On Thursday, June 14, 2007 i went to my local wally world for a typical oil change on my 2000 pontiac grand am, which i have been doing for several years now. I went in to the Tire and Lube dept around 2pm and was the only customer in that area. After being greeted by "Jesse", i asked for an oil change and to have one of my battery terminals cleaned after noticing some corrison on one of my top post. I had absolutly NO PROBLEMS with my car prior to entering their facility.
Around 20-30 minutes later, i heard the my name being paged to Tire and Lube, that my car had been completed. I went back to that area, paid for the items i was purchasing and proceded to leave the building. As i was driving away, i went to turn on my stereo and found that it was "locked up". (because i have anti-theft in my vehicle, any time that the battery is disconnected, it throws up a code and will "lock" the stereo, making it unusable until a code is entered) i pulled into Murphy Oil to search thru the glove box for my code. I had placed the car into park and let it run while i was doing this. As i reached over to the glovebox, i noticed what looked like a cell phone charger but at the end of it was a 9v battery plugged into my cigarette lighter. This was something that i had never seen before and found it a little odd. While i was searching thru the papers from my glove box, i noticed out of the corner of my eye that my "trac off" light on my dash popped on. This feature is controlable in my car by pushing a button above the stereo, which i did not push or accidentally bumb. Within a few seconds of the light appearing i heard a THUD. I immediatley threw everything into my glove box and drove the car to the closest parking spot i could find. After putting it in park, turning the ignition offf and letting it sit for a minute or two, i restarted it, put it into drive and heard THUD once again. At that point i drove right back to the tire and lube department.
When i returned to tire and lube, Jesse was once again behind the counter. I told him of the three problems i was having before even leaving wal-mart property, the transmission being of top importance assuming that was were the THUD noise was coming from (and it was coming from that area). Jesse requested for my keys, went out and pulled my car back into the service area. I then stated to the other clerk working in that area that i wanted to speak to a manager immediatley. The local wally-world doen't have bay windows into the serive area as some do, ours it a counter with a hallway leading to a door which goes into the service area. Upon my first arrival the door was open. When Jesse went to pull my car in the second time, he conveintly closed the door to that area so i couldn't see. Too bad for him the door has a window in it so that i was still able to partially see what they were doing. As i was waiting for a manager to come back to that area, i watched as the tech's stood around and staired at my vehicle as if it were going to do a magic trick for them. They did not bother to raise the hood or look underneath the car for any problems. Jesse then pulled my car out of the service area rather quickly and came back into the building. He proceeded to tell me that the 9v charger that i found was placed there to save my codes for my car while they worked on it and that they did not touch the transmission while changing the oil. BEFORE I GO ANY FURTHER WITH THIS SAGA LET ME STATE THAT I AM FEMALE AND BLONDE BY CHOICE BUT NOT STUPID!! I retorted to Jesse that i was well aware of how to change oil in a car and that their "9v battery saver" obvisiouly did not do its job, otherwise the stereo would not be in the lock position. He wanted to argue about the 9v charger and as i told him, you have to enter a series of codes to even get the change oil light to go off so if that was the case then the stereo would not have locked up. About that time, assisant manager Shana showed up and i once again explained the problem to her. The immediate respone from Shana was that they do not touch the transmission when changing the oil....DUH!! I then invited her out to hear the noise coming from my car. She got the dept manager from tire and lube and we proceeded to my vehicle where i started it and put it into drive and once again the THUD sound came thru loud and clear. I insisted that my car had NEVER made this sound before coming to wal-mart and that something was wrong. Shana and her dept manager insisted that they did not touch the transmission because it is sealed and that maybe it was a coinsidence that my transmission was going bad. What a BULL%$#&! way to get out of any damage!! I "thanked her" and got in my car to leave.
My residence is approximatley 3 to 5 miles from wal-mart. As i'm driving home i notice that every time my car shifts it feels like a donkey is at the back of it giving it a hard kick. Within 4 blocks of my house, my check engine light comes on. THIS IS DEFFINATLY NOT A COINSIDENCE AT THIS POINT.
I ended up calling 3 different mechanics in 3 different cities (one being my local ponitac dealer, another being my parents mechanic and the third being a friend who is a mechanic). I was told it could be anything from them coding it wrong, the lift being placed in the wrong area or possibly it was a coinsidence. I also spent a good 45 minutes under the hood looking for any signs of leakage or damage. The next day i contacted the co-manager at wal-mart (the store manager was on vacation for more than a week) and told him (Jason) what had happened. After asking me what i wanted out of them, i told him that they were going to pay for ANY extra costs that i had to pay to get my car back up and running.
In the end, the "mechanics" had unplugged a air flow sensor that tells the transmission when to shift. They did this when they went to clean the battery cables. In my mechanics opinion, this was not nessecary for them to do. Wal-mart DID re-imburse me the cost of the diagnogstic test but not without a fight.
To anyone who has had simillar problems with wal-mart and is fighting them over the additional damage done to their vechile after leaving their service center, (and i've read many reports on here) let me suggest the following:
CHECK YOUR VEHICLE BEFOR LEAVING THE PROPERTY: OIL, TIRES OR WHATEVER YOU HAD SERVICED
IMMEDIATLEY RETURN TO THE TIRE AND LUBE CENTER
ASK TO SPEAK TO MANAGER OR THEIR IMMEDIATE BACK-UP
DOCUMENT EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED PRIOR, DURRING AND AFTER YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THEM
CONTACT A LAWYER
I ended up a lot better off then some of the persons filing complaints on this web site and to those of you i feel your pain. The short distance i drove home could have still caused damage to my vechile but they will never take responsiblity for it. If their "technicians" would have taken the time to re-trace their steps while servicing my car, this entire situation NEVER would have occured. Wal-mart will NEVER touch my car again...i dont care if i'm in the middle of the desert and they are the only place available. The mechanic who found the problem said and i quote 'if they were a reputable service, they would have pulled your car back in and retraced their steps until the problem was solved.'
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