Bellevue, Washington
Not resolved

I went with my mechanic to Autozone to purchase an alternator. When paying, we asked if (as long as we paid cash for the core charge) we could put the rest on my debit card and when returning the old alternator we could get cash back.

If they had said no, I would have gone to the bank and pulled out cash to pay for it. However, cashier #25 assured us that there would be no problem getting the cash back. We purchased the alternator, my mechanic fixed my car, I gave him the receipt so he could get the cash he paid for the core charge back, and I thought I was done. For the past two days, however, my mechanic has been to the store about 30 times trying to get the cash back and being told he couldn't.

He was even waiting on a reply from the store manager (which was promised to him) but to no avail. Finally, after realizing he was getting nowhere with the situation, he called me. I had to leave a barbecue I was at and bring my 6 year old with me to Autozone. After arguing with the manager on duty, Jason Whitlow, for about an hour, he finally said the best he could do was put the money on the card the alternator was purchased with.

This didn't make any sense to me considering we paid cash, but we did it anyway. I had to take the $50 my mechanic paid cash for out of my wallet to give him and now have to wait about a week for the money to (hopefully) be back in my bank account. They couldn't even tell me how long it would take for me to receive the money.

All in all, the cashier lied, I have to wait a week to get money back that I paid cash for, I'm out an additional $50 while I wait, and I am getting absolutely no customer service from the store, managers, or corporate. DO NOT SHOP AT AUTOZONE IF AT ALL POSSIBLE!!!

Product or Service Mentioned: Autozone Manager.

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They did the same thing to me this last Friday after they ordered the wrong clutch so now I have to wait to be refunded to buy the right one they wouldn't exchange and let me pay the difference. And still haven't seen the money in my account


8) I didn't read all of these comments, but I know at sears that when someone wanted to return an item if they paid cash--we could return immediately as cash. If they paid with a CREDIT card, then it could be automatically returned via credit...

but if they used DEBIT, and entered their pin to pay...

well, that could take up to a week to return the money.

Now, I'm not sure if Autozone is like that, but Sears Auto Center is....


That is exactly my point! Debit transactions are ALWAYS refunded as cash, hence "pissed consumer"


I used to work at a number of stores on the east coast and debit transactions were always automatically refunded as cash. Store employees, including the store manager, had no way of altering this. I don't see why it would be any different at a west coast store but a quick read through of the return policy could confirm or deny that for you if it's still an issue of contention.


I, too, have worked in retail. For 14 years, to be exact.

That is why I am so angry with the company. Also, as much as I do appreciate your very detailed and thorough explanation on how a credit card works, I did not sign for it. I requested debit and used my pin number.

Also, the receipt DOES difirienciate between the core charge, the alternator, and what was paid for each. Not only that, but we SPECIFICALLY asked if there would be a problem getting the cash back and were SPECIFICALLY told no.


If it is being refunded to your account, you must have payed using a check card processed, key word PROCESSED, through a credit card company. I worked in retail to put myself through college and I had this argument with MANY customers, and without fail, it was ALWAYS a case of them customer inadvertantly running their debit card and processing it as a credit transaction out of habit.

Look at your debit card, chances are you will notice a Visa or Mastercard logo on the front of it. Almost all bank cards these days give you the option to use them through a major credit company, which benefits the consumer because you get added identity theft protection, and the merchant pays the applicable surcharges instead of you. For a debit transaction you would have to enter your bank PIN (person identification number) which is typically 4 digits on the keypad. You would use this same number at an ATM to add or withdraw money from your account.

If when using your bank card to pay for part of your transaction you selected "credit" at which point you would sign your name as opposed to entering your PIN, then you did NOT use debit. Look at your receipt, I bet down where it shows your card number it will also say VISA/MC/Amex/whatever because you ran it as credit. If that was the case, then you did not pay AutoZone for your alternator, Visa or Mastercard or whoever paid AutoZone, and you paid the credit card company back from your account. Think of the credit card company as the middle man here.

So when you go to do a refund, the money leaves AutoZone by the end of the day and is returned to Visa/MC/Amex, and then it is processed through them, and then is ultimately deposited back into your account. This typically takes 1 to 3 BUSINESS days depending on the exact date, time of day, credit company, and bank involved. This type of procedure has nothing to do with AutoZone, and you will find the exact same happenings at any other major merchant when using a credit card, or a debit card processed through a credit company. That's just how it goes.

As for paying for the core with cash, the number of items on a sale does not matter. If the alternator costs $100 and the core costs $50 dollars, so $150 total, but you pay 50 in cash and 100 on a credit card, when you go to return something, the computer systems and credit card companies do not differentiate between different items on the ticket. They have no way of knowing that the 50 in cash was meant to pay for the core, and the card was meant for the rest, they just see a bill for 150, with split payment methods, so they refund the applicable amount with whatever is cheapest and easiest for them. Remember, credit cards aren't free.

Everytime you use a credit card, the merchant gets charged a little bit for your convenience. This is why many small businesses only accept cash. And this is also why when you swipe a card at a merchant, you are always prompted to use debit first, because then the merchant doesn't have to pay. Notice that the menus on keypads usually don't make it very obvious how to navigate to the credit option?

And it's also always by doing something nonintuitive like pressing "cancel?" Giving out cash returns when cash was not originally tendered is also not free. A store only has so much cash on hand, and it costs time and money to manage and replenish that cash. So a business is not going to hand out a $75 cash return on something bought on a credit card, because we never got that cash in the first place. Returns are also just not free in general.

They cost businesses time and money to process, especially big box retail stores, where it all adds up to millions of dollars over the course of a year. This is why every merchant has a "return policy" that takes up an entire sheet of paper using only tiny print. It costs money, so they have policies and rules in effect to minimize the cost and hassle to them. If you have never worked in retail I know it seems a bit convoluted, but there are actually a number of very good reasons that things are done this way, and you can research them on your own if you want more information about financial law regarding credit cards, bank transactions, returns, etc.

Essentially, AutoZone, nor any other merchant, at least not the people working at store level, has no way to change any of this. Your cashier told the truth, debit transactions will be refunded as cash. But a credit transaction, even one initiated with a debit card, is different and their useage is strictly regulated by the parent credit company. A store employee CANNOT refund a credit charge with cash.

That's just not how credit cards work, OR DEBIT CARDS PROCESSED THROUGH A CREDIT COMPANY.

I hope this information helps. In the future just be careful about using split tender if you think you may be returning some portion of it, because it ALWAYS complicates returns.


You didn't read anythihg he said, Alex. You were just more interested in preaching about it. The core charge was paid with CASH and the receipt shows that.

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