Wal-Mart's insurance company has offered a settlement to a North Texas grandmother after she took her SUV to Wal-Mart for a routine oil change and returned to find it had been totaled.
Two weeks ago, a Wal-Mart automotive technician drove her SUV into a wall. The technician said the throttle stuck, and he ran into the wall to avoid hitting another employee.
Roberta Slayton, of Midlothian, said the retail chain's insurer is offering $3,200, the estimated value of her 1998 Ford Expedition, plus fees for a rental car. But Slayton said she can't replace the vehicle for that amount.
She said she doesn't want anything new or fancy – just a solid, dependable SUV like the one she had. It had 173,000 miles.
"They're running $4,500 to $6,000 with the mileage and everything that I had," said Slayton.
And she said the amount the insurer offered also doesn't account for the money she's lost while she's been without a vehicle. Slayton owns a small floral company in Midlothian called Flowers by Roberta. She uses her SUV for deliveries.
She said while the retail chain promised to pay for a rental car during its two-week investigation of the wreck, she said there was confusion regarding the cost of the rental vehicle, who should pay for it and how Slayton should be reimbursed.
Slayton said she never got her promised rental, and she said the return to school is a very busy time for her.
"I'm running 10, 15, 20 deliveries a day, so I've had to have somebody come in and do that," said Slayton.
Right now she's driving a friend's SUV and doesn't want to put too many miles on a borrowed vehicle.
"I've had to turn away deliveries because I couldn't go that far or send somebody that far to deliver," said Slayton.
Wal-Mart's insurer has now completed its investigation of the crashed vehicle.
"They say they watched the surveillance tape and saw the brake lights on from the time they entered the bay until halfway through and then all of a sudden it just laid rubber and peeled out," Slayton said, recalling her conversation with the insurance representative. "So I don't think they have any conclusions right now."
Meanwhile, Slayton said the cost of being without a vehicle continues to pile up as she pays people to make deliveries for her. While Wal-Mart's insurance representative agreed to reimburse $140 for her tow charge and a day's rental fee, he said he'd need to get approval for compensating her for the costs of paying someone to make deliveries she would normally make.
"I just need to get a vehicle. I need for them to reimburse me for the time and money that I'm out of, you know, and just make it right," said Slayton.
NBC 5 Investigates Consumer Unit had a number of questions for Wal-Mart about the investigation, the apparent rental car mix-up and Slayton's compensation. A spokesman answered none of those questions.
Instead, spokeswoman Betsy Harden emailed the following statement: "We always want to take care of our customers as quickly as possible and we're pleased this has been resolved."
Slayton doesn't believe the matter has been resolved. Wal-Mart's insurer is currently considering further compensation.
After seeing the original NBC 5 story, a North Texas car dealership has offered to provide Slayton with a new vehicle.