Problem Solved:Oil Issue Prompts Jiffy Paid Repair

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The engine in Ali Cotton's Nissan Altima is damaged after he brings it to Jiffy Lube for an inspection. Does the company have to pay his $12,998 repair bill?

Q: I went to Jiffy Lube for an inspection. They somehow removed my oil plug and drained all my oil out, which ultimately ruined the engine.

I had my car towed to the dealership, which confirmed that the oil plug was missing and the engine was ruined. The repairs on my 2016 Nissan Altima will cost $12,998. Can you help me get Jiffy Lube to compensate me for the damage? -- Ali Cotton, Chapel Hill, N.C.

A: Jiffy Lube should have inspected your car -- not drained the oil without replacing it.

You had some compelling evidence that Jiffy was at fault, which you sent to the company in writing.

It looks like you gave Jiffy Lube every chance to respond to your request. You sent an email to the corporate office, which deferred to the franchisee. Then you contacted the franchisee but did not hear back.

This isn't the first Jiffy Lube case involving a damaged engine. My advocacy team and I resolved a similar problem for one of our readers a few months ago.

Jiffy Lube offers a limited repair warranty that should cover your damage. It covers "Engine performance, drivability services and repairs" for 12 months or 12,000 miles, so it looks like it would apply to your damaged engine.

One of the problems with making a warranty claim is proving that the damage happened when you had your car serviced by Jiffy Lube. How can you prove that it wasn't something else? In your case, it appears Jiffy Lube inspected your Nissan Altima and gave it a green light, meaning that your car was in good shape. Immediately after that, your engine light went on and you sustained $12,998 in damage to your engine.

Jiffy Lube should have responded to your request, but it looks as if it didn't, based on the paper trail you provided. When that happens, you need to escalate your case to a higher level. I publish the names, numbers and email addresses of the customer service executives at Jiffy Lube on my consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org.

You reached out to my advocacy team for help. I contacted Jiffy Lube on your behalf. A manager called you, and after some negotiation, Jiffy Lube agreed to cover $9,000 of your repair bill, which you accepted.

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy (https://elliottadvocacy.org), a nonprofit organization that helps consumers solve their problems. Email him at chris@elliott.org or get help by contacting him at https://elliottadvocacy.org/help/

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