Can I just raise a general 'alert' about these fine-sounding warranties? Mod, you may like to move this to a new thread as it's perhaps going off topic a bit. Anyway...ScimmyMike wrote:, same 5 year warranty
Regular readers will know that I'm more than a tad miffed to find the battery on MB61 died without warning recently, after only 16 months' service. It has in it's short life been mollycoddled - perhaps a tad too much - with trickle chargers, being kept in the warm garage, disconnected while standing or charging, regularly charged by running the car either on a run or in the yard every 10-14 days, etc etc - in other words, 'trying to do the right thing'.
Despite this, it died after just 16 months - but no worries, it has a 4-year guarantee, if only I can find the original receipt and paperwork... and... ah, yes, here it is. But wait, what's this in the small print? The warranty does NOT cover 'sulfation'. Hmm, I wonder what that means, exactly... so some internet research produced this: 85% of lead acid battery failures are essentially down to sulfation (http://jgdarden.com/batteryfaq/carfaq16.htm).
But how can I tell if my battery is sulfated or not? Well the supplier (Alpha Batteries) helpfully offers 'return the battery to us and we'll test it'. Oh good, a nice impartial analysis there, then... Or, if I get it tested locally, I can send them the test certificate. Now I don't know about you, but here where I live I am spoilt for choice, there are so many test labs around they're like nail bars, ooh, within 5 miles of my front door there must be at least... NONE!
OK, let's look at sending the battery back to Alpha for their impartial test - their web site says they can collect it by courier, but at what cost? So, I phoned them up to ask: answer "well we can do it for about £20 but just get a courier to take it, it'll be about a tenner" [and Alpha, if you're reading this, I taped the call so I know *exactly* what was said]. Only a tenner? Well, what a bargain - but before I hurry off to my local post office, I think I'll just do a wee check...
Collect Plus, my preferred choice - won't take anything over 10kg - and the 097 battery weighs 14kg without any packaging! So they're out.
The Post Office - medium parcel - up to 20kgs - success! Oh, but no - wet acid batteries are "prohibited items" even if you can find the transit plugs you removed when you bought the battery over a year ago.
I know - Yodel. They delivered my new battery, so they *must* take batteries... but they don't unless you're a registered Dangerous Goods shipper and have a contract wit them.
OK, so poor old Joe Public is going to have a problem sending the battery back - but suppose he could? Suppose he really could find a courier - would it really cost 'a tenner' ? I regularly compare prices between Collect Plus and the post office, and although Collect Plus is frequently cheaper, it's not by much. So the post office is a reasonably good guide to what a courier would charge, just knock off about 10%.
A 14kg battery, packaged to let's say 15kg, counts as a 'medium parcel' under 20Kg - cost: £28.55.
So, even if you *can* find a courier to take your dead battery, it's going to cost you around £25, and then it will be tested BY THE VERY PEOPLE WHO SOLD IT TO YOU, and even if they really *are* impartial, there's still an 85% probability that the battery has failed due to a cause not covered by the warranty anyway. In other words:
THE WARRANY QUOTED BY THE SUPPLIER ISN'T WORTH THE PAPER IT'S WRITTEN ON.
Do NOT be swayed by any warranty given by a mail order supplier - it is completely meaningless. The only way you can enforce a warranty will be if you can cost-effectively take the failed battery in person to the supplier - your local factor or whatever. And even then, the odds are stacked against you that the failure will be down to something you can actually prove *and* which is covered.