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Does This Sound Like a Ripoff to You?

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All right, readers, I need your input on this one.

Earlier this afternoon, my car battery died.  I had driven the car about a half-hour before the event and it started with no problem, and there was no indication that the battery might be on its last leg.  But when I got back in the car to head back to work from lunch hour, the battery was so dead that the car wouldn’t even release the car key!

I carry one of those portable battery chargers that can jump your car in an emergency.  I connected it to the battery and was able to pry enough power from it to at least release the keys from the ignition.  The battery made a half-hearted attempt to start the car with that device still connected, but there still wasn’t enough juice.

So I called the garage from which I purchased the battery, back in April of 2010.  They sent their big flatbed tow truck and jumped the car.  I took it straight to them, assuming that I’d be stranded again otherwise, and they tested the battery.

It was dead.

“Dead as a wedge,” the mechanic told me.

I told him that I’d purchased the battery from them, and he confirmed that, pointing out that it was still under warranty.  He then told me that I would only have to pay for the labor to install it and the emergency call.

I didn’t think much of that until I got the bill:  $70.

I paid it, mostly because I had been there for a while and was almost on the verge of dozing off, so it wasn’t until I was a block or so away before it really dawned on me how much I had just paid.

If they sold me a bad battery that couldn’t even outlive its own warranty, why should I have to pay them for the emergency call the defective product they sold caused?  And shouldn’t the labor to install a car battery be part of the warranty, at least if they’re trying to keep a customer happy?

What do you think?  Was I overcharged, or does $70 seem reasonable to you?

7 Comments

  • boydsivu1 says:

    Boy, that’s tough. They did replace the battery and it has a warranty in case it fails. You probably could have used your Auto Club to bring you in to avoid the tow charge. I think charging you to install it shows a LACK of caring about customer satisfaction. Let the Manager know your reaction and see what happens. Let us know how it goes. Thanks.

  • AislíngeKelloggdeGómez says:

    If I’d gotten a battery from Tony, my mechanic since I was 19, that died under warranty and had a tow and labour, it would have cost me nothing. I’ve known Tony a long, long time. He is a stand-up guy and would not charge me for such a disservice. I would agree completely that they did not handle this correctly. At the least, if I had to pay for the towing, I would have been able to submit the bill to my auto insurance company and gotten that reimbursed. Try that – but I would not let these guys get away with this.

    I’d like to know what the outcome of this headache is.

  • @boydsivu1 I pay for AAA…but the problem with them is that it takes at least a half-hour to get a tow truck…whereas I could get the mechanic there in about ten minutes. The other problem is that the owner of the garage was pretty much the one who wrote up the sale.

  • @AislíngeKelloggdeGómez I hadn’t thought of the insurance option. Yeah, it sounds like my expectation is pretty much in line with what you’d expect from your mechanic. Unfortunately, the owner of the garage was there, so it’d be really hard to fight it.

    Also, I’ve sort of moved most of my business to a different location; next time, they may well get the battery call, too. :)

  • boydsivu1 says:

    ‘s not really “burning a bridge” because you’ve already decided to go elsewhere but I bet it’ll make you feel better. @AislíngeKelloggdeGómez

  • ChristopherManee says:

    I think it’s poor customer service, to be honest. I could see charging for something, but not both the call and the labor – if he was wise he’d choose one or the other. I’d take my business elsewhere.

  • @ChristopherManee Yeah, I agree with the either/or idea. I doubt I’d have even paid that much attention if they had charged me for one or the other.

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