Walmart Still Ignoring Customer Whose Engine Was Ruined In Botched Oil Change

It’s been three weeks since a California woman took her car into Walmart for an oil change, only to have a service tech accidentally put all the new oil in her transmission instead of her engine. And in spite of early indications that Walmart would move quickly to repair the customer’s vehicle, she tells Consumerist that the retailer is doing nothing while her car sits idle in a garage.

For those coming to this story late, Liz says she picked up her Ford SUV from the Walmart auto department and managed to only drive a few yards before the engine began knocking something awful. She immediately turned around and went back to the service bay, where a Walmart staffer fessed up to dumping several quarts of oil into her transmission.

She eventually had her car towed to a local Ford dealership, which reviewed the damage and provided her with an estimate for nearly $3,000.

This began a series of promises from Walmart to look into the matter and maybe provide a rental car for Liz while her vehicle was being repaired.

It wasn’t until after the story appeared on Consumerist — though we were never able to get a response of any sort from Walmart — that the retailer agreed to provide her with a rental car, and that it would pay for the rental so long as her vehicle was repaired “as soon as possible.”

But Liz and her lawyer tell Consumerist that Walmart’s claims folks have been dragging their feet in actually getting the repair initiated.

The last that either of them heard was that an estimate was being obtained for a replacement engine. That was last Friday. Meanwhile, the rental car is due on Monday. So unless this snail-like pace picks up dramatically in the next few hours, it seems likely that Liz will once again have to go through the hassle of chasing the claims people just so she can have a car.

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  1. Golfer Bob says:

    This isn’t really a bad thing for her overall. Inconvenient, yes, but since she’s already lawyered up any further shenanigans by Walmart will just help to increase the amount of any damages she will be awarded.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      She has to pay that lawyer out of pocket with no real promise of reimbursement. More than inconvenient for a lot of people.

      • Golfer Bob says:

        Well, she chose that route knowing that in advance. Maybe she found one of those of those “you don’t pay if you don’t win” lawyers.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          I’m sure you’ll find more of those when the lawsuit has a lot of merit.

          IANAL, but I would think that an attorney would be williing to take a case on a pay-if-you-win contingency if they thought the case was a slam dunk.

          • Mark702 says:

            “I’m not a lawyer” takes 4 seconds to type, vs. looking like an idiot with: IANAL.

            • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

              Jesus! Relax.

            • Chuft-Captain says:

              How many seconds did it take you to look like a boorish ass typing that post, though?

            • bigroblee says:

              IMHO IANAL is completely acceptable, and perhaps you could STFU.

              • Stickdude says:

                +1

              • one swell foop says:

                Look, you can talk about ANAL all you want, more power to you, but I don’t see how ANAL is relevant to a discussion on consumerist unless it’s a butt plug review/injury/customer service issue.

                • frank64 says:

                  Because often when people comment about legal matters, the next come back from some internet posters is “well, are you a lawyer,”

                  At least it stops that, but then you can’t win.

                  • one swell foop says:

                    It’s pretty clear, generally, whether or not a person is a lawyer because of issues they focus on, at least if you know anything about how the law actually works.

                    It’s the internet. Using an acronym like that is going to get you called on it. Inventing acronyms or using one that isn’t widely known and has very direct sexual implications is going to get you called on it and probably made fun of for it.

              • NotEd says:

                OMG, WTF? IDK but IMHO GTFO with PPO, HMO and STFU.
                LOL

            • Jack T Ripper says:

              And here I thought that iAnal was just a new Apple product designed for the homosexual and deviant anal sex crowd out there. Learn something new every day around here…

            • Kisses4Katie says:

              Holy shit I just realized what IANAL means. Durp de durp!!

              Leave Loias alone. :)

            • The Meathead says:

              Crying like a baby on the internet about someone using a common acronym is much, much worse than using IANAL

        • Difdi says:

          She chose that route? What other routes were available to her?

          Doing nothing at all and hoping the Grinch’s heart will grow a few sizes on its own isn’t a route to anywhere but failure.

          And aside from those two routes, I don’t see that she had a third one available.

          • Golfer Bob says:

            IANAL so I can’t really comment on pending legal matters.

            • one swell foop says:

              You ANAL, great, but what legal matter stem from your sexual escapades and why would you not be able to talk about them?

              • Owl says:

                OMG haha you’re so funny!!! It was even funnier the second time!

                +1billion internetz for you, sir!

                /s

                • one swell foop says:

                  See above reply and, are you 12 or something?

                  • bigroblee says:

                    He or she may be twelve, but at least they’re not unoriginal.

                    • one swell foop says:

                      Oh, using part of the same content that I have previously posted is unoriginal? Noted. Originality aside, an effective argument is effective non-the-less. Stupid acronym is stupid. See? Unoriginal, simple, yet effective!

                  • Owl says:

                    It’s unoriginal because you made the same joke in the same thread. It’s like listening to any mainstream pop artist who refuses to evolve. Interesting at first (Or rather, in your case funny), but after the second or third CD, it becomes unoriginal.

      • shepd says:

        There are a lot of lawyers happy to wait to be paid. Last time I used one, the total ended up $8,000, which, after the 3 years the lawsuit took, the party I sued paid.

        During the time I had a choice of either paying 1.5% interest per year, or paying it bi-annually. I actually paid it as the bills came in, which came as a shock to the people at the lawyers office when it was time to pay them. They were going to keep the money paid to the lawyer in the lawsuit until I asked them to review the account. They explained it was unusual to have a customer pay ahead of time, and apologized. No, I don’t think they were trying to be shady. :-)

        I’m sure most lawyers are almost identical with how they work.

    • Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

      Not so fast. Walmart has immensely deep pockets, and has a litigation history of dragging things out forever, in an effort to discourage or financially drain litigants against it–and it’s very good at it, too.

  2. dicobalt says:

    You would think Walmart reps would want to handle this case carefully. I guess this sort of thing happens all the time?

    • mackjaz says:

      I seriously doubt they care. We’re just numbers to them. She will eventually give up trying to fight the behemoth, or they will cave, people will forget and be lured back by the prospect of saving two dollars on an oil change. Just like in V for Vendetta: “Waldemart prevails.”

      • ChuckECheese says:

        Walmart hasn’t had competitive oil change prices in Phoenix in some time. They’re around $30. They used to be a deal – until 2009, I could get a “premium oil change” with synthetic for $36. Now it’s about $55.

        The other thing is, where do you find the competent mechanics? Unless you know somebody personally you never know. And even when you know them, sometimes they’re alcoholics and secretly popping pain pills. Just sayin’.

        • hobochangbar says:

          What do you plan to do when your car needs some actual repairs? I take my cars to my independent mechanic for routine maintenance. That does two things for me. 1) Let’s me evaluate the quality of their work/shop on my schedule and on simple work. This either gives me confidence in them or tells me to keep looking. 2) Doing #1 gives me a history with that mechanic. This is helpful for a breakdown type situation which often don’t happen at convenient times. Maybe they’re busy or about to close when I call due to a breakdown. I like to think they’ll be more accommodating when they know I’m a regular customer. I’ve done this several times after moving or losing faith in a mechanic and it works well for me.

        • mackjaz says:

          Yeah it’s harder and harder. I would recommend asking friends or just looking at businesses near where you live. You can usually get a pretty good feel for a business when you walk in the front door. I like hogochangbar’s answer below… seems smart.

  3. crispyduck13 says:

    I’m glad she has a lawyer and I hope her situation is resolved soon, but seriously:

    DON’T TAKE YOU CAR TO WAL-MART FOR MAINTENANCE OR REPAIRS

    Should be plastered on a billboard next to every Wal-Mart Supercenter in this country. I realize they collectively work on thousands of cars a week with apparently no incident, but with so many independant mechanics out there please, please take your business elsewhere.

    Also, Wal-Mart is in my spell check. How the hell did that happen? Is the South Park episode coming true??

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      “I realize they collectively work on thousands of cars a week with apparently no incident”

      So you admit their success rate is very high. Other than your personal distaste for Walmart, and this very unique situation, what evidence do you have that Walmart vehicle maintenance is overall worse than somewhere else?

      • Difdi says:

        A company that simply takes your money and runs isn’t a business, it’s a criminal conspiracy. Any non-scam company can perform the basic services they sell (usually, Sears seems to be an exception). What distinguishes a good company from a bad one is how they handle problems when they occur. And sooner or later, they occur no matter how the company is structured.

        When those inevitable problems occur, a mediocre company does what must be done, a good company does what should be done and a great company goes above and beyond for their customer. A bad company does what Walmart is doing. At least they’re not evil (an evil one would try to sue and/or get the complainer arrested for filing a false claim).

        • dullard says:

          “When those inevitable problems occur, a mediocre company does what must be done, a good company does what should be done and a great company goes above and beyond for their customer. A bad company does what Walmart is doing.”

          Very well put.

        • Jawaka says:

          He said “other than this very unique situation”. In most cases it seems that Walmart actually performs the service that they were hired to do to the customer’s satisfaction.

          • shepd says:

            So the deal is, only get your vehicle serviced at Walmart if you can afford to replace it? I suppose if WalMart is cheap enough, it could work out. I’ve done that with other stuff, like cheap tools from unreliable companies that won’t take returns. :^) I just consider everything “as-is”.

      • 12341223 says:

        I think their point was to support local independent mechanics whose money stays in your relative area. Wal-mart charges the same relative rate for parts/labor, but pays their mechanics/techs a much lower rate. Why support a billion dollar company whose profits go to Arkansas, when you could support Joe Mechanic who lives on your block?

        • Bsamm09 says:

          Joe Mechanic on my block smokes meth and beats his wife. I don’t want to support him. He’s also not a mechanic but a janitor so I don’t want him around my car. I go to Wal-Mart to save money. I need to move away from domestic violence-loving speed freaks.

          • crispyduck13 says:

            Yeah and I’m sure the only mechanic you live within 20 miles of is your meth smoking wife beater neighbor.

            I go to Wal-Mart to save money

            Well you get what you pay for, best of luck.

            • Jawaka says:

              His generalizing is no more unreasonable than assuming that every Walmart employee will screw up your oil change.

            • Bsamm09 says:

              My neighbor is a janitor not a mechanic. I go to Wal-Mart to save money to move away from him. Reading comprehension fail.

              And I was just kidding.

        • shepd says:

          Weirdly enough, chances are far higher a WalMart employee lives on your block than an independent mechanic.

          Food for thought…

          That being said, for my vehicles, if it’s not too complicated, but just a pain in the ass (say, replacing an exhaust manifold) I go to the independent mechanic. If it is going to require lots of special dealer-only parts, I get it done at the dealer (say, getting a cluster replaced).

          If it’s simple and not complicated, I just do it myself. Car repairs have only gotten easier over the years once you learn to take advantage of all the self-diagnostic stuff cars have built into them now.

      • crispyduck13 says:

        what evidence do you have that Walmart vehicle maintenance is overall worse than somewhere else?

        Well, shit like this post for example. Although I know for a fact this same mistake happens elsewhere, it’s most likely to happen (with frequency) at an establishment that employs 17 year old high school students/dropouts or recent immigrants at minimum wage. This is just reality, no distaste or opinion is necessary.

        • Golfer Bob says:

          Ah yes, because everyone knows that you wouldn’t find any 17 year old students, dropouts or immigrants working at any of the independently owned garages anywhere in the USA.

          • crispyduck13 says:

            If you can’t accept that the average staff in a Walmart service center is not going to have the same experience/ability/motivation of a mechanic in a reputable small shop or even a dealership then you either work at a Walmart service center or are just here to argue. If given the choice I’d go to a dealership over Walmart, it is absolutely bottom of the barrel. And given the crazy shit I’ve seen at a “good” dealership that is saying something.

            • Golfer Bob says:

              You are speaking in generalizations and confusing opinion with fact. Also it’s just not necessary to denigrate people based on where they work, their education level or their birthplace.

              • crispyduck13 says:

                You’re right, I should have qualified my statement:

                17 year old high school students/dropouts or recent immigrants who don’t know what the fuck they are doing at minimum wage.

                It’s hard to cover all the details when you assume the person you are conversing with knows anything about anything.

                • Golfer Bob says:

                  Yes, much easier to backtrack once you’ve been called out as a bigoted, racist shill and blame it on someone else.

              • Snullbug says:

                Fact: Independent shops and dealerships pay their mechanics more than Wal-Mart.
                I’m not a bit confused about who would do the better job on my vehicle.

          • DeeJayQueue says:

            At the independent garage the 17 year old immigrant student is learning about cars, under the owner, under control. Because the owner of a garage isn’t going to let someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing anywhere NEAR a car.

            Why? Because if that kid messes up the car because of ignorance, the owner will have to eat it. If the kid REALLY messes up the car (forgets oil, puts it in the transmission/radiator) the owner knows the kid will not be able to pay for the repairs, and the shop will get sued. It’s in the owner’s best interest to make sure the training is up to snuff.

            Also, independent shops often employ ASE certified mechanics, whereas walmart does not. What this means is that while you may not end up getting your oil changed by one, they’re there on the shop floor making sure the kids aren’t fucking up.

            Walmart On the other hand, has the same management structure in the auto center as the toy department, electronics, furniture, or men’s clothes. Likely the same employees too.
            Nobody owns the place, so there’s no vested interest in whether it runs right or not. If someone fucks up there, Walmart gets sued and the guy might get fired, but the shop stays open and the sun rises in the morning.

            And, as has been said several times already, though walmart has a higher volume and presumably smaller mistake percentage because of it, They deal with mistakes so poorly and in such an anti-consumer method, that there’s no reason to play the odds. Even if they’re staggeringly in your favor, the penalty for losing is so great that it’s not worth the gamble.

          • hobochangbar says:

            I’ve had two incidents at independent mechanics (2 different shops) that caused “collateral damage” and they both owned up to them pretty easily and fixed the problem on their dime. One even made my next oil change free to make up for it, this after paying for the tow also. I really doubt that I would have had that kind of luck with a big box garage.

            In both instances I’m fairly certain they ended up with a net gain as I referred others to them as a result of their good service. Yes, they caused the problem in the first place. Shit happens, it’s how you clean it up that counts.

        • jayphat says:

          I left Wal-Mart 4 years ago. I was a TLE Manager before they eliminated the job. Now, I am not one to defend Wal-Mart, but I am going to straighten out your blatant hate here.

          First off, you have to be over 18 to work in the service area. Second, you have to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Third, you must pass a training program to work on vehicles. Fourth, theres a step by step guide right next to the damned car to tell you what to do. And with that I’ll say, shit still happens. But please, continue to spout off the anti-walmart talking points.

          • SinDex says:

            Having worked at both a TLE and a Stealership, I agree that there is a serious amount of vitriol against Wal-Mart in this thread.

            At the Wal-Mart I worked at TLE was filled with Tech School graduates and people that were using it as a stepping stone to a dealership or other shop. Much like Jiffy Lube or other ‘spill and fill places’. In our store they silently required that you be fluent in English and be able to communicate with your entire team. The training program is pretty in depth for it being a spill and fill as well.

            I will say, after reading the original story, that Wal-Mart and it’s tech should be held accountable for this. The proper procedure for an oil change ends with a pressure check, you turn on the car and wait for the oil light to turn off. There is a Call and Echo between the Upper and Lower worked to check for leaks as well.

            But still. This story has traction because it is Wal-Mart. If it was “Local Mechanic fills transmission with engine weight oil (Because Transmission Fluid is basically just another form of oil) and ignores person when things go wrong” it would barely make a blip on the evening news. Since it is a major chain, it is suddenly news.

            • jayphat says:

              If I was betting money, my guess would be that this clown was doing the entire thing himself and just reached in to turn the car on and look underneath for leaks, never once looking at the dash lights.

        • RayanneGraff says:

          Recent immigrants, at least ones from Mexico, are actually pretty damn good with cars on average.

          • ChuckECheese says:

            I had a Mexican friend who worked on my car- a certified mechanic too – but he moved across the Valley and now lives about 30 mi away.

        • wellfleet says:

          Yeah, because recent immigrants couldn’t possibly know anything about cars, because cars in the Ukraine and Mexico run on completely different platforms. You’re an idiot.

      • Jack T Ripper says:

        That’s only because it takes someone with an IQ of 60 or higher to properly pull the drain plug on an oil pan and put new oil in. Only slightly higher than that to be able to change a tire. It’s not like Wal-Mart is out there providing 120 point inspections and major repairs. My 8 year old knows how to change oil after watching me do it two or three times, so you can’t tell me it is really that complicated to do it right.

        It takes a special kind of idiot to pour oil in the transmission rather than the actual engine. It’s not like this is a common mistake that people make all the time. So the fact that someone working at Wal-Mart doesn’t know the difference between where you put transmission fluid and motor oil, I guess their service is fine. But seriously… Making this kind of mistake is just about as stupid as mixing up the wiper fluid and gasoline. It’s the kind of mistake you have to TRY and make.

    • Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

      Where do you recommend the general public take their vehicles then? Most people would think the dealership you bought the car from would be a reliable place to go. Certianly more so than Walmart, right?

      My anecdotal evidence suggests otherwise, though. My dad had taken his car to the Toyota dealership to get the oil changed, and just like this lady, when he drove off, the oil light came on. He pulled back into their lot and quickly discovered that they failed to put oil back into the car.

      At an oil change a crucial part of that service is refilling the oil once the old oil is removed.

      My mom, on the other hand, had a different experience entirely. She had a BMW and was getting her oil changed at the dealer under their free (er…paid for…) dealership maintenance plan. While her car was up on the racks they had left her window down and proceed to spray (accidentally) an entire engine’s worth of oil directly into her driver’s seat. The car was absolutely ruined, and try as they might, they couldn’t clean all of that oil out. They ended up having to make a deal with her to purchase a new vehicle, but I still say she got ripped off in the end.

      My point here is this: No matter where you take something, mistakes can happen. Walmart doesn’t have the corner on that market.

      • dullard says:

        “No matter where you take something, mistakes can happen. Walmart doesn’t have the corner on that market.”

        True, but it’s how mistakes are handled that distinguishes one company from another.

        Why do you say your mom got ripped off? There’s nothing in your post to indicate that.

        • RayanneGraff says:

          I’d say the fact that they ruined her car & still made her PURCHASE a new one is a ripoff. They should have either replaced the entire interior or given her another car of equal value & features at no extra cost to her.

      • crispyduck13 says:

        Uh, I suggested taking your car to your local independant mechanic. Did you miss that entire sentence? Of course a screw up can happen anywhere, what changes is the steps the party at fault will take to fix things.

        You only gave examples of a 2 people having similar levels of fuck up at dealerships. I know for a fact that dealerships screw up all the time in spectacular ways, so what you’re saying is not news to me (and shouldn’t be to anyone for that matter).

        • Golfer Bob says:

          Why do you think she would have better customer service if an independent mechanic had caused 3K in damage to her vehicle than Walmart or a dealership?

          • crispyduck13 says:

            Well it’s not a guarantee of better service, but a small, independant shop has a hell of a lot more to lose in this situation than Wal-Mart or a dealership, so the customer has some hand. Why? The big places have such high volume that mistakes have a lesser affect on their reputation and BBB rating. One pissed off customer can and will make a small shop owner’s life a living hell and can ruin their reputation very quickly. They also don’t have the time and money to litigate situations like this one in court like Wal-Mart and dealerships do.

            • Golfer Bob says:

              Are you making this stuff as you go?

              • crispyduck13 says:

                I’m married to a mechanic who owns his own shop. I also used to work at a very highly rated dealership. So while you may be making shit up as you go I most certainly am not.

                • Golfer Bob says:

                  Oh, so you’re a shill, sorry I mean biased, oops I meant expert then? Your comment about drop outs and immigrants also speaks volumes. At least to people who care about that sort of thing. Or to drop out immigrants who would complain about the service at your husband’s shop. We can only guess what kind of service they would get.

                  • crispyduck13 says:

                    So actually knowing about shit and spending time in an industry is equal to “shill.” Good to know the only opinions you feel are valid are from people who don’t know what the fuck they are talking about. You sound like one of those asshats that learns how to do an engine swap on a forum, then questions actual mechanics on things.

                    Fact is Walmart preys on those people for cheap labor, this is fact. They receive minimal at best training, this is fact. I never said anything about the quality of character of the employees that fuck up, but good character doesn’t negate fucking up.

                    You need to stop and think before you write shit like that about character. Especially when you question how the son of a Mexican immigrant would treat an immigrant. Now go back to your fucking forums.

                    • Golfer Bob says:

                      Wow. Is this an example of the type of “customer service” one could receive when dealing with you?

                      Also, are we to believe that you are married to an immigrant who is the son of an immigrant? I don’t get that last sentence.

                      Then you make comments about Walmart hiring immigrants? If so, you are unfucking believable and a lot more.

                    • Golfer Bob says:

                      I think you will find your size in a number 2:

                      Shill

                      1. A person who poses as a customer in order to decoy others into participating, as at a gambling house, auction, confidence game, etc.

                      2. A person who publicizes or praises something or someone for reasons of self-interest, personal profit, or friendship or loyalty.

                    • Jack T Ripper says:

                      You certainly have the mouth of a mechanic, I’ll give you that. You’ve also go the maturity of a 17 year old, so I’ll take it you haven’t been married very long. Don’t try to convince anybody that you are a professional when the way you communicate tells everybody how young you are and how little experience you really have. Answering the phones at a dealership and being married to someone who knows cars doesn’t make you an automotive expert any more than being married to a brain surgeon and having medical insurance makes me qualified to operate on someone.

                    • shepd says:

                      I’d rather have a mechanic with your attitude than someone dressed up in a clean company logo’d jumpsuit who doesn’t know shit (for the record, the only car service I got done at walmart putting tires on rims that weren’t even on the car, and they couldn’t even balance them right… I was surprised the bead didn’t leak, frankly). I assume you also have the grimy well-worn shop to go with it, which is a sign you actually get work done.

                      No, I’m not being a jerk. I’m being honest. It’s rare to meet a good mechanic with a customer oriented attitude, so when I do meet a mechanic with that attitude I assume they suck. There can only be so many “Eric The Car Guys” or “Scotty Kilmers”. :)

                      And I know what it’s like to deal with shitty customers and doubters–I had my own shop for a few years (electronics, not a garage). However, I will be honest with you–while you’ll get business from me, if you want more, you’ll have to bite your tongue even when you’re right. It sucks ass, I know. You might even decide you’d rather keep the business the size it is and keep your pride, and that’s a completely reasonable statement, so long as you’ve got a good income. :) Personally, I just sold up shop and got a salaried job. At least then I don’t have to feel (so) bad.

                    • RayanneGraff says:

                      Don’t pay attention to this Bob guy. He’s always on the wrong side of things.

                    • Golfer Bob says:

                      Its perfectly fine to have an opinion other than a hive mind mentality and also not stand for racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia and the like. If that makes you hate me, then so be it. That’s on you.

                  • jefeloco says:

                    Wow, Bob. You’re just being an argumentative asshat, demanding evidence to support Crispy’s stance on the topic and then bashing everything he/she says. Go find you own internet and stop trying to ruin ours.

                    On a related note, where is the old “report” button so we can help get tools like this banned?

                    • Golfer Bob says:

                      Of course, all the other comments that point to the fact that Crispy is an idiot not withstanding….

        • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

          An independent mechanic is the ONLY way to go. I’ve been lucky in the past few places I’ve lived – I’ve always found small family-owned garages to take care of my cars. In the past I’ve had three absolutely horrible and expensive ordeals with Sears, Jiffy Lube, and Midas. Never have I had a bad experience with the family-owned garages. Once in a great while a mistake has been made BUT it has always been minor and quickly corrected to my satisfaction.

          • crispyduck13 says:

            *hearts Fubish for hearting independent mechanics*

          • Brave Little Toaster says:

            I agree. I looked around to find some good ole boys to fix my muffler a little bit ago. They actually called halfway through the repair to say that the problem was less serious than they thought and they were able to use a less expensive kit to fix it. A repair estimated at over $200 turned into less than $60. I don’t think I’d get that service with one of the big chain shops.

        • ChuckECheese says:

          Who is my local independent mechanic? I live in a megapolis. Virtually every mechanic I find is working for a company of some kind. The better independents charge as much as a dealership but take longer to fix your car. Substance abuse is rampant among mechanics, and I’ve lost 3 of them in the past 3 years as I realized they were high or drunk on the job. Another independent I found took a job with a dealership because the pay is stead(ier) than working for oneself. I went to a place recommended on Angie’s List, and he charged me an arm and a leg for a water pump replacement. He charges extra for “diagnostics,” and wouldn’t look my car over (to schedule future maintenance) unless I paid him a 2nd diagnostic fee – in the same visit! So much for independents.

          • BuffaloBob says:

            If you would like to find a quality, independant repair shop, I suggest going to an auto parts store..eg O’Reilly, Napa, etc etc. These guys actually supply them with the parts they put in your vehicle and have longstanding relationships with the independants so they can guide you to find the kind of shop you’re looking for.

    • scoosdad says:

      Well if it’s in your spell check that exact way, you’re screwed. Officially now it’s “Walmart” and has been that way (without the hyphen) for a couple of years now.

    • Not Given says:

      Some of the people working that department actually do know what they’re doing. I had an alternator failure an hour from home, I bought the part at an Autozone and a guy that had just got off his Walmart shift switched it out for me in a parking lot while I held the flashlight and he did it for $20. I gave him all the $25 I had on me because I was so grateful that I didn’t have to have it towed somewhere and stay in a motel.

    • Draw2much says:

      My best friend from highschool works in the oil change and tire department. She’s an excellent worker and does a good job by all her customers. Her job is getting her through college and paying her rent. I suspect most of their maintenance centers have people like her, rather than the idiot in this story.

      The important thing to remember is Walmarts vary from region to region, just like every other chain store in the US. Some places are very well run and they hire people who know how to work and they train their employees properly. Other places don’t do any of that and when problems pop up, they try to ignore it until it goes away. (Such as the case in this story.)

  4. jsodano says:

    I find something inherently wrong with going to a discount retailer for services. The local Walmart has a doctor’s office, an optometrist, a nail salon, an auto center, etc… Why would you put your most important and/or expensive assets in the hands of a company that prides itself in providing things on the cheap? Especially when most of the dealers these days are emailing out coupons for $!0 oil changes?

    • bravejango says:

      you do realize all they do is rent out space in the front of the store for the doctors and optometrist. yes they make them wear a wal mart badge but if i was an independent doctor i would gladly wear a wal mart badge for a space inside one of the busiest retailers around.

    • Bsamm09 says:

      My friends a pharmacist at Walmart and makes $150k/yr. she had offers at four other pharmacies in the area (chain and nonchain) and they paid the most.

  5. Snowball2 says:

    Why does it seem like she is doing this all on her own? Doesn’t she have auto insurance and wouldn’t they help her out in the claim process and covering a rental if she needs one?

    • Torgonius wants an edit button says:

      I’m going through a similar issue, and Insurance doesn’t play into this at all. She’d have been better off parking her car on the train tracks and claiming it stolen.

      • Golfer Bob says:

        No, please don’t park your car on the train tracks. You would be better off just leaving in a Walmart parking lot. Less innocent people to harm.

    • 12341223 says:

      Auto insurance doesn’t cover idiotic repairmen.

      • Dagny Taggart says:

        Are you sure about that? It’s damage done to your vehicle by another party.

      • Sudonum says:

        On the original thread an (self proclaimed) insurance claims adjuster said she should file a claim under her comprehensive policy. So maybe there are some insurance companies that would cover it.

  6. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    I’m still trying to figure out how the tech put 5+ quarts of oil into the transmission. I had no idea there was so much empty space inside a transmission. I thought it had transmission fluid inside?

    • Golfer Bob says:

      It just poured out of the overflow vent. Probably never noticed it especially if the car was over a pit, otherwise there would have been a puddle somewhere.

      • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

        LOL! I wonder how many transmission oil fills it would take to fill up that pit?

  7. Hartwig says:

    It’s surprising companies just sit on these obvious claims. Seems like it would save them a ton of lawyer fees to settle this case as soon as possible.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      Maybe they hope most people will just go away because they can’t afford to keep missing work and/or paying their own lawyer.

      • RayanneGraff says:

        That’s probably exactly what it is. Put ‘em through enough hassle, take long enough time, & cause them enough trouble, & eventually they’ll just throw their hands up & say fuck it.

    • Lyn Torden says:

      Problem is, too many people give up on forcing big corporations to treat people fairly. Walmart knows this and is trying to slow this down in the hopes that Liz will be one of those people, too.

  8. Steevo says:

    This is an insurance claim. For her and definitely for Walmart.

  9. Lyn Torden says:

    They should let her have the rental FOR AS LONG AS IT TAKES.

  10. rgf207 says:

    I had this same exact thing happen to me at a local facility (not Wal-Mart). They drained my oil and then filled my transmission with oil.

    Same symptoms happened to my car. I brought it to the dealer but the damage was only $227 and the Oil Change place accepted complete responsibility and reimbursed me.

  11. Shadowfire says:

    The car is in idle at the shop for three weeks after a botched oil change? Man, if you thought the engine was wrecked before…

  12. suezahn says:

    Has she taken it to the local news outlets yet? Serious publicity usually lights a fire under corporate asses.

  13. matlock expressway says:

    I know it might seem low-brow, but if you really want results, walk back and forth on the nearest public sidewalk to the service center with a sign that says something like “Walmart put motor oil in transmission. ruined my engine, and refuses to admit fault.” Bonus points for getting a photo-op from the local paper.

  14. Press1forDialTone says:

    Send it in to Anderson Cooper’s show AC360 attention to the
    “Keeping Then Honest” crew.
    WalMart -will- miraculously give her a new car.

  15. frodolives35 says:

    I wonder if she would have got a quicker response from WM if she stood across the street with a sign, BEWARE WAL MART AUTO RUINED MY ENGINE DOING A SIMPLE OIL CHANGE ASK ME ABOUT IT.

  16. NurseTimLPN says:

    I make my own oil changes at home. I really do, have been for years on many different types of vehicles, and never once did I put the oil in the transmission. Of course, the few years I have lived in an apartment prevented me from doing that, but it’s not really that hard if you have the proper tools, which these days includes an oil filter wrench, since they are getting to be so damned inaccessible.

  17. Obtruder says:

    And this is why I do everything I can myself, including oil changes

  18. amylyno says:

    this happened to me 3 weeks ago. Walmart ‘serviced’ my sons car and put too much oil in the engine which blew a rod through the oil pan. It was overfull of oil, and blew up the engine! this happened less than 48 hours after the oil change, and was confirmed by a certified mechanic. even with the leak in the oil pan, (it continued to leak on the tow truck roughly 10 miles from where it stopped to the mechanic-) and was STILL over full. walmart turned it in to their insurance who denied the claim. we are taking them to court.