City woman sues Pep Boys, collects $1,742
Posted: October 13, 2012
The Winchester Star
WINCHESTER — A city woman who sued Pep Boys for failing to repair her car and then lying about it has won her case in court.
The Pep Boys — Manny, Moe & Jack Inc., Corporation Service Co., of Richmond — was ordered Thursday to pay $1,742 to Charnell Walkling for services not rendered.
The case was heard in Winchester General District Court.
In an interview Friday, Walkling, 43, said her troubles began in November 2009 when she smelled antifreeze and noticed steam coming from the engine of her 2004 Ford Taurus.
She took her car to Pep Boys at 2001 S. Pleasant Valley Road, where mechanics replaced her head gasket — which sits between a vehicle’s engine block and cylinder head(s).
Within a few days, however, she noticed oil around one of the engine head bolts.
When she returned her car to Pep Boys, she said, a mechanic told her that the bolt would not properly tighten and a service adviser said the firm would order another one and call her when it arrived.
But she had a long wait.
According to Walkling, in January 2010 her heater stopped working and she began to smell antifreeze. She said she called Pep Boys again and was told that the bolt still had not arrived.
In mid-January, Walkling’s mother entered the hospital in West Virginia. She said she went to stay with her for two months, leaving her car in Winchester.
During this time, she said, she made additional phone calls about the bolt, which had still not come in.
In March, it reportedly arrived, so Walkling took her car back to Pep Boys, where she said the old bolt was supposedly replaced with a new one.
Shortly afterward, she said, her car began to shake and jerk. When she took her car to Pep Boys again, employees told her she needed a new engine, which would cost $3,000.
But Walkling and her boyfriend insisted that it was a head gasket problem, so Pep Boys kept the car for more observation.
In April, Pep Boys employees allegedly told Walkling that they believed the car’s computer had a problem and told her to take it to Malloy Ford at 1911 Valley Ave., which she did.
A Malloy mechanic told her that the head gasket had blown. And when she went to pick up the car after the repairs were finished, the mechanic told her that the engine bolt had not been replaced and that Pep Boys had instead put silicone on it to hold it in place.
When Walkling returned to Pep Boys, she said, a service manager admitted to her that they had not replaced the bolt.
Pep Boys offered to pay Walkling $4,000, but she rejected the money.
“I didn’t even get an apology, and they didn’t admit they did anything wrong,” she said.
She sued the corporation May 31, 2012.
“I want people to be aware that when they have services done at Pep Boys, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are getting what they paid for, and I don’t want them paying a larger price down the road,” she said.
The Pep Boys corporation is required to pay a 6 percent interest on the $1,742 judgment, starting immediately.
Pep Boys on Pleasant Valley directed all inquiries to its corporate office in Philadelphia, which did not answer calls Friday.
— Contact Rebecca Layne at email@example.com