Taken from video, provided by a former manager, of an employee installing the wrong air filter in a woman's car
St. Petersburg, FL -- Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has opened an investigation following a series of reports by the 10 News Investigators into North Florida Lubes the parent company of one of the largest quick oil change companies, Texaco Express Lube.
The investigation centers on consumer complaints, along with allegations of deceptive practices from current and former employees of the company. The company continues to insist it has done nothing wrong.
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"It's a lot of deceptive sales practices that are going on. They are clueless to the amount of confirmed information that I have that tie the surveillance with the customers but also work orders," said Ulysses Marshall, a former manager who has filed a federal lawsuit against the parent company of Texaco Express Lube, North Florida Lubes, Inc.
Marshal showed us videos of what, according to the lawsuit is the wrong air filter being installed in a women's car, workers using improper tools to try to install a part in a customer's car and the company selling services it couldn't perform, including charging a customer for a transmission flush that couldn't be done.
"I would email the owner and give him a date and time frame on a camera so we could bring this whole thing to an end," said Marshal.
But Marshal is not alone. Several former and current employees tell us it's a sell, sell, sell and ring up the customers world at Texaco Express Lube.
A company spokesperson looked at the tapes we have alleging wrongdoing by Texaco Express Lube and said it would never happen.
"It is not normal practice to do anything to do harm to their customers," said Michael Munz.
Don't tell that to Tom Sherill. Sherill took his van to Texaco Lube Express in Plant City.
"The man said the machine, we have to flush it out, but we don't have the parts for your car, so I'll use a jury rig thing," said Sherill.
Sherill wishes he had jumped in his van and taken off. But he didn't. Not only was the connection incorrect but, according to Sherill, the work was done so poorly it destroyed his transmission.
"I'm doing about 65 or 70 and the motor races real hard and it goes up to about 3000 rpm and the van isn't moving. We're slowing down and I opened up the hood and there is oil all over the hood," said Sherill.
One manager told us it was a common occurrence at the stores he managed.
"We've had vehicles come back to us where that has caused issues of the running and the performance. Their focus was sales, sales sales," said the manager who asked us not to use his name.
Bill Weidner went to work for Texaco Express Lube and recommended services even though he admits he knows nothing about cars. Weidner who has worked as telemarketer all his life, answered an ad for someone to work in a phone room. He was told it didn't matter that he didn't have any automotive knowledge.
"Basically if you had a telemarketing room that is an auto garage this would be it," said Weidner.
He said he had to maintain $55 per customer all day.
Employee after employee, as well as the federal suit, maintains the company vice president would berate employees who don't meet the company minimum of $55.
"It's important to note this company has no minimum ticket price. I believe you are hearing different stories from different people with different amounts," said company spokesman Michael Munz.
There is no question that someone in the company felt compelled to install the wrong air filter in Paula Moran's car, which allowed Texaco Express Lube to make a sale when it didn't have the correct part.
Now with all the consumer complaints, the allegations by current and former employees, the federal lawsuit and now the attorney general investigation, Texaco Express Lube spokesman Michael Munz insisted they are isolated incidents and he said the company is operating ethically.
"To assume that just because they are looking at customer complaints that things mischievous is going on because they have an investigation is inaccurate. I think to report there is an investigation is accurate," said Munz. "We are cooperating with that investigation and I think at the conclusion of that investigation they will see as we have they work very hard to satisfy every customer complaint."
The Attorney General will decide who is right, the company or the consumers who have complained along with the allegations of current and former employees.