Valvoline Express Care - Negligent techâ€™s cost me $20,000 in damages
Warning: Car owners check your oil and fluid levels immediately after receiving any service out of the bays of Valvoline Express Care or better yet avoid getting any service done at this place of business.Being 200 miles away from home we (Scott & Bud) noticed our 06 Dodge Diesel truck's a/c was not blowing much cold air.
As the day heated up we decided that all it may need is a vac and recharge service so we pulled in to the Valvoline Express in Clifton, CO to have them run their a/c service (a 45 min service). We pulled up on a Tuesday morning July 10, 2012 @ 11:20 am and walked into the front door. The technicians were watching TV and shooting the bull. We explained to both of them that all we were there for was an a/c service and to do nothing more.
They acknowledged and went about hooking up their machine and started running the a/c service. We then paid them and we were on our way completely ignorant of the fact that the tech in the pit drained off the oil sometime in the 45 min's the truck was over the pit. During our time there the place was not hectic at all and it was a very laid back environment and some people even stopped by and visited with the tech's for about 20 min's. Whether this incident was done intentionally or negligently is anyone's guess.
Long story short our engine ceased and we were left on the side of the road. We took our truck to Dodge (which took two weeks for an analysis of the damages) and the repairs estimated to be around $20,000+. The Dodge technicians agreed that the only way we could have lost oil was due to the fact that someone had to have drained it at some point. In other words there were no leaks in the seals, hoses, or lines anywhere on the engine or due to negligent maintenance of the owner.
We went back to the Valvoline Express Care and confronted them and of course they denied it claiming to have video of the time we were there. Of course we were forbidden to see this video for ourselves. We called several lawyers in Mesa County and they told us the damages were not enough to cover their cost. The fact that lawyer cost would be around $7000 to $10,000 for their fees (not including retainers) it did not make sense economically to hire a lawyer; because if you end up losing you are out $20,000 along with the cost of the lawyer.
On the flip side if I win there is no guarantee that I would be awarded the court cost and lawyer fees. I am better off putting that money toward the cost of repairs or a new truck. The option of going to court on our own is there, however our time is worth something too. Plus we would have to travel back and forth for court and the whole time we are fighting we are still out a vehicle.
An FYI small claim has a cap of $3000. County court has a cap of $15,000 and District Court has no cap. I am not a professional lawyer. There needs to be a change in the law.
The way things cost in this country we need to up the caps on these courts. Well I don't have a camcorder recording my life and my property 24/7 to show to the judge. The only proof we have is all the maintenance records from Dodge Chrysler shops of every 3000 mile service since we owned this truck brand new. We have put over 170,000 miles on that engine and the tech's at Dodge always told us, "the way you guys take care of this truck it will last a million miles".
Pissed off does not even describe how I feel. Do not to trust Valvoline to do work on your vehicle unless you are a lawyer, wealthy or someone important so that you can do something legally about negligent work. We pay these people in the shops to do us a service because they are supposedly trained, tooled and insured to know more about vehicles than the drivers. ASE certified, insurance, and tools do not mean anything unless you have $100,000 to pay lawyers and courts to make the tech's pay for their mistakes.
Don't find yourself in this place.
Always check your own oil and fluids after receiving any service from any shop.Hold these people accountable at their place of business (the second you drive out stop open your hood and check oil & fluids) not when you are miles away and stuck on the side of the road
Monetary Loss: $20000.