Vehicles totaled after trip through metro ATL oil change chain - CBS46 News

Vehicles totaled after trip through metro ATL oil change chain

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Every vehicle needs an oil change. Don't do it and you could destroy your car.

So imaging paying for the service, but the work is never done. That's what a CBS46 investigation uncovered at several metro Atlanta Havoline Xpress Lubes.

After our story, dozens of Havoline customers contacted CBS46 claiming to be victims of shoddy work.

Over the last few weeks, dozens of you have reached out with examples of how you felt victimized by Havoline Xpress Lube shops. Many of you found air or cabin filters that weren't changed, some felt scared into additional services, and others found not enough oil was put into vehicles. A few even lost cars to major damage.

Ty Thompson's Pontiac Vibe has been in and out of repair shops since August.

"He basically told me you don't need to drive this anywhere, it's dangerous," said Thompson.

Marilyn Loyal's Chevrolet Malibu has been out of commission since April. Both vehicles were damaged after visiting a Havoline Xpress Lube.

"I trusted them and I believed what they told me at the time," said Loyal.

A CBS46 hidden camera investigation uncovered shady practices at several Atlanta area Havoline Xpress lubes. In Douglasville, mechanics charged us $32.83 but never changed our oil. In Dunwoody, they wanted $92 for an oil change and filters we didn't need. For $24.32 in Smyrna, they drained oil from our car, but never added any. That's what Loyal thinks happened to her Malibu.

"The car basically made a loud boom noise with a lot of gray smoke," said Loyal, "He actually looked and he was like, this is bone dry, I can tell you now there's no oil in the car, period."

Loyal had just changed her oil at the Morrow Havoline Xpress Lube the week before.

In a letter to Loyal, Havoline claims her vehicle had oil and transmission leaks. Paperwork where the ruined car was towed says otherwise.

"It says no leaks found, no oil present," said Loyal.

Between rental and repair costs, Loyal spent more than $1,300. She finally just bought another car.

Remember Ty Thompson's Pontiac? He couldn't believe what happened during his oil change at the Sandy Springs Road Havoline Xpress Lube in August. A father and son mechanic team got physical in the service bay.

"I could hear them arguing, but I couldn't tell exactly what was being said," said Thompson. "His son comes running up from behind him and just shoves him right into the engine compartment. His son reaches in here and grabs that oil gun and just proceeds to beat him in the head, two or three times. He sprays him down with oil, he sprays the car down with oil in the process."

Thompson was rushed through settling the bill and had to clean the car himself. When it started rattling, he took it to Sears.

"The first thing he told me was whoever changed your oil last time ran the oil gun down through the valve cover," said Thompson.

The verdict? The car needs a new engine and will be totaled, sending Thompson to the used car lot.

"Gas mileage is important," said Thompson.

Havoline's corporate office refused comment. But after we contacted them both customers were suddenly offered settlements for their losses.

"It's only going to cover a portion and I will still be out of my pocket some money," said Loyal.

"I never would have anticipated that going in, stopping at Havoline that day would, it's frustrating to say the very least, I don't know how I'm going to move to the next level with this, but I want to put it behind me," said Thompson.

So what can you do if you have a similar complaint?

Keep your receipts - for the work done and other expenses, including towing or a rental car.

Get a second opinion and have them write up their findings.

You can contact an attorney or make a complaint yourself in small claims court.

A complaint can also be filed with the Better Business Bureau and the Governor's Office of Consumer Protection. You can always bring your issue to CBS46 news by emailing CBS46 investigative reporter Jennifer Emert.

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