Autozone - Denies valid warranty claims on newly installed Water Pump
Installed a new AutoZone branded water pump, new thermostat (pretested), new hoses, new drive belt, and new idler pulley when the vehicle started going over temp under high drive and A/C loads. After the repair, the vehicle overheated worse than the pump removed. In less than ten minutes of idle in park with the A/C on in 80 degree weather with no sun load, the vehicle overheated and blew out the heater core flooding the inside of the vehicle and contaminating the duct work.
Contacted the AutoZone store manager and even though I am an automotive engineer, I was advised to take the vehicle to a certified auto tech for diagnosis and repair. The GM certified tech made a house call and within 20 minutes confirmed I had a defective new water pump (discharge hose was limp). This was photographically confirmed after $2400+ in repairs (Water pump replacement, knock sensor replacements, and rolling the dash to replace the heater core). The factory fresh defective AutoZone water pump was removed and replaced with an OEM pump and heater core. A photo and videos were taken inside the defective pump with a borescope showing the impeller not fully seated in the pump casing creating NO POTENTIAL FOR PRESSURE OUTPUT DUE TO NO NET HEAD SUCTION.) Photos were provided with the claim for reimbursement. I discretely marked the defective pump and returned it with the claim.
I subsequently received two denials backed up by assurance of a leak test (1st denial which I refuted as not indicative to the claim of no pump pressure when investigating the root cause). The vendor then ran a pump test performed and issued a 2nd denial on a pump with a photo from the manufacturer not showing the marking I made to ID the pump returned.
Autozone regional office had the borescope picture of the pump defect submitted by me required to verify the claim but chose to have their supplier deny the claim via dubious procedures and documentation with good reason.... Lower warranty offsets mean lower costs to AutoZone and higher bonuses for AutoZone Execs.
Ichose not to pursue AutoZone in small claims court due to cost/benefit, but should they choose to respond to this post, I will pursue treble damages that make it worth my time.
Interim lesson learned, buy from reputable retailers like NAPA.
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