Costco is under fire for its "Free Replacement" warranty policy.
A new lawsuit alleges that this policy is "deceptive." The wholesale retailer sells Interstate brand batteries with warranties for cars, boats, RVs, golf carts, and lawnmowers. With the purchase of one of these batteries, Costco promises a 36-month limited replacement warranty.
However, some consumers believe that this warranty isn't all it's cracked up to be. The following article will provide you with all the details regarding the lawsuit against Costco's warranty policy.
Costco's Battery Warranty Policy:
Costco sells automotive batteries with a warranty. The company promises a "great warranty" for the product. According to the company's website, "a 36-month limited replacement warranty supports all Costco car batteries." The retailer states that if there is a defect in material or workmanship, upon the return of the battery to any Costco Wholesale warehouse, the battery will be replaced or the purchase price refunded, excluding fees and taxes.
However, to obtain a new battery or a refund under this limited warranty, the original battery must be returned to Costco Wholesale within the warranty period.
Lawsuit Against Costco:
Florida customer John Skrandel is leading a consumer lawsuit against the wholesale retailer over its policy. In 2017, Skrandel purchased an Interstate Battery with a 36-month replacement warranty for $72.99 at a Costco in Palm Beach Gardens.
Skrandel claims that when he returned to the store 19 days before his warranty expired to replace his defective battery, he had to pay for a new one and pay more for it than he had originally. Skrandel said he was given a refund for the original price, and then told the new battery would cost him $78.99, which is an additional $6.
Deceptive Warranty Policy:
In his lawsuit, Skrandel seeks to recover damages from Costco on behalf of all customers who bought Interstate Batteries from the retailer believing they would receive free replacements if theirs failed within 36 months.
The lawsuit claims that Costco's warranty is "deceptive." It states that:
Costco's scheme is deceptive to reasonable consumers, such as [Skrandel], who expect that when returning their defective Interstate Batteries under Costco's advertised Free Replacement Warranty, they will receive a replacement battery at no extra cost, or, at the very least, have the purchase price of their Interstate Battery refunded and then be charged for a replacement battery at the same price.
Response From Costco:
In the court filing for class certification, Skrandel's attorneys said that Costco had a policy in its Refund Manual that requires any additional cost for a free replacement battery to be discarded at the cash register. But the Florida consumer alleged that this did not happen when he attempted to take advantage of the warranty.
In a response to Skrandel's initial complaint, Costco acknowledged that:
its records show Plaintiff purchased an Interstate Battery with a 36-month warranty period and an error led to Plaintiff paying $2 for his replacement battery.
The retailer denied the other allegations in Skrandel's suit, and said that consumers can return defective Interstate Batteries "consistent with its warrant and return procedures" and then receive a replacement in return "at no additional cost."
The lawsuit filed against Costco's "free replacement" battery warranty policy has created a significant stir, causing many consumers to re-examine the fine print of their warranties. The lawsuit, which seeks to cover all U.S. and Florida buyers of Interstate batteries between Sept. 1, 2014, and Dec. 31, 2019, has yet to be certified.
Nevertheless, it has sparked a vital discussion about consumer rights and the importance of clear and transparent warranty policies. If you are a Costco customer who has purchased an Interstate battery within the stated time frame, we urge you to read the warranty policy carefully and share your thoughts on the matter.
What Are Your Thoughts?
Have you ever purchased an Interstate Battery from Costco with a warranty? If so, what was your experience like? Do you think Costco's warranty policy for batteries is deceptive? If you were in John Skrandel's position, how would you have reacted to having to pay more for a replacement battery? Do you think the lawsuit against Costco has merit? Why or why not? Have you ever been dissatisfied with a warranty policy from a retailer or company? Can you share your experience?
Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!
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