Multiple AutoZone Complaints from a Loyal Customer

Author: keith
Category: Business Blog


On 9/30/2016 at approx 12:18pm I was at the AutoZone corporate store #1881, PCI# 486880, to receive a defective battery exchange for my 2007 Volvo S80. The salesman that was working with me was very helpful as he went about exchanging my old battery for the new one. In his attempt he broke my battery terminal. Unfortunately we soon realized that AutoZone does not carry the terminal or the part  needed to repair it (Part # 31210176). 

While we were trying to figure out what we could do to rectify the problem, the Parts Sales Manager John Eddy came out to my car to tell AutoZone employee that there were customers inside and he needed to come wait on them. The employee informed Mr Eddy that while installing the battery he broke the terminal. Mr Eddy, after looking at the situation turned and said "he has to take his car to a shop to fix that" and walked away. 

He offered no remedy or advice regarding how to fix my car nor where I could possible find the broken part.  Luckily for me, the AutoZone employee showed true professionalism and remained with me to secure the terminal enough for me to get back home. When we returned inside the store to register the transaction, Mr Eddy said to the employee " about time you came back". As angry as I was with Mr Eddy, I said nothing to him. I retrieved pen and paper to secure his name and job title. 

I found Mr Eddy's behavior to be deplorable to say the least. He showed no concern over the fact that one of AutoZone's employees broke my car, he cared even less about how it was going to be repaired or that I might be stranded because of the actions of AutoZone. In fact he dumped all the responsibility on me by saying I have to take my car to a shop to fix it. As I left the store, there was no mention of paying me for the part I must replace or installing once I found it. 

Mr. Eddy obviously showed me that what's important to him is ringing up the register and nothing about the customer after the sale is done. I have been in the AutoZone data base for over 15 yrs and have been a loyal customer. I have never experienced anything like this from a store clearly at fault with a client only looking for a reasonable solution to getting back home.

I tried to return a defective battery for replacement, per the instructions on my receipt and was denied.  AutoZone sold us a battery, tested the alternator and told us (and the trooper who was helping us) that the alternator was fine.  The battery failed to days later.  I took the car to our mechanic, who has been here over 30 years and has a good reputation in our small town.  He tested the alternator and said it was bad.

After he replaced our alternator, the brand new autozone battery still wouldn't hold a charge because it was defective.  So I tried to get autozone to replace it and was denied.  They put some kind of cheap looking shim around the battery post and  said it was ok, just drive it around for awhile to see.  My wife and her 90 year old mother have already been stranded becasue of this kind of "drive around and see" BS.  Don't shop AutoZone,  they don't honor their products or their return policy.    

The next day,  I called my local AutoZone to verify they had in stock my particular car battery. The gentleman who answered the phone was very polite. I was specific in providing the AutoZone Part #, inquired if I brought in the old battery core to receive my Core Refund at time of transaction and was told "Yes". I further asked if I could use the $5.00 off coupon Autozone e-mailed me good for $5.00 off any In-Store purchase for $30.00 or more and the employee again answered "Yes".

He asked if he could put me on hold while he verified stock. I instantly agreed and appreciated his efforts; he returned to the phone to verify that yes, they had my Battery in Stock. I told him I would see him in 20 minutes. 

Shortly thereafter, I arrived at the Autozone Store I called in advance and waited in line with my old Battery Core, the Model # of the Battery I needed and my $5.00 off Coupon in hand.  It was not busy and soon I was standing in front of an older woman asking me " What did I need?"  I replied I had just called the store to verify that the Battery I needed was in stock.

I brought the old battery with me to receive the $18.00 core credit and placed my paper $5,00 Coupon down on the counter while I politely explained to this employee that I had called 15 minutes prior to verify that my model was in stock, advised to bring the core and placed the $5.00 off Coupon AutoZone mailed me on the counter. 

I gave her the model number and she shortly returned with the correct battery. She asked me to place the old Core on a rolling cart and I did so gladly. Next I explained I had just called and wanted to be certain the $5.00 off coupon was valid and she completely ignored me. She asked for my credit card when the total came to just over $100.00 with tax and I paid for the battery thinking she had enterted my $5.00 coupon.

Upon completion of my transaction, I checked my receipt to see the coupon had not been removed. I brought this to her attention whereafter she mumbled something unintelligible. I asked again nicely why my coupon was not honored?  She immediately became rude, condescending and again mumbled something while pointing at a stack of AutoZone Loyalty Cards. 

I thanked her and let her know that had I known in advance her intent was to cheat me, I would have gone to one of her competitors. No comment from her as I mentioned I would call corporate and  get an explanation. She waved me off as I guess I was a bother.  While I did contact Corporate, I doubt they will be smart enough to recognize that my $5.00 coupon their employee refused to honor will cost them far more as I will no longer to business with AutoZone.

The lack of common courtesy was appalling and this employee should be terminated before she bankrupts their location.  I have uploaded a copy of my receipt and coupon for review. My advice would be stick with Advance or your local parts store. Having owned and managed a retail store for 26 years , Autozone should know that for every complaint they get, there are another 90% of customers who will just vote with their feet and shop elsewhere. This used to be a friendly and helpful store and now it appears they are willing to lose a customer for life over $5.00.  

I've fired employees for less egregious behavior.  Hopefully, this employee will be terminated before she bankrupts the location.