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February 22, 2016

Sometimes There’s Good News in the Fine Print

Filed under: Autos,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:05 am

With minus nine degree weather in Boston last week, MrConsumer’s 1996 Honda Accord wasn’t so eager to start easily. I wondered if my battery was going bad, then again, it hadn’t been that long ago since it was replaced. Checking the receipt revealed that the battery was purchased at Autozone in mid-March 2013.

A further check of the receipt revealed the warranty terms.


Autozone receipt

The battery, which cost about $119, had a five year warranty but provided for free replacement within the first three years if it was defective. Since we were now at the two years and 11 months mark, MrConsumer hightailed it over to Autozone to have it tested. After a few tense moments when they had difficulty connecting the tester, the readout said “bad battery.” Yeah!

We went back in to process the warranty claim. Half expecting some type of snafu or some hidden charge to surface, I was treated to one pleasant surprise after another. They handed me back $4.10 in cash, explaining that the battery was cheaper today than what I paid three years ago. They pointed to a second receipt that popped out of the register good for a rebate of $20 (via gift card). And the worker said that he was giving me a free five year warranty on the replacement battery (rather than the more common practice of only getting the remaining time from the original battery).

Wow. What great customer service! Hats off to Autozone in Medford, Massachusetts.

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  1. Isn’t nice for a change to actually get the service that was promised and then an additional surprise for all your time and trouble? My next battery will surely be purchased at Autozone. This is the best kind of advertisement. No nore Sears for me.

    Comment by nancy sing — February 22, 2016 @ 7:27 am
  2. Bravo to AutoZone! It was nice to see some favorable mouse print in this edition. Although I can’t top Mr. Consumer’s pleasantries with all that money back, Costco is similarly very fair when it comes to a bad battery during its liberal, free replacement period. The downside with Costco, however, is that even with Costco facilities that have garages (which are geared to tire replacement only), they don’t have the capability of testing your bad battery. Nor can they do the labor of removing and replacing your battery. You buy a battery the same way you buy toilet paper; you have to install it yourself (which I do; not a hard task), or have it done elsewhere.

    But the good news is that you just bring them the defective battery within the free replacement period, they’ll check your purchase records, do some paperwork, and hand you a new one. You do need to return the old one, or have it with you for return, to avoid a core charge. And as with Mr. Consumer, the new battery will carry a full, new-battery warranty. Thus, no pro rata, either.

    I’m writing this, as I actually experienced a return as above.

    Dan Kap,
    Whittier, CA

    Comment by Dan Kap — February 22, 2016 @ 8:18 am
  3. There are some retail plans that are actually worth the time and money. I had a similar experience with a Best Buy replacement plan for an expensive device (~$200). The device started malfunctioning about 1.5 years into a 2 year warranty and Best Buy gave me credit to replace it with few questions asked (other than checking the defect).

    I’m glad to hear that Autozone is likely to honor their battery warranty plan.

    Comment by Wayne R — February 22, 2016 @ 8:45 am
  4. I had a similar surprise with a battery purchased at Walmart several years ago. AutoZone is good news though as they are much closer to me now. I always use to buy at Sears but it seems there was always some fine print waiting to trip me up in the details.

    Comment by Russ — February 22, 2016 @ 10:29 am
  5. I just had my battery replaced free from AutoZone last week on a battery that I purchased last June. That battery was a replacement from a previous one that I bought prorated. I’ve been dealing with AutoZone since they opened up as Auto Shack (anyone remember that?) and I never had a bad experience.

    Thanks for a positive (no pun intended) report for a change!

    Comment by Frankie — February 22, 2016 @ 10:57 am
  6. I guess you all are in the “Zone”. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

    Comment by Jeff — February 22, 2016 @ 11:22 am
  7. AutoZone and AdvanceAuto are great for stuff like this.

    Comment by Lisa — February 22, 2016 @ 12:24 pm
  8. Thanks for publishing that story. We need to see more about “the good guys” (and gals).

    Comment by Greg — February 22, 2016 @ 8:40 pm
  9. Good for AutoZone. Nice to read about positive stories.

    Comment by Tundey Akinsanya — February 25, 2016 @ 4:00 pm
  10. In general, we always have to remember to praise and “tip the hat” to good service as well as the usual gripe about bad. The front line folks have all sorts of training and Official Corporate Binders on how to deal with unhappy customers. Suddenly pop up with some happy praise and it’s rather sad how they flounder in confusion.

    Comment by Blaze Morgan — February 27, 2016 @ 7:50 am
  11. Yay for Autozone , Will Be My Auto Store from now on !

    Comment by Brenda Reeves — March 14, 2016 @ 9:29 pm

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