WINK News investigates: Woman hits the brakes while repairing car – Wink News | Car Plazas


Brittany Zaldin brought her car in for a simple repair more than 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 dealing with.

“That’s how it all started,” explains Zaldin, “with a traction light and a check engine light.”

A small beginning of a big nightmare for Zaldin, who works as a nurse in the intensive care unit in Naples and needs her car.

She’s a lifelong Firestone Complete Auto Care customer, and when she saw the warning lights on her dashboard a few months ago, she drove her car there, to the location on 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 get there on time.”

Vice President of Communications for the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence, Trish Serratore, said Zaldin was wise to choose a shop she was comfortable working in and encourages drivers to do their research before starting work on theirs do cars.”

“Check with friends and neighbors,” Serratore added. Say you should ask, “Who has had good experiences? Who has cars similar to yours? Do your research before you need the store and do a little research in your neighborhood.”

Records show that Firestone reinstalled skid plates and replaced a spark plug, battery and radiator, but Zaldin says problems continued for weeks after she brought her car home.

Zaldin said: “They checked the car again and said, ‘Oh yes, I can feel something is wrong.'”

Here, she said, the real problems began. Records show that Zaldin returned her car to Firestone three more times before realizing the problem was still unresolved, so she took her car to another Firestone store.

“He was so embarrassed,” Zaldin recalled. “He used the word outrageous. He said, ‘I’m so ashamed.’

Her friend Scott Burton guided us through the work:

Scott: “It’s just held together with zip ties.”

Scott: “They showed us this metal bracket. At the first service they tore off and broke a bolt. Instead of telling us, they just cut a piece of scrap metal and bolted it to hold this coil in place.”

Zaldin said the second Firestone site told her they couldn’t do any work and that she needed to file a complaint with Firestone Corporate.

She said the second garage claimed her car was damaged from the initial repair, with scrap metal attached to the engine. Zaldin said they told her, “At this point you need a whole new engine because of all the damage that’s been done.”

We reached out to the second Firestone location for more information on the car’s condition, but they declined to comment.

Serratore said it’s rare for garages to cause damage during repairs, but it can happen. “We’re all human. Mistakes are made. Doctors make mistakes and technicians make mistakes too… Cars are complicated, right?”

Zaldin said her engine was leaking fluids and not working properly. Worse, a new engine would cost more than $10,000 and she had to drive a rental car for weeks.

“My car was fine before the check engine light came on. If they hadn’t extended the damage I wouldn’t have a problem,” claims Zaldin. “It was a terrible ordeal.”

She filed a claim with Firestone Corporate, but was unable to reach anyone by phone or track progress via email.

“I wasn’t given a schedule, nobody approached me, nothing. And I thought that was really weird,” she said.

That’s where WINK News came in.

We visited the original Firestone location but the manager was not there and did not call after we left our information.

However, just a few hours later, we received a call from their corporate team.

Within a day, Firestone and Zaldin made contact. By the end of the week, they had reached an agreement.

“Most establishments, because they want to keep their business, they don’t want a bad review… They will do whatever it takes to get it right,” Serratore explained. “That’s what good shops do.”

Zaldin is not allowed to speak about their settlement, but Firestone sent me a statement stating:

“We aim to be the most trusted tire and car care provider in every neighborhood we operate in, and customer service is one of our top priorities. We are pleased to have worked with the customer to reach a mutually satisfactory solution.”

As for the original Firestone location, we never heard an answer from their manager.

ASE encourages you to seek the Blue Seal of Excellence before doing your job. You can click here for a Blue Seal business locator.

The seal means your technician has been certified for quality care.

According to ASE’s database, the original Firestone site did not have this seal when they were working on Zaldin’s car.

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