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My brother and I recently purchased Honda Elements on 4/19 from Holler Honda in Winter Haven. Everyone at the dealership was wonderful, and so were the prices. I got a SOP 4WD EX for $500 under MSRP, and he purchased a NBP DX with AC and alloys added on.
The following Monday I went to my local Honda dealership. (2.5 hours away from Holler Honda) I was showing a close friend of mine the Element since I hadn't received mine yet because of insurance issues. Within a few minutes of exiting his vehicle a salesperson approached us and asked if he could help us out with anything. I had informed him that I had recently purchased an Element and that this was my closest dealer. He inquired about the location of my purchase, and I explained the situation regarding my brother and the group-buy. He was impressed with the deal that I received on my Element; it was much lower than their sticker prices there (dealership mark-up of $2500)
He left for a few minutes, and I continue to show my friend all of the neat features Honda offers on the Element. The General Manager than comes outside to speak with us. He asked me "Why are you looking at that if you already bought one?" At first I was under the impression that he was joking around in an attempt to make conversation and become acquainted with me since this was where my Element would be serviced. This is where the visit began to turn for the worse. He told me if I wasn't going to purchase cars from his dealership, than not to bother looking at them there. I was offended but tried to stay calm and collective. I explained to him that between my brother and I we've owned 7 Hondas including our Elements, and that I do plenty of business with him, and was hoping to have them service my Element when needed. He informed me that I should look elsewhere for service on my Honda Element.
By this time I was extremely upset with the situation at hand, and was hoping to resolve it in a peaceful adult manner. He then questioned my place of employment. I replied that I was an Assistant Manager at a Discount Auto Parts close by. "Well I'm the General Manager and that's the last time I'll every by a damn part from you guys."
At this point I returned to my friend's vehicle and sat in the passenger seat. While we were exiting the parking lot the General Manager continued to use profane language and insult my friend and I. The friend I was with has a short fuse and stopped the car to exchange a few words with the manager. This ended rather shortly and we both left the dealership in his Honda Accord, embarrassed to be driving a car that the manager was suppose to represent.
This occurred in front of 10 or 15 employees that were outside during the event. I pray this guy was having a bad day and that we were the only ones to see this certain side of him. I hope to resolve this conflict without fear of retaliation. The 2nd closest Honda dealership is 40 minutes away from my house, and the extra 25-minute drive would be quite an inconvenience if I were forced to go elsewhere.
What are you dealers opinions on this, and what's the best way to handle this situation?
-Adam Bourne
 

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With any complaint, the best method is to write a letter (not an email or phone call) to both Honda America HQ and the District office for that particular Honda dealership (their addresses can be found in your owners manual). Since the "General Manager" is rarely the owner, I don't think his boss will be overly amused at his poor behaviour. Also incidents like this can prevent dealerships from receiving larger numbers of highly sought after cars (like our E's). I can only hope too that this guy was only having a "bad day" and doesn't regularly break into tirades like the one you experienced. Good luck and keep us informed.
 

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Adam, sorry to hear about your terrible experience. As a GSM, I can truly say I hate to hear things like this. There are several things that you can do:

1)First step is to make sure you have all the correct names (if you remember). If you have forgotten and are positive that really was the GM acting like a 3 year old (well even most 3yr olds behave better than that) then get his name. As Lon suggessted, file a complaint with American Honda. You can call and also write a letter about your experience. Honda really does listen and it will certainly be brought to his and the owner's attention if you are persistent. You might find out that this tool was a salesman trying to get your goat acting like a GM.

2)Find out who the owner is. Call the operator and ask. You might have to be a little stealth like about that, or he/she might just direct you back to the moron who insulted you in the first place. Find out how to contact the owner. If you have to, pretend you are sending a nice letter to the owner in regards to your great service at dealer X. If you can get a phone number to reach the owner, get that too. Even if all you get is voice mail, leave an urgent message letting the owner know you would like to discuss an important event that occurred at his/her dealership. This is where you might get the run-around, just depending on the owner. I have only worked for 2 dealerships ever and I know that if either of them were contacted in this type situation (my first owner was about as easy to get ahold of as George W) there would certainly be hell to pay when he got ahold of the GM.

3)Have a polite, to the point response prepared for when you do get ahold of the owner. Whether it is by phone or mail. Follow up after you make contact.

4)Most owners have enough money and might not be all that concerned about the loss of service business, but most owners truly care about their reputation and how their customers are treated. There is an age old saying that goes something like this: Have a happy customer, they will tell friends and family. Have an unhappy customer and they will tell everyone they meet/know.

I guess that I am lucky to work for a GM who I could never even fathom throwing a tirade like that. I also have an owner that is easily accessible. He owns close to 20 dealerships and has a great reputation, so to mess with that would certainly get him extremely peeved to say the least. Our entire staff knows that all it takes is one phone call describing an experience like yours, and heads would roll. Hopefully the owner of dealer X has the same respect for his/her customers and dealership.

Good luck and please do keep us informed on how this is handled.
 

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Adam,

In your talk with the owner/higher-ups, you can also mention that your friend was there to possibly make a purchase, and perhaps you would have looked at that particular dealership for your next Honda.

It was wrong of a GM to do that, but it might not have been the GM. And the Honda I went to said that even if they got an "A-" grade they failed, so an F from someone must be really bad.
 
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