• Report: #72043

Complaint Review: Autozone

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  • Submitted: Sat, November 15, 2003
  • Updated: Fri, November 16, 2012

  • Reported By:Algonquin Illinois
Autozone
Rt 25 Carpentersville, Illinois United States of America

Autozone ripoff won't honor brake pad warrantee, will never get my business again. Carpentersville Illinois

*UPDATE Employee: AutoZone Brake Pad Warranty Explained

*Consumer Suggestion: Underlying issues with most brake pad issues

*Consumer Suggestion: Current Manager

*UPDATE Employee: Auto Zone partly to blame

*Consumer Comment: Adding to what ronald told you

*Consumer Suggestion: Sounds like your caliper was binding or sticking, check slides/pins.

*Consumer Comment: Communication breakdown Store manager and his DM should know better than this.

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Communication breakdown AutoZone store manager

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: So many people drive with their foot on the brakes

*UPDATE Employee: everything the clerk told you was the truth

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About 2 years ago I bought front and rear "lifetime warrantee" brake pads from Autozone. 3 months ago the rear pads wore out. This seems like a short life, but I had a warrantee.

The clerk at the store looked up the record, and told me that this was a "limited lifetime warrantee", and that the pads were warranteed to not crack, or fall apart. There would be no refund.

I walked out disappointed, to buy new pads elsewhere. Two weeks ago, I did the front brakes. The drivers side rotor was heavily gouged. Upon removing the pads, I saw that the outer pad had cracked, and about 1/3 of the material had fallen off This caused the premature wear. The passenger side still had plenty of life. This would cost me a new rotor, but I had a "limited lifetime warrantee".

I brought the pads back to Autozone for replacement. The clerk looked at them and called the manager. They discussed my situation in spanish so that I couldn't understand (rather rude, since both could speak English). The manager then told me that my rotor had caused the problem. Too rough of a rotor caused the cracking, and premature wear.

Needless to say, Autozone will never get my business again.

Or my father's business.

Or any of my brother's business.

Or my father in-law's business.

Yes, they do a great job of taking the warrantee information, and entering it into their computer. This can keep you from knowing the details of the coverage.

PS, Marv's (Parts plus) up the road sold me pads and a rotor for less money, with a better warrantee, and even gave me un-solicited advice on what to watch for with this type of brake!

Tim Algonquin, Illinois
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 11/15/2003 06:34 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Autozone/Carpentersville-Illinois/Autozone-ripoff-wont-honor-brake-pad-warrantee-will-never-get-my-business-again-Carpent-72043. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
0Author 10Consumer 0Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 UPDATE Employee

AutoZone Brake Pad Warranty Explained

AUTHOR: Disco - (U.S.A.)

Tim,

My name is Mike, and I'm an AutoZone employee (AutoZoner) with 4 active ASE certifications and several years in automotive service training and several more in experience as a technician.

First off, I'd like to apologize for the crappy customer service you recieved. You should not have walked out of that store feeling disappointed like that.
It's more of a customer service problem at fault here, not the products and service...

You see, Tim, what the employee you delt with SHOULD have told you is this:

The Duralast, Duralast Gold, and Duralast Gold CMAX brand brake pads DO have a lifetime warranty.

If you purchase these pads, as long as your pads still have friction material still on the backing plate, and have not worn down to the metal, AutoZone will replace the worn pads for free with the same type of pad for as long as you own your car. This is what makes Duralast pads such a great deal.

However, if the pads are unequally worn, worn to the backing plate, or mangled, your warranty is void because something else is causing the problem. Brake pads and shoes do wear out, after all. However, they should wear out evenly. If they do not and rotors and drums are damaged by them, then this is a brake system problem, and not a pad problem, and the AutoZoner should then help the customer find the real source of the issue. Brake pads and shoes should also never be allowed to wear completely out. This is not good for your car and it is not safe.

You see, very few "lifetime warranties" are full warranties. A "limited" warranty means that your product is covered by a warranty under certain set standards.

AutoZoners are not supposed to tell their customers "no". Customer service is supposed to come 1st at AutoZone.

Thanks and apologies,
Mike
AutoZoner
Aurora, Colorado
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#2 Consumer Suggestion

Underlying issues with most brake pad issues

AUTHOR: Edward - (U.S.A.)

At most auto parts stores, having a life time warranty part means that the part will be replaced if it fails under normal wear and tear, or the parts fails because of a manufacturing defect. Most stores will do this for the life of the car as long as it is the same vehicle owner. There are a few of the chains that will only give one free replacement of the part.

If another part on your car fails and causes damage to a part that was warranted, then the parts store has the option of not replacing the part. There is no getting around having other mechanical issues with your braking system if the pads show uneven wear. It could be showing different wear on the driver and passenger side, inboard and outboard pads showing extreme difference in wear, or angled wear on the pads.

Most Autozoners will still replace those pads even if the pads show an underlying issue that caused them to go bad. They will even try to give some advice so the problem will not continue. Usually, if a set of pads come in that shows the rotors gouged the pads, we will usually replace them with the advice that if the pads come back that way again, they will not be replaced the next time. Most all parts stores will do that. That is what the people are there for, provide you with an option of different grades of parts, and hopefully, good advice on installation.

Often, you will see the same customer coming in every two months, wanting to swap out a set of pads and or rotors. If they are being worn out every couple of months, then it is not normal wear and tear on the parts. I have seen many people that drive their cars for delivering the mail. They wear out the brake parts nearly every month. If the parts are going on a vehicle that is used for commercial delivery, parts are only covered for 90 days or no warranty coverage at all.

Lastly, it is in your best interest to buy the best parts. Most auto-parts stores offer a good/better/best choice of parts. Most parts stores offer four or five different grades of pads for the same vehicle. Yet, we constantly see customers come in with a 2006 vehicle ( with pads already to the metal ) and buy a set of $9.99 cheap pads that come with a one year warranty. Even though the car calls for a ceramic pad replacement. They wear the original pads to metal in less than a year on a new car and then replace the pads with the cheapest set or organic or semi-metallic pads they can find. Then in six months they will come back and complain that the rotors warped and the pads worn out.

Albeit, that I think that its great when people fix their own car, all of us need to fix the issues completely. Not just what appears to be wrong. Fixing your own car gives you a lot of satisfaction and saves even more of your monies. Nothing against taking it to a good shop for service. You almost need to stop by the bank for a personal loan before going to the dealership. Good luck to you and hope things work out for you. Hopefully, the next time you go into a Autozone, you will receive great customer service and continue to be a repeat customer.
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#3 Consumer Suggestion

Current Manager

AUTHOR: Angela - (U.S.A.)

Ok, Autozone an manager HAS a right to refuse any return. There are an increasing amount of customers that abuse the system. On the other hand you have your uneducated power hungry PSM, (Parts sales Manager).

I have worked in three different Autozones in three different states. The customers are different in every area. I currently work in a store that may as well be called Autozone Library.

Apparently we have a repetition that says you may purchase the part and if in two months you don't want it anymore then take it off the car and bring it back. It seems that we open our doors to take in any returns, (most purchased in other stores). As a manager it is very frustrating to sell a part that you KNOW that will come back in a day.

On the other hand in the occasion that a warranty part comes in and you see clearly why the part is going bad. At that point without denying the customer a warranty swap you would need to look at the warranty file to determine whether or not this part has come back before.

In the case that an employee looks at the part then decides to deny the return without even taking a look at the warranty file to see if there has been RECIENT returns on that same part is nothing more than a power kick. Autozone advertises warranty covers ware.

We are NOT mechanics! We do not examine you car. So how can we deny without having the backup. Don';t give up on Autozone! If there is anything I know about the company that is they take there customer complaints very seriously! That is on a distract or regional level.

Call the DM if you have a problem. Trust me they WILL fix you up even if you are wrong.
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#4 UPDATE Employee

Auto Zone partly to blame

AUTHOR: Scott - (U.S.A.)

As far as the limited lifetime warranty is concerned, it is technically only supposed to cover manufacturer defects. A pad being worn down is not a defect, but in your instance with the cracked pad, it should have been covered under the waranty.

I am a parts sales manager at the zone, and I always make sure to tell the customer that the exact details of what the warranty covers is printed on the FRONT of the reciept, under the customer's information. The stuff on the back is just the return policy.

Now, I happen to know that each store has its own policy about returning the warranted parts. For instance, I have worked in a store that would take back pads that were simply worn out by years of use, as long as it wasn't worn to metal to metal contact. Next time you have a problem with a warranty issue, try taking it to another local store. Usually there is a good 3-7 stores in a 5 mile area.
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#5 Consumer Comment

Adding to what ronald told you

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

The most common cause of a sticking caliper is a bad brake hose. It will allow the pressurized fluid to go to the caliper, but won't allow the fluid to return to the master cylinder. Check them.

With the wheel off, pry the caliper to collapse the piston. Use a line wrench and crack the line open above the hose. If fluid squirts out, the hose is fine. If not, the hose is your issue.

Good luck.
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#6 Consumer Suggestion

Sounds like your caliper was binding or sticking, check slides/pins.

AUTHOR: Ronald - (U.S.A.)

If your saying the driver side pad was worn down & the pasenger side pad was fine it sounds like it's a problem with the capiper & not defective brake pad's. Check the caliper slide bolts/pins they might need to be greased or changed. Also: the caliper might be bad & need to be changed. P.S for future refrence auto zone sells junk parts & that's why they can sell them so cheak. Moral of the story you get what you pay for.
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#7 Consumer Comment

Communication breakdown Store manager and his DM should know better than this.

AUTHOR: Chris - (U.S.A.)

I am a former AutoZone store manager and there is one thing I learned while dealing with consumers/cusomters, communication is a very important factor.

While I agree with the standard policy that the customer is always right, for without them there is no future for your business. There is also a line that has to be drawn between customer satisfaction and bad business practice.

All too often companies like Autozone employ policies that are written on the back of receipts that consumers very rarely read or in essence do not fully understand, as in what happened with this brake customer.

It is gravely important that the customer understands this policy, not only for customer satisfaction but for their own safety as well as yeilding off a possible lawsuit in lieu of an accident.

None of the above is needed if the associate communicates the policy/warranty completely as they are taking the customers personal information while registering the warranty.

As mentioned before about policies employed to "cover their backside" like warranties explained in fainted print behind a reciept, there is also the limited man hours to operate a store which limits decent coverage ( IE: enough employees to provide proper customer service). Without this you find an associate who is stressed out, trying to answer phones, ring sales and look up parts all at once. This leaves little or no time to explain product warranties and AutoZone policies regarding warranties until a complaint is being made while the manager is haggling the situation over the phone with a DM.

One thing I can say I empathise with this customer on is when the store manager broke communication with him by changing languages. Every AutoZone employee can speak english, this is obviously the language this man engaged in when he entered this store. Maybe the intent was not deceitful or negative, without know why or what was being said, this made the customer feel he was being taken out of the loop altogether. While I can appreciate the need to be multi-lingual, the English language is just as important to English speaking customer as spanish is to a spanish speaking customer.

This Store manager and his DM should know better than this.
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#8 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Communication breakdown AutoZone store manager

AUTHOR: Chris - (U.S.A.)

I am a former AutoZone store manager and there is one thing I learned while dealing with consumers/customers, communication is a very important factor.

While I agree with the standard policy that the customer is always right, for without them there is no future for your business. There is also a line that has to be drawn between customer satisfaction and bad business practice.

All too often companies like Autozone employ policies that are written on the back of receipts that consumers very rarely read or in essence do not fully understand, as in what happened with this brake customer.

It is gravely important that the customer understands this policy, not only for customer satisfaction but for their own safety as well as yeilding off a possible lawsuit in lieu of an accident.

None of the above is needed if the associate communicates the policy/warranty completely as they are taking the customers personal information while registering the warranty.

As mentioned before about policies employed to "cover their backside" like warranties explained in fainted print behind a reciept, there is also the limited man hours to operate a store which limits decent coverage ( IE: enough employees to provide proper customer service). Without this you find an associate who is stressed out, trying to answer phones, ring sales and look up parts all at once. This leaves little or no time to explain product warranties and AutoZone policies regarding warranties until a complaint is being made while the manager is haggling the situation over the phone with a DM.

One thing I can say I empathise with this customer on is when the store manager broke communication with him by changing languages. Every AutoZone employee can speak english, this is obviously the language this man engaged in when he entered this store. Maybe the intent was not deceitful or negative, without knowing why or what was being said, this made the customer feel he was being taken out of the loop altogether. While I can appreciate the need to be multi-lingual, the English language is just as important to the English speaking customer as spanish is to a Spanish speaking customer.

This Store manager and his DM should know better than this.
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#9 UPDATE EX-employee responds

So many people drive with their foot on the brakes

AUTHOR: Whittier - (U.S.A.)

60% Driving Habits. So many people drive with their foot on the brakes even though they dont know they are doing this. Ever notice how 80% of the population will use their brakes for no reasone like on a freeway or a windy road. I personaly believe a lot has to do with driving habits and also picking the correct type or brakes for ones vehical. If a person ownes a huge ill handeling suv they would want to get the best pad knowing their vehical/truck is harder on brakes. ITS ONLY COMMON SENSE
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#10 UPDATE Employee

everything the clerk told you was the truth

AUTHOR: Kim - (U.S.A.)

I have been working for Auto Zone for the last 3 years and I will tell you that everything the clerk told you was the truth, there is a limited lifetime guarantee that states on your reciept that it only covers manufatures defects and normal wear and tear, now if there is a part on your car that is going to make your brakes either wear down to the metal or be unevenly worn then no there is no free replacement, only on brake pads that are evenly worn and not down to the metal, then they can be rebuilt and resold that is the only reason they have these guarantees, Auto Zone is not in business to loose money so i sugguest to you and everyone else that if you do buy brakes from auto zone that you completly understand what the guarantee covers read your reciept and if you don't understand ask a manager to explain it to you.
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