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bigdavediode

Anyone else have tow damage?

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Every recovery of any type is different. In some situations the recovery may require the use of a rotating wrecker and spreader bars and loops attached to the wheels, where as some are as simple as digging into whatever the car is stuck in and attaching the "hook" (of whatever type is required) to the suspension (or suitable ancor point). With all the recoveries that i've done no one is the same. And the tow lights should not have been attached to the side on the tridon, at least not without antiscratch pads under the magnets.

Thus Mercedes might want to consider providing some in-person training to their "Mercedes Authorized Towers."

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Never happen. Try to get tow truck operators to any kind of training is like pulling teeth, and no one towing company is everywhere. My recommendation if your car needs to be towed, be there and call the towing company of your choice and them get reinbursed from Smart, or have the charges invoiced to the dealer and let them fight for the reimbursment themselves. Most of the bigger towing companies have charge accounts with the dealers.

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Just to add to the list of cars that use the screw in towing bolt, My volvo s40 used one as does my mazda 3

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Here's the letter I sent off, with pictures of the damage, and diagrams showing how the damage occurred. Will they respond? Dear JoAnne Caza,On December 21st, 2008, Mercedes' roadside assistance provided a "Mercedes Authorized Tower" to tow my vehicle, a 2006 Smart car, to a "Mercedes Authorized Repair Center" -- the tower ripped the tow bolt mount right out of the back of the car, through the bumper, and did $1800 damage to the bumper, fender, etc. Naturally, as far I as can tell Mercedes, the tower, and Sykes Canada who provides their roadside assistance want to take no responsibility.Mercedes' Roadside Assistance (Sykes Canada) have conducted a "thorough investigation" (which apparently doesn't include reading the owners manual (page 10-36) which says essentially "don't tow it like this or things will come flying out the back of the car") and they take no responsibility. Mercedes' Roadside Assistance even stretches to claim that I implied that ICBC (the provincial insurer) believes the tower wasn't also at fault in addition to Mercedes' Roadside Assistance itself. This is not correct.Naturally the tower doesn't want to pay and tries to claim that it's not their fault, and without anyone else to blame they try the old canard of blaming the customer. In an effort to disclaim responsibility, the tower has written a letter so riddled with inconsistencies that describing their letter as just ridiculous is being gentle beyond description. Their letter includes such blatant errors as not knowing that a Smart car only comes with one tow bolt, bizarre statements like a freezing person denying a tower access to a vehicle, erroneous statements such as stating that the Smart Car in question has a "Park" (it doesn't), ridiculous statements such as a driver would turn wheels to the left to back up a straight deck ramp (it's straight!), and so on. Their entire letter makes no sense but apparently Mercedes' roadside assistance (Sykes) doesn't mind that it's riddled with errors and is more than happy to use that as a feeble excuse to disclaim responsibility. On the phone Gilles Wilson, Coordinator of Contractor Relations from Sykes even admitted "if the damage was $100, we'd pay it, but because it's so high you should just get your insurance company to pay it." That seems wildly dishonest to me, pushing liabilities off on to the public purse -- Mercedes' roadside assistance should get their own insurance company to pay it if they want to dump it on the insurance industry.Worse yet, I have obtained one of Mercedes' roadside assistance (Sykes) towing instruction documents (attached) and it appears that they've given out either dangerous or incorrect information to their towers (line 2) that recovery and/or tying down of a Smart Car using a rear tow bolt is acceptable. The manual states that it is not, and in fact states "For safety reasons, recovery or tying down of the car by means of the towing eye bolt is not allowed. Failure to observe this could result in the towing eye bolt being ripped out of its mounting and people being injured!" And boy is it true -- significant angular force on a rear tow bolt by a "Mercedes Authorized Tower" and metal parts fly out like shrapnel. I know this because they shot past me. Luckily in my case nobody was injured, however Mercedes might want to train all their "Mercedes Authorized Towers", as the tower provided (Doug Goheen) stated that he was provided zero training on Smart Cars. People can get hurt.I have two issues with which I would like to seek your assistance:1) Mercedes Roadside Assistance (Sykes Canada) has distributed a document (attached) which may pose a danger to towers and your clients and I would like to see line two of this document corrected so no one is injured. 2) This same damage has happened in the same way to at least one other Smart owner, and Mercedes cooperated with the tower to pay for the repairs. I have pictures of the physical damage (one attached) showing the breakage at the bottom of the tow bolt hole showing excessive angular force was applied on the rear tow bolt, which can only be performed by the winch operator. I have the owners manual which even warns that this can occur. I have even made a diagram (attached) of how the damage occurred. I am not asking for any special treatment, only that Mercedes repair the damage done by the "Authorized Mercedes Tower" provided by Mercedes and not take a tower's letter, riddled with errors, over the physical evidence which clearly shows angular winch damage.Sincerely,etc. etc.

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Good luck, though I can't imagine that you would end up having to foot the bill considering all the facts.garth

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Was this tow due to a mechanical breakdown or an off road excursion? I think if it is the former, Mercedes should pay; if the latter, your insurance company would be the right people to get involved.Good luck, Mercedes has helped some of us from time to time. Ian

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Was this tow due to a mechanical breakdown or an off road excursion? I think if it is the former, Mercedes should pay; if the latter, your insurance company would be the right people to get involved.Good luck, Mercedes has helped some of us from time to time. Ian

Just from a flat tire, no off road excursions. The towing company has given an entire page of red herrings so I don't know if she'll even respond.I think I'll try "Olsen on your side" next. Maybe CTV can help.

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In the past JoAnne Caza has done a few things that have helped out fellow smart car owners. I am assuming that she will help you out as well.Good Luck. keep us up to-date.Did you send a letter, e-mail and/or registered mail?

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In the past JoAnne Caza has done a few things that have helped out fellow smart car owners. I am assuming that she will help you out as well.Good Luck. keep us up to-date.Did you send a letter, e-mail and/or registered mail?

I just sent an email for now, I guess I should follow it up with a registered letter. I did carbon copy everybody, including the NHTSA, Consumer Protection Branch of the Ministry of Small Business and Consumer Services and consumerist.com to try and get their attention. I'll escalate later if they don't respond. Cross my fingers...

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At this point I think an e-mail is fine just make sure you keep the "SENT" copy of the e-mail because that has an electronic signature of when and where it was sent.

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A flat tire is a simple breakdown. You requested smart assistance and you got incompetent boobs. Mercedes should pay. No question. Maybe everyone in our club should write a letter of complaint if they don't handle your case properly. I would be happy to.Ian

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I did carbon copy everybody, including the NHTSA,...

You're in Canada, right? Well that is a US agency.

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what dealership is this?It seems like it is for sure the tow companies fault. If they are unwilling to pay, court might be the answer. Unless your dealership can work out something with service and the company. Try getting your sales rep involved, I know I make a big scene to get things done for my customers, that otherwise would be pushed aside from service if they are not at fault.JoAnna Caza is at head office and will probably tell you to contact your dealership's service mangement department or the GM first. She handles Canadian marketing and PR, on a large scale.

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what dealership is this?It seems like it is for sure the tow companies fault. If they are unwilling to pay, court might be the answer. Unless your dealership can work out something with service and the company. Try getting your sales rep involved, I know I make a big scene to get things done for my customers, that otherwise would be pushed aside from service if they are not at fault.JoAnna Caza is at head office and will probably tell you to contact your dealership's service mangement department or the GM first. She handles Canadian marketing and PR, on a large scale.

Artz and Ianjay -- thanks!Mike -- yes it's a US agency and yes, I'm in Canada but they have an "Office of Defects Investigation" so I figured I'd send it to them to look at given that things were flying out of the back of the car.Smart Specialist -- The dealership is Weber motors in Edmonton -- the service guy said that, to him it was pretty obvious what happened -- that the tower screwed this up. I don't know what he said to Mercedes' Roadside assistance, though. ICBC even took pictures of the damageThe only things I can think of were that because it was a long distance tow (it was over 600km from the middle of nowhere) they don't want to pay out any additional money -- but I paid over $21,000 for a Pure so roadside assistance hasn't lost any money from me.The only other thing I can think of is that the tower accused me of everything under the sun and (among other red-herrings) accused me of leaving emergency brake on (like towers don't check for this). Picture that for fun -- it's -27 degrees in the middle of nowhere and so everything's covered in ice, the car is hooked up backwards on an icy, slippery metal flatbed deck and the supposedly competent yet oblivious tower keeps cranking on the winch and the car doesn't just slide but yanks the steel mount out. Except that doesn't explain how the damage shows that the cable pulled out downwards, not straight out. Plus it admits that the tower hooked the car up backwards and wouldn't have been paying attention to the car not moving. And the ice.Sigh. I'll let you guys know what the response is, if any. Edited by bigdavediode

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I had the unfortunate experience of losing my shift lever control and required a Roadside Service tow from Red Deer to Calgary this last weekend. The tow truck was a roll on deck from City Haul and was operated by a very professional young lady who obviously had experience in both towing and Smart cars. She knew about the hook but chose to use my trailer hitch instead. This would have worked perfectly except that she didn't have a hook small enough to fit in the hitch. She then used the large J hooks connected underneath and gently pulled it on the deck. She did mention this was the third Smart towed this week....I knew that hitch would come in handy - as a side note, the aluminum frame bar was replaced with the hitch bar and there are no threads inside to use the screw in hook anymore.K

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Well good news -- JoAnne helped cut through the bull -- she forwarded the email off to this person, and Mercedes has agreed to pay to fix the tow damage. The only issue outstanding is whether or not they will correct their tower's instructions (that can, according to the owner's manual, injure people):Dear Mr. Bradford:Your email addressed to Ms. JoAnne Caza was forwarded to our department forfurther investigation. Please accept our apologies for the delay inresponding.We are sorry to learn of the circumstances surrounding the towing processof your smart. We regret any inconvenience or frustration caused by thisincident.We are pleased to advise you that Mercedes-Benz Roadside Assistance will becovering the cost of repairing the damage to your vehicle. We havenotified the Service Manager at Weber Motors, Mr. Bill Vanrooijen who willbe contacting you to arrange an appointment for the vehicle to be broughtin for repair.Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention and allowing us toaddress the matter.Best regards,Karen Thomas-LyttleCustomer Relations OfficerMercedes-Benz Canada/smart Division Canada98 Vanderhoof AvenueToronto, ON M4G4C9Direct Line: 416-847-7398Toll Free: 1-800-387-0100

Edited by bigdavediode

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Good news, and JoAnne is a first class person, I am glad she came through yet again.

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Greetings:I'm glad Mercedes did the right thing here. This could happen to any one of us and this was not a case of neglect on your part. Ian

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