Amazon.com and Raybestos Brakes – Bad Customer Service, Poor Quality Control

Update on May 2nd:

I got an email apology from Raybestos about the experience I had with them and they want to call me to discuss further.

Other than my experience dealing with the product warranty with Amazon, the Raybestos rotors are good quality. Just knowing that they do want their customer experience to be a good one may have just restored my faith in their products.

Original post on April 23rd:

Part of my Trans Am restoration includes restoring the brakes. After seeing a number of endorsements for Raybestos products on TV I decided I wanted to use Raybestos brake pads on my project car.

In early January I ordered AC Delco Advantage rotors to go along with the new brake pads, but when I received them I found their casting and machine work in the wheel hub area was quite horrible. I returned them and decided to pay the extra $10 a rotor on Amazon.com for Raybestos 5040 PG rotors. Since I’m using their brake pads, I may as well use their rotors!

When I received the Raybestos rotors in mid January, I quickly inspected the wheel hubs and found the machine work was excellent and casting was nice and centered. I did not think to inspect the rotor surface on the rotors assuming that they were fine (why would they sell a rotor with a bad surface). From what I understand, the wheel hub area needs to be right otherwise you get a serious wobble. Anyway, my failure to review the rotor surface right away was my mistake. Even so, the rotors have a no rust and no turn warranty, so if I didn’t get to the rotors till March then that’s fine, so I thought assuming there wasn’t rust on them. At that point I stored the rotors in my house until the weather warmed up.

In March, the weather did warmed up and I had an opportunity one weekend to tackle the front brakes. I did my normal procedure with the first rotor, cleaning the surface with brake cleaner, packing the bearings and installing the rotor hub on the spindle. When I started unpacking the second rotor, to my surprise the back side had 8 obvious spots of rust (see photo). Aside from that, there were 3 deep scratches that ran against the pattern of the rotor, meaning they were not caused by being machined. From that point on, I dealt with both Amazon and Raybestos and had a horrible experience with both companies. The details follow.

First I called Amazon.com. Initially they did not want to help me because it has been over 30 days since I purchased them. Then after being persistent, they said they would take the rotor back and issue me a refund, and that if I wanted a replacement I could order a new one. Well that was super lame, the price of these rotors went from $51 to $64 on Amazon.com between January and March.

So then I called Raybestos to see if I could have them exchanged directly under warranty. The gentleman I spoke with wasn’t technically rude, but he sure had an attitude. He was utterly surprised I was even able to buy Raybestos products from Amazon.com as he personally was the one who made the deal with Amazon to sell Raybestos products. The first impression I got was he didn’t believe I got them from Amazon directly (you can buy things on Amazon.com that are not actually sold by Amazon). Furthermore he made it very clear all warranty handling of Raybestos products is handled by the retailer.

So the only option was to get a refund from Amazon and order a new rotor. I paid another $63.66 and ordered a new rotor right away, and shipped the bad rotor the following day back to Amazon. 3 days later my replacement rotor arrived, with the box ripped open (see photo). A quick look inside and the rotor appeared ok, but rather than take a risk that the rotor may have slipped out and bounced around some UPS sorting facility I decided to ship it back and get another one. This time because I made the request within 30 days I was able to exchange the rotor without incurring additional costs. Thanks Amazon, you could have done this in the first place and I wouldn’t be telling this story!

The 3rd rotor arrived 3 days later, box in tattered but unopened condition. I inspected this rotor inside and out and it appeared ok.

Two weeks later I got an email from Amazon.com that they received my returned Rotors (both the original bad one and the second one I got in an open box). The email went on to explain that they will not refund me the full 51.49 that I paid in January, but instead only refunded me 41.19, the $10.30 difference going to a restocking fee (which was not mentioned to me when they finally let me return it with my call with Amazon.com). I sure hope they did not restock that rotor, it needs to be shipped back to Raybestos and the rust needs to be fixed.

If Amazon refunded the $51.49, I most likely would have left the whole ordeal alone, but the restocking fee for a faulty part just pushed me too far.

These are Automotive Brakes People!

The lack of seriousness to get the problem resolved for this particular type of item bothers me. We’re not talking about a book or a computer gadget, we’re talking about the brakes that go on a vehicle.

Amazon.com and Auto Parts

After this whole experience, I wouldn’t buy any critical or important automotive parts from Amazon.com. If I have a problem, I’ll take my part to my local auto parts store and get it resolved without dealing with 3 days to wait, product inflation and paying restocking fees to get a warrantied item replaced.

Raybestos and Warranty Coverage

Raybestos, you messed up big time. Seeing what Raybestos does for charities and watching their products on some of my favorite car TV shows, combined with their rotor “NO TURN GUARANTEE” and warranty, I expected a better phone call when I gave them a ring. Instead I was not treated as a customer or product advocate, I was treated as some guy who bought their products from someone else and it’s not their problem. Uncool!

My Conclusions

If Amazon wants to be in the automotive parts business, they are going to have to take it seriously and handle returns/exchanges accordingly. This stuff is serious business, brakes stop cars, they are serious parts to the safety of vehicles. They either need to support these products or don’t sell them in the first place.

If Raybestos does not want to deal directly with its customers, they should only sell their products through automotive retailers that will honor their warranties. Furthermore, they should still offer to warranty their products directly for those cases like mine or when retailers go out of business leaving the customer with no place to go.

I’m no longer going to purchase critical automotive parts from Amazon.com, and I’m certainly not going to recommend Raybestos products anytime soon. When you get a good Raybestos rotor, they rock, but the quality is not worth the poor customer service and lack of warranty support.

4 thoughts on “Amazon.com and Raybestos Brakes – Bad Customer Service, Poor Quality Control”

  1. I just replaced my rear brakes using all Raybestos parts. This includes rotors, brake pads, brake pad mounting brackets, caliper pins and caliper pin bolts, and the rubber boots that go onto the caliper pin bolts.

    I didn’t have a problem with any of the parts except for one (or two?). When I installed one of the caliper pins/pin bolts, I found that even with the pin bolt fully tightened, it didn’t grab the caliper mount at all. That is, the caliper pin had about 1/16″ of play even with the pin bolt fully tightened. The OEM pin/pin bolt did not have this problem.

    I worked around this issue by adding a washer under the caliper pin bolt to take up the play. This seemed to work, but I don’t appreciate having had to do it. But at the time, I had two choices: Reinstall an old pin/pin bolt, or use the new parts. I didn’t buy new parts so I could reinstall the dirty, worn old ones.

    I called Raybestos soon after, and the guy I spoke to was borderline rude. He wasn’t receptive or interested at all, and he said nothing but “exchange them”. No information on whether Raybestos would do this directly, no concern, no desire to make it right (even though the affected part was dirt cheap).

    I bought most of the Raybestos parts from Amazon.com, but the caliper pins/bolts were from RockAuto.com. I have had very good experiences with Amazon’s customer support, including the returns process. Amazon is great about returns (they’re actually known for it). Amazon’s policy for automotive items, directly copied/pasted, is: “If you have purchased an item shipped from and sold by Amazon.com, Amazon will directly honor the manufacturer’s published warranty. Please contact Amazon CS for assistance with a warranty claim.”

    I’m not impressed with Raybestos quality, nor with their customer service. I’ll be using parts from another producer next time around.

  2. My issue with Amazon return policy was due to the fact that it was over 30 days after I made the purchase that I needed to do an exchange. RockAuto honors the manufacturers warranties, where-as Amazon expects you go to directly to the manufacturer after 30 days.

    I recently had a similar situation with Dorman with one of their emergency brake cables not fitting properly, I talked to Dorman’s customer service and they not only explained how to do the return with RockAuto but they also gave me information to tell to RockAuto to expedite the process.

  3. I imagine they were getting annoyed with you. I have worked in Quality Control for a brake rotor and drum manufacturer. Do you know what we do when there is rust? Dip it in a phosphoric acid solution and scrub with a wire brush – for no particular reason, it does not impact the functionality of the part, but merely for cosmetic reasons because people like you don’t grasp that this light surface rust will come right off the moment you start using the brakes and in fact, rusting from water and scrubbing off that rust is a continual process your brakes do over the lifetime of the product. It really makes no difference whether there was that little bit of rust, but if it makes you happy you could have just taken some steel wool and scrubbed it off.

    Mailing back 35lbs of rotors for that reason was just madness or to put it more precisely, ignorant waste. Perhaps that is why they charged a restock fee, because what you had imagined was a problem, wasn’t really.

    I think in a perfect world that no rotors would be rusted but you need to appreciate why it happens. They get a very light coating of oil, but very little so it doesn’t pose a problem later.

    The thing is that not all DIYers know or remember to clean their rotors off, so if there were a more durable, say heavy grease coating on the rotors to better prevent rust, that would be a much bigger problem if it’s not cleaned off. Some manufacturers now go the route of low humidity, absorbing materials and/or sealed bags to combat it, but again it is only an imaginary issue since they will start and continue to rust the whole time they are on the vehicle, and that rust scrubbed off when brakes are applied.

  4. You may be right on the rust on the rotor not being an issue, but I haven’t seen a new rusted rotor before or since this incident. I think it is safe to say we know the condition when rust forms once on the vehicle. That kind of rust is flash rust. When you get them new however, question comes how did the rust get there, was it contaminants from someone handing them or did water spot it up during poor shipping, etc… For someone who does not have a way to spin/turn a rotor to check its correctness, the manufacturer puts doubt in their product they should replace it. That’s what happened here, so things worked out in the end.

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