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Consider the following scenario:

  • I purchase a power tool for several hundred dollars from a dealer, using my credit card.. The item has a 3-year warranty, which gives me some peace of mind. The dealer is an authorized warranty service center, so that's good too.

  • The dealer's return policy indicates that they do not accept returns once an item has been used (the item is used for yard work, so this seems reasonable, as it would likely get dirty).

  • One week after purchase, upon attempting to use the tool for the second time, it is inoperable (essentially, it wouldn't start). I immediately returned it to the dealer so they could diagnose the problem.

  • I receive a phone message a few days later indicating that they have serviced the tool under warranty and it is available to pick up. They mention that they had to re-weld some internal components, as some connections had broken internally. This takes away a large amount of my peace of mind with the purchase.

At this point, my preference would be for one of two resolutions:

  • A refund on the tool. Having such a major failure within such a short period of time doesn't give me a warm fuzzy feeling about the manufacturer's quality assurance. This is unlikely due to the dealer's return policy.

  • Replacement of the tool with a new item. I'm willing to believe that I may have just gotten a "lemon." I would find this resolution satisfactory if offered.

I definitely am hesitant to be stuck with the repaired item, even if it is warranted for another couple of years. I plan to pursue the above two resolutions with the dealer.

My question is: if they refuse both of the above offers, would it be reasonable for me to request a credit-card chargeback? I'm not a lawyer, but my reading of information on the Internet suggests that this sort of issue might be covered as a dispute over the quality of the goods that I purchased. However, I wanted to solicit additional opinions on whether that would be an appropriate way forward.

Edit: Thanks for the answers below. As an update, I was able to resolve the issue amicably; they replaced the item with a new unit. Luckily, I never had to consider the "nuclear option."

  • 1
    Some credit cards supplement the warranty on purchased items. That might be worth investigating too. – JohnFx Apr 17 '13 at 21:20
  • @John its usually an extension of the warranty, not a different warranty. I used the Amex one, very useful, but don't think its relevant to the OP. – littleadv Apr 17 '13 at 21:25
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It doesn't seem like chargeback is in order as the contract obligations have been met by the dealer.

You can check the local "lemon" laws and see if these are applicable for your situation though. Usually, such laws, if exist, require repetitive warranty repairs before a an action can be required.

  • There are also provisions for failures that would impact safety. In some cases a single failure is enough. Though it doesn't seem applicable in this case. – mhoran_psprep Apr 17 '13 at 20:04
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You can start a charge back. It is up to your credit card company to investigate with the dealer if you really get it. I would say your chances are fair to middle. The deciding factor is probably what the warranty says.

Rather than go nuclear, what other routes have you explored? You are more likely to get what you want if you ask firmly and politely.

  • Does the warranty say repairs are equal to replacement?
  • Have you asked for a replacement? (Seems reasonable to me if you got a lemon)
  • Have you asked the regional rep for the product (if the store says no)?

It is in the best interest of the dealer to not get a charge back started. So without being threatening, you should say you simply are not comfortable with the one you have, and you would simply like an exchange. Be calm, polite and very clear that a repair doesn't cut it for you.

If the dealer can't or won't help, talk to the manufacturer regional sales rep (or someone similar).

If that all fails, then start the charge back.

GET IT DONE QUICKLY AND MAKE NOTES

You only have 60 days from the purchase date to dispute the charge. Make a good note of the date, time and who you spoke with to get the replacement. You are building a case that you can persuade your credit card company with (just in case).

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