Tampa, Florida-- They're accused of taking advantage of customers by over charging and doing inaccurate work. Now, more people are stepping forward about Texaco Xpress Lube, which is one of the largest of its kind in the state. In our first story about the company, we explained why a former employee has filed a federal lawsuit claiming it is cheating customers. Now more people have come forward with more accusations.
Paula Moran, a former customer, says it makes her furious because people are tight on money and Texaco Xpress Lube is ripping people off. Former Employee Ulysses Marshall says it is coming straight from the top. Tom Sherrill says he wouldn't go back if he broke down in front of one of the company locations. He says he would have a tow truck come and take him to someone he can trust. A current employee, who asked us to hide his identity, says deception and deceiving tactics are on-going all the time.
These former customers and current and former employees are talking about Texaco Xpress Lubes. We first told you about company practices that according to a federal law suit include high pressure techniques that lead to deceptive and fraudulent sales practices.
A current employee says it is pressure from top management to make the stores maintain a certain sale performance to make sure the stories are doing what they should be doing in their eyes.
Employees say the company demands a $62 average ticket for a customer. One employee told us everything has always been to get as many vehicles in and out as you can and maintain the ticket average. He says that leads to practices like installing an air filter that doesn't fit because the correct one wasn't in stock. It happened to Paula Moran.
Moran says she feels as if the company thinks when they see women that they are stupid.
Employees say it has been popular culture in the company, that if they don't have the fittings, use what will work if it won't damage the vehicle even if it causes problems down the road.
Tom Sherrill says all the company wants is money. Sherrill says he found that out when he brought his van to this Texaco Xpress lube in Plant City for a flush, Sherrill says the man at Texaco Express Lube said the machine to flush out the car didn't have the right parts so they told him they would "jerry rig" it to fit.
Sherrill says he should left, but didn't. Not only was the connection incorrect, but also Sherrill says the work was done poorly, it lead to his transmission being destroyed.
He says he was doing 65 or 70 miles an hour down the highway when the motor races to about 3000 rpms, but the car isn't going anywhere and in fact was slowing down. Sherrill says he opened the hood and there was oil all over.
Meantime, employees claim they are berated by company executives. In one video we obtained it appears and sounds as if vice president, Arnold Frankie is screaming at employees because the location fell short of its $62 dollar average customer charge, employees say when they get a dressing down like that it destroys them.
One employee told us they have to do things they don't want to do in order to maintain employment with the company.
And while Texaco Xpress Lube has refunded Paula Moran the money it charged her for installing the wrong air filter, the company president, Brian Fowler, told her and us he doesn't condone those practices and had no idea it was going on. This is where Fowler's contention doesn't seem to ring true, because of e-mails included in the federal lawsuit that alerted him to the practices.
One employee told us there was a point in time when the practices didn't seem to be such an epidemic, but when the economy went bad it all changed. Meantime, customers are concerned they've been taken advantage of.
Attorney general Pam Bondi has a received a copy of the federal lawsuit and a call for a state investigation. Her office says she is looking into the allegations and the compliant. Meanwhile, we contacted the attorney for the parent company of Texaco Xpress lubes several times to try to get an explanation, but our calls were never returned.