American Automobile Association - AAA sold bad battery and won't take responsibility

3 years ago, I called AAA for a roadside service and the technician recommended that I buy their battery. He tauted their "6 year warranty" service and I got sold. December of last year (2 and 11 months after the purchase), my car started acting funny - the engine would stall for a bit before starting. Then around mid December, my light was on and the car didn't start so I had to call AAA. That time, I had explained the problem, e.g. engine stalling, but the light was on so I just assumed that it was my own doing. The technician tested the battery and the result came low and recommended that I look into the alternator after jump starting my car. So I got my alternator fixed and the mechanic opined that the battery is not a good one. Around January 20, my car didn't start and this time there was no apparent reason. Called AAA whose technician informed that the battery tested low again but he wasn't equipped to replace the battery. Around January 30, I called AAA for the purposes of replacing the battery and the technician who tested the battery said he can't replace the battery because it was passing the test.

This morning the car didn't start for no apparent reason again. Called AAA demanding a replacement and the representative refused arguing that it could be the alternator. I was already frustrated with the fact that I was having multiple battery issues over a period of 2 months and it clearly showed that AAA is not on its member's side and quick to avoiding responsibility. I confirmed with the mechanic that the mere fact the car is starting after every jump-start shows that it's not the alternator; he said they (AAA) should know that already. I was on the phone for approximately 45 min (already late to work at that point) with the representative arguing why it's so hard for AAA to trust its own members.

Finally, I got the rep to have their technician come out and tested the battery and confirmed the followings: There's nothing wrong with the alternator; and that the battery should be replaced. I felt justified but my priority was getting it resolved and going to work. But it was further delayed because the technician requested that I pay for the new battery. For the first time, he explained to me that their "free warranty" is actually for 3 years and I have to pay a prorated amount for subsequent years within the 6 years of "warranty". He said he would take back the battery unless I pay. So I had no choice.

Called customer service, talked to 3 different people before getting to the supervisor who told the followings: 1) I could submit a formal claim to AAA to ask for reimbursement for the time between 1/20 and 2/10, which would amount to about a few dollars. (I said no thank you; I've already wasted enough of my time.); 2) What happened to me could be a good thing because I now have a brand new battery with another 6 year warranty (you mean the same kind that ran out after less than 3 years?); and 3) As a gesture, they'll waive the recent trips so that it wouldn't be deducted from my yearly allowance (you must know that I'm up for a renewal in two months so I'll probably get them anyways).

Long story short - AAA sold me a bad battery which caused so much wasted time and resources of its own member; misrepresented the product with a bait-and-switch tactic; their battery lasts only enough to force its members to pay more money; the way they calculate the "prorated" charge is plain ridiculous; and finally, when confronted with having to pay for the responsibility, they further wasted time and effort in denying such responsibility showing they really do not care about retaining their members. I will not be renewing and I've lost all confidence in their product and customer service.

This review is a subjective opinion of a user.
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  • What I liked
      No items
  • What I disliked
    • Battery service

Reason of review:
Warranty issue
Monetary loss:
Product or service
Car Battery
Review category
Service Centers and Repairs
review #787416

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Feb 10 #1109756 Columbia, South Carolina

You mentioned that AAA apparently doesn't care about retaining members. Are you aware of what AAA is doing with their memberships now? I have the premier membership and my wife the standard one. They have recently converted hers to the premier for free! but only until the year runs out and then will charge her for the premier from then on. They don't offer the standard membership anymore. If you are not careful, you will find yourself paying for the premier membership from then on. I will cancel my wife's membership when the renewal time comes, of course. AAA doesn't care. There is no reason for both of us to pay over a hundred dollars a year for each membership. As for your battery there is always a proration based on the length of time you owned it. However, it would appear the batteries they are selling may be cheaply-made.

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