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Old 11-05-2012, 10:04 AM   #21
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We do have a recourse on that one. In our policies it states the third warranty of a part is cash refund, not replacement. We are not stiffing a customer since we are giving him all his money back but he can go be someone else's problem. And our lifetime brake and clutch warranties clearly state "warranty against defect in material or workmanship FOR THE USEFUL LIFE OF THE PRODUCT, excludes normal wear." Because of people who believe warranty abuse is anything but.

However I gave up on this thread. If parents didn't teach integrity, I'm certainly not going to. Maybe I just AM a better person because I was raised by better people. If a product does what it was meant to do for a reasonable period of time and then fails, I will buy a new one. Not make it someone else's problem.

But on the battery issue... I had an older guy come in a few weeks back. He had an 87 Nissan pickup and needed a battery. He asked if we could install it. Said he wouldn't know how to since it was the FACTORY battery and he had never had to change it.

You enjoy being a better person. I'll enjoy my warranty.
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Old 11-05-2012, 10:45 PM   #22
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Yes, and when someday it costs you your job indirectly but as sure as sure can be you'll damn sure think about it then. Or not be smart enough to figure it out, take your pick. The move toward idiotic policy implementation like some of this I guarantee will have future repercussions for business. The pretty close to fair policy is written and in place but not applied universally at all, cheaters can smell that for miles. The results are already tilting profits, just that no one wants to address it yet, the 800 pound gorilla so to speak. So far they get around it by simply charging you more and more as they pay less and less for overseas 'quality' (LOL) parts. Eventually that'll have to stop too. Look here, you already pay $200 for what I guarantee is only a $50 alternator, one of hundreds of other parts.

We often had so much refund in cash it tilted the 'safe' amount to crunch store operating cash for the next day. Meaning because some jerk insisted on his money back after he bought and broke an expensive part through incompetence and screamed until we caved in, someone later in day with a legitimate refund issue could not be taken care of and got stiffed with no refund because no cash left in store to do so. That absolutely should NEVER happen but I saw it frequently. Now you've pissed off a GOOD customer, keep it up, great work.

When people move away from fair ideas of moral right and wrong and at the same time think it's all about 'me' and what I can get for nothing or by screaming about it they are simply clouding their future into irrationality, only the limited in thinking cannot figure that out. When you decide to take more than your allotment of the planet then expect others to do it to you. Just because some business is stupid enough to go there does not mean it's good for you longterm, I worked for more than one company that did something stupid like that and did not survive. Only a blind man can't see it coming. I was always gone by the time it happened.

'.......the third warranty of a part is cash refund, not replacement. We are not stiffing a customer since we are giving him all his money back but he can go be someone else's problem. And our lifetime brake and clutch warranties clearly state "warranty against defect in material or workmanship FOR THE USEFUL LIFE OF THE PRODUCT, excludes normal wear.'


Right, you didn't stiff him but he stiffed you. If person has obviously abused policy like the creeper event I mentioned someone should have the managerial balls to tell them so up front. Politely of course, but often they will not let you do that. If all the like businesses did that then said person would have to straighten up and do right. Reality is, someone caves and guy gets away with ripoff. Customer service even strokes him telling him how we don't want to lose him as a customer, we're so sorry you were treated badly. The result encourages him to do more. You're training your customers to cheat, that's a really stupid way to carry on business. If you send him somewhere else they will send theirs to you too. A no win for both sides. NEITHER side should be getting stiffed.

Lifetime warranty that excludes normal wear and tear is an oxymoron, it cannot exist. Lifetime means just what it says or company lied. The quick company answer 99% of the time to customer is lifetime as long as you own the vehicle and they made us illustrate it as so. You WOULD be stiffing them later by belatedly revealing differing details after the fact, and customer varying attitudes about what constitutes normal parts life will only bedevil you. Company also legally would have to detail normal wear and tear time length on every single type of part if not doing that or potential lawsuit city. Somewhere there is a pack of marketing guys for law partnerships that are right on the edge of tripping into this goldmine, when it happens, um, um, um, it'll be awful, and it'll all hinge on the dictionary definition of 'lifetime'. If you exclude normal wear and tear then all you have left is a lifetime warranty for abnormal wear and tear?!?! Somebody tell me how that works...........

As I said, they screwed up by going to the word lifetime..........

I would dearly love to have a lifetime over normal wear of product only but they absolutely would not let us say that. Dead duck city if you did. No balls there.

I was told repeatedly by store managers that ANY complaint that was relayed from customer service to the district manager so he could discuss it with you was BAD. ALL OF THEM. Didn't matter if you were upholding company policy and doing so to preserve assets. Supposedly you were at fault for not finding some way to think 'outside of the box' to resolve the issue even if it meant giving free parts to someone who clearly did not deserve them. In other words if you got a complaint you did something bad, who cares about the details. Didn't matter anyway, by the time complaint got to CS it was so distorted there was no factual basis to it at all, customer 99% of the time had added so many lies it actually became pretty hilarious listening to them.

Apparently I thought a little too much out of the box for them to handle, they did not cotton up to my ideas of equal fairplay between company and customer at all. I finally decided I could not work for them at all, they were trying to warp me into something quite frankly I did not want to be and probably couldn't be even if I tried. I wish to remain sane, all that policy shifting guaranteed to make sure you didn't know if you were coming and going. The people who seemed to be good at it only reinforced my beliefs, they led screwed up lives with personal decision making that screwed them every which way they turned. I would be really hard pressed to find anyone there who had a really good handle on life.

Get into a discussion with virtually any customer about what the definition of 'lifetime' warranty is to him, you will see it really does not matter what you have in fine print, they will take it wrong and now your company effort has pissed customer off. A fine way to increase business.

The term lifetime should never have been put out there, they opened Pandora's box doing so. We were ordered to say ONLY 'lifetime' warranty on brakes, when customer requested details, 'what does that mean to me?', we again repeated simply lifetime warranty with no other details. We were actually told NOT to detail anything else, doing just exactly that matched the competition exactly then. Talk about smoke and mirrors, both those companies are just screaming for what they will eventually get.

Then they yanked the 'receipt required for all refunds' window or counter policy, saying it was OBSOLETE?!?! At same time we were quietly instructed to DEMAND an original receipt upon any return of lifetime brakes, no refund given without it. An absolute rule, but not put in writing anywhere for customer to see and know until he gets stiffed without receipt. MANY lost their receipt within five minutes of leaving store, what the hell happened to personal responsibility for your own benefit? Yet if they asked we told them beforehand no receipt necessary. Talk about your totally messed up policies feeding off totally messed up customers...............

It was pretty obvious that sections of the company were just issuing policy edicts without even thinking of vetting them with other divisions of the company. Often we would get updates on policy that were diametrically opposed to each other, my favorite saying became 'So, which (insert company name here) policy do we break today???'

I'm with you Thug, there's room in this country somewhere for somebody to create a company that deals fair and lowers pricing in a commensurate fashion. I think there would be a lot of customers for it. I'd damn sure like to work for it.
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Old 11-05-2012, 11:02 PM   #23
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I'm with you Thug, there's room in this country somewhere for somebody to create a company that deals fair and lowers pricing in a commensurate fashion. I think there would be a lot of customers for it. I'd damn sure like to work for it.
There is the problem right there. You'd have people willing to work for you, but not willing to buy from you. Why would I buy a part from a company that tells me a lifetime warranty is only useful against defects in the manufacturing process, when AutoZone will allow me to exchange it w/o question?
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Old 11-06-2012, 12:09 AM   #24
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You're assuming of course that Autozone will always be there. Possibly a problem itself.

You also in one fell swoop have validated all efforts to dry up jobs here to take them overseas, you don't care as long as you get your so-called better deal part. In short you can't think more than 5 minutes into the future.

Another loyal American who cannot see how well he is doing his part to turn this into a 3rd world country bit by bit. Like I said, don't bitch when you lose your job due to the same thing. It's fast becoming the norm rather than the exception. Let's see how well you do on 20hrs/week max and minimum wage like so many jobs going to, I want to see you buy a car or house like that. Never mind all the other things that used to make up a 'better' life. They will become unobtanium.

When more than most companies go to paying little enough that employees cannot afford any more than rent, food, utilities, and maybe lease on car+cellphone bill, that pretty much cuts out every other line of business from getting cash from them. Tell me how long all those businesses will last, who cares how good their deals are. The only reason many are still there now is simply that many people still have so little clue where they are financially that they are spending money now on the wrong things. Time and changing planet will, indeed already are, address(ing) that.

Guess what? They pay overseas jobs little enough they won't be able to make up for loss in our buying power either. In a few spots looks like maybe so but big picture screams no.

Whatever you do, don't make the mistake of thinking 2008 took care of all problems. We're not done with this world mess yet. More to come.

'...........when AutoZone will allow me to exchange it w/o question?'

You're missing a very big point here. That business model has popped up many times before but has NEVER survived longterm, they ALWAYS went under and will continue to do so, except in one very important exception. They ARE CHARGING YOU WAY TOO MUCH FOR WHAT THE MERCHANDISE COST THEM.

You either get that or you don't.................
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:23 PM   #25
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I get that AutoZone might not be there forever, but there will be someone there willing to do that for along time to come IMO.

As far as shipping jobs overseas, I don't see this as a HUGE problem. It's a problem when "x" looses their job, but what happens after they loose their job? Claim unemployment and drag the country down? Those are issues that need to be addressed outside of me claiming a warranty...Go to school and get a degree. America is still the #1 exporter in the world. Just not the #1 exporter of unskilled labor goods. We're the #1 exporter of services, which is where the $$ is. Those that loose their jobs in manufacturing can go to school and fix this problem...but of course there will always be a need for some people who don't go to college or seek education after high school to exist in this country.

I won't continue discussing this topic, as neither of us will change our minds or beliefs.
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Old 11-07-2012, 12:38 AM   #26
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Like I said his parents didn't teach him integrity, you're not going to either. Remember this all started with..
"If its free, why not do it? Just my opinion anyways."
Essentially whether the part is bad or not, if you don't have to pay for it why not do it. Warranty abuse. Theft. I hate a thief. Not a whole lot in this world worse than a thief. He probably thinks its easier to sit on unemployment than go get a job too. Let it go. You know the quality of person by now.
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Old 11-07-2012, 01:33 AM   #27
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define thief - someone that steals a tangible asset? Labor is the biggest cost for any business.

We all know that OEM replacement parts are of better quality than autoparts stores and last many times longer yet are seldom guaranteed for more than a year. So would you pay 3 to 4 times the cost for a part that will last 2 to 3 times longer than an autoparts store part? It gives a whole new meaning to 'normal wear'. Now 'normal wear' must be defined as to OEM or aftermarket. Which standard?

My time is worth money whether I'm a weekend tinkerer or a professional mechanic. So if I'm sold a 'cheaper' part, who is stealing what from whom?

I am gambling on the cheaper part lasting longer than the car. The autopart store is gambling that you sell the car before the part wears out and have engineered the part that way, with cheaper parts and with lower cost in mind.

It's noble to instill a moral clause but I don't think that is the intentions of a lifetime warranty - Corporate is paying the actuaries who are are playing the percentages based on a cultures buying habits - the tangible asset becomes clouded here. And there will always be a few that skew the tables on normal ownership intervals.

Think of it as 'Health Care' for your vehicle with a preexisting condition, 'wear'. Apparently it is wrong to deny someone with a preexisting condition (wear of a cheap part) if everyone bellies up to the bar and pays into the kitty....... (disregard this paragraph).
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Old 11-07-2012, 08:57 AM   #28
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"My time is worth money whether I'm a weekend tinkerer or a professional mechanic. So if I'm sold a 'cheaper' part, who is stealing what from whom?"

If you shop around and CHOOSE to be sold a cheaper part, then nobody is stealing from anyone. You are getting precisely what you agreed to. If someone consistently warranties parts that are not or may not be defective, which is where this discussion started, and a warranty covers defective, that is NOT precisely what was agreed to. If you buy a lifetime warranty anything AND IT FAILS, then in swapping it out you are getting what is yours. But if you have a lifetime part that is NOT actually defective, then in swapping it out you are taking something that is NOT yours.

And what is taking something that is not yours? I say theft.
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Old 11-07-2012, 03:01 PM   #29
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The problem is, the box (receipt) will say it's a lifetime part, not that it was made cheaply regardless of where it was made. The illusion of a lifetime part is being marketed.

We all know that lifetime means that you'll spend a lifetime replacing it - corporate knows that too and is banking on it. And the problem is in PRECISELY defining a defective part.

What corporate has done is put the customer in charge of 'defining' a failure. And the problem is - you have different levels of experience, life experience, - from high school drivers to NASA scientists that may or may not know a problem when they 'see' or 'hear it'. I know you aren't suggesting a 'failed part' is only when the part fails completely or that a cheap part doesn't fail or ever warrant a return.

And that is a very very gray area for some. Your muffler with a hole rusted in it still muffles the exhaust. A bearing with a thousandth too much removed still allows lubrication and allows rotation. A leaking water pump still circulates coolant. A radiator hose with a bubble the size of a baseball still contains coolant - but you surely wouldn't let your daughter drive with it. A growling wheel bearing on the highway..... These are exaggerated examples but they occur in everyday life. Some more obvious and emotional than others. Some could cause catastrophic damage. I'm not advocating using autopart stores to troubleshoot your car or return a part at 25k miles when it has another 25k left in it and isn't indicating a failure.

Corporate has made your life more difficult in showing a store profit while being the soldier in honoring a warranty. You're stuck in the middle. But a warranty return doesn't go against store profit. I'd never wait for a parts catastrophic failure before replacing it and I seriously doubt corporate would either. And that's the problem with the definition of a failed part, something I'm betting corporate WISELY chooses to leave unwritten.

No one is buying new cars. They are fixing their old ones. All these 'fixed' cars are going to be dumped when the economy turns around removing warranty liability from the books for autopart stores. They aren't mom and pop store but I know that they have put a few independent stores out of business.

Bottom line is - Have you seen what Autozones' stock (AZO) has done, $383.00 a share (Three Hundred)? All the big chains are doing well. They are doing something right and know what they are doing - great EPS and P/E.

No, I don't own AZO or stock in any autoparts company. It would have been a good play as AZO tripled in the last five years. But now we are getting away from car maintenance issues.....
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Old 11-07-2012, 08:07 PM   #30
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I love this discussion.

I do buy stock, and I can tell you just because the stock is that high can mean absolutely nothing in the long run. I've bailed on stock priced like that and watched it tank afterwards. Everything corporate does is pretty much focused on the short term, the banks have forced that upon them.

'And the problem is in PRECISELY defining a defective part........What corporate has done is put the customer in charge of 'defining' a failure.

There is the problem, when you give that ability to unlearned customers you have bet the entire store on people who cannot often even change a spark plug. When 80%-90% of parts are coming back good as vendors claim you have a serious business issue whether or not it is recognized.

'But a warranty return doesn't go against store profit.'

Simply not so, there was company time paid there to sell it and cost of part and its' handling must be amortized by the system somehow since many are still good. Returns are always viewed as a drag even if you set them up to generate money. They are wasted effort reservicing profits already made. If they didn't count against profit then there is no need to look for BETTER vendors EVER, you simply pick the CHEAPEST and results be damned. ALL vendors must hit a certain 'acceptable' quality level since selling worthless parts will sack your business. The number of returns is an indicator of that quality.

'.....that's the problem with the definition of a failed part, something I'm betting corporate WISELY chooses to leave unwritten.'

I've been in enough profit/loss discussions at different companies to know that is absolutely asking for it. Company survival today demands taking direct control of every single costing factor. As said before, NO intelligently run company in this day and time allows the unlearned to affect their profitability in that far ranging a fashion. Do the math, again I say, if they are surviving doing this you are paying WAY TOO MUCH. No way on earth would I ever describe that as 'wise', on your part or theirs. Reason it works at this point is that company has cynically bet on the fact their customers have limited thinking ability to work that out. Customers uphold that thinking to a 'T'. Can't think and paying too much go hand in hand. I'm sure somewhere there is an algorithm that rates profit versus multiple returns to keep profit there. If you think fairly, you actually are getting sacked more than the guy who goes back with 2-3 returns. See how that training customer to cheat program works? The problems now are just from nominal numbers of 'high maintenance' customers, but I watched that number grow while I was there. Eventually if majority starts doing same thing then the business model will be out the window. Some vendors were already moving away from lifetime warranty, the arguments between company and vendor had started.

There is a war going on between the big two, sooner or later one is going to give away enough of the store trying to please customers in more and more irrational business ways to affect them both.

I watched many days as returns early in the day outpaced sales to make negative numbers until 2-3 hours into the day, yet store kept 'making money'.
What does that tell you about whether or not you are paying fair prices? As more and more people become trained to cheat like the rest that will only get worse.

Mitch-

'Those are issues that need to be addressed outside of me claiming a warranty...Go to school and get a degree.'

Like the two are not connected.........must be hard to breathe with that head stuck in the sand. You don't watch news much either, tell me the percentage of college educated that get first job at more than $25K first year now, it used to be $40K. You'll also owe average $75K bill upon getting out too. Spend the time working but OUT of college instead of in and you could be easily making more than that now if a good worker. In 4 years a really good worker can literally walk all over other workers of the type often found in the world today and even including the college ones.

'As far as shipping jobs overseas, I don't see this as a HUGE problem.'

Why am I not surprised, you cannot think far enough forward to realize the exporting out allows them to lower pay here more for you because of bigger labor pool. Average wage is now going BACKWARDS last 2-3 years, tell me when that last happened. Certainly not as long as you've been alive. Globalization is pretty much only good for those at the top, everybody else suffers. The Chinese get paid much less but you still pay $3.99 for bulbs that cost company $.39. Not a HUGE problem you say. Can't think. I submit we should start charging you $400 for the $200 alternators, let's see if you squawk then.............

'We're the #1 exporter of services, which is where the $$ is.'

Surely you jest. Services has never averaged out paying more than manufacturing. Certainly not for the worker. Ever. Services are actually more difficult to farm overseas since there is nothing tangible to show. It becomes easier for buyer of services to imagine ways to do it locally at less cost. Certainly easier than trying to build entire manufacturing facility to make physical goods. A rule of business. If you watched a bit of news to follow how your future world is falling apart you would have heard repeatedly in business programs about how all the good paying manufacturing jobs have vanished overseas to be replaced by lower paying service jobs. Of course if one cannot think it ceases being relevant. The facts are certainly out there though.

Go ahead, don't change your beliefs, it's your right. I'd be willing to bet you do though later, say in about 30-40 more years. And the great mental realignment could easily come much faster than that. Beliefs and facts are very often two diametrically opposed things, even more so when the brain refuses to view the facts as part of an effort to modify beliefs to be more amicable to the facts and the brain's own well being.
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