This is a review of Howard Leopold, Charles (Chuck) Matthews, Sussman Acura (in Jenkintown, PA), and Sussman Automotive.
Wow – what a weekend! After my last post, we got B home and he filled me in on the entire situaiton with Howard Leopold, Charles (Chuck) Matthews, Sussman Acura (in Jenkintown, PA), and Sussman Automotive.
Howard Leopold and Charles (Chuck) Matthews at Sussman Acura in Jenkintown, PA, cost our family over $1,000 with nothing to show for it. They messed with our lives and finances – something that you should NEVER to do someone.
The story before THE STORY is that Howard Leopold from Sussman Acura/Sussman Automotive sold us a certified 2008 Acura MDX with Tech and Entertainment packages. Howard Leopold assured B several times that the vehicle had never been in an accident and that, in fact, Acura won’t certify vehicles that have been in accidents. Howard Leopold also told B that the interior and exterior were in “like new” condition and confirmed twice that the vehicle was getting brand new tires before we picked it up. There were several email exchanges and phone calls between Howard Leopold and B leading up to B’s booking of his flight and one-way travel from Iowa to Philadelphia to pick up the vehicle. Having worked with several Acura dealerships in the past, and having nothing but fabulous outcomes with their certification vehicles, we felt comfortable buying our fourth certified Acura sight-unseen as we had always done in the past.
So the whole story, once B came home and shared it with me, goes like this:
Howard Leopold sent someone to pick B up at the train station who took him back to the dealership to pick up the car. Howard Leopold gave B the keys to take it for a spin. B opened the door and it smelled like dog urine. He noticed a film all over the dash, carpet, and seats. Most of the leather was obviously scratched or cut by dog claws. At this point, B didn’t get in the vehicle because it smelled that bad, and was filthy. The carpet had numerous large, dark stains on it. He rolled down the windows and decided to look at the outside of the vehicle as it aired out. He opened the passenger door and it kept griding, so he wondered what was up. When he shut the door, a bunch of glass fell out of the door (holy hell!). So he inspected the body of the vehicle and the passenger door and fender had obviously been repainted. He also noticed that the vehicle did not have new tires as promised by Howard Leopold.
Back to the story. B picked up the broken glass and walked into Howard Leopold’s office, where he was meeting with other customers. B just walked in, threw the broken glass on Howard Leopold’s desk and said, “you promised me this vehicle had not been in any accidents, but this came out of the door and the door and fender have been badly repainted. You flat-out lied to me, Howard.” Howard Leopold whisked B away from the other customers and told him it had not been in an accident. WHAT? B then mentioned the smell in the car and all the damage and Howard Leopold told B that they had a “difference of opinion” on the quality of the car.
B insisted on talking the GM but they sent him to an assistant Manager instead. B was not standing for this and shut the guy’s office door and told him that he has nowhere to be, so he (B) and the assistant will wait until they call Charles (Chuck) Matthews, the GM, in to speak with him. This got the assistant to finally relent and get Charles (Chuck) Matthews for B.
Charles (Chuck) Matthews refused to go out to view the vehicle with B. Therefore, B and Charles (Chuck) Matthews spent about 20 minutes in an office as they discussed the misrepresentation of the vehicle by Howard Leopold. At this point, Charles (Chuck) Matthews told B that the vehicle had a clean Car.Fax report and that’s all they had to go on to say it had not been in an accident and to certify it. B pointed out the paint repair (it was a bad paint job and was wavy in sections) on the door and fender and Charles (Chuck) Matthews actually said, “oh, and the hood’s been repainted too. But we just have to go on what Car.Fax says and they say no accidents.” B asked to see the certification checklist from the mechanic and Charles (Chuck) Matthews refused to show it to him. Keep in mind that we had paid a $2,000 deposit on the vehicle, and the GM at the dealership refused to show B the certification checklist. Also keep in mind that we have the certification checklists from our other 2 Acuras that we purchased recently – and in fact included it in the RDX that we just sold. The buyer is entitled to that checklist. Apparently Charles (Chuck) Matthews, Sussman Acura, and Sussman Automotive disagree with this type of full-disclosure.
Charles (Chuck) Matthews then offered B a BRAND NEW MDX for $15,000 more than the vehicle we FLEW TO PA to purchase, and said, “that’s a good deal on that vehicle.”
Charles (Chuck) Matthews and Howard Leopold of Sussman Acura literally pulled a bait and switch on us given that the vehicle that was described to us (no accidents), that we went to purchase, was not actually available for sale.
Charles (Chuck) Matthews refused to help B return home to his family on Labor Day weekend and instead of crediting us for the $2,000 deposit we paid, charged us another $2,000. We discovered this just last night. and have opened disputes with our credit card companies. At this point in time, Sussman Acura and Sussman Automotive have $4,000 of our money and we have no vehicle. On top of that, we are out the additional $1,000 in travel expenses due to the unethical activities of Howard Leopold, Charles (Chuck) Matthews, Sussman Acura, and Sussman Automotive.
So that’s the whole story. I am posting this so that anyone researching Sussman Acura, Sussman Automotive, Howard Leopold, or Charles (Chuck) Matthews can see just the type of people they would be dealing with.
September 3, 2012 at 9:06 pm
What scumbags! I hope everyone who ever does a search for this dealership and these people see this post so they know not to do business with them!
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September 4, 2012 at 2:03 am
Reblogged this on Artistmouse's Blog and commented:
I don’t live in the States, but I think it’s important that everyone read this post…we can all learn a little something about spotting unscrupulous salesmen.
September 4, 2012 at 2:08 am
Yuck!!!! Have you reviewed them yet on Yelp? This is outrageous. I hope SEO brings this to the top of the results.
Wow. I am so sorry!
September 4, 2012 at 6:34 am
Great idea! C&P this to Yelp!
September 4, 2012 at 6:54 am
Oh, B put his review on Yelp first thing!
September 4, 2012 at 8:34 am
Ugh, total scumbags for sure. I hope you have no issues getting your $4k back, and maybe this review will help someone else to know to avoid that dealership. Awful.
September 8, 2012 at 10:07 am
I understand that making an major purchase on-line like a car can be a very challenging. It’s the fear of the unknown, I have experienced this myself in purchases I have made.
Thank you for taking the time to tell us about your experience with Sussman Acura. I am sorry that the vehicle did not meet your expectations, and I regret that you were not satisfied with the handling of this long distance internet purchase. I have already discussed this with our salesperson and sales manager and have scheduled a meeting with the Internet Manager and our Vice President to discuss your comments.
Again, I apologize for the distress this may have caused you. I strive to make every customer’s experience a positive one and your comments will help me review our process. I utilize feedback (both positive and negative) from all our customers so I can provide better customer service. I constantly make it a high priority to improve our processes, both in person and through our internet sales, which will continue to help grow our business and improve customer satisfaction.
I apologize about the delay in the refund, you notified me by email on Sunday, Labor Day the office was closed, so we fully refunded your deposit within the first hour we were open on Tuesday. I hope this did not cause additional stress as we tried to handle this as expeditiously as possible.
I am particularly concerned about the positive CARFAX report that was sent to you, since this is a consumer driven tool which provides potential customers like yourself, the vehicle’s prior service and ownership’s history. I know the salesperson provided you many pictures, along with the carfax and also told you of the new tires we installed during our reconditioning and certification process. We do provide every customer a certified checklist signed by both the technician and the customer on every certified car we deliver. I am changing our process by having a copy of the certification checklist in every glove box so potential buyers can review it prior to taking delivery. I think this is a positive move.
If we disappoint someone, I want it to be the last time. Thank you for your feedback.
September 11, 2012 at 12:15 am
Thank you for your comment, Chuck.
I do want to clear up any misunderstanding about photos being sent to B. He had to ask Howard for several days to get them (Howard kept saying he wasn’t sure how to do that – which was so strange!) and when they came, there were five (5) and they all had a glare from the light – they certainly didn’t show any detail like you would see in a listing for the vehicle. None of the photos showed the passenger side door or fender up close. When the photos came, our reaction was, ‘after asking for days, this is the best we’re going to get. It’s certified – it will be fine.’ I’ve posted the photos here in the spirit of full-disclosure. https://allthesunforyou.wordpress.com/mdx-photos/
We learned a very valuable, and EXPENSIVE, lesson in this. You cannot trust someone just because they have a good name (Acura) behind them. I’m glad that you have modified some procedures, but that does not take away the harm you and Howard caused my family over the holiday weekend.
We found a fantastic MDX and travelled out of state to get it – and our experience with that dealership was a complete 180 from what we experienced with Sussman. We did not tell the salesman or anyone at the dealership of our experience with Sussman – we wanted to see how things went without them knowing that we’d been through the wringer with you guys. We wanted it to be an apples-to-apples comparison. Upon arrival, they told us they appreciated our trust being from out of state. They told us immediately that had we flown in, that they would have flown us home at their expense if the vehicle didn’t meet our expectations because that is their policy with out-of-area customers. That is how it SHOULD be. This dealership treated us so well without knowing our history with you – and the vehicle they sold us is exactly as they described – in fact – it is better. It is in the like-new condition that you would expect from an Acura CPO vehicle – and it has not been in any accidents (we had the vehicle independently inspected after our experience with Sussman – adding more expense to this little venture of ours – but ensuring that it was a clean vehicle). The experience with the other dealership was incredible and was exactly what we expect of Acura, and what we expected of you.
We did tell them about out experience with Sussman once the deal was done – and they were stunned. They were amazed that no one offered to pay to fly B home, and that you were all OK with him being stranded in PA with no way home. That, honestly, is the most offensive thing to me, Chuck – that you stranded my husband in PA away from his family on Labor Day weekend by mis-representing a vehicle you knew he needed to get home. It didn’t bother you or Howard one bit to do that to him – and that is shameful. As much as I’ve moved past this awful experience, I can’t get past how horrible you both were to another human being, that person being my husband.
But I do thank you for your comment, and I thank you for reviewing your procedures at your dealership. I wish it hadn’t been my family that had to endure so much frustration and hardship for your dealership to learn how to treat out-of-area customers, but I am glad that your future customers will benefit from the nightmare we experienced and spent $1,000 on.
To my readers – never trust a Car.fax report. They only go so far back in history. Our local Acura dealership explained this to us two years ago (when selling B’s first Acura to one of their mechanics) that they never trust the reports because if an accident has happened recently just before selling the car, that it won’t show up on the report. This is why the accident was not on the Car.fax report that B was given – that was not the fault of Sussman. What was the fault of Sussman, and what any good dealership will tell you, is that any mechanic can spot damage from an accident very easily. Given that the door, fender, and hood had been noticibly repainted, this vehicle should have never been certified and Sussman’s mechanics knew about it because Chuck pointed out the hood to B – he had not noticed that himself. They had on record somewhere that the vehicle had been repainted in three major areas which means they knew of the accident that wasn’t reported on the Car.fax report. Another side-note is that while in Philly, B called another Acura dealership about used MDX’s and they checked their inventory before calling him back. When they returned his call, they said that they had one that they were planning to certify, but that their mechanic found that it had some welding done on the frame even though the Car.fax report was clean, so they were not going to sell the vehicle at all (as certified or as used). This is how it should be with an Acura dealership, and in our experience, this is how it has been with all of them but Sussman Acura.
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