) over there, please let us know and we can contact him.

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2019, 10:15:33 »
What I usually do in similar circumstances is to file a complaint under the general Company e-mail address in the "Contact" tab on their main webpage. It seems like some of the senior managers get daily reports on various types of complaints. It often worked ok for me (not with Daimler necessarily, but with other companies).

Everyone have their views on this, but my experience is that the fairly high level of customer service orientation culture that you may know e.g. from the US (I know you can give a lot of examples proving otherwise) is not so common in Europe. I learned it the US way (many years in the Coca-Cola Company) and I know a little bit how it differs compared to some of the European organizations.

Perhaps the said gentleman's profile does not exactly match one you would have for, sort of, front-line employee.
Pawel

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #20 on: February 01, 2019, 20:21:01 »
In my first face to face encounter in 2002 with the head of the classic center in Stuttgart, where I went to present our group together with another (German) board member who was well-known there, I almost walked out of the meeting after 2 minutes, that's how rude and arrogantly we were treated. It never much improved from there.
Cees Klumper
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bstreep

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #21 on: February 01, 2019, 20:30:49 »
This is just representative of the continuing decline of the customer relationship.  I've always felt that those that purchased cars from MB and were promised "Free Lifetime Roadside Assistance" got severely screwed when they changed the policy a few years ago. 

Bill

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #22 on: February 01, 2019, 23:23:30 »
There is little reason for MB not to accept the 113 crowd into their group of clubs. Given that there really weren't that many produced and how popular these cars have become as of late, you'd think they'd see the notion of a profitable return on a minimal investment. It's not like MB isn't already making a piss pile of money from vintage car parts, many of which are for our cars. ::) ::) ::) ::) ::)
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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #23 on: February 02, 2019, 17:43:55 »
This thread is very interesting!  I believe it all comes down to cost and bother.  Will $150. significantly add to their bottom line- no. The Company is letting us know they don't want to be bothered with this task. Luckily I have my data card and also a 11x17 "ZertifikAt" that was offered for purchase in the early 2000's

AND

The Roadside Assistance issue has always been bothersome to me.  I remember getting the letter (attached for those who haven't seen it) and writing to MBUSA about it, with no response.  Roadside Assistance always gave me confidence knowing "they had my back" in the case of any issue. 

While I can understand them not wanting to address/fix a car not maintained by them  I have NEVER found a dealer interested nor willing to work on a 1965 car.  Their technicians are now more "computer techs" who connect to diagnostic systems and do not have the finesse to understand the workings of an older car like ours.
 
What a Catch22.

JB
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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #24 on: February 05, 2019, 19:47:57 »
I have to respond to this one....the $150.00 data card charge is straining the frivolous requests from tying up the phones lines at classic center. if you need it, $150.00 is nothing. If you don't, then even $20 is too much. As far as the email goes, i doubt you'll hear from Michael. MB classic tries to maintain as little contact as they can with the public.
Pierre Hedary
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