Buying the wrong 4x4: What would you do?

gary 32

07 ncv3 pv
3 questions for the gm

The staff at Wilson Motors screwed up and made a horrendous mistake, as the General Manager, Partner and staff member I am truly sorry. It has been suggested that we sold the vehicle from under the customer for more money, that is not true!


Julian Greening
General Manager & Partner
Mr. Greening,

Did you sell the van for less money than the original order?

A custom order it has the customers name on the window sticker, you guys missed that?

Your dealership lied repeatedly to a customer, is this a normal day?

Your customer will never forget this nor will any forum members who read these posts.

Graphite Dave

Dave Orton
Julian: Welcome to the internet. It can be your friend or your enemy.

I am sure the extra profit you made with your "mistake" will never cover the profits you will not get due to these postings. Have a nice day.:smirk:

Hopefully you will learn that not all your customers are as stupid as you thought.


New member

You noticed the shift in my attitude – how clever of you. What you may not be aware of is the dynamic changes in the situation that brought about my revaluation.

First of all I had wrongly assumed Diesel was dealing with one of the other less desirable (based on my actual experience) dealers in the Puget Sound area -- to my surprise, and yes disappointment in Wilson, he was not. To this end, I contacted a friend in Wilson’s management and suggested that they take some sort of damage control action toward correction of what appeared to be a very disturbing situation. Wilson Motors have been very upright and honest with me during my 20 years in the Puget Sound area, and I have made some friendships there. Yes there were mistakes made in some of our business interactions, but they were always favorably corrected when I called them to their attention. I assumed that they had or would respond in kind in this situation.

Secondly, once Diesel decided not to back away from the deal, resolution of the situation took on a completely different set of dynamics. Now a way must be found to meet Diesel’s needs knowing that he apparently will never be satisfied short of getting the van that he ordered. Unfortunately that cannot happen under any circumstances as long as he is not willing to wait on another special order (as I understand all 4x4’s have to be special ordered with a long lead time delivery).

At this point in time the only input we have from Diesel is that he is not satisfied; and that Wilson negotiated some sort of an alleged loss to the firm in order to provide him with a van that he apparently does not want – how much more snarled can the situation get. With out the specific facts of the final contract (which is apparently, and rightfully, being kept personal between Diesel and Wilson) none of us probably should be making judgment calls as to the appropriateness of any resolution to this unfortunate situation.

I am done here – all of you may continue to have at it with all the negativity you can muster, if that is your mind set. :bash:


2015 4x4 2500 170 Crew
I want to address a couple of issues that have been raised since my last post. To be honest, based on my previous interactions, I’m not expecting any more from the dealer. I’m ready to move on and start turning the van I drove home into “my” van, even if it doesn’t have the options I specced.

But, this thread has once again proved the old saying: “If you have a great experience, you tell one person. If you have a bad experience, you tell ten people.” I didn’t expect the number of responses. I really don’t want this to degenerate into a name calling thread.

I’m actually glad that 3mbusa managed to contact someone (Julian?) at the dealership to make them aware of this thread. I’m glad Julian has joined the forum. It’s a great place to learn about Sprinters. It’s also a great place to learn about the power of reputation, and what it takes to build a good reputation. Forum powerhouses like GeorgeRa and Graphite Dave have given a lot to this community, they receive a great deal of respect as a result, and I’m honored that they’ve chimed in on this thread.

I want to reiterate something I mentioned earlier. If I’d at any point felt like I was being respected as a customer during this interaction, this thread might not exist.

Respect, in my mind, is making an attempt to do the right thing without forcing your customer to suggest remediation options. For instance, immediately offering to put in the options it was possible to put in at no cost, rather than grudgingly offering a discount on parts bought from the service counter when your customer suggests you might want to add the missing items.

Instead I was made to feel like a problem individual who was causing the dealership to “lose money.” I think it’s disingenuous for the dealer to claim they lost money on this interaction. Sure, they sold me the replacement van at marginally less than invoice. That does not take into account any bulk sales discounts and other Mercedes dealer kickbacks. It also does not factor in the lovely additional profit they made by selling the van that originally had my name on it.

I still find it weird that they believe that they have to make money on every deal, and that I should be the one to pay for their mistake. I think Julian truly believes he’s been hard done by here because he sold a van for less than invoice. I got the feeling when I spoke to him on the phone that it hurts him to be in that position. That’s probably part of a dealer mentality. But the reality is they did NOT lose money on this deal.

However, they did not maximize their profit. I think that’s the issue here. Julian had invoice and sale price numbers in front of him during his call with me, and was using those as his rationale for not offering me any additional remediation. He mentioned on the call that he had to balance my needs as a customer with his needs as a business. My response was that he could look at this in terms of profit, or in terms of reputation. His primary concern was the cost of this issue to his business. I think if his primary concern had been to make things right, it would ultimately have been cheaper for him.

Back to 3bmusa: Wheels are not turning, they already turned. In fact I think they locked up and may be heading for the edge of the road. Reputation is a bitch.


DieselFumes, sorry for your MB dealer experience.

On the plus side, I special ordered Silver Grey and love it. So I think you ended up with a great color even if it's not the one you picked. ;)

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk


Active member
It's easy to say you didn't do this or didn't do that ... Perhaps you would like to explain how someone who custom ordered a Sprinter from your business, lost it when it was sold to another customer. Could you enlighten us? I think we could all learn from you sharing your viewpoint.

We can have fun trying to figure out the chain of events that lead to a custom order being sold to someone else.

My guess: Commissioned sales people are often sociopathic jerks, motivated solely by money. I'm thinking the van came in, and a customer saw it in the holding area and wanted a peek. They liked it, and offered a little cash under the table, a "tip" if you will, to the salesdrone and the sales manager to sell it to them at MSRP and concoct some story about it being a mistake. Since even a small amount of money is more important to salesdrones than reputation or perhaps even continued employment, they went for it and told the person that ordered it "too bad, so sad" in so many words.

Now, the general manager may have not been informed that any of this was going on, because the sales manager was making sure they DIDN'T until the deal was done and it was too late to turn back. I bet the salesdrone and sales manager didn't even get $1000 each for doing this, and in the process ruining the dealership's reputation with forum members (which are probably the majority of Sprinter buyers). It will be easy for the general manager to pull up the records and see who bought it, how much they paid, the date, etc. and they COULD (but won't) hang the salesdrone and sales manager out to dry.

BUT, a dealership is not a charity, they ONLY exist to turn a profit, and unfortunately only Tesla allows direct purchase from the manufacturer (all dealerships are franchises NOT owned by the car companies that they sell, they are private businesses with contracts).


Active member
a "tip" if you will...
I doubt anything went under the table, but I agree that all levels of the dealership had to be involved to make it go out the door to the wrong person - and the amount of extra money they made probably amounted to a cup of pee compared to the loss to the OP.

I wish upon the guy who initiated that a lifetime of the wrong oil, EGR, DPF and turbo issues - and a dealer like Wilson to make it all the worse while charging him out the butt for it.

None of us have ever seen that happen.

He has no doubt read this thread.

Like a stranger's wife - when you find out something is not yours, you stop wanting it and move on. Sleazebags - all of them.
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New member
Where did the dealership find a 4X4 to trade for to sell as the replacement vehicle to DieselFumes? If all 4X4s are special order sold vehicles, did somebody else get screwed over, too?

Perhaps part of the problem is the mindset of many MB dealers, salesmen and others that think Sprinter buyers are just like many of the buyers of their other MB vehicles. They think we give a darn about their nice little coffee shop and the valet service when we take our vehicle in to their service department to get our windshield washer fluid topped off or our windshield wipers changed. We are expected to bow and smile while we get screwed over. You won't see my Sprinter in a MB shop for anything I can do myself or get done somewhere else.

It was notable to discover how far it really is from Prescott, AZ to the Puget Sound area. Apparently, clout from an established and cultivated relationship isn't what it used to be. It's got to be a bitch to think you have clout with someone and they turn around and hang you out to dry.

Unfortunately, our options are somewhat limited. But, one option we do have is to keep informed as to which dealers are responsible, and which ones to avoid. There are other dealers out there to buy vehicles from and to frequent for service and parts.

Good customer service and loyalty will get you repeat customers and positive references, but poor or despicable customer service will harm you tenfold and can kill your business.

This entire situation came about because someone's short term greed for the almighty dollar got in the way of [what should have been] common sense and courtesy and the dealers' failure to provide what should have been their inherent responsibility to a customer.

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Active member
Well, only a chump takes a vehicle to a dealership to have it worked on after the warranty is over.


Well-known member
You have to accept one simple fact of life when it comes to car dealers...any car dealer! They make money on every side of every deal. What ever the give you in a "great trade in deal" always covers the minimum they can sell the car for, OR the extra markup they make on the new car. They print money on "accessories/add on packages". Then they have bogus "doc fees". The parts conter makes money, the service bays make money even on warantee work etc. etc. etc.

That said I am not anti profit, but reasonable profit. It is also amazing how often dealer ownership turns over. I persoanlly know Wilson(including some of the Principals in passing) and I don't think they are any better or any worse than average.

Over the years, they were big American Iron dealers in a small down town location. They also had Saab in the 1970s. They got the Toyota Franchise, then MB, dropped the Americwn brands, built I new big dealership, also downtown that they spend a few buck on, plus an extensive remodel. A few years after the remodel, they moved to thier current loction (on Auto Row) building a very expensive showroom, show lot, on the site of a former auto wreckers. The clean up costs were considerable, all this just as the recession hit. They were stuck with two buildings for many yers, and still have the old sales building, though the old service building is t least leased to an auto repair business.

As the economy came back, some new capital came in (at least according to rumor) such thaqt the Wilson family doesnt own it outright any more, and they then aquired the local Nissan franchise by buying out the dealer down the street.

I'm sure that they are doing fine financially, but there were some tough years due in some measure to the broader economy, but also due to making bad business choices. I do trade with them on occasion, (for recall work on my wife's Toyota, and a warrantee claim on my Sprinter. I think the service guys are ok, but I think the service dept is big on over selling, (as is most dealerships.)

The bottom line is I don't think they are very much different that our average local dealer. I just wish the whole automotive business would evolve past the sneeze and hard sell, and simply do what Tesla is doing. at least with Scion (Wilson also deals in Scions) you don't have to go through the whole " what do I have to make a deal today" BS. (you still have to deal with it if ou are going to fiancé or trade in however!)



I'm shopping for another Sprinter, 2015 or 2016.I

Should I stop in Lynnwood o go up north?
I guess they loose a potential customer :thumbdown:


Fundamental issue here goes beyond car dealers.

Dieselfumes entered into an agreement committing to purchase a vehicle with hard money down. This is a basic contract which the dealer was unable to uphold because of greed, incompetence or alien abduction.

Twenty-plus years ago this kind of behavior was probably pretty common with car dealers. Fortunately the Internet has become the great resource for information, misinformation and knowledge.

I agree with orevious comments. The decision to sell dieselfumes van and any associated benefit will be greatly outweighed by the negative impact on reputation and lost sales.

Lesson to dealers sometimes you need to take a step back to go forward. Monthly economics tend to make dealers blind to customer service and loyalty. The dealers who understand they want to sell several vehicles over 20 years to you are the ones that stand out.
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Graphite Dave

Dave Orton
Well, only a chump takes a vehicle to a dealership to have it worked on after the warranty is over.
Maybe with a T1N. The newer Sprinters are so complicated that the average person or independent shop can not diagnose the ailment without a connection to a computer with the proper software to inform the computer operator (mechanic?) what the problem is. The days of you and I checking to see if has a spark and that the carburetor has gas are long gone.

The Sprinter has a planned failure in LHM that allows the vehicle to be disabled for sometimes unimportant problems. The last one I had to smile about was the discussion about what happens when you put the "key" in the ignition with the door open. Humorous. Or if you let the battery go dead from leaving lights on where you have to get it back to the dealer to "reintroduce" the battery to the vehicle computer. My biggest complaint about the Sprinter was LHM that can reduce power at any time. Not a good thing when passing vehicles. That little episode was what forced me to sell the Sprinter.

No choice but to use a dealer or the very few independent shops that have the required software and a computer operator that can use it. If you are lucky and have a good dealer (which I was), then just enjoy the coffee and pastries and pay the very high costs. For what it costs you should get a 7 course gourmet lunch.

This BS is not exclusive to the Sprinter. My new Transit also has a CAN bus with little electrons dancing around. So far have not read about any poor programing to cause stupid LHM.

Graphite Dave

Dave Orton
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2014 GWV Legend 3500 I4
Color me skeptical on this one. Sprinters have a "master disconnect" feature (the one down by the accelerator pedal) that completely removes battery power from the vehicle. This is fully supported and people use it all the time. Now, I can imagine some kind of bug in some ECU that might cause a corruption under unusual circumstances, as might be found with an almost-dead battery. But I don't think it is likely that this is either intended nor common behavior.

As for BMW: There certainly are batteries (e.g., in laptops) that have built-in BMS microprocessors, including individual identifiers, so what you suggest is certainly possible. But Sprinter batteries are pretty clearly still dumb hunks of lead.
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Well-known member

That was not the case with my 08 Sprinter. My grandkids were playing in the van and left the lights on. Next morning battery was dead so I jump started it which I after learned is a no-no.

Maybe the newer Sprinters have this added feature.

I also read that new BMW's require that a new battery needs to be "introduced" to the vehicle computer.
We must be driving the different Sprinters. My 2014 (and 2010) are as simple as Windows 95.
I leave lights on or doors open all the time. SAM shuts them off in 10 min.
And there is nothing wrong with jump starting it. It has a jump start terminal under the hood.

This urban legend was created because the Sprinter charging system is controlled by the SAM module and it is adjustable.
Given that software logic implementation is as simple as writing a word, it has some additional functions written. Like low voltage alarm, high voltage alarm and a few more cool things.
The only drawback is that the alternator has to be registered on the network in order to talk to the system. It is like exchanging a phone numbers in order to talk to each other.
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New member
This is an unbelievable story, what makes is crazier is that I test drove 'your' van. I saw it in the lot and figured it was sold but the next day when my wife and I stopped by I was surprised that they said we could take it for a test drive. That is a very cool but somewhat unique color. Right around the same time it disappeared from the lot a 170 Crew in that color showed up on the Outside Van website as being ready to covert.
This is all very discouraging. Coming from the tried and true honesty of the Syncro/Westfalia community this all makes me very nervous. I run a small local business, Wilson is my local dealer, Bellingham supports it own, but this just isn't right. I was trying to look beyond the fact that I know more about the vans on the lot than they do but this puts it over the top.
So yes, the Sprinter options book is about 300 pages long, but isn't it the sales persons job to at least familiarize themselves with their product? None of my technical specifics could be answered and no followup call or email from them with additional info.
I can't stomach the thought of having to do all the research myself and still have to pay a premium for them to basically pass a vehicle across there lot from MB to me. Especially if there is a chance they will just sell it before I get my hands on 'my' van.
I have been trying to find a Sprinter dealer thru the Costco Auto program. I found some posts from not long ago from people who appear to have bought the Sprinter thru the program and thru Wilson Motors but maybe they got dropped. Closet Costco dealers to the NW are now in California and Colorado. I guess a road trip is in store.


Well-known member
This just gets crazier and crazier!
The idea that a dealer would allow customer test drives in a special order "build and equip" brand new Sprinter is way over the top.
I was notified by my dealer within 15 minutes of the arrival of my 2014 Sprinter on the delivery truck from the VPC in Ladson, SC.
The Sprinter brand manager sent me photos of the Sprinter being unloaded off the truck.
By the end of the day the new Sprinter had been completely "new vehicle prepped" in their Sprinter shop, and I was sent photos of the
Sprinter on the rack with all the wheels off and the partition removed, awaiting my arrival early the next morning to swap the wheels/tires and move my modified partition into the new Sprinter before taking delivery.
The only ones who "drove" my new Sprinter were the guy drove it onto the delivery truck in Ladson, the guy who backed it off the delivery truck in Mechanicsburg, and the Sprinter techs at the dealer who moved it into the shop.
They did take it on a 10 minute test drive before delivering it to me, but that was just to check out all the systems and to run it over their rumble strip/speed bump test track to check for rattles.
When my fav dealer wanted to introduce the new Sprinter 4x4 the area rep brought a 4x4 demo vehicle on a trailer (it was a Netherlands spec Sprinter and could not be driven on USA roads) and we had a 4x4 Sprinter demo day.
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