December 13, 2018

Mercedes Shows a Stone Heart to Abused Wife

Caution: the following story may make you think twice about supporting Mercedes.

Rebecca (a pseudonym) was swept off her feet by a prince charming from a wonderful and wealthy family. She thought all her prayers were answered, until soon after they were married he started beating her.

But he would apologize.

They had two boys and the beatings became more frequent. While they resided in luxury with maids and a large home in Beverly Hills, she was enduring a living nightmare.

Finally, she found the resolve and opportunity to leave him. But he tracked her down, beat her more, threatened her life with a gun.

Living in total fear, she was able to get a lawyer and a restraining order against him. The divorce proceedings will end up in court.

Being from a Jewish background she also wanted a Jewish divorce. He refused. Thankfully, she connected with The Jewish Divorce Assistance Center of Los Angeles. Through their help another organization threatened to place billboards around LA with his name. Not wanting the public embarrassment to the family name, he consented to go to a Jewish court to grant her a divorce.

At the court he cursed out the rabbis. None had ever seen such a crude husband.

She has been living in fear, in a highly secure apartment, and trying to make ends meet. The JDACLA is continuing to provide her with support and guidance. When we heard about her plight, our synagogue’s Domestic Violence Victims Fund was able to raise money to keep her from being evicted.

Next was preventing her car from be repossessed. When her life situation was very different, she leased a Mercedes. Now she was many months behind and Mercedes was threatening to repossess her car.

The community raised money to pay off the what she owed, and her advocates arranged for a way out of the lease once it was current. Rebecca made the payment to Mercedes —  but it was one day late.

One day.

Why was it late? Because Mercedes wouldn’t accept the payment from us online or over the phone. We even tried walking over the check to the dealership. 

So Rebecca’s attorney called Mercedes to see if she could get them to give her a one day extension and this is what happened:

I repeatedly told [the Mercedes rep] that the Rabbi attempted to make payment and call, and that it was denied or declined. She responded that you cannot make payment in dealerships, and that the protocol is to refer people to financial, and no one made payment to financial.

She says the current lease is now broken and they will take the car and sell it, and Rebecca will be responsible for the remainder. She refused to back down from her position. She also said Rebecca can try to refinance, but I told her we all know that Rebecca’s credit is probably not very good at the moment. I said that they were clearly taking advantage of Rebecca and attempting to leverage an unfair profit out of her.

She would simply deflect by saying that someone was attempting to make arrangements to make payment or was calling Mercedes on the day that Rebecca claimed she was in the hospital.

Yes, you read that correctly. Rebecca was hospitalized for a surgical procedure.

So when JDACLA informed me about Mercedes refusing the payment arranged thorugh our synagogue, I tried to reach out to Mercedes via Twitter as any concerned consumer:

Just learned that @MBUSA is repossessing car of a battered mother who paid 1 day late. She's has restraining order against ex.

When contacted about this by her lawyer @MBUSA refused to make exception – even though mother didn't miss payment ever. /

Will @MBUSA @MercedesBenz grant a 1 day extension to victim of dom. violence on a lease? Or will they force her into bankruptcy? pls reply

Mercedes hasn’t replied to any of my overtures on Twitter, or in writing to Rebecca’s lawyer, but perhaps they will listen to you?

Please direct your outrage at how Mercedes is handling the case of an abused wife who was one day late on her car payment to the new CEO of Mercedes USA, Dietmar Exler. I couldn’t find him on Facebook or Twitter.

Mercedes Customer Care 1 (800) 367-6372; “>Mercedes on Facebook

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Rabbi Yonah Bookstein is Rabbi and Co-Founder of Pico Shul, Alevy Rabbi-in-Residence at USC Hillel, Rabbi at Shabbat Tent, and the most followed congregational rabbi on