Have you ever had the feeling that the service guy at your local dealership is rummaging through your things? Perhaps even a few quarters are missing. A guy named Jason knows all too well about dealership employees going through his stuff – on two different occasions, Jason noticed that things were missing from his Toyota Tundra after getting it serviced at Hampton Toyota of Lafayette. One time, over $10 in quarters were reportedly stolen, and the next time, Jason says about half his quarters were gone.
After complaining about his problems to dealership management, he received no response. So he rigged a digital video camera to the passenger side door and recorded his Tundra's next service appointment. What he saw from the video footage was priceless. In one video clip, the technician rummages through his pills, even licking the medicine's residue on his hand. He also takes some quarters from the truck. Videos that were later removed from YouTube reportedly shows one man watching what sounds like pornography on a diagnostic computer.
Instead of again complaining to dealership management, this time Jason took the DVD to the local media, and sent a copy to the owner of the dealership, along with a letter detailing what happened to him. Consumerist reports that the dealer's owner immediately fired the three workers caught on video, along with the service manager that ignored his complaints. Jason also received an extended warranty on his truck for his troubles.
Dear Mark Hampton:
I am writing to you as an unsatisfied customer. I think the DVD enclosed will speak for itself. First, a little history about my experience with your dealership.
I purchased my truck, brand new from your dealership, in June 2007. I brought my truck in for the first 5,000-mile service/oil change. Upon picking up my truck I noticed over $10 worth of quarters were stolen from the driver's side door compartment. I complained and even mailed a personal letter to the dealership, addressed to the general manager. I never received a reply, or an apology.
The second time I brought my truck in was in December 2007, for my 10,000-mile service. I took note of the amount of quarters in that same compartment. Upon picking up my truck, I noticed that half of them were stolen. I immediately complained to the service department. I was told the manager was in a meeting and would contact me. He did not return my call, and I was able to speak with him after calling several times.
I also informed my salesman, by letter, after he sent a follow-up letter asking how I was enjoying my truck. I explained both of these situations, yet never heard back from anyone.
In June 2008, I decided to use Hampton Toyota to get my truck serviced again. I previously used dealerships out of Lafayette, but I was tired of the drive and inconvenience of driving to Opelousas or New Iberia. After all, I was not in the wrong. This time I decided to take action to prove the theft. I placed a small digital video camera, clearly visible, in the passenger side inside door handle compartment. Upon me arriving I hit record to see what would happen. I also inventoried everything in my truck, specifically the amount of money inside. The result is on the DVD enclosed. On this DVD you will find the following:
1. The first person to touch my truck was the service manager, Mike (see DVD video #1 "Mike the Service Manager"). He opens my door, puts my keys in the ignition, writes down my mileage, and then removes the keys. Next, he takes a notice in my keys. I keep a red pill vial, used for hikers, on my key chain. I keep personal medication in it for emergencies. He then unscrews the vial, looks inside and smells the vial. Next, he pours them into his hand and inspects them. He then puts them back in the vial and then licks the pill dust from his hand. He then screws the vial back together, replaces the keys, and then writes down the VIN number from the door sticker. Before closing the door, he checks the door compartment where my previous thefts occurred. He closes it without taking anything. He then returns to the vehicle, opens then compartment and proceeds to remove quarters (3 of the 6, totaling $0.75). He then inspects the other contents of the compartment, closes it, and then inspects the bottom door compartment before closing my door.
2. The second person to appear is the unnamed service male (see DVD video #2 "Oil Change Guy"). Upon entering my truck, he places it in reverse and says "ole stupid nigger, back the fuck up." Apparently someone was behind him and he could not back up. He then proceeds to drive my truck around the dealership and into the service garage. Immediately after placing the truck in park, he opens the astray, which contains pennies, nickels and dimes, and visually inspects the contents. Next, he lowers the center seat console, which was raised, and inspects the first compartment. He then opens the second compartment, takes out my CDs and inspects the compartment. He returns the center seat console to the upright position. Next, he inspects the contents of the glove compartment and the compartment above it. He is seen pulling out a personal bag from the compartment to inspect it. He then rolls down the window and inspects the door compartment, which Mike the Service Manager previously stole money from. He drops a small flashlight, which was in the compartment and picks it up off the floor. He then inspects the bottom compartment located in the door.
3. The third guy is the computer technician. He connects the laptop to my truck, located under the steering wheel, and begins working on the laptop. At approximately 3:27 into the video, a male and female voice, is heard coming from the laptop. The audio from the laptop plays the following:
MALE: "I'm sitting here with Violet. How are you today Violet?"
FEMALE: "Pretty good."
MALE: "You doing pretty good?"
MALE: "So you're gonna do some modeling for us today, huh?"
MALE: "Yeah, nice. So I see you're wearing a little see-through top. Not bad, nice. A little skirt."
This audio, which is coming from the laptop, is obviously some type of pornographic video due to the language and context in which it was spoken, which is being accessed using the company's laptop.
I have been deciding what to do with this video footage. I would hate for it to go to waste; therefore I have decided to make it available to you. This is not the first time my encounters of theft has been reported. I have complained in person and in writing, yet nothing has been done.
My next course of action is to make it available to the media outlets in Acadiana. Both the local newspapers and TV stations will receive the same DVD and letter I am providing to you. I have already reported this to Toyota, Inc. and am waiting for the southern region representative to contact me regarding this.
Everyone always wonders if the workers dig through personal belongings. I think this DVD not only answers that question, but proves it happens multiple times. Could it be a coincidence that this happened only to me three times?
In closing, I hope you and your management staff find some way to address this with your employees. Customer satisfaction is crucial, especially in slow times like these. I know other customers feel the same, as your Better Business Bureau rating is an F, as verified using the bbb.org website. However, I feel my video will speak more than their report could ever do.