Wednesday, July 30, 2014

OOIDA member’s dashcam video paints unflattering picture of Colorado repair shop

A funny thing happened to OOIDA Member Nick Richards the last time he took his truck to the shop, and not of the “funny ha-ha” variety.

Richards, a company driver for a small outfit in Montana, used his dashcam to record a bizarre scene in the repair shop of LKQ Western Truck Parts in suburban Denver earlier this month. Along with the dashcam footage, the video has footage Richards shot with his cellphone.

An OOIDA member from Livingston, Mont., Richards said he began having problems with the new transmission immediately after it was installed in his truck He said the temperature spiked all the way to 300 degrees. At that point, Richards brought the truck into the LKQ Western Parts shop.

“I had moved exactly four loads with the transmission,” he said. “We knew it was bad right away.”

Richards posted two versions of the video on YouTube, which have combined to receive over 1,000 hits in the past week. The dashcam video purportedly shows at least two members of the service department discussing using a screwdriver to poke a hole in the transmission cooler.

Richards and his boss, Jerry Peters of Jerry L. Peters Trucking in Conrad, Mont., said they believe the video shows the shop trying to come up with a reason to void the warranty on the transmission.

The video shows two men standing near the hood of Richards’ 1994 Kenworth W9, while a third man outside of the frame suggests hammering a screwdriver into the cooler. The shop also told Richards the reason his transmission was overheating and growling was because of a faulty carrier bearing.

“They told me the carrier bearing was bad, and that’s what’s causing the transmission to go bad,” he said. “They told me before we went any further we’d have to get that driveline replaced. It sounded really wrong to me, so just to make sure I was on point, I called both Kenworth in Spokane (Wash.) and Kenworth in Billings (Mont.) and talked to their transmission guys. And they both told me there’s no way in hell a transmission would run hot because of a bad carrier bearing.”

Richards said he refused to sign documents that would have voided the warranty on the transmission, and opted to leave the shop instead.

“What they told me is if they were going to give the truck back to me, I was going to have to sign a piece of paper voiding the warranty,” he said. “I refused to sign. I told them I was going to call my boss … I got in the truck and left.”

A spokesperson for LKQ said the company is reviewing “the context of this video and the customer service issue at hand.” A message left with the service department of the Denver shop was not returned.

Both Richards and his boss, Jerry Peters, said the transmission was sent to them by LKQ as a replacement for another faulty transmission Peters purchased from the company in April.

“At this point to be completely honest, I’m kind of done with them,” Peters said. “I don’t have time to sit around here and fart with transmissions. We’re almost at the end of July and I’m still screwing around with this.”

Peters estimated he had spent approximately $20,000 on the transmission snafu, and “I still don’t have one that works.”

Both men said they found the dashcam footage to be upsetting.

“I mean, when they were talking about punching a hole in the tranny cooler … or when they started on the carrier bearing … they’re looking for a back door way out,” Peters said.

Richards said the footage made him “angry as hell.”

“When you hand your truck over to someone, you’re handing your livelihood over to someone. You don’t do that to someone’s livelihood. This is how I take care of myself. This is how I pay my bills. … You’re cutting people’s throats doing things like that.”