My mother had 4 Mercs in her lifetime and the service has been always like your description.
It not my intention to make fun of this but the best advice i can give is to get a Subaru.
No perfect cars either but Subaru has the best service known to mankind. That of course is totally my personal impression.
+1. They're better made too!
I've just sold a Forester after 8 years. I'm regretting it deeply.
I've been looking around for something as well made, and have drawn a blank. Looks like I might be getting another one...
Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank.
Give a man a bank, and he can rob everybody.