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?