Express Oil Change - Birmingham / Bad Oil Change
Read this carefully before going to an Express Oil Change.
On September 16, 2014, my truck received an oil change at the Cahaba Height location. My truck was then driven a few miles and parked until September 18, 2014 when I drove it to Talladega, Alabama. After I arrived in Talladega, the engine in my truck locked up and began making a terrible noise. My truck was then towed to Talladega Ford. Talladega Ford notified me that my truck had too much oil in it.
On Monday, September 22, 2014, I notified Mike (the Store Manager at Express Oil Change) of the situation. Mike was told what had been stated by Talladega Ford. Mike’s first response was to deny any responsibility. Mike then told me that, if I did not follow the procedures stated on the purchase receipt, Express Oil Change would not be responsible. Mike further informed me that I needed to tow my truck from Talladega Ford to Express Oil Change so that he could determine whether Express Oil Change was responsible. Mike refused to pay the towing cost. I notified Mike that I would be towing my truck to a mechanic of my choosing so that the cause of the damage to my truck could be determined. Mike again told me that Express Oil Change would not be responsible if I altered my truck in any way. I invited Mike and any concerned representatives of Express Oil Change to an inspection of my truck with my mechanic so that the cause and extent of the damage to my truck could be determined.
Despite the difficulty scheduling the inspection due to Mike’s busy schedule (including a training program that he said he couldn’t miss), the inspection went forward on October 1, 2014. Mike was the sole representative of Express Oil Change that attended the inspection. The oil level was first checked with the dip stick. It showed that the oil level was filled over the maximum limit. Mike expressed concern that Talladega Ford may have added oil to my truck while it was in their possession. The oil then was drained from the truck. Again, the amount of oil in the truck was more than the maximum limit. The oil was then filtered, which showed that there was metal in the oil suggestive of substantial engine damage. The owner’s manual for the truck was checked which read that overfilling could cause damage to the engine. Mike stated that he was unaware that overfilling a vehicle with oil could cause engine damage until he researched it on the internet prior to coming to the inspection. Mike stated that there would be an Express Oil Change company memo sent to all Express Oil Change employees informing them of what he learned. As agreed prior to the scheduling of the inspection, we were then going to pull the engine apart to inspect the extent of the damage. Mike stated that he didn’t have time to finish the inspection because he was short-handed back at the store and needed to leave. I clearly let Mike know that I was displeased since we had previously agreed to determine the extent of the damage. He responded by stating that he had a business to run. Mike then made a phone call to a person that he identified as an adjuster and confirmed that he was leaving and would not participate in the determination of the extent of the damage. I asked Mike to call back the adjuster to get the authority to provide me with a rental car. The adjuster refused because Mike said that they would first need to determine whether they were responsible. I asked what he planned to do to determine that issue, and he stated that he would get back with me.
As of October 16, 2014, I had not heard back from Mike or any representative of Express Oil Change. I therefore sent a letter requesting that Express Oil Change accept responsibility. The letter stated that I would move forward with seeking assistance of the court system if they had not notified me that they were accepting responsibility by October 20, 2014 at 5:00 pm. On October 20, 2014, I received a phone message from John Rutledge of Express Oil Change stating that someone from their insurance carrier would be in contact with me at some time in the future. I called John back expressing the urgency of the situation since I used my truck for business travel. He responded by stating that someone would get to me as soon as they could.
On October 22, 2014, I received a phone message from Leslie Patzer, a representative of Express Oil Change’s insurance carrier (AmTrust) in Dallas, Texas. I returned the phone call and left a message. I never heard back from Leslie. On Monday, October 27, 2014, I spoke with a representative from Custard Insurance Adjusters in Birmingham. I requested this representative to ask for authority from Express Oil Change’s insurance carrier to provide me with a rental car. The insurance carrier refused. This refusal is extremely frustrating.
On November 18, 2014, Leslie Patzer wrote me (in response to my frustration that AmTrust and Express Oil Change had done nothing to determine the extent of the damage to my truck despite my continued requests) stating that it was my responsibility to "prove my damages" and that I would have to deal with their attorney.
I have been more patient than most people would be since this all started. I have been more than cooperative with Express Oil Change and AmTrust. All that I have received in response form Express Oil Change is an unequivocal and unjustifiable denial of responsibility. I am concerned that others are being treated as shamefully as I have been.
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