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TSA lost my keys going through security during the holidays. Last Thursday I ordered a new one with the Mercedes dealer and they quoted me $1100!I wasn’t able to locate my spare, so having no choice I placed the order. Over the weekend I got a call from TSA saying they found my keys and are overnighting them to me today, I’ll get them tomorrow. I contacted the dealer I’m working with and he told me I can’t send the key back once it’s been programmed. Is this true? It just arrived today and hasn’t been used yet and I haven’t paid for it yet either. They still have my car.

At first, they tried to tell me my original key will no longer work and he had to check to see my key wasn’t blocked or deleted. But I researched and everything is saying once a key is programmed to a car, it always will be for that VIN. So now he said yes I can use that key. lol I feel like I’m just being lied to. Am I actually obligated to buy this new key I ordered?

Also, my boss says his brother owns a dealership (but in Canada) and can get me a new key for no more than $250 as long as I haven’t already paid for my new key. They’re also telling me this is untrue and that I can’t not take the new key and there’s no way anyone will sell it to me for less.

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My understanding of Mercedes keys like what you are describing, they are one and done. They get programmed and they cannot be re-programmed. Mercedes pretty much has people over a barrel on it and as you've discovered, they definitely aren't cheap. So basically, not much you can do about it but pay the bill and get your car out of hock, though you'll have an extra key for your collection.

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  • Damn, so even though I will have my own key, they can refuse to allow me to use my own key? They can stop me from leaving with my car? That’s legal?
    – Dez
    Jan 9 at 1:34
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    @Dez - Legality has to do with where you live and I wouldn't know what those laws are. In most places here in the States, if you order work done to or for your vehicle (in this case, ordering the key), they can hold the vehicle until the work is paid for. If you don't come and pay for the vehicle, after a certain amount of time, they can wholesale your vehicle to recoup the cost of the work (including storage fees if they so deem it). So, yes, they can stop you from leaving with your car. Jan 9 at 10:48
  • @Dez anecdotally I needed a replacement remote control key for my Skoda and the local agent wanted 200 GBP up-front to supply it. I went to my local Timpsons (with the second key) and they copied it for a fraction of that price. Was it inferior? Well the manufacturer's key blade snapped in the ignition lock (luckily I was able to pull it out with pliers) so it could not be much worse. Is it legal in UK to restrict market choices for spare parts? At one time a manufacturer could insist that only original parts can be used without breaking the warranty but I think that's no longer the case. Jan 9 at 21:26
  • @WeatherVane - One of the things about a MB key is that only MB can make it. There is no aftermarket for it. That's why they charge $1100 for the stupid things. Jan 9 at 21:40
  • Perhaps that is a question for SE Law... is it legal in the OP's country (or mine) to restrict the availability of spare parts by creating a monopoly. Jan 9 at 21:42

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