I was doing work in the area (Glassboro, NJ), 300 miles from my home in Pittsburgh, Pa. I was having issues with my alternator, I took it to Monro, store 345 in Williamstown, NJ as it was the closest service station to my hotel. Having replaced several alternators in the past (the vehicle is 12 years old) I had a pretty good idea of what the cost of an alternator would be, $125-$160.
I dropped the vehicle off and got a ride with a coworker (whom was also from out of town) to our hotel. Not 15 minutes after dropping it off, Chris (manager) called and confirmed that the alternator (I had purchased the year before from Auto Zone) was indeed bad. Chris then proceeded to tell me that it would be $350 + tax to replace it.
I WAS SHOCKED! I questioned him on the price, and let him know that thats not what Auto zone charges for that alternator. He proceeded to tell me that that might be why mine went bad (low price=low quality). He said his alternators were worth the money and come with a 1 year warranty. Being from out of town, my options were limited, so I agreed to have the alternator replaced by Monro. Within a half-hour they called me to pick it up, the work was done.
I drove it 5 miles back to the hotel and noticed that my battery voltage gauge was not going up, or charging. I new I didn't drive enough to charge the battery completely and thought nothing of it. Wednesday I did not drive it at all. Thursday morning, I started the vehicle and the battery gauge was at normal, I was relieved. As I drove,(20-minutes) the voltage gauge got lower and lower. This was stressing me out, as I was planning on driving back home to Pittsburgh that night.
To play it safe and thinking that I may need a battery, I stopped at a local AutoZone to have them check the battery after the alternator was replaced, the battery tested good. Then the clerk asked if I had just had that alternator replaced, I said "yes", I had Monro up the street do it, he said Monro called Tuesday evening asking if we had an alternator for a Ranger (which they didn't). Then I was infuriated! This was the same guy who just the other day, said that I would just be replacing alternator after alternator if I continue to purchase them from AutoZone.
Did I pay $300 for a $125 alternator from Auto Zone? Or did they just not replace the alternator and charge me for a new one? Or did they sell me an alternator without testing it first? Either way, I can't help but feel that I was taken advantage of, especially when they new I was in a helpless situation and 300 miles from home. Now I have to stay and extra day at the hotel ($80 a night) and deal with this problem that has now cost me over $450.