Car Dealership Picketing: American West Coast Edition

Remember the disgruntled Range Rover owner in England who lettered his complaints on the vehicle and parked it in front of the dealership? Reader M.H. discovered his American counterpart standing in front of a Hyundai dealership in Vancouver, Washington.

Maybe Consumerist and “Top Gear” can get together and set up some kind of cultural exchange.

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  1. BennyMigrationWitness_GitEmSteveDave says:

    I only hope one day I can retire and do things like this. Just give me a lawnchair and an iPod, and I’ll protest from dusk till two hours before Old Country Buffet closes.

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @BennyMigrationWitness_GitEmSteveDave: There was a retired priest who did this outside my college campus. We were never totally clear what he was protesting, but it had something to do with the fact that he loved America.

      Whatever, he gave a thumbs up to everyone who honked — happy honk or angry honk. Whatever floats your retired boat, I guess!

      • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

        @Eyebrows McGee (now with more baby!): we’ve had Westboro Baptist “Church” come on campus at a variety of schools i’ve attended… (these are the people who protested at Heath Ledger’s funeral, protest at the funerals of deceased servicemen, have a website “godhatesfags.com”)

        • BennyMigrationWitness_GitEmSteveDave says:

          @gStein: Well, while I am a minister, I don’t think all of our ills are the fault of one segment of the population who prefers a different way to get “aroused”. What’s next, GodHatesFurries.com?

          @Eyebrows McGee (now with more baby!): Priests retire?

        • trujunglist says:

          @gStein:

          Those people are disgusting incestuous freaks. I hope they love burning in the hell of their own creation when jesus finds out what they’ve been doing.

  2. dandubois says:

    I saw someone like this recently as one of those gas stations that just happen to also sell cars. It was down the street from my house. I thought “Thats right, Stick up for your right” The person was only down there a couple days in a row so I now wonder if they get a better deal, money back or so on. Ill never know. Ill also never buy a car from a place that just happens to sell the gas for it as well.Sticking to my subie.

  3. nato0519 says:

    Think he may have a bit of a problem…he’s protesting Hyundai in front of a Suzuki place? Than again I’m not up to date on who owns who anymore these days? Maybe I can be enlightened…

    • kc2idf says:

      @nato0519: Well . . .

      For one thing, I once bought a Subaru from an Acura dealer . . .

      For another thing, a lot of dealers are mult-branded . . .

      For a third thing, this may be in a place where there are a cluster of dealerships, and the camera angle happens to catch the adjacent Suzuki dealer behind the guy, rather than the Hyundai dealer he’s actually standing in front of . . .

      There are other possibilities, too, I’m sure.

    • Geekybiker says:

      @nato0519: Most likely the picture was just taken at a bad angle in the Suzuki dealer is next door. Or maybe the dealer sells both and only that sign got in the picture.

  4. enginecraft says:

    I’d like to know what customer service error caused the protest. I like the Suzuki dealership sign in the background with a PT Cruiser for sale…

  5. Nytmare says:

    My arms would get tired of holding signs in that position within 30 seconds. How does he do it?

  6. babyruthless says:

    I’ve seen a guy like this out front of a dealer in Arlington, Texas too. Maybe it’s pretty common.

  7. Radi0logy says:

    Wait, I’m confused – does he hate Hyundai or the dealership that sells Hyundai? I doubt a street corner is the best place to advertise your hatred for a brand of car.

    • FooSchnickens - Full of SCAR says:

      @Radi0logy: It looks like he’s on a corner or near a driveway, so it could be that the Suzuki dealer is next door. I still think Suzuki is on its own, but Kia and Hyundai are in cahoots.

      • nataku8_e30 says:

        @FooSchnickens: Yes, Kia and Hyundai are two brands owned by the same Korean company. Suzuki used to be partially owned by GM. The Geo / Chevy Metro and Tracker were just the rebadged Suzuki Swift and Sidekick. I’m pretty sure that GM dumped most of its stake in Suzuki in 2006.

  8. chattanooga says:

    A Hyundai dealership in Hayward CA. refused to replace a recalled part on my car for free even though they were supposed to. That is until my ex called up their corporate office and complained. You have to go all the way up the chain of command to get things done sometimes.

  9. RevRagnarok says:

    Why didn’t whoever took the shot tell him to write up his story for us? Sadly, not everybody knows about this site.

  10. Phishy says:

    As much as I fully support this guy and his woes, I really wish he was more specific about his issue.
    Does he really believe Hyundai Sucks or is it just the dealership giving him a new one? Its kind of unfair to attack a complete brand for some customer service issues.
    I could see how he would be ticked with Hyundai, as a car company, if he ended up with a lemon but there are laws (and warranties) that protect us from such bad luck.

    To the man outside the Hyundai/Suzuki dealership: Keep fighting the good fight. Make more signs and tell us why you are so pissed! Take some tips from disgruntled Rover man and give us a reason to be pissed too!

    • ColoradoShark says:

      @Phishy: I’m sure if you walked up to him he would regale you with the whole story. You have to write in big easy to read letters as a “headline”. Lots of details on the sign and no one will be able to read it as you drive buy.

      • Phishy says:

        @ColoradoShark, @rpm773:
        Don’t let those guns fool you (read: strong sign holding arms). I’m sure this guy could get some yardsale-esque signs to plant into the dirt. It didn’t stop the 4 bedroom renter and the, what ironically looks like, yard sale sign!

        • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

          @Phishy: In my city, you can walk around protesting with signs any damn place you want, but the types of signs you can plant in the ground are VERY limited in type, time, and place and you CAN be ticketed (generally under litter laws).

          Every year some politician who isn’t speedy enough at getting his or her signs out of the public grassy areas after the election gets litter tickets. And certain grassy areas you can’t put them at all, typically for safety reasons (they can obscure vision at a turn) but sometimes for environmental reasons (restoration area, drainage issues, etc.).

          • Phishy says:

            @Eyebrows McGee (now with more baby!): Same thing goes in my city too. Heck, they even kicked the Liberty Tax people out of town b/c they though morons in Statue of Liberty suits were more of an eyesore than signs in the ground.

            To all:
            My point wasn’t to argue the logistics of conveying information. It was the lack of information that this guy was presenting to the table. Hard to be sympathetic when we all know that customer service sucks at some point in time. (Not saying I doubt the legitimacy of his angst though)

      • BennyMigrationWitness_GitEmSteveDave says:

        @ColoradoShark: Sadly, it IS just a headline for the picture. If you walk up to him, I hear he says:
        “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed at ante. Mauris eleifend, quam a vulputate dictum, massa quam dapibus leo, eget vulputate orci purus ut lorem. In fringilla mi in ligula. Pellentesque aliquam quam vel dolor. Nunc adipiscing. Sed quam odio, tempus ac, aliquam molestie, varius ac, tellus. Vestibulum ut nulla aliquam risus rutrum interdum. Pellentesque lorem. Curabitur sit amet erat quis risus feugiat viverra. Pellentesque augue justo, sagittis et, lacinia at, venenatis non, arcu. Nunc nec libero. In cursus dictum risus. Etiam tristique nisl a nulla. Ut a orci. Curabitur dolor nunc, egestas at, accumsan at, malesuada nec, magna.” [en.wikipedia.org]

    • rpm773 says:

      @Phishy: He’s got two arms for two posterboards. It’s a rather limiting protest medium.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @Phishy: It is unfair to attack an entire brand for the failures of one dealership…but Consumerist readers do it all the time, and human beings in general do it all the time. Because no one can possibly experience every dealership to gauge the overall picture (this is why they have surveys) we tend to just go with whoever is disgruntled against a company.

      I bet in the next Starbucks-related post, we’ll get a ton of people who had one bad cup of coffee there and concluded immediately that “Starbucks sucks!” – despite many people saying they had a decent cup of coffee there.

      • Phishy says:

        @pecan 3.14159265: I’m not saying we don’t and I’ll be the first to cry hypocrite. I just want to find out where this guy is coming from!

      • trujunglist says:

        @Phishy: @pecan 3.14159265:

        It is not unfair to attack the brand because these places should be considered representative of the brand. Otherwise, they shouldn’t be allowed to sell the products. I like to use Apple as an example for a lot of things, so here we go: let’s say there’s a rogue Apple store that pisses people off constantly. Apple is not going to allow that store to continue, plain and simple, because it does exactly what you’re saying.. hurts the brand name. Any company that is any good knows this and will prevent the resellers from doing things that would harm the brand. That’s why every McDonald’s is the same. That’s why every Burger King is the same. This is on a different scale, so the expected service should increase in proportion to how much you’re throwing down on the product/service. If Burger King is willing to give it to you your way, and Apple has really great customer service, then Hyundai should basically be sucking your dick with how much money you throw away initially and in service.

  11. alternatestory says:

    Consumerist + Top Gear = two of my favorite things. Please make this happen, Consumerist!

    And for the rest of you, check out Top Gear’s website – you can watch a ton of clips online for free, and they are absolutely hilarious.

    • K-Bo says:

      @alternatestory: seconded.

      Also, I recommend starting with the “what if I get chased through the mall by baddies in a sports car” and “what if I go on an amphibious assault with the royal marines” videos.

      • wrjohnston91283 says:

        @K-Bo:

        I hope Ford uses those clips in commercial for the Fiesta – I can’t wait for that car to come here.

  12. larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

    When I was growing up in the Bucks County Pennsylvania area, I’d often see a car driving around that had “This is a lemon” painted on it. I never did get the whole story, what with being ten years old or so, but that guy certainly seemed to be making his point.

  13. PencilSharp says:

    Okay, for everyone weighing in on this…

    You, as both a customer and an American, have the right to protest shoddy service… if you stay on the sidewalk outside of the business. Take one step onto the business’ property, and you likely will be nailed for trespassing (and any biz that inspires this kind of wrathful protesting is likely to do it, too).

    @Phishy: Make more signs and tell us why you are so pissed.
    Also, you must be extremely careful and vague about what you write and say. Again, you have to stick to the facts and only the facts when you do something like this, because these kinds of businesses will be all too happy to sue you for defaming them, and slander/libel suits are a bear.

    Clark Howard has also covered this ground before

    • Phishy says:

      @PencilSharp: Very true indeed and completely agree with you. That’s where the problem lies though! Last time I checked “Hyundai Sucks” isn’t a fact. :)
      The Rover guy took your approach to the T. He outlined his issues with his particular truck. He didn’t say anything fictitious or anything that directly attacked the brand (or dealership for that matter). A lot of his message was passed through the factual info he had on the window. It was also his SUGGESTION not to “buy one of these (Range Rover Sport)”.

    • Geekybiker says:

      @PencilSharp: I had someone threaten to sue me over an online review no long ago. IAMAL, but what I found out when I research it is 1) Truth is always a defense. 2) Opinion is normally unactionable unless its a fact disguised as opinion. 3) There are some specific accusations that are automatically considered libel/slander. It varies per state, but false accusation of a crime or cheating on their spouse is typical. 4) Other types of defamation normal require proof that the fact isn’t true, and that the comment was made in malice. 5) Ever ‘facts’ that aren’t true may not be defamation if they are hyperbole. Saying “He has a brain the size of a pea.” for example.

      Hyundai Sucks falls under the opinion category so he should be plenty safe. In the end there is never anything you can do to prevent someone from suing you though. Hopefully your state has some sort of anti-slapp law to protect consumers from companies trying to silence them.

  14. Rachacha says:

    If I were the dealership, I would ignore him, except I would send someone out every few hours with a bottle of water and give him a Hot Dog at around lunch time…how long can you stay mad at someone who gives you a hot dog?

  15. Kaellorian says:

    This guy was either ignored entirely by a customer service rep (entirely possible) or is one of the inordinately fussy and demanding assclowns featured on http://www.notalwaysright.com.

  16. Roycester says:

    My brother is one of those people who make the signs and get the sidewalk permit when other methods fail. He had one dealership call the cops on him – but of course he was ready – turned out the cop’s wive had a car with a similar complaint they wouldn’t address. Of course, he’s been banned from one dealership in town, but manages to get good service and just smiles when they tell him no…

  17. edison234 says:

    I think he was here:
    [maps.google.com]

    The white building in the background is a trailer that housed a temporary Suzuki location. The Google Maps photo here shows the Hyundai dealer sign.

  18. econobiker says:

    I saw a mad Jeep Grand Cherokee owner in Savannah GA Spring 1995 doing the same thing…

  19. Squeezer99 says:

    there was a guy that did that here for several weeks atleast. brought car in for some simple repair work (i don’t remember what exactly) and the dealership ended up blowing up his engine and wouldn’t replace it unless he paid like $3000. he sat out there in a truck with a big sign on the side about how the dealership sucked. I don’t ever know what happened, the guy isn’t there anymore anyway, lol, but it was a few years ago when this happened.

  20. amhorach says:

    Am I the only one that things a flash mob with the appropriate signs would be a great way to picket?

  21. c_c says:

    For what it’s worth, I bought a used Elantra a few years ago and have had no problem getting free warranty service from my local Hyundai dealer.

  22. Snarkysnake says:

    The swami sez…

    You’re gonna see a lot of stories and pictures like this if FIAT brings their unreliable griefboxes to the U.S…

  23. ElizabethD says:

    Thumbs up for Hyundai – the car. (And for the local dealership where we’ve purchased three of them to date.)

    Thumbs down for bad service anywhere.

  24. lockdog says:

    Saw one of these for a few days near our local Toyota dealership. “Green’s Toyota Sold Me This Lemon” hung from a very new, very expensive truck. What I couldn’t figure out was why he was parked on a sort of obscure side road, not somewhere closer to the main thoroughfare. Then I realized that he was right next the entrance driveway the salesman used so people on test drives could safely reenter the lot. It was brilliant. The only way to avoid his signs would have been to make a very dangerous left turn against a lot of traffic.

    He was only there for a few day, something I’m sure that was related to the fact that this was the closest dealership to Toyota’s Gerogetown, KY plant and frequently toured by visiting execs.

  25. vdragonmpc says:

    Years ago I saw an Explorer parked across the street from “Bennet Ford” which became “Haley Ford” a few years later. He taped bright orange lemons all over the Ford and it was great. The news stations all filmed it. I dont know what happened but I bet it involved their useless service department.

    I agree that Hyundai sucks though. I had an 87 excel that was a huge pile. They fixed it several times and then voided the warranty stating that I was abusing the car.
    -I could not roll the windows down without the handles popping off.
    -The headlights failed on the way home from work.
    -It was a 4 speed manual and would not idle at a stoplight (recalled parts in the the carb)
    -windshield washers worked when they felt like it
    -AC stopped the car from going up hills and heated the car up to borderline overheating
    -clutch failed under 8000 miles. They blamed me being a young driver. I had a 5 speed toyota that NEVER needed a clutch. (I got to drive the 77 corolla more than my new hyundai)

    The service dept always took ALL DAY to fix anything from window cranks to leaky windows.

  26. Bryan Price says:

    As a Hyundai owner, I’ve never had issues with it, I’ve been a happy customer. The dealership hasn’t had much to do with me (except to try and get me to buy a new car — if I needed a new car to replace this one, it wouldn’t be a Hyundai replacing it!)

  27. malicious-a says:

    I had bought a car from the suzuki dealership here in december, and the experience was TERRIBLE. at one point, the salesperson had a problem with me wanting to take the car in for a mechanical inspection before signing the papers (which is 100% illegal here). That same day he told me I couldn’t get a loaner car even though it was initially offered to me when we first started the process of dealing with them. He also told me i could find another dealership if i really wanted to. I shoulda done what this guy did!

  28. Kero says:

    There is a van that has been driving around Colorado Springs for at least 20 years that is covered in complaints about a local dealer’s service. I find it highly amusing that as of a year or so ago this van is still on the road.

  29. Jeremie D. Harget says:

    Um… No details on why the customer was upset? No link to a news story?

    Fail on The Consumerist for this one.

  30. Ben Miner says:

    Hyundai doesn’t “suck” and they have tens of millions of satisfied customers. The specific car he was sold or that dealership in particular may “suck” but to make a blanket statement like that doesn’t make me want to take somebody seriously.

  31. Foneguy says:

    How about a mob with pitch forks and giant flaming things in their hands. Maybe a catapult.