• Report: #315729

Complaint Review: Valvoline Instant Oil Change

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  • Submitted: Fri, March 07, 2008
  • Updated: Sun, October 28, 2012

  • Reported By:Bay City Michigan
Valvoline Instant Oil Change
917 N. Euclid Avenue Bay City, Michigan U.S.A.

Valvoline Instant Oil Change Aka VIOC Yes, VIOC is only interested in money! Bay City Michigan

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Ex employee from Ohio responds

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: VIOC BETTER THAN YOU THINK

*General Comment: Clearly Not Fit

*Consumer Comment: Disagree with comments

*Consumer Comment: A quick lube employee responds - this post is misleading

*Consumer Comment: A quick lube employee responds - this post is misleading

*Consumer Comment: A quick lube employee responds - this post is misleading

*Consumer Comment: A quick lube employee responds - this post is misleading

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I used to be the Customer Service Representative (CSR) at VIOC. I worked there for two years, from 2002 to 2004.

At first, I didn't mind my job. It wasn't commission, came with health benefits, and I got to talk to people and help educate them about their vehicle.

About a year and 3 or 4 months into my job, demands began increasing A LOT. Percentage of required vehicle services had to be tracked every week. Sales per vehicle increased by first $6, then $8, then $11, until every vehicle that came through our doors had to be sold at least $14.01 in products or services in addition to the oil change. Corporate determined that we were giving too many discounts to customers, so took away all the codes in the computer that allowed us to give discounts. Meetings were held with the Area Manager once a month (at the minimum) to determine who was doing the best. Once the requirements went up, our percentages went down, yet of the 8 stores in our area, we had one of the best sales records.

About six weeks before my two year anniversary, all CSRs had to attend a sales meeting--how to sell things to customers who don't want to buy them. I don't know about the rest of the country, but in 2003 Michigan's economy was slowing. No one wanted to spend more than necessary, and why should they spend $20 on an air filter they can get from the parts store for half the price, especially when it's only going to improve gas mileage enough to save a dollar a month? They're getting to return on their investment. So I and two other employees tried selling the expensive services to those who needed them (transmission and coolant flushes, belt replacement, etc.) and giving the oil change for free. It helped their vehicle stay on the road and it helped us keep our jobs.

Until the Area Manager found out at the sales meeting. Three weeks before my two years were in, she came to the store and fired me, the Assistant Manger (6 1/2 years experience) and the Senior Tech (3 years experience) for theft from the company. Giving product away without documenting a sale is theft, she said. I argued the other two employees' cases because I didn't want to be the one responsible for them being fired. I openly admitted that it was too difficult for me to meet the ridiculous expectations Corporate kept giving us. Other quick lubes were going out of business, or advertising for competitors coupons for a big discount. She said too bad, don't come in tomorrow. Go home. You're done.

I went home and filed for unemployment. VIOC fought it on grounds that I was stealing from them, so was not entitled. I spent hours on the phone, wrote numerous letters, and supported the other two employees' positions to help them get their unemployment benefits. Eventually the Michigan UIA ruled in our favor... two months later. I didn't receive my first check until three months after I was fired.

I am posting my story so others will know a few things:
-Michigan VIOC employees are not commission; they are hourly
-Area Managers everywhere suck (the one that fired me is still AM for my region)
-We had feelings; we had integrity. If we couldn't do it, if we felt it could cause damage rather than fix, if we didn't know something, we didn't do it. We were there to fix, not rake in cash. Higher ups were, but not us.
-If we broke it, we fixed it. If we cracked a radiator, broke a wire on an air filter housing, didn't put just the right amount of oil in the vehicle, and there was a problem, we had it taken care of as soon as we could. Sometimes the Store Manager even went out to a customer's house if a plug fell out to fix the problem so the engine wouldn't be damaged.

However, we're not there anymore. We were fired for trying to keep our jobs. Any VIOC, not Valvoline Express Care, is probably corporate-owned by Ashland-Marathon, the same company that owns Speedway. That's why you can get Speedy Rewards Points for going to VIOC. They also own Marathon and about six or eight other companies. And Ashland-Marathon is after $$$$$. Not just $$, but as much $$$$$ as they can get.

I know it's hard to find time to do it, but I'd honestly recommend you either do it yourself or find a trustworthy mechanic who will be upfront and honest with you. And know your vehicle. How many quarts does it take? Which fluids does your vehicle call for? Then when the tech comes and tells you something you know is complete bull, you know to go somewhere else or ask for a different tech.

Megan
Bay City, Michigan
U.S.A.

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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/07/2008 01:32 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Valvoline-Instant-Oil-Change/Bay-City-Michigan-48706/Valvoline-Instant-Oil-Change-Aka-VIOC-Yes-VIOC-is-only-interested-in-money-Bay-City-Mich-315729. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Ex employee from Ohio responds

AUTHOR: Jimmy CSR - (United States of America)

Hey there, just wanted to add my 2 cents in on my experience working for VIOC.
I also was the CSR, or customer service representative. I have seen it all.. 
First off, yes.. the CSR (and all other employees, but mostly the CSR) is pressured to have an average ticket markup of at least $20 more than the price of an regular conventional oil change. Not only that, but some shady stuff went on in the store I worked at. apparently the manager I had the displeasure to work with was fired, but only shortly after I quit. I had for the longest time a video of myself clocking the general manager (Chris Gleiser) out when he left the store several hours ago. He was the absolutely worst manager I have ever had, and was straight up abusive. He literally threatened my life several times when I casually mentioned that I had a video of me clocking him out. 

On more than one occasion, we would have what is called a fleet customer come in to have pre-arranged services done to the vehicle. Everyone would scramble to "get" that customer checked in, as usually it meant that they were due for more than an oil change, which would boost the average ticket sale. I have seen straight up with my own eyes the same abusive manager (Chris Gleiser of the Willoughby Ohio store) kick everyone out of the bays and have them wait in the back room, while he would go and shut off the cameras and "fake" a coolant flush on the fleet vehicle, in hopes of his store's average ticket being the highest so he could go on a vacation to atlantic city. He would take the coolant hoses off and hook the vehicle up to A BROKEN COOLANT FLUSH MACHINE and just siphon out the coolant in the overflow tank, and stand around for 10 minutes while he pretended to do a coolant flush. That is what I would call stealing.

Not only that, but I have seen tons of other shady things happen there too. the poorly trained employees were forced to lie to customers about their air filters, pulling them out of the trash and saying that is the customers air filter and it needed to be changed. OH, and don't get me started about female customers. We would all fight on who got the female customers because they generally did not know too much about cars. A woman had a 4 month old car, and couldn't figure out how to get the air conditioning to work, so the manager convinced her to get her air condition serviced. While she went to chic-fil-a next door to get some food, we discovered that all she needed to do is press the A/C button and the air would blow cold. The manager still charged her I believe it was either $150 or $180 for the A/C service. Horrible, horrible business ethics.

The reason I am not working there anymore is because I got tired of the abuse. The manager would make racist comments and straight up talk sh*t to me and call me names. The last straw was when I was working upstairs and he was forced to go work in the pit, and when he didn't hear me call the filter, he took and and threw it at me HARD. He missed me, and it hit the front doors and broke, so he had to get another. I am not subjecting myself to that abuse, so I quit. I should of sued this company for assault and emotional distress. WORST JOB EVER. 

There is tons more I can say about my experience with valvoline, but my computer is about to die. If anyone had any other questions or would like copies of the pictures or videos I took of this manager, or if you want to talk more about working at this joke of a service shop, feel free to e-mail me at jjd22@zips.uakron.edu. I would be more than happy to go on and on. To the original poster, I feel for you. This company is nothing but a joke and would love to see some kind of result from your bad experience. - James
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#2 UPDATE EX-employee responds

VIOC BETTER THAN YOU THINK

AUTHOR: hm404531 - (United States of America)

There are many people that would look at this post and believe what they see. I was a former center manager in Rochester NY. despite what was said on here has been found to be true. YES I said it. Before you pass judgment there was swift action to correct this. It is a clear violation of policy to have deceptive tactics like this. Most likely there was a manager trying to meet certain goals. And anyone can sit here and say ohh that's shady. Every retail company in the world has some form of up selling ie. Grocery store buy three get one free. I have worked for both of the largest quick lubes in the world. JIFFY LUBE and VIOC. There is no comparison between the two. I LOVED VIOC. Ashland Inc. They do care about their employees customers and the environment. Look at their vision and values. You have to know theses by heart and practice this daily or you will never advance without them. 1. Be fair and honest with employees and customers 2. Recognize and celebrate achievement. 3. Make self improvement and learning a way of life. 4. Make our jobs fun 5. Be great at what we do.

No company is perfect. I will say this though I miss the work the people the customers and the company. The only reason I left was where I moved to didn't have any corporate locations. What is posted on this site most likely is a Franchise or could have been a rogue manager and employees. This employee was caught in the crosshairs. Call and ask to speak to Vioc-Ashland corporate. They have done reversals of termination for certain reasons. They may work with you. EVERYONE I have met while working there has been amazing. Managers area managers market managers and the vice president Randal as well as Tony Puckett the President. All down to Earth good people. I would go back in a heartbeat. Look at the big picture. See it for what it was. Lack of documenting inventory. Deception to customers And definitely not what this company was founded on or practices every day. Acts of a few doesn't project the whole.
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#3 General Comment

Clearly Not Fit

AUTHOR: Store Of The Year & SCM Of The Year - (United States of America)

 This here is clearly another case of need to interview more before hiring. When and if this weak and poor sales individual exisits in your business and somehow was hired, they should be spotted within weeks of their inception. My first question is where was the service center manager when this Megan was giving free oil changes away, and why would they sell air filters to customers that were clean still? Come on seriously VIOC wants to be "The Quick,Easy, And Trusted way to avoid costly inconvienient breakdowns" not drive people away. When you tell an employee such as Megan that they are not on comission and they are to take care of customers needs based on their manufacturer rec's and not fluid color or appearance and their goal for instance is $20 additional per customer, what is here drive? Purely satisfaction to meet customer needs and do this well thats why you interview, interview, interview for this position. This $20 by the way is not on every customer its an average you may not get this every customer everytime but as an average on 30 customersper day yuo should average at least $20 additional. You dont think this is their goal at any business and you are just a blind consumer. Would You Like Frie with that? Would you like to upgrade to our Choice Extra pack for just $10 more per month? so on and so forth. Moral of this story read your owners manual, dont go somewhere unless you trust them and only buy what you can afford and will help you and your car last the longest! The airfilter by the way Megan also reduces engine wear by reducing strain on the engine to bring in air the combustion chambers! Poorly trained and not fit for the role of serving VIOC's guests, both your boses fault and yours for never seeking the proper training.
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#4 Consumer Comment

Disagree with comments

AUTHOR: Cro-tech Svc. - (U.S.A.)

Megan I am truly sorry your career at Valvoline Instant Oil Change was terminated. I run a franchise south of the Bay City Location.

The Management would never allow free oil changes for the simple fact that there are costs associated with material and goods. There is no justification for giving away free oil changes.

I would also disagree with your statement that you were pressured to perform a hard sell on customers. The Valvoline Instant Oil Change training for CSR is clear (and if you were there for that period of time would have been certified) that you only go over recommended maintenance based on the mileage on the vehicle. Nothing more nothing less. If the customer says no 3 times to recommended mileage based service you were trained to say no problem I will put these recommendations on your receipt consider having them performed next time. Valvoline is in the business to retain customers not drive them off with agressive selling techniques.

Lastly, you are familiar with SMG scores. One of the survey questions is did you feel pressured to buy additional services or was pricing clearly communicated. If your store received poor scores in this category that means without exception that the CSR was not following guidelines. Your store manager should have been printing off the red flag reports which would have indicated that oil changes were given away. This could have been addressed the following day and everyone would still have had their jobs.

It is way too convenient to spread negative comments about your former employer.
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#5 Consumer Comment

A quick lube employee responds - this post is misleading

AUTHOR: Oilchangetech - (U.S.A.)

I have been an employee of a large corporate owned quick lube very similar to Valvoline for over three years and I am very disturbed by this post. I am not a cheerleader for the quick lube industry (far from it in fact) but a number of Megan's comments are just plain wrong. I am not trying to attack this poster personally, but I think customers need to know the truth about quick lubes including Valvoline. So I would like address a number of Megan's complaints.

1. Megan complains about having to sell additional products and services. Anyone who has worked in the automotive industry for more than a day knows this is standard practice anywhere from Jiffy Lube to a Porsche dealership. Is it ethical? I believe so, as long as the services being sold are legitimate. Megan seems to be complaining about the nature of the sales industry in general. Sales targets are common practice in ANY sales job, and Megan acts like the additional 15 dollars she had to sell was terrible. In fact her sales targets are quite low. Any good quick lube can do that with no sales at all, customers usually come in asking for wipers, air filters, etc.

2. Megan states "Corporate determined that we were giving too many discounts to customers, so took away all the codes in the computer that allowed us to give discounts." Why is this unfair? If you ran a company, would you allow employees to give whatever discounts they wanted?

3. Megan asks "why should they spend $20 on an air filter they can get from the parts store for half the price, especially when it's only going to improve gas mileage
enough to save a dollar a month?" Firstly, changing a dirty air filter can improve gas mileage by up to 10%, so that is more than a dollar a month. Second, the markup on parts is NOT PURE PROFIT. No markups are ever pure profit. Markups are calculated by the corporate office to help the company pay for things like insurance, utilities, rent, advertising, and so on. People like Megan seem to ignore the fact that if you buy a part from Autozone, it does not install itself.

4. Megan stole from her company and says it's not her fault. "So I and two other employees tried selling the expensive services to those who needed them (transmission and coolant flushes, belt replacement, etc.) and giving the oil change for free." Bottom line is, if she was not authorized to give discounts up to the cost of a free oil change, Megan was stealing. I'm sure everyone reading this knows an employee who has gotten fired from a job for giving unauthorized discounts.

Bottom line is, Megan doesn't understand the basic business model and thinks its unethical. So she tries to rectify the situation by doing something else unethical. I am not defending everything VIOC does, just answering specific points in Megan's post.
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#6 Consumer Comment

A quick lube employee responds - this post is misleading

AUTHOR: Oilchangetech - (U.S.A.)

I have been an employee of a large corporate owned quick lube very similar to Valvoline for over three years and I am very disturbed by this post. I am not a cheerleader for the quick lube industry (far from it in fact) but a number of Megan's comments are just plain wrong. I am not trying to attack this poster personally, but I think customers need to know the truth about quick lubes including Valvoline. So I would like address a number of Megan's complaints.

1. Megan complains about having to sell additional products and services. Anyone who has worked in the automotive industry for more than a day knows this is standard practice anywhere from Jiffy Lube to a Porsche dealership. Is it ethical? I believe so, as long as the services being sold are legitimate. Megan seems to be complaining about the nature of the sales industry in general. Sales targets are common practice in ANY sales job, and Megan acts like the additional 15 dollars she had to sell was terrible. In fact her sales targets are quite low. Any good quick lube can do that with no sales at all, customers usually come in asking for wipers, air filters, etc.

2. Megan states "Corporate determined that we were giving too many discounts to customers, so took away all the codes in the computer that allowed us to give discounts." Why is this unfair? If you ran a company, would you allow employees to give whatever discounts they wanted?

3. Megan asks "why should they spend $20 on an air filter they can get from the parts store for half the price, especially when it's only going to improve gas mileage
enough to save a dollar a month?" Firstly, changing a dirty air filter can improve gas mileage by up to 10%, so that is more than a dollar a month. Second, the markup on parts is NOT PURE PROFIT. No markups are ever pure profit. Markups are calculated by the corporate office to help the company pay for things like insurance, utilities, rent, advertising, and so on. People like Megan seem to ignore the fact that if you buy a part from Autozone, it does not install itself.

4. Megan stole from her company and says it's not her fault. "So I and two other employees tried selling the expensive services to those who needed them (transmission and coolant flushes, belt replacement, etc.) and giving the oil change for free." Bottom line is, if she was not authorized to give discounts up to the cost of a free oil change, Megan was stealing. I'm sure everyone reading this knows an employee who has gotten fired from a job for giving unauthorized discounts.

Bottom line is, Megan doesn't understand the basic business model and thinks its unethical. So she tries to rectify the situation by doing something else unethical. I am not defending everything VIOC does, just answering specific points in Megan's post.
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#7 Consumer Comment

A quick lube employee responds - this post is misleading

AUTHOR: Oilchangetech - (U.S.A.)

I have been an employee of a large corporate owned quick lube very similar to Valvoline for over three years and I am very disturbed by this post. I am not a cheerleader for the quick lube industry (far from it in fact) but a number of Megan's comments are just plain wrong. I am not trying to attack this poster personally, but I think customers need to know the truth about quick lubes including Valvoline. So I would like address a number of Megan's complaints.

1. Megan complains about having to sell additional products and services. Anyone who has worked in the automotive industry for more than a day knows this is standard practice anywhere from Jiffy Lube to a Porsche dealership. Is it ethical? I believe so, as long as the services being sold are legitimate. Megan seems to be complaining about the nature of the sales industry in general. Sales targets are common practice in ANY sales job, and Megan acts like the additional 15 dollars she had to sell was terrible. In fact her sales targets are quite low. Any good quick lube can do that with no sales at all, customers usually come in asking for wipers, air filters, etc.

2. Megan states "Corporate determined that we were giving too many discounts to customers, so took away all the codes in the computer that allowed us to give discounts." Why is this unfair? If you ran a company, would you allow employees to give whatever discounts they wanted?

3. Megan asks "why should they spend $20 on an air filter they can get from the parts store for half the price, especially when it's only going to improve gas mileage
enough to save a dollar a month?" Firstly, changing a dirty air filter can improve gas mileage by up to 10%, so that is more than a dollar a month. Second, the markup on parts is NOT PURE PROFIT. No markups are ever pure profit. Markups are calculated by the corporate office to help the company pay for things like insurance, utilities, rent, advertising, and so on. People like Megan seem to ignore the fact that if you buy a part from Autozone, it does not install itself.

4. Megan stole from her company and says it's not her fault. "So I and two other employees tried selling the expensive services to those who needed them (transmission and coolant flushes, belt replacement, etc.) and giving the oil change for free." Bottom line is, if she was not authorized to give discounts up to the cost of a free oil change, Megan was stealing. I'm sure everyone reading this knows an employee who has gotten fired from a job for giving unauthorized discounts.

Bottom line is, Megan doesn't understand the basic business model and thinks its unethical. So she tries to rectify the situation by doing something else unethical. I am not defending everything VIOC does, just answering specific points in Megan's post.
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#8 Consumer Comment

A quick lube employee responds - this post is misleading

AUTHOR: Oilchangetech - (U.S.A.)

I have been an employee of a large corporate owned quick lube very similar to Valvoline for over three years and I am very disturbed by this post. I am not a cheerleader for the quick lube industry (far from it in fact) but a number of Megan's comments are just plain wrong. I am not trying to attack this poster personally, but I think customers need to know the truth about quick lubes including Valvoline. So I would like address a number of Megan's complaints.

1. Megan complains about having to sell additional products and services. Anyone who has worked in the automotive industry for more than a day knows this is standard practice anywhere from Jiffy Lube to a Porsche dealership. Is it ethical? I believe so, as long as the services being sold are legitimate. Megan seems to be complaining about the nature of the sales industry in general. Sales targets are common practice in ANY sales job, and Megan acts like the additional 15 dollars she had to sell was terrible. In fact her sales targets are quite low. Any good quick lube can do that with no sales at all, customers usually come in asking for wipers, air filters, etc.

2. Megan states "Corporate determined that we were giving too many discounts to customers, so took away all the codes in the computer that allowed us to give discounts." Why is this unfair? If you ran a company, would you allow employees to give whatever discounts they wanted?

3. Megan asks "why should they spend $20 on an air filter they can get from the parts store for half the price, especially when it's only going to improve gas mileage
enough to save a dollar a month?" Firstly, changing a dirty air filter can improve gas mileage by up to 10%, so that is more than a dollar a month. Second, the markup on parts is NOT PURE PROFIT. No markups are ever pure profit. Markups are calculated by the corporate office to help the company pay for things like insurance, utilities, rent, advertising, and so on. People like Megan seem to ignore the fact that if you buy a part from Autozone, it does not install itself.

4. Megan stole from her company and says it's not her fault. "So I and two other employees tried selling the expensive services to those who needed them (transmission and coolant flushes, belt replacement, etc.) and giving the oil change for free." Bottom line is, if she was not authorized to give discounts up to the cost of a free oil change, Megan was stealing. I'm sure everyone reading this knows an employee who has gotten fired from a job for giving unauthorized discounts.

Bottom line is, Megan doesn't understand the basic business model and thinks its unethical. So she tries to rectify the situation by doing something else unethical. I am not defending everything VIOC does, just answering specific points in Megan's post.
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