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Costco Interstate Batteries “Free Replacement” Charges Class Action

If a company offers you a “free replacement” warranty on an item, most people expect to receive the replacement item for free. The complaint for this class action brings suit against Costco Wholesale Corporation, alleging that its “Free Replacement” warranty on the Interstate batteries it sells is deceptive because customers must pay the difference in cost between the old battery and a higher-priced new one.

The Nationwide Class for this action is all persons or entities in the US and its territories who bought an Interstate battery at a Costco and were not given a free replacement batter when their Interstate battery became defective. A Florida Class has also been defined for those who bought the battery at a Costco location in Florida.

The batteries at issue in this case include Interstate car batteries with a 36-month or 42-month Free Replacement warranty, and Interstate golf and marine batteries with 12-month Free Replacement warranties.

When most people see advertising for a free replacement warranty on a battery, they believe that if the battery fails within the warranty period, they will be given a new battery at no charge.

Unfortunately, according to the complaint, that is not how Costco’s Interstate battery free replacement warranty works: “When a consumer returns his or her defective Interstate Battery to a Costco location for a replacement battery within the prescribed warranted period, he or she is refunded the original purchase price of the Interstate Battery and then charged an increased price for the replacement battery.”

This means that the consumer does not in fact get the replacement “for free” but must pay the difference in price between the old battery and the new.

This is not what consumers expect. The complaint argues that consumers understand a “free replacement to mean “they will receive a replacement battery at no extra cost, or, at the very least, have the purchase price of their Interstate Battery refunded and then be charged for a replacement battery at that same purchase price.”

The plaintiff in this case, John Skrandel, bought a car battery with a 36-month warranty for $72.99. When the battery failed after 30 months, Skrandel brought it back for a replacement. The new battery was priced at $78.99. Skrandel’s “free replacement” was thus priced at $6. Other customers have reported being charged an additional $25 or more, the complaint says.

The complaint alleges that the requirement that consumers pay an additional price is “unfair and deceptive trade practices in violation of state consumer protection laws.” It claims it is also a breach of warranty and a violation of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and that Costco has been unjustly enriched by the practice.

The complaint quotes the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on the meaning of the word “free.”

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Costco Interstate Batteries “Free Replacement” Charges Complaint

May 7, 2021

If a company offers you a “free replacement” warranty on an item, most people expect to receive the replacement item for free. The complaint for this class action brings suit against Costco Wholesale Corporation, alleging that its “Free Replacement” warranty on the Interstate batteries it sells is deceptive because customers must pay the difference in cost between the old battery and a higher-priced new one.

Costco Interstate Batteries “Free Replacement” Charges Complaint

Case Event History

Costco Interstate Batteries “Free Replacement” Charges Complaint

May 7, 2021

If a company offers you a “free replacement” warranty on an item, most people expect to receive the replacement item for free. The complaint for this class action brings suit against Costco Wholesale Corporation, alleging that its “Free Replacement” warranty on the Interstate batteries it sells is deceptive because customers must pay the difference in cost between the old battery and a higher-priced new one.

Costco Interstate Batteries “Free Replacement” Charges Complaint
Tags: Battery, Unfair Business Practices, Unfair Charges