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Our new W203 sedan came with a fixed (and forced) license plate assembly, which while offering free advertising for the dealership, also detracted from the front fascia appearance of the car. (At least in our perception.) Here in Florida, front plates are not required.

I use the term "forced," because the item was drilled into the front bumper with some degree of effort, as it left four (4) huge drill holes which forced the bumper material outwardly to make room for the screws. It is a two-piece device and the bumper must have been somewhat resistant to this process. I also use the term “forced” because even though I did not request the plate assembly, they inserted this into our car (not theirs) and then stated they could not remove it unless I was willing to pay $150 dollars worth of body-shop expenses to fill and resurface the large drilled holes!

We paid plenty for the car and ordered every option available for it. We were perfect customers for the dealership as they gained a relatively easy sale because my wife was emotionally affixed onto the particular car. What’s more, because the salesman and his superiors claimed that MBUSA would come down on “him personally” (not the dealership as a whole), and that any negative report would affect the salesman’s status with the corporate offices, we did not make too big of an issue about this at the time. I told them they I would be back to discuss this further, and would be still willing to take this to the corporate offices if I had to thereafter (the bill of sale survey and report that day). I have also had other things brought to my attention about the car that the dealership neglected to cover (like cruise-control break-in, etc.), which will be reflected upon any future reports.

Nevertheless, has this happened to anyone else and has anyone countered the alleged added expense of having to pay for the removal? Is this a part of the dealership “property” rights to affix license plate advertisements that the customer cannot offset? Funny, I don’t see everyone else’s MB vehicles with front license plates on their attached photos in this forum, nor out and abroad, unless they’re in a state that mandates as much. I’m going to take this up with the dealership and institute a tempered insistence upon the removal. The screws are even starting to rust already (car is only three weeks old). The dealership said they could replace the screws with “stainless steel” ones.

The car was a special order and they (dealership) were proud to display the car while it was there. Perhaps the forced plate ordeal is related to this factor. They also know we belong to several auto clubs, including MBCA, in which the advertising may aid them. I wonder if all their cars come this way. I did not notice this elsewhere. Any suggestions?

I’ll post my progress.

Thanks.

Christopher
 

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When I ordered the car (checked almost everything but options like NAV. & rear folding seat), I told the dealership that I wanted no front license plate bracket on the bumper, the dealer had me sign a waiver. I thought to myself, it's a done deal. When the car arrives 2+ months later, I got a call stating that the general manager didn't approved the no-front-license-plate-bracket request, he insisted on installing the bracket even though the waiver was signed when the car was ordered, they told me to bring it to a bodyshop if I want to have the holes covered & painted, they were fined too many times... So, I told them that I'll have to cancelled my order. Few days later, the car was delivered without the bracket.

In a BMW, you simply replace the front bumper trim to get that clean look. Hope Mercedes think of something like that soon.
 
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