Author Topic: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed  (Read 1861 times)

Benz Dr.

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #25 on: February 05, 2019, 20:59:30 »
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.

I've been told that the Classic Centers are the most profitable divisions of MB. Even if they aren't, I'm sure they're doing just fine and certainly don't deserve any special concern from any of us.

As any business will tell you, you're going to get a lot of useless calls in a given week. Get over it or get out.
1966 230SL 5 speed, LSD, header pipes, 300SE distributor, ported, polished and balanced, AKA  ''The Red Rocket ''
Dan Caron's SL Barn
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Shvegel

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #26 on: February 06, 2019, 09:40:43 »
I think you might be mistaking a cultural difference for rudeness.  I am a large yacht engineer (mechanic) and since most of the finest yachts come from Germany and Holland I do spend a fair bit of time dealing with businesses in those countries.  In a business setting not hearing back is an implied no.  I guess it is seen as a way to not directly embarrass the customer.

Porsche charges $110 for a certificate of authenticity (COA) and it has far less information than our data card.  I look at the data card as nothing more than another part I must consider the price of and buy or not buy.  The price is the price and in this case there is no shopping around.  One does not negotiate with someone who quite literally holds all the cards. 


Cole

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #27 on: February 12, 2019, 09:38:48 »
Pierre,

Needing or wanting and ordering a data card doesn't classify as a "frivolous request".
The simple fact is that MB gave them out for free for many years as it made plenty of $ from us collectors. And now it appears that someone over there became a cheapskate and started charging for it. Are the portraits of Herr Daimler and Herr Benz wincing?

Jordan

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #28 on: February 12, 2019, 13:16:05 »
Cole, as much as I agree with your position, you are beating a dead horse.  MB was the last hold out I know of that finally started charging for this service.  It use to be free from Alfa Romeo until about 2 years ago when they started charging for it.  Any other existing or former manufacturer (VW, Posche and Studebaker) that I've contacted charge for the service.  Considering how many VW's are out there, the 50 Euros they charge must add a point or two to their bottom line.
Marcus
66 230SL  Euro 4 speed

pch2021

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #29 on: February 12, 2019, 14:29:25 »
Cole,
a lot of dealers, sniffers, brokers and flippers call classic center all day long wanting data cards. these are the frivolous requests I was talking about. T.H. has mentioned before that the majority of data card requests are from non-owners.
Pierre Hedary
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Cole

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #30 on: February 16, 2019, 03:55:21 »
Hi Pierre,

Per MB's policy, you can't get a data card unless you can prove you're the owner of the car with a copy of the title and, I believe, a copy of your driver's license. They tightened up on this several years ago, so perhaps you're referring to the period before that when anybody could get one, frivolously otherwise.

As an FYI, below is my last email to Michael Kuemmerle (michael.kuemmerle@daimler.com) on Jan 16, 2019. That he didn't respond was at best inconsiderate and a little rude.

"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."

---

It appears that several of you don't care about this new charge for data cards or are just willing to roll with it even though you may not agree. Ok. But, gentlemen, that ain't how battles are won.

    If you do think that this new policy is inappropriate, cheap, or whatever, does it matter what Porsche or VW are doing? So what? Maybe if MB cancels their policy, the other cheapsters will follow suit. I know what you doubters are saying. "Fat Chance!", right? Come on, guys. There's lots of real life David and Goliath stories out there.
    Just think, you could be one of the few to stand up in a Stuttgart beer hall with your arm around luscious fraulein Schmidt and announce loudly: "I'm a proud member of the Pagoda Data Card Patrol who helped spare Mercedes from being cheap you-know-whats!" ... and then maybe get tossed out of there and wind up sued or in jail. But so what?! You helped save the free data card grail!

:) Cole


BRYANH815

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #31 on: February 16, 2019, 04:53:00 »
Gentlemen as one of you nicely stated if you want the data card you will pay the price. This is capitalism. The price is what the traffic can bear. I myself will eventually get around to purchasing the said data card fro my 1970 280SL as part of the underpinnings of the car.
I understand the frustration but MB will do as they will. Mercedes Uber Alles
Bryan Hepper
Bryan E. Hepper Sr.

Cole

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #32 on: February 17, 2019, 06:42:20 »
Bryan,

    Your statement "...if you want the data card you will pay the price. This is capitalism. The price is what the traffic can bear." begs a free enterprise response: no, I will not necessarily pay the price at all. And "the price is what the traffic can bear" based on what and according to who?
    Of course we have a capitalist/free enterprise system here in the U.S., which has seen many great business successes as well as colossal failures based on misevaluation of markets or customer bases, e.g., an arbitrary decision/dictate by some executive based on wrong assumptions and false data.
    In a free enterprise system one can freely succeed or freely lose one's derriere by being arrogant and stupid. And that could include Mercedes, esp. with a "Mercedes uber alles" (Mercedes Above/Over All) viewpoint, right?
    Perhaps if you write a good email to Michael at the address above suggesting that they cancel the data card policy, he will offer you your data card at no charge because they decided, with your help, to revert their policy. And Fraulein Schmidt will offer you some special schnaps on your next trip to Stuttgart. What better capitalist reward could you possibly ask?

:) Cole

BRYANH815

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #33 on: February 17, 2019, 23:57:44 »
Although I agree that Benz is being arrogant. As you said it is their choice and we  PAGODA as a group aren't strategically important to them. Their go to market strategy will ultimately come back and bite them. it is a fact that they set price policy and we decide to purchase or not.
Bryan E. Hepper Sr.

hauser

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #34 on: February 18, 2019, 02:04:32 »
Cole,
a lot of dealers, sniffers, brokers and flippers call classic center all day long wanting data cards. these are the frivolous requests I was talking about. T.H. has mentioned before that the majority of data card requests are from non-owners.

I always thought that proof of ownership was one of the requirements!   Am I wrong?
1969 Euro 280sl 5 spd
Restored by SLTech
Gainesville, Fl.
http://flickr.com/photos/32962977@N03/show/

Mike Hughes

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #35 on: February 18, 2019, 23:05:17 »
It was a requirement even when I ordered a copy of my data card 14 years ago.
- Mike Hughes  -ô¿ô-
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Benz Dr.

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #36 on: February 19, 2019, 05:47:38 »
Although I agree that Benz is being arrogant. As you said it is their choice and we  PAGODA as a group aren't strategically important to them. Their go to market strategy will ultimately come back and bite them. it is a fact that they set price policy and we decide to purchase or not.

I agree to a point. However, sometimes it's not a case of whether we buy or not but rather that MB has complete control of the market and therefore set the prices as they see fit on parts everyone needs. This has always been the case for a lot of parts but it's only been the last few years where prices have increased so drastically. And, anything that has their logo on it is REALLY expensive - small hub caps are around $500.00 now!
Not all aftermarket parts are as good as original pieces but some are and they're usually priced at a considerable savings even though they're produced in limited runs.   
1966 230SL 5 speed, LSD, header pipes, 300SE distributor, ported, polished and balanced, AKA  ''The Red Rocket ''
Dan Caron's SL Barn
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Cole

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #37 on: February 19, 2019, 08:57:49 »
Hi Hauser,

Up until maybe five years ago, no proof of ownership was required for the data card. I would just send in the VIN and receive it. The fact that they tightened up with the proof of ownership rule has a positive side by eliminating some of the frivolous ones.

Cole

hauser

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #38 on: February 19, 2019, 16:07:17 »
That's what I thought!  I f they just gave it to anyone they'd be giving away key codes, right? 

The $150.00 is that for the actual card or is it for a copy?  I'm not sure if I read thru it properly.  The was also an official 'ZERTIFIKAT' that was pricey fancy piece of paper.

In the end it is what it is.  We pay if we want it because there's always someone else who will.  I fear that one day I and others will be pushed out of ownership due to extravagant prices that continue to rise.



 
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Restored by SLTech
Gainesville, Fl.
http://flickr.com/photos/32962977@N03/show/

Mike Hughes

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #39 on: February 19, 2019, 18:13:30 »
It is a copy, either of the actual original card in an archived card file or from archival microfiche (more likely).
- 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 #40 on: March 17, 2019, 02:18:40 »
Hello All,

It appears that this $150 data card matter has lost some of its steam, perhaps as some people at MB Germany expected it would. And one of the main reasons for this is that not enough of us bothered to write to them.
FYI, below is the last email that I sent to Michael Kuemmerle on Feb 27, 2019 --which got no response.

This $150 data card policy can be canceled, but it probably won't be unless we in the collector/owner base speak up loudly enough against it. So, again, you're encouraged to write to Michael Kuemmerle about this at the email address above.
Also, if one of you guys is a Facebook champ, which I'm not, by all means post some things on there about it, loud and clear, and get your friends to.
Lastly, if any of you knows of someone else over there, preferably above Michael Kuemmerle, please let us know so we can contact him.

Thanks.
Cole

---

Wed 2/27/2019 9:13 PM
To: michael.kuemmerle@daimler.com

Hello Michael,

    I'm disappointed that you didn't respond to my last emails below and evidently have not  canceled the fairly new policy on charging $150 for data cards.
    As I mentioned, a lot of collectors disagree with this policy which you can verify yourself, and you will find that they want it cancelled.
    Just one negative aspect of this policy is that it tends to tarnish Mercedes-Benz's image; i.e., people are wondering why a very successful company like Mercedes-Benz is resorting to charging $150 for an email copy of a data card; is Mercedes-Benz perhaps having financial issues? This policy cheapens MB's image, it is a PR oversight and as a lot of Mercedes lovers disagree with it, they simply want it canceled.
    The fact that neither you or anybody else there has responded to my last two communications and not canceled this policy can give the impression that you're being arbitrary and arrogant in this policy decision and detached from your collector base.
    Again, we hope that you'll re-assess this policy and cancel it.
    Also, if there is someone else there that you suggest we discuss this with, please let me know.

Thank you.

ejboyd5

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #41 on: March 17, 2019, 12:21:37 »
Cole:  You've wasted much more that $150 of your own time tilting at this windmill.  M-B has an obvious reason to impose a charge and that reason is to discourage requests from the number of people inspired by this site and many others to apply for "free" information that they mistakenly believe is important to their ordinary production vehicles.  Responding to these requests is costly and M-B is simply trying to level the playing field by imposing a charge designed to limit requests to those who have a pressing need for the data and to winnow out those who are requesting information simply because it would be nice to have and it's free. It's time for us to move on.

Cees Klumper

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #42 on: March 17, 2019, 14:08:43 »
In the 20 years of my ownership I never felt the need to get the data card for my 280 SL, free or not. The $150 is reasonable to me and makes no difference in whether I will or will not obtain one. I always thought it was kind of nice of MB to offer them free but don't fault them at all for having started to charge.

When I was importing my cars and motorcycles from Switzerland into France I needed manufacturers' ccertificates of EU compliance. Honda was the only one who did not charge a fee for that. Volvo, Mercedes, KTM and Piaggio all did, with Volvo being the cheapest at €70 and Piaggio the dearest, at €330. So that's the actual practice.
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 #43 on: March 19, 2019, 08:54:11 »
Hello ejboyd5,   

    Got it. But we'll take your message as you speaking for yourself, not the rest of us, ok? And a number of us disagree with you.
    Your data and logic is a little flawed regarding your point about all the supposed time being consumed by MB over there re data cards, the need for "leveling the playing field", etc. Please. If supporting their collector base with free data cards was such an unbearable task and expense for them, why did they wait --forty years-- or more to start charging for them? The answer is that it wasn't nearly as big a deal or expense as you're trying to make it sound.
    Furthermore, as a very experienced software and database developer, I can assure you that a database holding even millions of individual cars' data, indexed by VIN, is tiny and simple compared to other parts of MB's systems. And they would obviously be maintaining this database regardless of whether data cards were being provided to the customer base or not.
    Also, you make a pompous, incorrect assertion that those wanting a data card "apply for "free" information that they mistakenly believe is important to their ordinary production vehicles." How do you know they're "mistaken"? You sound as arbitrary and arrogant as those over at MB Germany who came up with this $150 data card policy. Do you by chance work for or with them?

    Please consider what I originally wrote about this to Michael Kuemmerle below.

   To the rest of our group who are interested in this, I'm not going to keep beating the drum on this matter. I appreciate your interest and, again, encourage you to make thout thoughts known to the folks over at MB.

Thanks.
Cole.

Sent to Michael Kuemmerle on Jan 2. 2019:

"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."
« Last Edit: March 19, 2019, 09:07:54 by Cole »

specracer

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #44 on: March 19, 2019, 12:56:32 »
Its proprietary information, takes human labor, that gets a paycheck, to produce and send it, while I would not mind it being free, im OK with $150. In fact I'll be ordering one today.

66andBlue

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #45 on: March 20, 2019, 00:19:50 »
.....
Got it. But we'll take your message as you speaking for yourself, not the rest of us, ok?
I hope you agree that you also speak only for yourself, and not for me by chance. Correct?
Quote
And a number of us disagree with you.
Who? How many, 1, 2 or 3? How did you count?

High time to read Don Quixote again.  ;D


Alfred
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Cole

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Re: $150 Charge for Data Cards - Update - Your help is needed
« Reply #46 on: March 20, 2019, 06:08:23 »
Hello 66andBlue,

I'm not interested in trying to speak for you in this matter. I'd prefer that you spoke for yourself and got back to the main point, i.e., do you agree with MB Germany in this matter and the way they handled it or not? And if not, what do you suggest?

Thanks.