Brittany Zaldin had her car repaired over two months ago. After that, she says her car got worse. It wasn’t until she took it to another store and they looked under the hood that she realized the disaster she was facing.
“That’s how it all started,” Zaldin explained, “with a pull light and a check engine light.”
A small start to what turned into a huge nightmare for Zaldin, who is an intensive care nurse in Naples and needs her car.
She’s a longtime customer of Firestone Complete Auto Care, so when she saw the warning lights on her dashboard a few months ago, that’s where she took her car, to the location of Pine Ridge Road near Collier Boulevard in Collier County.
Zaldin said, “At this point, I’m worried about how to get to work and how to make sure I can get there on time.”
National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence vice president of communications Trish Serratore said Zaldin was smart to go with a store she feels comfortable with and recommends drivers do some research. before working on their cars.
“Check with your friends and neighbors,” Serratore added. Saying that you should ask yourself, “Who has had good experiences? Who has cars that look like yours? Do your research before you need the store and do a little research in your neighborhood.
Records show Firestone refitted protective pads and replaced a spark plug, battery and radiator, but Zaldin says the problems persisted weeks after he drove his car home.
Zaldin said: “They checked the car again and they said, ‘Oh yeah, I sense something is wrong. “”
This is where she said the real trouble started. Records show that Zaldin took her car back to Firestone three more times until she realized the problem still wasn’t fixed, so she took her car to another Firestone store.
“He was so embarrassed,” Zaldin recalled. “He used the word blatant. He said ‘I’m so ashamed.’
Her boyfriend Scott Burton explained the job to us:
Scott: “It’s just held together with zip ties.”
Scott: “They showed us this metal bracket. During the initial service they removed a bolt and broke it. Instead of telling us, they just cut off a piece of scrap metal and bolted it down to hold that coil in place.
Zaldin said the second Firestone site told her they couldn’t do any work and she had to file a claim with the Firestone company.
She said the second store claimed her car was damaged from the initial repair work with scrap metal attached to the engine. Zaldin said they told him “At this point, because of all the damage that’s been done, you need a brand new engine.”
We contacted the second Firestone location for more information on the condition of the car, but they declined to comment.
Serratore said it’s rare for shops to cause damage during repairs, but it can happen. “We are all human. Mistakes are made. Doctors make mistakes, and technicians make mistakes too… Cars are complicated, aren’t they?
Zaldin said his engine was leaking and not running properly. Worse still, a new engine would cost over $10,000 and she would have to drive a rental car for weeks.
“My car was fine before the engine light came on. If they hadn’t perpetuated the damage, I wouldn’t have a problem. Zaldin said. “It was a horrible ordeal.
She filed a complaint with Firestone, but could not reach anyone on the phone or find any progress to follow up by email.
“I had no timeline, no one contacted me, nothing. And I thought that was really weird,” she said.
That’s when WINK News stepped in.
We visited the original Firestone location, but the manager was not there and did not call after leaving our information.
However, a few hours later we received a call from their corporate team.
Within a day, Firestone and Zaldin were in contact. By the end of the week, they had reached an agreement.
“Most establishments, because they want to keep your business, they don’t want a bad review… They’re going to do what they can to make it work,” Serratore explained. “That’s what good stores do.”
Zaldin is not allowed to discuss his settlement, but Firestone sent me a statement saying:
“We aim to be the most trusted tire and auto service provider in every neighborhood we serve, and customer service is one of our top priorities. We are pleased to have worked with the client to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution.
As for Firestone’s original location, we never heard back from their manager.
ASE recommends that you seek out their Blue Seal of Excellence before doing the job. You can Click here for a Blue Seal store locator.
The seal signifies that your technician has been certified for quality care.
According to ASE’s database, the original Firestone location did not have this seal at the time they worked on Zaldin’s car.
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