I recently purchased a car from the Conicelli Toyota of Springfield Autoplex in Pennsylvania. Despite their slogan “A Nice Place to Do Business”, my experience from the get go was anything but pleasant. I found the car I wanted at great price when I was looking at the Conicelli lot on a Sunday afternoon. I copied down the vin # of the car and the dealership numbers to look up their inventory on-line and express my interest in the car. I was so excited that I found the car I wanted for the price range I had in mind, I quickly called the sales department the next day and expressed my interest in possibly purchasing the car and test driving it. I knew once I test driven the car and liked how it handled, I would have signed the papers that night and drove the car home. They said they would hold the car for me and I made an appointment to come and see and test drive the car on a Tuesday (the next day).
So Tuesday rolls around and I drove from my work in New Jersey (outside Trenton) to see the car I wanted to buy. The salesman even called me that morning to confirm that I will be there to see the car that I wanted (gave him the vin #). He said great. I was excited to see the car (note I don’t live near this dealership, it is a good hour and 40 minutes away from my work), but when I get into the dealership, I see a different car that is not the exact same car (different model, interior etc.). I asked the salesman where the car that I interested in purchasing was being held. His response was oh we sold it last night. And I was just shocked (note he called me that morning to confirm our appointment about this car). I think I said “What? but I was stongely interested in purchasing that car”. Then he said “Well we sell cars all the time. We can’t guarantee that it will be here the next day”. I have heard stories of people being bated and switched at Conicelli (my father was at the Conicelli Honda dealership near his house). I was now on the receiving end of a bate and switch at the Conicelli Toyota Autoplex.
The salesman made some pretty rude comments how I shouldn’t waste people’s time if I wasn’t serious in buying a car. I was serious in buying a car. I was serious in buying the particular car that I set up the appointment to see it and 90% would have drove home with the car that night. When he brought up wasting time, I pointed out the fact that I :
1. Did not live in Delaware County. I, in fact, lived a good 50 minutes to an hour from the dealship. Plus add 40 mins to that for my commute from New Jersey. So in essance, the salesman was wasting my time and did not respect my time by making such a rude and inappropriate accusation.
2. I was treated like a child. I look young for my age. I was basically given a cold shoulder when I walked into the dealership. It seemed like they did not need the business. When a young professional says they are serious about buying a car, give them the respect you would give any potential customer. I now know of other people that received the same treatment at this dealership. They decided to walk out before they even spoke to a salesperson (if any salesperson ever made an effort to talk to them).
3. After I received a bunch of hidden and blatant insults from the salemans, I decided to walk towards the door. That’s when the salesman took my offer seriously and my potential business. It seemed like you (the client) had to make that extra effort and push to prove you were interested. A customer should never have to do that. After that, he apologized and I test drove a car that was the same model but not the exact features of the car I wanted. He only apologized because he seemed desperate after a while for business.
4. After 2 and a half hours, I ended up buying a car that was a tab bit better than the car I orginally wanted at a few bucks less than I was willing to spend. It was the most emotionally and phyically exhausting day of my life. Like I said, I wanted to buy that particular car, and he knew it. Why would somebody drive almost 2 hours, put up with a bait and switch tactic, and then test drive a car? I would say I was a serious customer. At this point alot of people would have walked out. The deal I got was good, but not at the price I had to pay to put up with the abuse I received.
The fun does not end there. Since my temp registration for my car was coming close to expiring, I decided the call PennDOT to see if they mailed out the perm. tag. When they asked me what my license plate was, I read it off to them. They told me they mailed it out at the end of July (note: at this point it is the end of August). I told them I did not receive it. They asked me address and I gladly gave it to them. They said that is not the address they have listed. They kind of sounded funny after that and the conversation ended right there. She said she could not give me any more information and that I would have to check my pink slip and maybe with the dealership. Thank God my uncle (and Godfather) is a Lt. in the Philadelphia police department. He ran my plate. Then he said “that’s not right. Give me your vin#”. I gave him my vin number. He said that my license plate was wrong and he told me NOT to drive in Philly or out of state because my car would be impounded, I would be ticketed, and possibly arrested, no questions asked. Please note I have to drive through Philly to get to Conicelli and I work out of state. So here I was, driving illegally for 2 months mostly out of state for work, with the wrong license plate. Another customer had my plate. I notified Conicelli . They told me to wait 4 more days (because of a holiday) to get a new plate and registration. I had to push to get a new license plate because my uncle was really upset and concerned about my car. He kept saying “You need to fix this now. This is a serious issue. Philadelphia will ticket and impound your car. No questions asked, even if its not your fault”. For a Lt. in the police dept to be that worried, I knew it was a super serious issue.
I called again on a Friday and I had to have the Conicelli Honda dealership send over my new plate and registration to Toyota for me to pick up in bad weather (remnants of Hurricane Ernesto). When I drove down there in rush hour, hurricane weather, and holiday traffic, the girl at the front desk looked at me like I was nuts when I asked for my correct plate. She said she didn’t know what I was talking about. It was right in front of her face.The saleman that sold me the car was there and he had no clue why I was there. They didn’t notify that other customer of the mix up as of that day. I got the new plate on and asked how I would be compensated (monetarily or otherwise) for this serious mix up (which could have caused me money in a ticket and car impoundment). The salesman said he would have his manager contact me either Saturday (tomorrow) or next week.
I wrote an e-mail to the salesman the next week to remind him about the mix-up and for somebody to get back to me. I waited a week (7 days) for somebody to get back to me. I decided to call on my lunch break. I called for the sales manager. He was out so I spoke to the asst. manager named Steve. Steve was down right rude. I asked him about compeinsation (monetary or otherwise-note when I meant monetary, I was thinking free oil change, not a $1,000 bucks) he said he will not give any compinsation and since they did not get back to me, I should assume that. He kept saying no compensation and we apologized, isn’t that enough? If you say you will get back to your customers about a serious matter like this, you should. Without customers, you wouldn’t have a business and I am not a mind reader. He said his apologies should be good enough. I explained how my car could have possibly been impounded, I would have been ticketed and possibly arrested (having a Lt. in the Philly police as my source) and he said “Well you didn’t get arrested or a ticket so it doesn’t matter”. He acted like I was bothering him and that Conicelli did nothing wrong. He also said that this mix-up happens from time to time. Basically he was telling me to shut up and deal with it in a rude manner. He claimed that Conicelli acted promptly. They wanted me to wait 4 more days until I pushed them to give me a new plate with the right registration under the guidance of a police officier. That is not swift and prompt. They did not catch the probelm, I did. He said “when I was growing up, an apology was good enough. It meant something. I didn’t feel like I needed to be compensated monetarily “. Would a token to say your sorry like a free oil change break their bank? No, it wouldn’t. That is just common customer satisfaction. They couldn’t even give me the common courtesy to call or e-mail me back to say sorry and no, we will not compensate you for driving illegally at out fault for 2 months and taking countless hours out of your day to remedy the problem. Only after I said the compensation didn’t have to be like $500 (because I wasn’t looking for anything like that) he said “Well what do you want? What will make you happy?” in a mocking and insulting tone. I felt like I had to beg for an apology. He offered a free oil change (after it felt like forever to admit the way he handled the situation was wrong) and that I would just have to call him and set it up. I told him I wanted it in writing. He even fought me and was like no, just call me. I said I would feel better if I had it in writing and he can e-mail it to me. Of course I did not receive an e-mail. Now I am wondering if I should trust servicing my car there. I might end up with different parts in my car, or a totally different car all together.
The customer service gets 0 stars at Conicelli and despite what the slogan says, it is not a nice place to do business. I would recommend spending the extra money at another Toyota dealership, and get better service, respect, and no headaches. My friends and family are not buying cars from Conicelli. I wouldn’t even recommend it to my worse enemy. Nedxt time, I might buy from a different car maker all together.