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Airbag malfunction of Mercedes W 124
Updated minutes of 16. 08. 2008 Discussion with Mr. Meny of the affiliate in Freiburg i. Br. (30. Oct. 2007)

1. Updated version of the minutes regarding the Mercedes airbag malfunction..................................1 2. Imprint..............................................................................................................................................6 3. Picture Gallery..................................................................................................................................6

1. Updated version of the minutes regarding the Mercedes airbag malfunction
On 19 April 2006, I got into my Mercedes convertible 300 CE-24 and turned around the ignition key. Immediately after turning the key, the driver’s airbag was triggered. This had serious consequences for my health. One of my acquaintances took me home. I then called Mercedes and described what had happened. Due to severe chest pain, I had to immediately go to a clinic, where I was admitted to the intensive care unit and was diagnosed with severe cardiac arrhythmia. The attending physician gave me a morphine injection to treat the chest pain. I am severely handicapped (100%) and suffer from severe heart failure. This sudden triggering of the airbag resulted in severe shortness of breath. I was delivered oxygen via an oxygen mask for hours and could only hope that my situation would improve. I spent three days in the clinic for being stabilised. It was even considered to implant a cardiac pacemaker. Fortunately, this did not happen, since my heart rate started to improve. In the meantime, my car had been driven to the Mercedes Benz affiliate in Freiburg. On 21Apr2006, I had to give my approval for dismounting the control unit. According to Mercedes, the control unit was sent to Berlin for readout. On 06 May 2006, I had to sign a further consent to agree to further

2 checks to be performed with my vehicle. I only signed this document under the condition that any prior and future costs would be paid by Mercedes. I then got a letter by Mercedes on 16May2006, in which they told me that they would not pay any costs and that I could again pick up my car.

Should Mercedes-Benz not be interested in analyzing the technical reasons of the airbag malfunction, to eliminate such a failure for the future?
On 19 May 2006, I picked up my car at Mercedes. The ignition key could not be found. Fortunately, I had the main key in my purse; otherwise, I couldn’t have picked up my car and would have incurred further costs. After one week, the key was given to me. Since the car had been partially soiled by the mechanic, including its interior, I wanted to clean the interior of my car on Saturday, 20 May 2007. I opened the roof and wanted to switch on the radio. However, the radio remained mute! The cigarette lighter did not work, either; the same applied to the infrared remote control at the steering wheel for the Blaupunkt radio. On Monday, 22 May 2007, I submitted a complaint to the Mercedes affiliate in Freiburg and told them about the defects. The car radio and the cigarette lighter were repaired in the evening. The infrared remote control could not be repaired. On Tuesday, 23 May 2007, I wanted to open my roof – however, this was not possible. They had in fact forgotten to again plug in the cable connector for the electronic roof when repairing the radio and cigarette lighter. Since I would have incurred further costs by again going to the Mercedes affiliate in Freiburg, I repaired this defect myself (I had watched the mechanic during his work and knew that I only had to unscrew two screws to reach the connector. Since the Mercedes affiliate washed their hands of everything – based on the motto “this must not be and therefore cannot be – I drove my car to another site (DEKRA) for receiving an expert report. In this respect, let me say the following: If I get my property back although some important functions (traffic message channel, hands-free kit) no longer work, this is more than proof of their incapacity regarding the workmanship of the Mercedes Benz affiliate in Freiburg. It is a sad fact that my faithfulness to and trust in the Mercedes Benz affiliate in Freiburg have suffered due to their poor workmanship applied to my car. I have had no car for almost five months (my liability claims to Mercedes are still pending), which constitutes a considerable handicap for myself since I have to use means of public transportation for all visits to the doctor and clinic I need to go to. After my car had been standing outdoors in the yard of the Mercedes affiliate in Freiburg for one month, it was covered with blossoms. Of course, these blossoms could not be entirely removed after such a long time. Consequence: a new varnishing is required (Figure 1, 2 and 3). According to the information given by external competent Mercedes experts who are routinely mount and dismount airbag control units on a daily basis, the control unit (below the radio) has not been correctly dismounted. Instead, the picture shows that either apprentices or helpers to the mechanics performed these tasks (Figure 4). In addition, this work must have been performed outside and with the rooftop open. This wonderful flowerage will stay in the centre console forever. It may well be that one day, a new tree will see the light of day in my car and that Mercedes will then adopt it. The bent slot of the radio shows that the control unit must have been dismounted by an amateur. For it cannot be necessary to cause such chaos just for dismounting a control unit. Let me say it again

3 clearly: On 21 Apr 2006, I only had given my permission to the head of the team, Mr. Gfell, to dismount the control unit to be able to send it to Berlin for the readout. However, what they did to my car on this occasion beggars all description. It can be seen from the expert report of DEKRA that several current-carrying connecting cables needed for the function of the radio and for controlling the infrared remote control have been ripped out when dismounting the airbag control unit and have no more been connected for functioning. Furthermore, these current-carrying cables have been placed into the ductwork (centre console) without any insulation. Thus, a short circuit has been preprogrammed. Furthermore, an external connecting adapter for the cigarette lighter has been carelessly put into the centre console and could no longer be used. My contact partner Mr. Gfell – the team leader – whom I confronted with this matter – pointed out that he would only have a minor role at the affiliate of Mercedes Benz in Freiburg and that he would have no influence whatsoever. I have tried for some time to talk to the head of the service, Mr. Philipp von Witzendorff, to inform him about the above-mentioned defects of my car. However, Mr. von Witzendorff has so far prevented to have an appropriate discussion about this matter. Even Mrs. Jansen of the customer service of DaimlerChrysler AG Maastricht tried to support me in this matter. However, her efforts were futile. Mr. Witzendorff has prevented this discussion by using inappropriate arguments. I think that this is really pathetic. A global company such as Mercedes Benz should be more tolerant and adhere to their own company mission; let me quote: “We are always at your service. The 1 Mercedes affiliate Freiburg provides dedicated and professional services to its customers”. I must admit that this really got me thinking! I talked to other Mercedes owners who wouldn’t even bring their bicycle to this Mercedes Benz affiliate for repair work. Thus, I went to Maastricht (Netherlands), to the technical customer service of DaimlerChrysler AG, where Mrs. Jansen and Mrs. Bentfeldt received me. We had a very pleasant discussion about this unusual event with the airbag. They promised me to continue trying to arrange a meeting between Mr. Von Witzendorff and myself. Furthermore, I contacted Mrs. Heidi Nybö of the customer service team of the managing board of DaimlerChrysler AG in Stuttgart. However, all these persons failed to arrange such a meeting. Therefore, the only other option I had was to address this matter to the general public. I published all the events associated with the airbag event and my experience with the Mercedes Benz affiliate in Freiburg on my homepage. Only after exerting considerable pressure by publishing this on my homepage, something eventually moved in this vexing matter. After my publication had been on my homepage in the internet for about 4 hours on 07 Sep 2007, Mr. Philipp von Witzendorff of the Mercedes affiliate in Freiburg unexpectedly called me. I was very surprised, since Mr. von Witzendorff had refused for months to talk to me. He told me that we could meet and discuss this matter. However, he would only talk to me on the condition that I would immediately remove my homepage from the internet. Only then would he be prepared to receive me in his office to reach a potential agreement. I did him this favour because I was interested in
1 URL (05 September 2006): http://www.freiburg.mercedes-benz.de/content/germany/retailer7/niederlassung_freiburg/de/home/passenger_cars/home/about_us/contact/board.html

4 regulating this matter amicably. On the next day, I contacted Mr. von Witzendorff of the Mercedes affiliate in Freiburg and he suggested having my car repaired. He categorically refused to accept any other costs, regardless of which type. He even refused to replace the defective infrared remote control for the car radio. He said that I would have to provide evidence that this infrared remote control had been in order at all. Furthermore, Mr. von Witzendorff said that it would be better for me to accept his suggestion, since he thought that a court would not be very interested about whether I had been injured or not and that I would suffer from severe heart failure. He pretended to be very caring about my person by pointing out my medical condition; he said that all this might be much too exhausting for me. On second thoughts, I felt slightly manipulated psychologically, but I really wanted to be rid of this unpleasant matter once and for ever. At that time, I was still in very poor health and my nerves were really growing thin after the prolonged continuous battle I have had with Mercedes Benz. Therefore, I decided to agree to his suggestion (repair of my car). In all fairness, I must emphasize that Mr. Meny really dealt very well with managing the repair of my car. I was very satisfied with the execution and the result of eliminating the damage. For health and financial reasons, I could not afford a lawsuit potentially extending over years – as would most likely have been the case. Furthermore, I could not anticipate the phobia I developed and I have been suffering from since January 2007. I am traumatised in that I can no longer enter a vehicle with an airbag – not even as a passenger. I am much too terrified about this “safety pack” – the development of this fear can mainly be attributed to Mercedes. As everyone can probably imagine, this airbag scandal cost me a lot of efforts, nerves and money, and Mercedes Benz could certainly have supported me in my life-threatening situation resulting from the incident with the airbag by paying me a compensation for my pain and suffering. Mrs. Jansen from Maastricht was generous enough to send me a hotel voucher for three days which is valid for two persons. This is of course very nice, but by far not sufficient. Of course, I will not accept this voucher, for I am not an almsman. Furthermore, let me say that I am in the process of preparing an open letter to Mr. Von Witzendorff and the entire managing board of Daimler-Benz AG.2 Discussion with Mr. Meny of the affiliate Freiburg i. Br. On 30 Oct 2007, I was unexpectedly called by Mr Meny who said that I shouldn’t put Mr. Witzendorff so much through the mill. He said that after all, Mercedes Benz had ultimately refused to accept paying any costs resulting from the airbag incident. It would only be thanks to Mr. Philipp von Witzendorff that Mercedes Benz eventually took over the material damage resulting from the airbag incident. I was certainly more than surprised about this statement. For I cannot imagine that Mr. Witzendorff was supporting me in any way, judging on how he had behaved in the months before. His behaviour towards me speaks a language of its own, as you can see from reading my minutes. Comment: I would additionally like to point out that many Mercedes-critical sites can be found on
2 Mr. von Witzendorff has meanwhile changed to the Mercedes-Benz affiliate Cologne Leverkusen (http://www.koeln.mercedes-benz.de/content/germany/retailer5/niederlassung_koeln.de/home/passenger_cars/home/about_us/contact/board.html

5 the internet. In a US lawsuit3 of 2003 (this was also an airbag incident), compensation amounting to millions was being negotiated. Stewart Tilghman Fox & Bianchi, P. A. (http://www.sftblaw.com/) dealt with this case in a detailed article (http://www.stfblaw.com/NoteworthyCases28.jsp) under the heading “Noteworthy Cases”. Some websites which critisize Mercedes-Benz You can find countless websites of disappointed, despaired customers, as also articles of news magazines, which question most critically the „customer support“ of Mercedes-Benz resp. The „quality“ of Mercedes. They are published in many languages, and their number increases continuously from year to year. Input lemon car mercedes at google.com, and you will get this result (02. December 2007): „Results 1 - 10 of about 774,000 for lemon car mercedes. (0.19 seconds)“ In large part, the following URLs are taken from the link collection of www.troublebenz.com. These links are only a tiny part of the websites which critisize Mercedes-Benz. TIME/CNN: Can Mercedes Be a Star Again? http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1115672-1,00.html Fortune: Mercedes Hits A Pothole Owner complaints are up. Resale values are down. And competitors are gaining ground. Is Mercedes-Benz losing its shine? http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2003/10/27/351665/index.htm BusinessWeek: Mercedes Benz Scores Zero in Consumer Reports. Ouch! http://www.businessweek.com/autos/autobeat/archives/2007/03/mercedes-benz_s.html Mercedes-Benz-USA.com – Mercedes Benz Consumer Warning http://www.mercedes-benz-usa.com/ Mercedes-Benz-Canada.com Buyer Beware – not only in Canada! http://mercedes-benz-canada.com/ Customer Problems with MERCEDES BENZ Production Quality Control http://www.mercedesproblems.com/ A Site in English and Spain: Mercedes Benz Problems http://www.mercedesproblems.com.ar/ I point explicitly out, that I am not responsible for the content of the linked websites and that
3 Elwood I. Kaplan and Norma Kaplan v. DaimlerChrysler, A.G. f.k.a., Daimler-Benz Aktiengesellschaft, Mercedes-Benz U.S.A., Inc., f.k.a.; Mercedes-Benz of North America Inc.: http://vlex.com/vid/18757230 or as a PDF file http://caselaw.findlaw.com/data2/circs/11th/0212453P.pdf

6 I assume no liability. These minutes will be regularly updated.

2. Imprint
Jürgen Schindler Habsburgerstr. 11 79104 Freiburg, Telephone: 0049 761 5 74 23 Mobile: 0049 171 123 000 4 E-mail: j.schindler1@t-online.de Furthermore, I am thinking about releasing these minutes under a licence which permits publication in media formats for an unlimited period of time and without being recalled.

3. Picture Gallery

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