I want to reject my faulty Mercedes electric car

Reader loses faith in his Mercedes B-Class after it's suffered a catalogue of faults and was off the road for more than three months...

Merc B-class rejection

I purchased a new Mercedes-Benz B250e on a two-year personal contract hire plan from a broker, with the car supplied via Mercedes-Benz Hertfordshire.

Within the first two months, the charging port flap locked shut, so I couldn’t charge the car. The flap was replaced under warranty. The car then developed a fault that meant it got stuck in park and had to be towed to my local dealership in Lincoln twice. On another occasion the fault cleared itself, and then the collision assist failed while I was driving.

Last summer, the car became stuck in park for the fourth time, so I told the supplying dealer that I wanted to reject the car. I asked for a like-for-like replacement but was told this wasn’t possible. The model had gone out of production, so no replacement was available. I therefore requested that my contract be terminated and my deposit refunded.

Mercedes B-class rejection

However, I was told that I needed to give the technicians another chance to fix the car. I reluctantly did this and, two months later, I was told that the issue with the car getting stuck in park had finally been fixed. But the day before I was due to get the car back, I was told that the fault had reoccurred. This time the Parking Brake Control unit needed to be replaced.

This is a Tesla component, so it had to be shipped from the US. Delivery would take around two weeks, so I was lent another B-Class by the supplying dealer to use while my car was off the road. The component ended up taking nearly five weeks to arrive, meaning the car had been off the road for three months by the time I eventually got it back. By this point, I had only been offered £150 as a gesture of goodwill from Mercedes-Benz Finance.

All seemed okay for a couple of weeks, but then a new warning message came up on the dashboard telling me to stop the car and switch off the motor. The car went into limp-home mode and I managed to make it back home with only a couple of miles of charge remaining.

The car was again taken to Mercedes-Benz Lincoln for diagnostic work and I was advised that this time the electric motor needed to be replaced. This is also a Tesla part, so it needed to be ordered from the US with no delivery date forthcoming.

I’ve been provided with a loan car again, but I am very unhappy with the way I’ve been treated. I’ve totally lost faith in the car and do not want it back. I’ve therefore asked to reject it but have again been told by the Hertfordshire dealership that this is not possible. I feel that my complaints are not being properly considered. Even Mercedes customer services seem uninterested; I’ve called them twice and have been told that the dispute is between me and the supplying dealer, so they cannot get involved.

What can I do to get them to take on board the fact that I don’t want the car back?

James Brooks

What Car? says…

We believe that the dealership should accept the rejection of the car under the 2015 Consumer Rights Act, because it is not fit for purpose or of satisfactory quality. The fact that Mr Brooks’s repeated requests to reject the car have been ignored is wrong.

We advised him to leave the car with the dealership and put his rejection of it in writing to them and Mercedes-Benz Finance. We also contacted Mercedes on his behalf.

Mr Brooks subsequently told us that he had been offered a goodwill gesture of five of his monthly payments, equating to just under £1000, but if he were to accept the offer, he would have to take the car back when it was fixed. He didn’t think this was acceptable and neither did we, so we again asked Mercedes to reconsider the rejection of the car.

Although Mercedes said it was investigating, it didn’t come back with any alternative, so we contacted The Motor Ombudsman, asking it to look into the case too.

The Motor Ombudsman is an independent arbitration service that helps to solve disputes, including those that have become deadlocked. One of its representatives explained the legal obligations to the dealer and they finally accepted Mr Brooks’s rejection of the car. He was offered a termination of the contract with no penalties, plus the use of the loan car for a further four weeks while he looked for a replacement car.

While the final outcome of this case is good news for the consumer, it should not have taken nearly six months and intervention from What Car? and The Motor Ombudsman to get Mr Brooks an acceptable outcome.

The best electric cars and the ones to avoid

Electric cars are becoming more mainstream by the day, and this trend is only going to accelerate as rules are introduced to limit the kind of vehicles allowed into major cities.

The main thing holding electric cars back remains range anxiety – the fear that you won’t have enough juice to get to where you’re going. However, with more and more electric cars capable of covering more than 200 miles between charges, this is becoming less of an issue.

An electric car also makes sense because it’s cheap to run and ideal for short journeys, such as the school run, trips to the shops or a brief commute.

So, which electric cars should you consider? Here, we count down our favourites and tell you the ones to avoid.

And, remember, before you start shopping for your new car, take a look at our new car deals to see how much we could save you on your next car.

10. Hyundai Ioniq

The Ioniq is really three cars in one – it's available as a conventional hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and a fully electric car. The EV version we're including here has a range of 174 miles, and enough torque to make acceleration feel brisk around town. The interior is nice, too, and our recommended Premium models get sat-nav and heated front seats as standard.

Read our full Hyundai Ioniq review or see our latest Ioniq deals

9. BMW i3

Even though it’s getting a bit old now, it still looks incredibly futuristic outside plus its smart interior makes the i3 one of the most appealing electric cars on sale today. Its groundbreaking use of super-light carbonfibre and aluminium offset the weight of the heavy battery pack that’s mounted beneath its floor, and a recent facelift means it’s better to drive than ever. BMW reckons that it’ll manage around 160 miles on a full charge in real-world conditions, but the i3 covered 121 miles on our Real Range test.

On paper, Tesla's all-electric family SUV seems to be the dream combination, offering the luxury of a Range Rover Sport with the green credentials of an electric car. In practice, its low running costs and practical interior are hard to fault, and even entry-level versions aren't short on pace, but parts of its interior do look a little low-rent.

Read our full Tesla Model X review or see our latest Model X deals

Next: more of our favourite electric vehicles >

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