Wal-Mart Complaint - Low Prices - BAD Service
RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA -- On 4/4/2008, I drove my 2005 Chrysler Sebring, (with only 54,000 miles and zero mechanical problems,) to Wal-Mart store #5292 for a simple $20 oil/filter change. I had done so in the past with another vehicle without incident.
Afterwards I drove my car directly home, (approx. 5 miles), and parked it until 4/6/2008 when I was leaving for church and my roommate heard a loud knocking sound in the engine. He checked the oil and there was no oil showing on the dipstick.
We called Wal-Mart and spoke with the Auto Center Supervisor, and explained that they had just changed the oil/filter two days earlier and that I had only driven my car home and parked it and now there was no oil in the car and no oil on the ground underneath it!
The supervisor and another technician then came to our house to examine the car, (without a jack or an oil filter wrench!).
After borrowing a jack and a pair of channel locks from my roommate the supervisor got underneath the car and IMMEDIATELY said the problem was, “THE WRONG FILTER.”
After trying to replace the filter on the car with the one that he THOUGHT was the correct filter, (BUT WAS NOT), he retracted his diagnosis and said, “the book” and “the computer” listed two different filters. The filter he tried to install that DID NOT FIT was the filter listed on “the computer”(and incidentally the filter I was billed for on the service order!), and the filter that was on the car that he at first said, was “the wrong filter” was listed in “the book.”
Then he put ANOTHER “the book” listed, filter on the car and filled the engine with oil. He then started the car and oil was spewing, over the top of the filter, like an open water hydrant. He got back under the car and tried to readjust the filter and started the car again with the same result.
THEN he had a LIST of possibilities causing the leak: rear seal broken; bad sensor causing the computer to mal-function; oil control valve needed replacing; (none of which ANY technician at Wal-Mart had mentioned to me NOR was ANY of these problems noted on the service order!) It wasn’t until AFTER the oil/filter change that this problem began to occur.
He THEN suggested that I DRIVE THE CAR back to Wal-Mart so that he could “look at the car on the lift,” since it was only “about ten minutes” from the house, (which I thought was a CLEAR indication of incompetence, since he had just seen the car spew more than a quart of oil in less than thirty seconds SITTING STILL.)
So I rejected his suggestion because I didn’t want to risk what I suspected then would have been EVEN FURTHER engine damage.
After that he told me that there was nothing more that he could do and the “ONLY” other option I had was to “file a claim with CMI,” Wal-Mart’s claim management office.
My roommate drove me to the store to question this policy and we spoke to an assistant manager, who told us the same thing: BUT when my roommate persistently asked how filing a claim with THEIR claims manager would benefit me, he reluctantly admitted that “the claim” was basically to release Wal-Mart from ANY and ALL liability and if I wanted them to investigate the claim I would have to have the car towed to a garage, and have a mechanic prepare the car for inspection FOR THEM at MY EXPENSE!
We asked to speak to HIS supervisor because we felt/feel that this was/is an “unfair practice” His supervisor, a store co-manager, told us that there WAS another option in which Wal-Mart would tow the car and repair the problem if the cost didn’t exceed $300, but even THAT option was at the discretion of the claims manager.
He then assured us that what he could AND would do was personally make some calls to people he knew at CMI to make sure my claim received immediate attention and special consideration for the $300 option and keep me updated on the status of my claim.
Needless to say he DID NOT honor his word. I was NEVER offered ANY other option, I DID have the car towed/prepared and as of 4/15/2008, after having ALREADY accumulated much unwarranted expense, going eleven days without my car, missing several days from work and enduring the frustration of countless unmade, unanswered and unreturned phone calls by managers at Wal-Mart AND CMI, I was told by CMI’s case manager, that a defective crankshaft was the cause of my problem and Wal-Mart was not at fault, (and I initiated THAT call!)
So now in addition to the stress and inconvenience of not having transportation, I am strapped with making payments on a car I’ve owned for less than six months, which up until now has had NO problems with oil leaks OR engine knocks; but AFTER having the oil/filter changed on it at Wal-Mart needs a NEW ENGINE, and Wal-Mart is absolved from ANY accountability based on THEIR investigation conducted by someone who NEVER even contacted me and who for all I know is just a somebody getting paid to say it wasn’t Wal-Mart’s fault, (which based on SEVERAL factors seem blatantly obvious!):
1. The assistant manager at Wal-Mart, ADMITTED that the purpose of the claim was to release Wal-Mart from ANY liability and then essentially MAKE the customer with the complaint pay the bulk of the expense for what I have now experienced to be CMI’s bogus investigation.
2. CMI made absolutely no attempt to assure me that their investigation would be impartial and unbiased-to wit:
a) CMI NEVER communicated to me who their investigator was, his credentials OR his status, (i.e. certified mechanic, independent contractor, or Wal-Mart Employee etc.)
b) CMI’s investigator NEVER contacted me to question me about the incident with Wal-Mart
c) CMI’s investigator completely disregarded my mechanic’s “unbiased opinion,” which was that in order for the car to be in it’s current condition, something wrong had to be done at Wal-Mart to cause the leak, which then lead to the knocking, otherwise the car COULD NOT HAVE BEEN DRIVEN IN; and/or even if somehow it was, a competent technician would have had to notice the leak or hear the knocking and JUST TO PROTECT HIMSELF AND WAL-MART FROM LIABILITY, advise me that an oil/filter change would not solve that problem. (The service order indicates that the engine oil was ONLY a half quart low BEFORE the oil/filter change, there were NO remarks ON the service order about a knock in the engine OR an oil leak, and I was NOT advised of ANY such problems.)
3. The technician that came to my house practically INSISTED that the filter on the car was THE WRONG FILTER, until he realized that the one that he had brought to replace it was ALSO THE WRONG FILTER.
4. My mechanic as well as HIS major repair mechanic, both certified technicians, have advised me that the wrong filter COULD cause a leak like the one I now have and lead to a DAMAGED CRANKSHAFT VERY QUICKLY if the car is driven with no oil in the engine;
5. Wal-Mart has numerous complaints of the exact same or very similar scenario/outcome as mine posted at consumeraffairs.com and several other sites on the Internet.
Both of the above-mentioned mechanics have ALSO advised me that the ONLY way to insure that my car performs the way it did before this incident is to install a NEW engine because:
a) Very expensive un-guaranteed labor to install expensive new but potentially defective with limited warranty parts in a used engine (even with just 54,000 miles) would NOT be cost effective!
b) It is highly unlikely that I can find a used engine in as good condition with as low mileage as the one in my car now with MORE than a 90-day warranty that DOES NOT INCLUDE LABOR!
I cannot afford a new engine for my car and I cannot afford the retainer fee for an attorney to go up against a giant like Wal-Mart.
I am HUMBLY requesting that someone in your office or organization PLEASE do any and everything you can to initiate actions to reinvestigate my claim and based on what is clear and undeniable evidence provoke Wal-Mart to be held accountable for damage to my car caused by faulty work done in their auto service center at store #5292.
I respectfully submit that as a fair and reasonable resolution Wal-Mart
a) Pay for installation of a new engine in my car, by a mechanic of my choice
b) Compensate me for sick days used because of time out from work due to transportation issues
c) Refund me for a botched oil/filter change
d) Issue me a formal WRITTEN apology, which states that they were at fault for damage to my car and for causing me excessive inconvenience.
Thank you in advance for your time and consideration as I anxiously anticipate your prompt response to this matter.