Pep Boys / quality of service & unprofessional service manager

Contact information:

Good afternoon,

I made an appointment for an oil change and to change the rear brakes on Saturday November 11, 2017 at 8 am. The appointment was at the Pep Boys located at 7812 Richmond Highway, Alexandria, VA 22306. I signed in, turned over the keys, and walked to the shopping mall next door to pick up a few things. I was advised that it would likely be 45 minutes to an hour. I came back at 9 am at which time the technician approached me with my oil plug. From a distance I could tell the plug looked crazy different. He then said, "Hey who changed your oil last." I told him I did. I have changed my own oil for the past 15 years. The only reason I brought it to Pep Boys today was because I am on temporary detail in Washington, DC for my work within the Department of Homeland Security (I live in New Mexico). Being as such, I am in an extended stay hotel in Arlington, VA with no garage or tools. The technician continued, "I think somebody over tightened the oil plug, who did it?" He then handed me the oil plug. Around the thread of the oil plug was the inside threading of the oil pan, the thread that it screws into. I was able to physically move/screw the thread back and forth with my finger tips, it was not locked/adhered to the oil plug bolt. The technician then took me to the vehicle and slid the entire plug in and out showing that nothing was left in the oil pan to bind to. I asked the technician if they could re-thread the tank and replace the oil plug since they had broke it off. The technician responded, "Yeah we'll get it fixed."

I then proceeded to wait in the waiting room until approximately 11:15 am when they finally said it was ready. When paying for the services, I specifically asked if they were able to fix the thread and replace the plug. I was assured that it had been. I drove my 2007 Chevrolet Suburban the 9 miles to my hotel and parked it in the parking garage.

On Sunday evening around 7 pm, I drove my suburban to the grocery store just a few miles down the road. Upon backing up, I noticed that there was a small pool of oil in my parking spot where my Suburban had been parked. Also, while accelerating, the oil pressure increased drastically more than it typically did. After getting back to my parking garage, I crawled under my suburban and noticed something completely different than I was told. The oil plug had been replaced with one of those temporary rubber ones. Additionally, you could see fresh oil everywhere from where it was spraying all over (assuming it sprays during acceleration ie the increased oil pressure). The plug also has a slow steady leak.

I attempted to contact the service manager for the store on both Monday and Tuesday to address the path forward for getting this fixed. I was told that he was not there but that they would email him my information and concern and he would get back to me. Finally, on Wednesday November 15, at approximately 11:45 am I called again and was finally able to speak with the service manager.

The service manager was polite and listened as I explained the situation. However, when it came time to ask about how we could get this fixed he told me, "I'll have to get a quote on an oil pan, we'll work with you to get it fixed." I asked him if the pan could just be re-threaded and expressed my concern of having to pay another $500+ to replace something that was broke on their watch. At that time, the service manager became agitated and stated that it was not their fault that the oil plug was miss-threaded and broke off and took offense to me suggesting it was broke under their watch. I tried to explain to him that I understood they did not do it on purpose, but if they were completely saying they did no wrong then they were saying that it was my fault it broke off. The service manager told me that I misunderstood what he said, only that that's what could cause it to break off. I apologized if I misunderstood but that it sounded like he was saying they did absolutely no wrong. You could hear the discord in his voice and it honestly did not appear that he was taking my concern seriously, more like I was a bother to him. That is completely uncalled for and unprofessional. The conclusion for now is that he will call me tomorrow afternoon when his re-threading guy comes to work to see if it's possible. So yes, almost a week later and I still do not have resolution on what is going to take place in order to rectify this.

I have changed the oil countless times on multiple vehicles over the years, never once have I cross threaded anything a single time. Does that mean that I am perfect, absolutely not. Is it possible I accidentally cross threaded the oil plug, I think it's highly unlikely but I would say it is possible. I would even argue the state of the oil plug and how the oil plug was spinning freely within the other threads, not appearing to be cross threaded at all. However, there is no argument that the part was broken at the hands of the Pep Boys technician's care. I had no reason to believe that a professional organization such as Pep Boys would not fully care for my vehicle. Due to the blatant disregard of my request to fix the oil pan and subsequent "brushing off" of my concerns, I can no longer believe that. The technician attempted to use a quick temporary fix to get me out of the shop. Now I have legitimate concern if the technician even took the time to ensure no metal shards from the broken thread were left in my oil pan free to destroy the working parts of my engine. That is something that I will have to worry about for months, hoping there is no little metal shards running amuck shredding my pistons.

All I want is to get this fixed. However, I do not want to get stuck paying another $500+ at a minimum to replace something that was broke under someone else's watch. If I have to pay full price to replace my oil pan or have it re-threaded, why would I go though someone who previously proved they did not care about the quality of the repair? Please help me rectify this situation and attempt to rebuild my trust in your organization.

If you wish to contact me, I can be reached at [protected] or [removed]


Howard J. Parsons

Pep Boys
Pep Boys

Nov 15, 2017

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