• Jul 13, 2009

Hampton Toyota responds to video of employee misconduct – Click above to watch video

Last week, we showed you video of a dealership employee stealing from a customer's Tundra at Hampton Toyota of Lafayette. The customer, Jason Leonard, suspected that some of his belongings had been taken out the truck on previous occasions, so he complained to dealership management. He evidently received no response, so he placed a camera in his truck on a subsequent service call to keep a digital eye on his stuff.

What he saw was a technician taking quarters and looking through a pill bottle. There was reportedly another video that showed a second employee watching porn on a diagnostic computer while sitting in the truck, but that footage was pulled from YouTube before we could check it out for ourselves. After sending a letter to dealer Mark Hampton, along with a DVD of his surveillance video, the three employees involved with the issue were fired and Leonard received a $2,000 extended service contract on his truck.

After the news hit websites like, well, Autoblog and Consumerist, the dealership decided to post a response video on YouTube. In the video, owner Mark Hampton reiterates the events that transpired as detailed in an official letter signed by both Hampton and the rankled customer. In the video, the dealer describes the entire ordeal, including what lead to the firing of the three workers.

Interestingly, Hampton says that he took Leonard out to lunch and offered a personal apology before the videos were sent to the press, showing that the dealership took steps toward doing the right thing even before the matter received media attention. Hampton also reiterates that Leonard went back for service at his dealership after their lunch meeting, presumably illustrating that he now trusts the service department to take car of his truck.

For our money, we think the dealer did the right thing in taking care of the customer, while also firing those implicated in the videos. It's also impressive that the owner of the dealership met with the disgruntled customer in person and gave him an extended service contract for his troubles. However, cynics will likely suggest that the video apology was necessary to begin healing the dealer's public image, not to mention the possible benefit of going on record to potentially head off further complaints and/or legal action by Leonard or other Hampton Toyota customers. Hit the jump to view the response video for yourself, and let us know if you think the dealership handled the matter well in Comments.

[Source: YouTube]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 55 Comments
      Rebecca Smith
      • 1 Month Ago

      yeah well the dealership the Mark Hampton owns in Ft. Walton Beach, FL sells lemons so it looks to me as though all his dealerships have declining reputations.

      • 5 Years Ago
      So the customer released the videos to the press AFTER receiving an apology and reparations from the dealer? Is my chronology messed up?
        • 5 Years Ago
        There was no 'settlement' at the time of the meeting. Even at the meeting, and my letter before hand, they knew that the media would get the videos, as one already had.
        Also, from a source at one of those papers, the dealership called around to the local media to find out who had the story and who was going to run it. This wasn't blind sided.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "It's also impressive that the owner of the dealership met with the disgruntled customer in person and gave him an extended service contract for his troubles."

      What is the impressive part? Owner of business meeting with a customer? Do you have to go the media so you can get attention from a business owner?
      • 5 Years Ago
      So, then it's just like police misconduct. No one will believe you unless there is video
      • 5 Years Ago
      If he is so out of touch with his management this place should be avoided at all costs. This just goes to show you that he doesn't care just as long as the money keeps rolling in. I was looking at the one video where he drops the metal clipboard down on the seat of the truck. Can you imagine if you had leather seating and an edge scratched the leather? Good luck trying to get the dealership to admit fault on that.

      Dealerships should be avoided at all costs. They rush as many cars in a given day and all that does is cause screw-ups when people don't take their time. That's the reason I learned how to do maintenance myself, I could do the job better than the dealership. Find a reputable independent mechanic to have your car serviced.

      • 5 Years Ago
      It is really too bad this was not directed to this man the first time. Every company can have some bad employees but coming on here and making a public apology was very professional. I hate Toyota's and I hate the sales practices I have seen over the years (very general statement I know) but I would trust that this dealership is well on their way to turning their location into a professional operation once again.

      I am very upset with the service manager and hope he never finds employement at any other dealship. He was as much to blame as the guy stealing the money.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I REALLY wish everyone would stop referring to the person stealing from the car and licking the pills as a "technician". a technician is an auto mechanic, this guy clearly appears to be a service writer. look at his uniform and the fact that he is doing paperwork on a clipboard and checking the odometer etc. he appears to be preparing a repair order. a service writer is just another form of salesman, only instead of selling you a new or used car, he's selling you a transmission flush for his commission.

      I haven't seen the other video, but the guy looking at porn on the scan tool was probably the technician. we have morals and ethical standards. we may look at porn in your front seat, but we don't lick your perscription meds.
        • 5 Years Ago

        sing it loud & proud brother!

        (addendum: we may also surf autoblog from your front seat.)
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm not sure why the service manager wasn't fired as well. In my company when there are extreme employee issues like this, my beef is first with the employee and then with his manager who didn't do his job making sure the employee did his correctly.

      If you have a systemic employee problem, the problem started higher up then just the base employee.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Service Manager was fired too, go to about 0:33 into the video.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Whatever the case, he still did the right thing, and that speaks well.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "..I agree with the statement above and my signature verifies these statements..."

        W@# is that? The whole thing looks like a settlement. FAIL
        • 5 Years Ago
        Second note, it seems like the customer still has some beef with the dealership; since his response almost sounded like a canned-legal speech regarding liability. Seemed like the firing of 4 employees + free extended warranty + personal apology wasn't enough for him.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yup, looks good to me. If you feel wronged by someone and they go out of their way to fix things then it should end there. If you are a spiteful person that would remain upset no matter what the person does then that says more about you than it does them.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I have respect for the Mr. Hampton here. He did the right thing when others (such as the general public and media) weren't watching yet.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Consumerist had this a while ago and the original owner emailed to mention that he did not actually get confirmation of anything until after he posted his videos.

      Specifically, he said:

      UPDATE: Jason sent this email in response to the Hampton video:

      Just to clarify, when we met on Memorial Day, the warranty was mentioned, but not solid. This value of $2,000 didn't come up until the local paper ran their article. I never heard a thing from them from that Memorial Day meeting until the local article ran. I didn't get that "confirmation" that they were sending the warranty until the day after the article ran. It was just mentioned. The warranty wasn't mailed by them until July 1st, which I can prove by the actual paperwork.

      http://tinyurl.com/ktlct2
      • 5 Years Ago
      The original story said the dealership ignored the customer until he went public. Hampton is running like crazy trying to stanch the inevitable damage and financial loss to his business his inaction caused.

      There is a similar story about United Airlines breaking a passenger's guitar, and then stonewalling him for a year. It has had 2.5-million view in 6-days. UA is belatedly busting its ass to get out of the headlines. This is really clever and worth watching.

      http://tinyurl.com/knxyvm
        • 5 Years Ago
        Thanks for the tiny url...that was probably the funniest thing I've seen this year. And the best use of YouTube to get your point across. And he did it the Canadian way. Peacefully. And with humour. I think he (they) just gained a bazillion new fans. Song of the year goes to...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hampton Toyota responded in the correct manner and i hope all Toyota dealerships become more vigilant because the company is one of the best car manufactuers around and i'll hate to see a handful of idiots tarnish Toyota's otherwise strong and respected reputation.
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