Written by: Joe Fiduccia
Make any trips to your local auto parts supply store recently? How would you rate their customer service based on your visit? Satisfactory? Poor? Mediocre?
Or over the top amazing!?
I have to admit when I take a trips to the more chain parts suppliers like Autozone or Advance Auto, I really don’t expect much in the way of service. But this past weekend, the service I received from an employee named Harry was an unexpected (and pleasant) surprise. Let me explain.
The battery on my car died, so I needed a replacement. After removing it from the car, I noticed it had a sticker on it of “04/13″… which meant I purchased it in April 2013.
Looking through my receipts from that time, I was able to locate the one for the battery. Though it was quite faded, I was still able to make out most of the content. It turns out I purchased it from an Advance Auto store on April 17, 2013, and that it offered a 3-year free replacement warranty.
The irony behind it all – the day I took out the battery was April 17, 2016…exactly three years to-the-day since I made the purchase!
It took me a moment to process the strange coincidence. But once it hit me, I wasted no time getting to the nearest Advance Auto store in hopes for a free replacement.
Waiting in line at the store, a parts representative named Harry finally called me up to the counter. I explained to him that the battery was no longer working properly and that I wanted a replacement. He informed me that the manufacturer requires him to run a test on it before he could see if it’s replaceable. A test that would take about 45 minutes.
Problem was, the store closed in 15 minutes.
So I left the battery there and told him I’d return the next day.
The next morning (April 18th) after dropping my son off at school, I went back to the store to find out the results of the test. Harry was there, confirming the battery was indeed bad and due for replacement.
So he began entering some codes and numbers in the system in order to do the new battery exchange. But even though the warranty covered a free replacement, the computer kept telling him it would cost $70.00 to do the exchange.
The problem? It was now Monday the 18th, one day after the 3-year warranty had technically expired. Harry knew what the problem was and tried to correct it for literally 20 minutes, but the system wouldn’t let him back-date the transaction.
Yet instead of giving up and forcing me to pay the $70.00 for a new battery, he got on the phone with the manufacturer.
He spent the next 20 minutes speaking with three different representatives. The first one he spoke said there is nothing they can do. So Harry hung up and called again.
The 2nd representative gave the same “sorry, can’t help” response. So he asked to speak with the manager. And after thoroughly explaining the problem in a “stern but polite” tone, the manufacturer agreed to give me the free replacement!
I was ecstatic. Harry spent 45 minutes of his time with me trying to rectify the problem. That’s never happened before in my lifetime of visits to any auto parts supplier. Lines backed up in the store, and tempers flared on the phone. Yet he stayed focused and made it happen.
But I saved the best for last.
When the transaction was finally completed, his computer said I was owed $23.00. Neither one of us knew why, but at that time neither one of us wanted to deal with this anymore.
So he opened the drawer and took out the money. And that’s when I gave it right back to him, telling him to buy himself a nice lunch with it. He didn’t want to accept it, but I insisted…as it was the least I could do in return for his help. I also made it a point to contact their corporate offices and give praise to the regional manager about my experience.
And there you have it: my experience at the local Advance Auto. Above all else, it proves once again that life will continue testing our patience. But when we are given the opportunity to brighten someone’s day, what we decide to do next will always be a true test of our morals…and our character.
Thanks again for your help Harry. The car’s running beautifully now.