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Autozone Bandits – No Refund on “Lifetime” warranty POS Alternator


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29 replies to this topic

#1 daehttub2000

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Posted 28 January 2008 - 11:13 PM

I’d like to share a REALLY BAD Autozone experience with the board. I just replaced a defective Autozone rebuilt alternator with a wonderful OEM Subaru one from Jason Douglas at Mike Scharff Subaru of Auburn (866-456-3025) which was delivered on time today for a total no-core-exchange price of 126.96 (95 Legacy 2.2) which included shipping (Thank You USMB!).

Before I ordered the OEM alternator, I called Autozone and they told me they would refund my money. Now, the knuckleheads are saying:

1) They will NOT refund my money but will give me another alternator. The first POS alternator they gave me lasted 8 months before it started screaming like a banshee (it’s also throwing a CEL but I think it might be my O2 sensor freezing up in cold weather again). The night manager wasn’t surprised at all that it failed after 8 months. Not a good sign…:eek:

2) But first, to add insult to injury, they said that they would “test” my alternator and if they determined that it was O.K. they would not give me a new one. That really got me going… Why the h____ would anyone return a good alternator???:mad:

3) Finally, when pressed very hard, he said that the day manager might give me a prorated refund since I had used the alternator for eight months. I calmly pointed out the absurdity of prorating a LIFETIME WARRANTY alternator. He didn’t get it. Lights on, nobody’s home…:banghead:

4) Regardless of the outcome, I will NEVER buy another remanufactured alternator from Autozone.

I don’t have time for this nonsense but I’m going back to Autozone tomorrow to see what the Day Manager says. I’ll keep you posted.

Of course, had I checked with this board prior to my first alternator replacement and listened, I would not be in this predicament:dead:

#2 svxpert

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Posted 28 January 2008 - 11:30 PM

i don't work for autozone but i'll chime in with my thoughts.

1. i have never heard of any lifetime warranty parts store giving money back for a returned defective part, they give another rebuilt part.

2. << But first, to add insult to injury, they said that they would “test” my alternator and if they determined that it was O.K. they would not give me a new one. That really got me going… Why the h____ would anyone return a good alternator???>>

well, alot of people don't know how to diagnose a bad alternator. so in reality, its really a bad battery or bad starter.

#3 Durania

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 12:05 AM

Give the home office a call. Even if they tell you the same thing as in the above post; it is likely they will send you a gift card or something to keep you happy.

#4 hankosolder2

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 12:29 AM

2) But first, to add insult to injury, they said that they would “test” my alternator and if they determined that it was O.K. they would not give me a new one. That really got me going… Why the h____ would anyone return a good alternator???:mad:

3) Finally, when pressed very hard, he said that the day manager might give me a prorated refund since I had used the alternator for eight months. I calmly pointed out the absurdity of prorating a LIFETIME WARRANTY alternator. He didn’t get it. Lights on, nobody’s home…:banghead:


Re: Testing the alternator. I once had an intermittent alternator (charged OK when cold, put out NOTHING once the car had been driven for 1 hr.) Spoke to the counterperson at TRAK (now defunct?) and they told me the alternator had to test bad to exchange. I explained that it was a themally sensitive intermittent problem, counterperson claimed that alternators are never intermittent.

Out of sheer frustration, I took the bad alternator, hooked the output terminal and the case up to each conductor of a 120 VAC wall plug and plugged 'er in. (I do not advise doing this!) They want an alternator to test bad, I'll give 'em an alternator which tests bad! :) Alternator was exchanged, problem solved (which verifies my original bad alternator diagnosis.)

I love the idea of a pro-rated refund on a lifetime part. What fraction of a lifetime did the part last, sir? Perhaps they would like to divide infinity down into 8 month increments?

Good luck with your new alternator. Failing reasoning with Autozone, if you paid by credit card, you can try taking the issue up with your card issuer and see if they'll let you do a charge-back. Explain that the original part failed to last a year, that you could be stranded if the replacement part (if Autozone were to supply the replacement part) fails in the NEXT eight months and you've just generally lost confidence in Autozone's ability to supply you with quality goods. Worth a shot.

Nathan

#5 keltik

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 12:43 AM

Out of sheer frustration, I took the bad alternator, hooked the output terminal and the case up to each conductor of a 120 VAC wall plug and plugged 'er in. (I do not advise doing this!)


What did the wife say? Does this void your life insurance? Did the alt spin? Did it smoke? Did you take a picture? Because my brain is struggling to imagine this scenario - its just too funny.

#6 msmithmmx

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 08:29 AM

Peps does the same thing, you get a another part not your money

#7 johnceggleston

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 08:59 AM

Peps does the same thing, you get a another part not your money


so get the new rebuilt alt and sell it on ebay, send the purchase receipt with it so you can claim lifetime warranty when you sell it. use the money to offset the cost of the OEM part.

but work for the refund as long as you can.

good luck.

#8 Rooster2

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 09:23 AM

Sorry to hear about your problem at AZ. I have had similiar problems with AZ and Advance Auto Parts rebuilt starters and alternators not lasting very long. It is reasonable for them to give you a free replacement per their lifetime guarantee, but no store including a Subaru dealer is going to give you your money back after using the part for 8 months. That is unreasonable, and not within the bounds of a lifetime guarantee. Refunds are only given in the retail industry when the part is returned unused shortly after purchase, usually because it was the wrong part.

I have no affiliation with AZ. I have always found them to be honest in all dealings, and their staff very helpful.

#9 johnceggleston

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 11:45 AM

so how about this, get the exchange, tell them you lost your receipt, they should have your info in the computer. then take your new part with your original receipt to a different store and return it.

you just need to get to the person hiugh enough up the chain of command who has the athourity to 'opt' for a refund.

autozone warranty

Limited Warranty Posted Image
We will replace, or refund your money for, at our option, any part we sell that wears out or breaks under warranty. Your warranty starts on the day you buy the part and expires at the end of warranty period stated on the receipt or when you sell your vehicle - whichever comes first. To obtain a replacement part, visit any AutoZone store or contact AutoZone.com at 1-800-288-6966 to arrange return shipping. Replacement parts are warranted for the remainder of the warranty period or 90 days, whichever is longer. The warranty does not cover defects due to improper installation, other defective parts, low fluid levels, abuse, or commercial, off-road or marine use.
THIS LIMITED WARRANTY REPRESENTS THE TOTAL LIABILITY OF AUTOZONE FOR ANY WARRANTIED PART, AND AUTOZONE MAKES NO OTHER WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. AUTOZONE SHALL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY INDIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES.
Some states do not allow limitations on how long an implied warranty lasts, or exclusion or limitation on incidental or consequential damages, so the above limitations may not apply to you. This warranty gives you specific legal rights, and you may also have other rights, which vary from state to state.
All of AutoZone's parts, except those mentioned previously, are covered by our Limited Warranty. The length of AutoZone's Limited Warranty varies with each part. To locate the length of our Warranty for your part, please visit our Shopping area.
Return to top.
Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Questions?
Send an e-mail or call (800) 288-6966. Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

#10 Cougar

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 02:00 PM

I feel that you should get at least an exchange for the bad one at no cost to you. I don't think it is fair to have used the part for 8 months and then get a total refund on the deal. The suggestion of getting a replacement and then selling it is a good idea.

One thing you should do also I think is have the charging system load tested. You want to make sure that something else in the electrical system caused the alternator to fail early, like a weak battery, and damage the replacement unit.

#11 edrach

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 03:00 PM

Sorry you're having trouble getting a refund. I won't get into that issue here but I have a couple of comments.

You say that the AZ alternator started making excessive noise after 8 months of use. This sounds like bad bearings and it's not likely that anything electrical would cause the bearings to wear out.

Secondly , I suspect you need a core replacement for the OEM alternator you bought. Check out Pull a Part; you can get any alternator (maybe even a working one) from them for around $10. This will settle the core issue for you with minimal expense. (By the way I could send you a core alternator for the cost of shipping or you can pick it up here in Bothell for free).

Lastly, take the failed AZ alternator back to AZ and exchange it for another as per the warranty. Then try to get AZ to take it back for a refund or sell it to someone else (ebay or the USMB) with the lifetime warranty to recover as much of your original investment as possible.

Life is too short to lose sleep over something like this. Put it behind you as best as possible, learn from the experience and move on. Good luck.

#12 daehttub2000

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 06:36 PM

Thanks everybody for all your input and fast responses. I wasn’t able to make it in time to Autozone today so I’m going to give them a try tomorrow.

I’m a real noob when it comes to remanufactured parts and I’m learning a tough lesson I guess.

My previous cars had alternators that literally lasted forever. Only one required an alternator replacement and the replacement lasted until I got rid of it. I thought that a lifetime guaranty alternator should be expected to last a good long time. If this alternator would have lasted a few years before it failed, I would have been disappointed but willing to do an exchange.

I just don’t think 8 months is acceptable for such a critical component given the price and the not-so-subtle marketing of the “lifetime” guarantee. It they would have charged me $50, maybe I’d be willing to bite the bullet on this POS. However, at +$160 with a core exchange, one expects a certain level of quality.

One thing for sure, I’m never going to purchase a remanufactured critical component from Autozone again…

P.S. Hanko: LOL. Do you still have your eyebrows? What do you do with that nasty wall plug setup when you’re not frying alternators? I'd like to use it on the Autozone parts manager...:rolleyes:

#13 keltik

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 06:54 PM

Lifetime warranties here in NZ are valid for the life of the part. So as long as it lasts a reasonable amount of time and fulfills the consumer gaurantees act - thats all you get.

These AutoZone lifetime warranties sound pretty cool to me but its gotta be a pain in the rump roast replacing your crap alternator/axle/starter every six months instead of having it on there good for 5 years.

#14 nipper

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 07:45 PM

Lifetime warrenties are a safe bet on the autopart sellers part. Most parts are not replaced more then once in a cars life time (water pump, alt, master cylinder, etc). the other gamble is that the owner of the car wont have the reciept anymore. So they get to charge more for the lifetime warrenty part, which usually is not rebuilt to any different standard then the non lifetime part (keeping in mind that there is no defanition of what rebuilt part is).

you screwed up their business model.

how dare you

:rolleyes:

nipper

#15 grossgary

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 08:13 PM

i think you'll make out all right. the time to cool down may help you, all of the parts places i've had to deal with are usually very helpful and willing to work with me through various issues. i think you'll be fine. testing is no big deal, they have to test. people mis-diagnose things all the time.

equating "lifetime warranty" with exceptional quality was the mistake. along nippers lines - that's not how it's done and if we owned the business we would understand and do the same thing or not survive the competition. the market supplies what it can sustain...for the most part (no pun intended). you screwed up their business model, i like that!

for "critical parts" like this and to keep reliability your best financially unrestrained option is a new part. the best financially restrained option is an extra used ($20) one in the trunk!

#16 r_kirky

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 08:33 PM

also the average person switches cars every three years and warranties are not transferable. I worked in a muffler shop that would have two different prices for the same part, lifetime warranty or one year warranty.


Lifetime warrenties are a safe bet on the autopart sellers part. Most parts are not replaced more then once in a cars life time (water pump, alt, master cylinder, etc). the other gamble is that the owner of the car wont have the reciept anymore. So they get to charge more for the lifetime warrenty part, which usually is not rebuilt to any different standard then the non lifetime part (keeping in mind that there is no defanition of what rebuilt part is).

you screwed up their business model.

how dare you

:rolleyes:

nipper



#17 Bserk

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 10:07 PM

errg.. Ive been visiting this board as a Subaru owner for a year or more now, and early on I kinda learned to stay out of the 'dealer vs. aftermarket' arguments.... but I just GOTTA put my 2 cents in here.

Nissan dealer tech here, for a long time. If I had a DIME for every time a car came in with a charging system problem, and the customer says: "I replaced the alternator already, at (name your favorite) and they gave me a lifetime warranty" ......... well, I couldnt retire, but I could fund a good vacation. Aftermarket alternators (and starters, for that matter) from the chain stores are J U N K. Some are no good from the start, some work for a while. Im sure if you are lucky, some work as long as you own the car. (Id love to know the % that do that!) The real kicker, and I bet this applies at Subaru too, is that Nissan will not except the 'crap' cores from the aftermarket rebuliders. So after you get sick of replacing it with those 'lifetime' replacements 2 or 3 times, and want the OEM reman....you eat the core charge too!

Shocks, mufflers, brakes...and lots more you can deal with Midas, etc. But if you plan on having a reliable car for the long run, save yourself the aggravation.

#18 WoodsWagon

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 11:59 PM

Do I have to point out that it only takes a 10, 12 and 13 mm socket and 15 minutes to swap out an alt? It's right there, easy to take off and on, no reaching around. In the time it took you to post this, read the responses, and post up your response, you could have had it swapped out. Who cares if it burnt up in 8 mo's, get the free replacement and throw it on. If they need it to test bad, there's ways to kill them. Bring the smoking wreckage in and get yours exchanged.

#19 keltik

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 12:02 AM

Thats all very well untill it packs up 100miles from home when its snowing, with the kids in the back of the car.....on the way to your wifes anniversary dinner. Or something along those lines.

And it may take 15 mins to change the alt but it takes twice as long to explain to the missus shes pushing the car because you were too cheap to buy the right part (experience talking).

#20 hankosolder2

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 12:02 AM

P.S. Hanko: LOL. Do you still have your eyebrows? What do you do with that nasty wall plug setup when you’re not frying alternators? I'd like to use it on the Autozone parts manager...:rolleyes:


It smoked and popped a bit, no big deal. I wouldn't try this "procedure" near anything flammable or conductive. Thinking back on it, I may have just connected the cord to some of the internal voltage regulator terminals rather than the main output terminal, as I don't remember tripping the house's circuit breaker.

I keep that "nasty wall plug set up" well out of the reach of children when I'm not busy frying alternators!

Just a thought- is a possibility that you overtightened the drive belt and caused the bearings in the Alt to wipe out? (I still lean towards the sub-par Autozone rebuild theory, but you have to consider all the possibilities.)


Nathan

#21 MilesFox

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 01:51 AM

Do I have to point out that it only takes a 10, 12 and 13 mm socket and 15 minutes to swap out an alt? I


tht wold be 14mm.if you have a 13 mm bolt its really a 1/2' and isnt original.

sorry, but i had to point that out, since the whole car is 10, 12, or 14 under the hood

#22 edrach

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 02:18 AM

tht wold be 14mm.if you have a 13 mm bolt its really a 1/2' and isnt original.

sorry, but i had to point that out, since the whole car is 10, 12, or 14 under the hood


And an 8mm to disconnect the postive cable from the alternator.

#23 Bserk

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 05:54 PM

Do I have to point out that it only takes a 10, 12 and 13 mm socket and 15 minutes to swap out an alt? It's right there, easy to take off and on, no reaching around. In the time it took you to post this, read the responses, and post up your response, you could have had it swapped out. Who cares if it burnt up in 8 mo's, get the free replacement and throw it on. If they need it to test bad, there's ways to kill them. Bring the smoking wreckage in and get yours exchanged.


I did say in my post: 'IF you plan on having a reliable car for the long run...'

I guess if you dont mind the aggravation of breaking down and replacing parts at inopportune times, or paying for a tow off a interstate, than by all means, buy the cheapest junk with the lifetime warranty.

In the time I took to (accurately) read the posts and post my replies, you could be outside in the snow replacing more junk parts. Im inside and warm, on my 'relaxing' time, drinking a beer, laughing at your weird justification for buying junk alternators, and Im quite confident I'll make it to work tomorrow in my reliable ride. Thanks for the laugh, dude.

#24 daehttub2000

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Posted 23 February 2008 - 01:32 PM

To the general USMB board: After some out of town business trips and a few Chicago Ice/Snow storms, I finally went 15 rounds with Autozone and got my money back (less a core exchange). :banana:

Thanks again to all the gear heads in the USMB community that helped me out on this. It was a tough lesson to learn on reman’d parts. I’ll stick with OEM stuff from now on. I’m really worried about my reman’d Pep Boys CV joints now ….

Here’s a bit of a horror/comedy recap:

After 8 months and 2,300 miles (my “beach/ski/mud” car) the POS alternator failed and took my battery with it. In fact, it failed on my first trip over 3 hours. I replaced it with a Subaru alternator and went to Autozone to get my money back.

I tried to be reasonable and polite but had to get a little angry to get my money back after the manager displayed his complete lack of professionalism from the get go. The last straw that ended the “nice guy” routine was when the Autozone manager told me that

a) I wasn’t an ASE certified mechanic and I could have installed the alternator wires wrong. At that point, it was pretty obvious to me that this idiot never changed an alternator in his life. I could see the other Autozone guys (great guys by the way who know their stuff) just cringe at their idiot manager who looked like the youngest guy in the place.

B) Factory car BATTERIES cost $400 so I can’t expect his $75 car batteries to last as long (defending the fact that his junk alternator killed the new Autozone battery I bought at the same time).

There were far too many gems of horse manure to post here but you can just imagine the song and dance he was giving…:rolleyes:

#25 daehttub2000

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Posted 23 February 2008 - 01:36 PM

It smoked and popped a bit, no big deal. I wouldn't try this "procedure" near anything flammable or conductive. Thinking back on it, I may have just connected the cord to some of the internal voltage regulator terminals rather than the main output terminal, as I don't remember tripping the house's circuit breaker.

I keep that "nasty wall plug set up" well out of the reach of children when I'm not busy frying alternators!

Just a thought- is a possibility that you overtightened the drive belt and caused the bearings in the Alt to wipe out? (I still lean towards the sub-par Autozone rebuild theory, but you have to consider all the possibilities.)


Nathan


Thanks Hanko, you're keeping me up at night thinking about that belt... I did follow the Haynes manual with the 1/4" deflection...).




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