Suburban Express Goes Double Or Nothing On Their Aggressive Behavior

from the losing-bet dept

Hopefully you recall the story of Suburban Express and its owner, admitted domain squatter Dennis Toeppen, but let me catch you up and let you know what's been going on since that post ran. Suburban Express is a bus company that caters to Midwest students traveling to and from Chicago. And by "caters" I apparently mean they make them sign contracts designed to extract unreasonable fines from their wallets and threaten lawsuits against them if they have anything less than glowing things to say about their experience online. While this has gone on for some time, a new spotlight was shown when one rider, Jeremy Leval, related on Reddit a tale of one of the company's drivers berating a customer for speaking less-than-perfect English. That customer happened to be an exchange student. Toeppen went nuclear on Reddit, threatened litigation via their corporate counsel, and also threatened the Reddit moderator. Once the story began to spread, the company was introduced to Ken "Popehat" White, at which point the tone of all their communications took an almost cartoonish turn towards congeniality. Suburban Express promised to drop their 100-plus lawsuits against customers, which they've done, and doesn't appear to have filed against the Reddit moderator. They were a bit too late, as the internet backlash led to someone defacing their website, but at least they learned a lesson in how to treat their customers, right?

Well, perhaps not entirely. See, Toeppen has chosen to show off his aptitude for pettiness online, and has actually decided to use the Suburban Express website to continue to publically go after Leval, with whom this all began.
Toeppen relaunched his online attacks against Leval, posting a page to Suburban Express' website that recounted the March 31 incident from Toeppen's point of view and calling Leval "nothing but a bullying, self-important brat." The page reiterated Toeppen's claim that Leval was trying to smear Suburban Express to help his own since-aborted plans for a student ride-sharing site, saying, "A blogger suggested that Leval may have been motivated to harass Suburban Express as a means of furthering his business interests."

Toeppen's post didn't end there. He also recounted a conversation that Leval and his girlfriend allegedly had with a driver from another transportation service. "On May 12, 2013, Jeremy Leval and his girlfriend interacted with an EAC driver at Armory around 2:50pm. Jeremy approached the driver and asked if he had heard of Suburban Express. Jeremy went on to boast that he is the guy who is causing Suburban Express lots of trouble. This makes [me] question Jeremy Leval's motivations. Is he a selfless individual fighting for the rights of the oppressed, or is he a self-promoting, troublemaking, attention-seeker?"
There's a couple of problems with this kind of response. First, note that none of this has anything to do with refuting the company's generally anti-customer behavior. Yes, Toeppen pushes back slightly on Leval's story, indicating that some kind of apology was made to the exchange student, by someone, somewhere, and at some time. Gee, wonderful. Nothing about suing their customers, however. Nothing about $100 fines for simply giving the driver the wrong ticket, calling such mistakes "ticket fraud."

Second, what difference does it make if Leval is proud of publically slapping around a company doing these kinds of things? Hell, I'd be proud of myself, too. There's no prohibition on enjoying doing good works. And the fact that Leval might (might!) be thinking of starting his own competing company is a complete non-issue relating to the facts. Again, what happened is what happened, regardless of Leval's future business endeavors.

And, finally, did Toeppen learn nothing from round one of this mess? Going after a former customer right on the company website is exactly the kind of behavior that got them into this mess to begin with. Business takes thick skin, even for those that aren't engaging in questionable behavior. I don't know what kind of profit Toeppen sees in using his company website in this manner, but I fear he's in for yet another lesson.

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  1. icon
    mmrtnt (profile), 17 May 2013 @ 4:01pm

    Bouzaglo/Toeppen Deathmatch

    I'd almost pay to see this guy send a plate back at Amy's Baking Company.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    apauld (profile), 17 May 2013 @ 4:05pm

    Another business owner with "the business sense of a drunken chimpanzee."

    Great read Tim. apauld

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    Amy F (profile), 17 May 2013 @ 6:43pm

    the leval page at suburban express

    i found the leval page at suburban express. it is an interesting read.

    i'm not sure who to side with.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    LVDave (profile), 17 May 2013 @ 8:12pm

    Once an asshole...

    Once an asshole, ALWAYS an asshole....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    apauld (profile), 17 May 2013 @ 9:38pm

    Re: the leval page at suburban express

    "it is an interesting read."

    No it isn't; it's a smoke screen that will only fool the simple minded. It doesn't do anything to answer any of the questions raised by Toeppen's seemingly constant, horrible, actions that he inflicted upon his community.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 May 2013 @ 9:57pm

    Re: the leval page at suburban express

    If you're not sure who to side with, you're sadly naive... or, to be nicer about it, I guess we can say you're a very trusting soul.

    Know a person by what he's done, not by what he says or writes when he knows everyone is watching.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    Amy F (profile), 19 May 2013 @ 8:15am

    Leval is clearly a reprehensible human being

    Plants rely on photosynthesis. Jeremy Leval relies on attention. Simple as that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2013 @ 8:57am

    Re: Leval is clearly a reprehensible human being

    So, Amy, what's happened in the last 36 hours to cause you to go from someone who isn't "sure who to side with" to someone who says that Leval is "clearly a reprehensible human being"?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    Amy F (profile), 19 May 2013 @ 6:18pm

    Re: Re: Leval is clearly a reprehensible human being

    Got my period.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2013 @ 5:24am

    Tim, it's "Publicly."

    'Scuse my spelling Nazi-ness.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Lord Binky, 20 May 2013 @ 6:41am

    This makes no sense, why would I choose to have shady business practices if it requires me to have as thick a skin as straightforward bad business practices?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Ben Hur, 20 May 2013 @ 3:15pm

    Leave it to the Master Plaintiff to dress up like a girl yet mix it up and shift the POV of his sock puppet impersonation and comments to that of a 12 year old boy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Jake R., 1 Jun 2013 @ 3:29pm

    Dennis Lies

    Dennis in the Jeremy Leval article twists words in an effort to make himself sound high and mighty.

    1) He claims Jeremy received and never showed a voicemail of an apology. However, firstly, the voicemail was NOT left by Suburban Express. Secondly, Dennis released a statement to the Daily Illini AFTER the incident (see the grey box on the left)saying nothing even happened! Finally, if he truly apologized, why did he SUE and ban Jeremy?

    2) Dennis claims everyone witnessed Jeremy's "behavior"...yes they did. In the Daily Illini article, a witness claims Jeremy was polite and calm...However, that is still a "behavior". It's just omission with intent to deceive. See the statement by the witness here:

    Yeah, Dennis is still and always will be a complete asshole.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    eyeswideshut, 5 Jun 2013 @ 10:06pm


    Suburban Express provides a very nice service. Many people have taken advantage by duplicating tickets, using a less expensive ticket to ride further, etc. Then they cry foul when they are busted. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the truth. Bottom line-- would any of you rather ride Greyhound? I rode it when I was in college, and I can tell you more than one scary story! I really enjoyed the day when a sheriff had to meet us on the highway and take a guy off the bus... if you can't imagine the rest of my tales, then you should count yourself lucky and be appreciative of S. Express.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Jake R., 6 Jun 2013 @ 4:12pm

    Re: getrealfactsnotjustsummariesofsomeoneelses

    Looks like Suburban Express is doing the exact same thing:

    I would also rather ride a bus where I know I am not likely to get sued/belittled/harassed..ehmm, Suburban Express.

    The name "eyeswideshut" also sounds a lot like one of Dennis Toeppen's many aliases on reddit. He has made similar names like "realitycheckheck", etc.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. icon
    rivardau (profile), 10 Jul 2014 @ 12:32am

    toeppen criminal arrest!

    Wow lookie that...

    here come's the lesson NOW!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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