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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 41221
Experience:  Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
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During a premium oil change, Walmart put a Fram oil filter

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During a premium oil change, Walmart put a Fram oil filter on my car that appeared to have been dropped. In 15 miles, all the oil was pumped out and the engine was ruined. Walmart denied all liability, and said it was Fram's problem because I could not prove Walmart damaged the filter, even though it is obvious. Fifty-two days after the incident, an independent adjustment company contacted me on Fram's behalf. They sent an appraiser out and his appraisal, and their offer for a total of the car was fair and I said I would accept it.

Here is the problem. The car, a 2003 Ford Taurus SE eight passenger station wagond, was extensively modified for towing. After the incident, I contacted rental agencies and they said that they could not provide a similar vehicle. By taking another course, I was able to use a vehicle that meets my needs.

When the independent Fram adjuster first called me, she said that they would only pay for a rental from a licensed agency, or for loss of use for a commercially registered vehicle. I only want $35/day for the loss of use of the car, and then only up to the date I was contacted by the Fram adjuster, 52 days. If the adjustment company could have gotten a similar vehicle for less, I have offered to take that amount. It has now been 81 days since the oil change from hell.

The adjuster says they are not legally obligated to pay my claim for rental reimbursement and have not paid me for the car as well.

Is it a legal requirement in South Carolina that replacement transportation be rented from a licensed agency, or that a vehicle be registered as commercial for payment for loss of use?

Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.

I am genuinely sorry to hear that you are in this situation. It is likewise all too common for companies to blame the manufacturer when they themselves performed potentially shoddy service installs.

To answer your question directly, it is not a 'legal' requirement that replacement transportation be rented from a licensed agency, but it may be a 'contractual' requirement under the insurance coverage policy. Similarly there is no requirement that a vehicle be registered as commercial for loss of use, that can simply be shown from circumstantial and additional evidence, for example based on past income stubs or additional costs. The adjuster may require a formal rental as per their agreement for coverage, but it is not state law in any way.

Good luck.

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