[OT] What Would You Do?

The AC compressor on my sons '07 Mazda just packed it in, so I got online and ordered a new one (only $125!), along with some ancillary parts, one of them being a new idler wheel for the serpentine belt tensioner. That pulley I ordered from AutoZone, and cost $21 including S/H. A few days later a LARGE, HEAVY box from AutoZone shows up on my front porch. I open it up, and find another large, heavy box inside, containing a water pump. three idler pulleys, a tensioner assembly, and serpentine belt, all for a '97-98 Subaru Legacy or Impreza. Hmmm… I suspect they shipped my little idler pulley to some guy with a Subaru. He’s not going to be very happy. So, I go online, and get the AutoZone customer service e-mail, and shoot off an e-mail telling them what happened, including the part number I ordered, and the part number of what I actually received, asking for a pre-paid return shipping label so I can return the Subaru parts. A few hours later, I get a response, telling me I have two options:

  1. Mail the Subaru bits back for a refund
  2. Take the Subaru parts to an AutoZone store for a refund

I don’t find either of these options acceptable. Mailing it back would cost me MORE than what I paid for the part I ordered. Taking them to the nearest AutoZone store would take a good hour of my time, and several gallons of gas. What to do?

I looked online and the Subaru parts sell at AutoZone for $329, and on E-Bay for ~$200. Legally, I am under no obligation to return the parts at MY expensive, and COULD even contact the CC company and have the charge reversed. I am more inclined to just put the Subie parts on EBay for perhaps $150. I really don’t feel I have ANY obligation to fix THEIR mistake, other than by returning the parts at THEIR expense.

Whaddya you think?

Ray L.

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ANY cost to you…non-starter.

Were it me, Id sell it all on eBait, picket the profit, and reorder yer stuff,

Yup it’s their mistake. They pay for the return or eat the cost of the part. You can file a dispute with your CC company.

This is one of the reasons I order so much through Amazon. Never a hassle returning stuff.

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Sounds like you made a good faith offer to let them make it right. It makes no sense that you should be inconvenienced or out money for their error.

You tried - I think you now own the parts to do with as you see fit & they still owe you what you paid for.

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You’re under no obligation to do this, but if it were me, I’d make one more attempt to resolve it through customer service. I’d make an entirely new claim with customer service, and in the claim be sure to explain that you expect return shipping to be paid for, and see where that gets you. Your previous claim was probably just assigned to an idiot who doesn’t know or doesn’t care. If they still give you the same response, then three strikes, they’re out.

I dealt with some frustration regarding an incorrect part at Advance Auto recently. I bought a serpentine belt for my Chrysler. When I went to put it on, I found out that the part number on the belt was not the same as the part number on the package sleeve, essentially meaning it was misboxed. I took it back to exchange it, but they didn’t have another in stock. Then I went to their next closest store, a Carquest which they also own, only to be told it can’t be done because they are a franchise store. Then I went to a third store that ended up being closed at 4:30 on a Saturday despite every other store of theirs I’ve been to closing at 9 or 10. Drove down the road further to their next store only to find out their inventory was wrong and they didn’t actually have it in stock. Finally, I ended up at a fifth store where I was able to exchange it, but they insisted I still owed them money because the tax rate in that town was higher than at the original store. What a colossal waste of my time and gas with no restitution! If I didn’t need to get my car back together, I would have just waited for the first store to get another one in.

Find a phone number and ask to speak to the manager of the department.
If you get no response then yeah sell the parts.

I don’t see why their mistake should cost you anything. You informed them of the mistake, they apparently expect you to rectify the mistake at your cost.

I would be inclined to inform them one more time that if they send you a return sticker or such whit allows you to send the stuff back at no additional cost, in the next 2 weeks, then you’ll be willing to drop it at a local dhl/post office etc, otherwise you’ll just dispose of the goods as you see fit.

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Their wrong, but you‘re obligation to inform them and offer a reasonable time frame and condition where to come pick up their goods. Also inform them of your intent to dispose as you see fit after a reasonable deadline. I don‘t think you would have to go much further out of your way to accomodate. Any offering to move (or even store) or dispose of would be at your goodwill. Get CC involved. I would hesitate to take posession before a passed deadline, and your clear statement of disposal after said deadline. My 2 cents.


I’d have called their customer service people and talked to an actual person. Send an e-mail and you get a stock response with no opportunity for give and take.

I’d take the stuff, with a photocopy of your paperwork to your local Autozone and explain to them that you just want this stuff to go to the proper customer and you want your pulley. That’s assuming there is an Autozone within a reasonable distance, say 10 miles. If they refused to take the stuff I’d probably tell the manager, “Look, I’m leaving this stuff on your counter with a copy of the paperwork. Do with it what you want. It’s yours, not mine”.

(1.) So as to not confuse the issue, and because I needed the $21 pulley now, I would order a pulley online again.

(2,) I would write a letter to “someone” (customer relations manager?) at Auto Zone and explain what happened and they can pick up their stuff at MY house. I would wait a few months before I sold the parts although my letter might also say that I am charging storage at $50/month in order to justify selling it for storage costs later on. I hate this kind of crap.

In the 70’s, a friend ordered a set of hi-fi patio speakers from Allied Electronics . They were weatherproof and on sale for a good price. When they arrived it was obvious the boxes had been sitting in water. So he called, and they told him they’d send him another set. That set arrived and were great, but no return authorization for the original ones. He called and explained, and promptly received instead of a return authorization, a THIRD set of speakers. So he called again, and they sent him yet another set. Chuck told me he thought it would be dishonest to call any more because they would just keep sending hm more speakers. Several people enjoyed hi-fi speakers from that fiasco .

I’ve been in similar predicaments and have had to take steps to make things right. I do agree that you should not have to pay anything to return this nor should you have to drive anywhere.
Myself, I would call Autozone 1-800-AUTOZONE (1-800-288-6966) and fully explain the situation again if I had to. They will likely issue a call ticket on the package once they realize what has happened. Some poor customer is wondering where his parts are and their records will show that it was indeed shipped a delivered.

I believe in karma to a degree. Do the right thing and it will come back around some day. Myself, I would never benefit from someone elses accident or mistake.


Well, here’s how this story ends:

I did contact AutoZone, and told them I was not willing to waste an hour of my time and $10 in gas hauling the incorrect parts to the neither store, nor was I willing to pay the shipping to return it to them, as that shipping would significantly exceed the cost of the part I actually ordered. I told them I was happy to return the parts if they paid the shipping, and gave them the option of either shipping me the part I ordered, or refunding what I paid.

Today, I received the correct part via FedEx, and no mention of returning the wrong parts. So, if I don’t hear from them in the next week or so, I’ll put it up on E-Bay, and end up money ahead!

Ray L.


Fair enough, you can only try to help some people so much.

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At the end of the day, you still have to live with yourself so do what you know is right. Not what is legal. Pete

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I’m with you. Take the high road. Take the wrong stuff to the local Autozone. Get them to order the correct parts for you to be delivered to that store for pickup, Nose to nose is he best way to communicate.

Sidebar: Amazon has an interesting way to deal with returns. Not back to stock, but to a “liquidator” !!!


There is karma in the world; the karma you send out is what comes back to you. Give them another try. You’ll feel good about yourself whether it works out or not.

Bob t


Ray, compounding their original error, your good intentions have already cost AutoZone money. The longer this goes on the more time and energy (aka money) it will cost AutoZone to deal with it. If I was in their position I would cut my losses and hope you just kept the pieces and stopped bothering me.

Karma. Pffft.

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Nick, next time your E bites you (and it WILL), you’ll remember this! :grinning:

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It’s in hibernation till the end of March, Bob. I’m safe for the next 60 days or so.

A few years ago I bought my granddaughter a MacBook at an Apple store here in Ca.I gave them my cc, they entered the order, and I immediately got a text message to call my cc company, Security was flagging it because buying 10 Macs at once is out of pattern for my account and they wanted to verify. There was confusion in the store as they had to back out the 10 computer sale and enter a new order, but because ot was the same cc number, things were getting confused so I used a second card. When I went through the paperwork, I found that I had been charged for qty 0 for an $1800 computer. I called Apple and asked for the store manager who told me not to worry about it because they didn’t track cost only units and their records said I had a unit as I should have and I should consider it my lucky day. I told theManager he should call his district manager and make sure he subscribed to that policy and if so call me back. I was eventually billed the correct amount.

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