Dennis Yu

How Ajay Kandala of Tuft & Needle used his digital marketing expertise to exact revenge on Mercedes-Benz

The new CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, Dietmar Exler, upon taking the role, said:

“You’d better have your act together regarding the culture you want to create, or the 300 new people will create it for you,” Exler says in the article published June 30.

Exler talks about immersing new employees in the company’s brand, about doing honest and critical evaluations (including of himself). This article shows the incongruence between what he said and the company’s behavior.  We gave them a few days to resolve this, rather than publish immediately to out them.

I’ve advocated using the Facebook for a Dollar a Day technique sparingly, outing companies only when they egregiously and repeatedly mistreat customers.

Even people like Ajay Kandala, an executive at Tuft & Needle, rely on this technique and their expertise as digital marketers to get their complaints heard. 

His brother-in-law bought a Mercedes-Benz GL 450 from a dealer for $45,000 which developed problems a few months later. 

After getting the run-around from the dealership, they were frustrated and wanted a solution.

Ajay contacted me in the middle of November 2017 to help rectify this situation, where we formulated a plan to target the executives of Mercedes-Benz with all of the evidence outlined in this post:

The car is now appraised at $11,000 now due to the issues, which could’ve been avoided had the service crew accurately diagnosed the problem when they started in July of 2016 while the car was still within warranty.

To add salt to his wound, Ajay and his brother were mistreated by the Executive Referral Manager of the Corporate Mercedes Customer Service, which you can read below.

In these situations, only someone from the head of Mercedes-Benz should contact me to straighten this issue out.  Ajay and his brother-in-law have gotten the run-around and are exasperated. He asked that I handle it for him until it’s resolved, which I’ll see through like I have for countless other issues and complaints.

Here is a full recap of everything that has happened up to this point, in Ajay’s Brother-in-law’s words:

Vehicle Details

  •      2013 Mercedes-Benz GL450 4MATIC
  •      VIN : 4JGDF7CE6DA147077
  •      Purchased Date: April 2016
  •      Warranty Expiration: March 2017
  •      Current Mileage: 46k

Purchasing the Vehicle (April 2016)

  • I tried hard to purchase Certified Pre-Owned from the Dealer, but the Dealer did not have this car and was a pretty hard one to get.
  • Got a good deal from MB in Oklahoma but the local dealer helped clarify that the cost of purchasing and transferring to TX would wipe out the savings, so I decided not to purchase a certified pre-owned vehicle from MB Dealer.
  • I found GL 450 with the features I was looking for at a 3rd Party dealer and I purchased the vehicle

Service History (April 2016 – Oct 2017)

  • First thing I did after purchasing the vehicle was take it to the Dealer for a full checkup and servicing (spent  $1,000 on servicing and some accessories)
  • The dealer reported the car was in great condition.
  • Kept up all the follow-up service appointments.

Relevant Engine Related Service Details

  • Took the GL to the dealer  four times with the same complaint “Rattling noise” (all four times) and Check Engine light (two times)
  • July 26th 2016 (Vehicle still under Warranty – Exp March 2017) – Rattling Noise – resulted in Warranty Repair

  • Nov 1st 2016 (Vehicle still under Warranty – Exp March 2017) – Check Engine Light – software updated, and coding cleared, based on past warranty repair.

  • This was an important event in the service history and the root cause. Had the technician conducted the same diagnosis that was performed in Sep 2017, they would have found the issue and would have been covered under warranty repair.

Based on the information given to me by the Dealer Service Manager, the issue with the Oil and Fuel leaking into the wiring manifests itself in different ways and based on the sensor that detects fault codes are stored, and upon a certain number of “Key Turns” the check engine light will go off. And once the check engine light is reset, based on the nature of this issue, it is hard to tell when it will go off again, as there is no specific error code for this type of problem. So the “Check Engine” light may take a few days or a few months or a few years.

  • Sep 28th 2017 (Warranty – Exp March 2017) – Took the vehicle for Service B, and again talked to the service advisor about “Rattling Noise” – Diagnosis “Loose label on the Under Tray” no additional diagnosis was performed

  • Current Issue Oct 2017 10th 2017 – vehicle made a loud noise (like something was sucked into the front fan) and the Check Engine light came on. Called the dealer and made the next available service appointment (Oct 12)
    • This time a detailed diagnosis was done (This should have been done on Nov 1st, 2016)
    • Upon completing the troubleshooting the service advisor called back with the following information

Regarding the repairs needed, what is causing the check engine light to come on is from oil/fuel traveling through the wiring harness in the engine and getting into the Engine control module, various sensors, injectors and other electrical components in the engine.

The engine in your vehicle operates at a high pressure to the fuel injectors in the engine and over time that pressure pushes fuel and oil (that is in the injectors to lubricate the injectors when the vehicle is running) through the wiring harness in the vehicle and that oil/fuel travels through the wiring to various components in the engine over time.

It is hard to tell what kind of time span it takes for that to happen with the engine running at such a high pressure to be able to determine if might have been something happening over time while the vehicle was under factory warranty still or possibly after the factory warranty expired by time but there isn’t a way to determine that.

Repair Estimate : ~$15,000

  • The service code or error code this time was something to do with “Fuel Injector Sensors” that was cleaned and the Service Engine Light was reset.
    • And service advisor told me that it is hard to tell when the service light will come on again, and what fault codes it would show the next time it goes off. This could be a few days or few weeks or few years.

  • I was shocked to learn this and that a Mercedes quality branded product would end up a lemon like this. I followed up with the advisor for additional information.
    • I was told this was a rare occurrence in these models, and about 5% of the GLs have this issue. The noise my wife heard was probably the engine misfiring or some electrical interference not any mechanical obstruction in the fan.
    • I was also told that there was no way of detecting the issue without opening up the wiring harness and cutting some of it to find the oil
    • I was scared that the Fuel / Oil thru the electric wiring system almost certainly is a fire hazard and was feeling lucky that the car did not catch fire or explode
      • My wife uses this car on a daily basis to drive my kids to their various activities
      • So i was thankful and feel very lucky that the car did not catch fire and the problem manifested itself as a harmless “check engine” light.
    • When I asked how safe is this to drive, I was told this was touch and go, and they could not establish any timeline on when or if this would cause any additional failures and this may not be a fire hazard but it is hard to say it with certainty.
    • I was told if the vehicle was under warranty this would have been fixed for FREE
    • I was asked to contact Mercedes USA corporate customer service to see if they would make an exception here.
  • I called Mercedes customer service and they opened a ticket, and as promised I got a call back from “Executive Referral Manager a few days later.
    • I went thru the whole story with him and explained that the issue in question was not because of something that I could have possibly done or due to bad maintenance history, as the vehicle has a clean history.
    • The root cause of the problem was manufacturing defect or failure in their quality processes, and that Fuel / Oil being pumped thru the wiring harnesses (which in my opinion is a serious issue that has a potential to cause major harm for the drivers of these models) as there is no way of detecting this issue till it manifests itself as “check engine” or “engine noise” or I am guessing the vehicle catching fire due to Fuel inside the electrical wiring systems.
    • Once the check engine light is reset (which was done in Nov 2016), it is hard to predict when it will come back on and what fault code it will show.
  • After about 2 weeks and multiple follow up calls from my side I heard back from the Mercedes Benz customer service representative. The Corporate Customer Service team, Local Dealer teamed up to help resolution of the issue, and here are the details of the resolution they came up with
    • The repairs were reprised at Warranty Cost of ~$12,500 instead of ~$15,000
    • Mercedes would cover about $4,000
    • I was on the hook for ~$8,500

To that the Executive Referral Manager told me that he had already heard this from me a few times and they had already considered all this when they offered assistance, and that the issue in Nov 2016 was different from the current issue, and that there was nothing more to talk as the case was “closed”.

I was surprised and I asked him if he had access to the “dealer service records”, he said “No”, he has access to Warranty records. So I told him that he should probably look at the dealer records to see what I am seeing and that I could send it to him if he gave me his email. He said he was not technical to understand dealer records, and refused to share his email (as he did on previous occasions). So I told him if he is the “Voice of Mercedes Benz USA” and the only person to take decisions in this regard he should probably look into this and be able to answer, how was this issue different from what was reported in Nov 2016.

At this point, the Executive Referral Manager was getting really irritated and was trying to get off the call and close the case.

The next few minutes were the most interesting and pretty much sums up the support or service I got from Mercedes Benz USA.

I asked the Executive Referral Manager for his full name, he refused to give me his full name and said he was not authorized to share his full name.

He just used his first / nickname. I told him that he had all my contact details and all I had us as name and an extension number. And he never answered when I called that extension. I always got a call back from the 800 number. Other than that I had no way of reaching him or ask for any kind of escalation.

At this point, he was really mad at me.

The Executive Referral Manager said “I will talk to the dealer service manager and come up with an Expiry date for this offer, it will be the end of this month”

I stopped him and said, you just contradicted yourself, you said you will speak to the Dealer before setting the date, and now you just gave me a date. To that, he responded saying “the offer is now rescinded”.

So in a matter of 30 seconds, he went from “collaborating with his Dealer service manager to, unanimously rescinding the offer”. I am appalled by this and was shocked at how he turned this into a personal conflict an acted with total impunity and just like that closed all the doors from Mercedes Benz USA for me.

He was getting ready to hang up, so I asked him to send me a letter or email with the details of the decision and on what basis the offer was rescinded. To that his response was “I will log the request” and I kept asking him what that means and he just kept repeating “I will log the request” did not confirm if I will get a letter in “snail mail” or email.

The only mistake I did is to purchase Mercedes GL-450 and take it back to the dealer for regular maintenance. And the service records and notes clearly indicate that this problem has been reported consistently on every visit since July 2016. 2 times while the vehicle was still under warranty and 2 times 6 months after warranty.

As of this writing the codes were reset by the dealer, and I picked up the car on 11/16, and have been driving it since, and have not seen any error warnings on my dashboard yet, while the Oil and fuel are making their way into wiring and potentially damaging electronic components of the car, like they did since July 2016 or before.

Dennis Yu

Dennis Yu is co-author of the #1 best selling book on Amazon in social media, The Definitive Guide to TikTok Ads. He has spent a billion dollars on Facebook ads across his agencies and agencies he advises. Mr. Yu is the "million jobs" guy-- on a mission to create one million jobs via hands-on social media training, partnering with universities and professional organizations. You can find him quoted in major publications and on television such as CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, and LA Times. Clients have included Nike, Red Bull, the Golden State Warriors, Ashley Furniture, Quiznos-- down to local service businesses like real estate agents and dentists. He's spoken at over 750 conferences in 20 countries, having flown over 6 million miles in the last 30 years to train up young adults and business owners. He speaks for free as long as the organization believes in the job-creation mission and covers business class travel. You can find him hiking tall mountains, eating chicken wings, and taking Kaqun oxygen baths-- likely in a city near you.
I'm a member of Blitzmetrics Academy and a friend of Dennis to boot. Not only is Dennis highly intelligent and full of great and creative ideas, he's also incredibly generous with both his knowledge and his time. Success couldn't come to a better guy. Thank you for all that you do for the world, Dennis! 🙏

Michael Pacheco


Thanks 🙏 for being shining light in this industry. Love what your building for works overseas too network for jobs so innovative. Dennis helped me navigate having bad experiences with marketing agencies and doing dollar a day marketing which has helped my personal brand tremendously. Highly recommend.

Eric Skeldon

Founder at Kingdom Broker

Working with Dennis has been a delightful experience. After meeting him in 2015 I got to collaborate with him on countless occasions. His understanding for state-of-the-art marketing, his implementation, and his leadership put him into the top 0.01% of marketers and mentors.

Jan Koch

Ihr kompetenter Partner für innovative KI-Strategien.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dennis for my podcast in 2021 and since then we have maintained a friendship that grows with each interaction. I have seen Dennis' devotion to his friends and clients firsthand, and our conversations often result in us talking about how we can provide more value to the people around us. He is someone whom I can ask questions on a technical level, and look to on a personal level. If you have any hesitancy about hiring him, get over yourself and do it!

Isaac Mashman

Help scaling personal brands.

Geez, where do I start recommending Dennis? First, he is an absolutely brilliant marketer who understands where marketing is today and where it's going tomorrow. He also has an incredible passion for the International Worker community. The lessons he has taught me from his almost 20 years of experience hiring International Workers have been immense. Most importantly though. Dennis Yu is someone who wants the absolute best for you and is willing to tell you the truth. Dennis sat with me at a point in my business where I was floundering but did not want to admit it. He asked some very straight forward questions to get me to admit my issues, highlighted the issues, and then helped me create a roadmap to success.

Atiba de Souza

International Keynote Speaker | Video Content Superman | Superconnector |

Dennis, which I had the pleasure of working with is one of the most giving, honest and tell you as it is person I ever know. The knowledge this man has is remarkable and he just gives it out freely. He is not pretentious and always entertain anyone big or small in the industry always willing to help. If you ever get a golden opportunity to work with him or mentored by him say YES!. You will notr regret Dennis, which I had the pleasure of working with is one of the most giving, honest and tell you as it is person I ever know. The knowledge this man has is remarkable and he just gives it out freely. He is not pretentious and always entertain anyone big or small in the industry always willing to help. If you ever get a golden opportunity to work with him or mentored by him say YES!. You will not regret

Nixon Lee

The PR Whisperer

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