On August 5, 2013 I contacted Lowes warranty department because my tractor stopped working properly. I had bought a Troy Bilt 25 HP 50" Husta tractor from Lowes on July 15, 2012 and also purchased an extended 4-year warranty which cost $329.97. The Tractor's deck had cracked where the spinals are held on so the blades were raised up and the grass was not being cut evenly.
On August 12, 2013 Altaquip, the company that services the tractors for Lowes, picked up my tractor. On August 13, 2013 Altaquip called me and told me that my tractor is out of warranty and its going to cost me $1375.21 for all repairs. I asked them for a copy of the estimate which they faxed over to me along with a copy of the mechanic report on my tractor. The report read as the following: **EST** ALL THREE SPINDLES WORN OUT AND DECK CRACKED WHERE SPINDLE MOUNTS. FRONT LEFT WHEEL FLAT, ALREADY HAS PLUGS IN IT. THESE ARE NORMAL WEAR AND TEAR ITEMS AND ARE NOT COVERED UNDER WARRANTY UNIT HAS 201 HRS ON IT AND MANUFACTOR ONLY WARRANTYS SPINDLES UP TO 120 HRS. NEEDS DECK, SPINDLES, BELT AND FRONT TIRE. THIS IS ESTIMATED TO BE $1375.21.
After reading the report, I began to wonder, if I am no longer covered under the manufactures warranty then shouldn’t Lowes extended warranty cover it? After all, I did pay for an extended 4-year warranty right??! I also questioned how a cracked deck where the spindles mount would be considered "normal wear and tear” as stated on the report. In my mind that seems like a manufacture defect.
However, this is where it gets interesting.
I called Lowes Warranty Department. The first Lowes representative that I spoke with told me that Lowes extended warranty starts after the two year warranty when the manufactures ends. I remind the Lowes rep that I paid for a 4-year extended warranty. Then the Lowes rep tells me that my tractor is not covered because their (Lowes) warranty does not start until after the two year warranty of the manufactures ends. I was a little upset about the phone conversation.
I decided to go to the Lowes store (LOWES STORE #2904) where I purchased the tractor and warranty (9191 SW 37th AVE, Miami, FL 33101) thinking that I would at least get some help and the situation will get resolved because of a misunderstanding. To my amazement, most of the employees and even managers didn’t have the slightest clue on how their own warranty works. That same day, an in-store Lowes employee called the Lowes warranty department, on my behalf, to try to clarify this situation. The Lowes warranty department representative tells the in-store Lowes employee that Lowes extended warranty begins after the two years from when the manufactures ends.
How it is possible that I paid for a 4 year extended warranty and yet I am not covered within the first two years, even after my manufacture warranty ended, as is clearly stated on Altaquip’s report???!!!
I asked the in-store Lowes employee again, in a different tone and manner, how is it possible that not even under Lowes extended warranty am I covered even though the manufacture claims that I am out of warranty with them because of the 201 hours? I asked the rep on the phone from Lowes warranty department if there is anyone higher up that can help me. The rep tells me that the person I would need to talk to is Julie in the executive support center. The rep proceeds to give me Julie's number and extension 866-284-8989 ext 7794. The employee at the Lowe's store hands me a pamphlet that explains there warranty and policy.
I grabbed the Pamphlet, took it home, and read through the section that says “ Outdoor Power Equipment.” This section is for products $200 or more before tax such as Chainsaws - Chippers- Edgers- Shredders- Pressure Washers- Portable Generators - Push Mowers -Riding Mowers- Show Blowers- Tillers- Trimmers. My Tractor is a Riding Mower which cost me $2,519.10 and falls under this category.
In the Lowes Protection Pamphlet, under the sub-heading “Good To Know” it states: Typically, manufacturers provide parts and labor protection on qualified repairs. With a Lowe's 3- or 4-year protection plan for Outdoor Power Equipment, you'll get more coverage for a longer period of time.*
Now here is where the pamphlet gets interesting.
- Lowe's Outdoor Power Equipment plans start the day you purchase them.
-Parts and labor are covered 100% on qualified repairs for 3 or 4 years.
-For products $800 and over , including riding mowers, we'll do on site service, or we'll pick up, repair and return the product.
-If we can't fix your riding mower within 14 days of initial service, we'll pay you a one-time payment of $50.
-25% reimbursement for select riding mower parts used for preventative maintenance up to a maximum of $500.
-If your covered Outdoor Power Equipment requires a fourth Repair for the same Major failure within a 12- month period, we'll replace it.
* Limitations and exclusions apply. See terms and conditions for complete details. Product coverage ends upon Product replacement or cash settlement. Replacement may be with a new, rebuilt or refurbished product of qual or similar features and functionality.
Ok, so... the Lowes Warranty department tells me that my coverage with them does not start until the manufactures 2 year warranty ends and yet their pamphlet clearly states that it begins when you purchase the warranty. So then I began to read the terms and conditions to my 4 year extended warranty which reads as the following:
LOWE'S EXTENDED PROTECTION AND REPLACEMENT PLANS TERMS AND CONDITION
THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS, TOGETHER WITH YOUR SALES RECEIPT SHALL COLLECTIVELY CONSTITUTE THE ENTIRE CONTRACT RELATING TO YOUR COVERAGE. YOUR SALES RECEIPT DESCRIBES THE COVERED PRODUCTS AND THE TERM OF THIS PLAN. THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS ARE REQUIRED FOR SERVICE. LIMITATIONS AND EXCLUSIONS MAY APPLY; REFER HEREIN FOR DETAILS
WHERE INCLUDED IN YOUR PLAN AND DESCRIBED HEREIN, THE (A) FOOD SPOILAGE BENEFIT (B) POWER SURGE BENEFIT, (C) MAINTENANCE REIMBURSEMENT BENEFIT, (D) PICK UP AND DELIVERY BENEFIT, (E) RE-INSTALLATION LABOR COVERAGE BENEFIT, AND (F) SURE SERVICE GUARANTEE BENEFIT BEGIN IMMEDIATELY UPON YOUR PURCHASE OF THIS PLAN. OTHER THAN (A), (B), (C), (D), (E), AND (F) ABOVE, THIS PLAN PROVIDES NO BENEFITS DURING THE TERM OF THE MANUFACTURER'S PARTS AND LABOR WARRANTY UNLESS OTHER WISE PROVIDED BELOW. UPON EXPIRATION OF THE MANUFACTURER'S PARTS AND LABOR WARRANT, THE TERM OF THIS PLAN COMMENCES AND FOR SAID TERM YOU ARE ENTITLED TO ALL BENEFITS COVERAGE DESCRIBED HEREIN, INCLUDING (A), (B), (C), (D), (E), AND (F) ABOVE WHERE APPLICABLE . IN THE EVENT THE EXPIRATION DATE OF THE MANUFACTURER'S PARTS WARRANTY AND MANUFACTURER'S LABOR WARRANTY DIFFERS, THE TERM OF THIS PLAN COMMENCES AT THE END OF THE EARLIER OF THE TWO EXPIRATION DATES. THE TERM OF THIS PLAN IS PRINTED ON THE SALES RECEIPT YOU RECIEVED WHEN YOU PURCHASED THIS PLAN.
I called Julie, the head executive at Lowes warranty department, and got no answer. I left her a voice mail and waited for her call back. Julie calls me back the next day but I miss the call. I called her again and left her another voice mail. About two hours later Julie still has not called me back. I decide to call again and leave her another voice mail. This was on a Friday August 16, 2013.
Now the terms and condition clearly state that their warranty begins (commences) when either of the two warranty expiration dates end. What are the two expiration dates you ask? Well, let's look at the terms and condition one last time under sub heading “NO LEMON POLICY” : THIS COVERAGE BEGINS AFTER MANUFACTURER'S WARRANTY ENDS. IN THE EVENT THE EXPIRATION DATE OF THE MANUFACTURER'S PARTS WARRANTY AND MANUFACTURER'S LABOR WARRANTY DIFFERS, THE TERM OF THIS PLAN COMMENCES AT THE END OF THE EARLIER OF THE TWO EXPIRATION DATES. Technically, if the parts warranty ends at a different date then the labor warranty date, or vise versa then Lowes protection plan is suppose to take over and cover the product.
On Wednesday August 21, 2013, one week later, I still have not received a call from Julie. I decided too much time had gone by. It was time to speak to another Lowes store manager.
The manager at Lowes tells me that he is going to find out what he can do. That same day I call Lowe's Protection Plan department and I speak with a lady name Angel who sends a message to Julie to have her call me back. I wait and time passes by. In the process of me waiting for Julie to call me back, I decide to call and get in touch with the manufacturers, which in this case is Troy Bilt. I spoke with Troy Bilt's warranty department and the individual who attended me explained to me that their warranty only covers 2-years or 120 hours, which is exactly what was clearly indicated in Altaquip’s repair estimate report. In other words since I exceeded the 120 hours from their manufactures warranty I was no longer under their warranty, ALSO stated in Altaquip’s repair report. I am no longer under the manufactures warranty because of the hours on the machine. In other words my warranty with Troy Bilt is voided which means according to Lowes Protection Plan policy, their extended warranty must commence.
I decide that it is time to call Lowe's extended protection plan once again see why I have not heard from Julie or the manager at Lowes.
I called Julie, left her another message, still no call back. Again, I made another phone call to Lowes Extended Warranty Department and got the same run around. They told me the same thing as before; that their warranty begins after the two year manufacturer's warranty ends. I proceed to explain to the rep that because I am no longer under the manufacturer's warranty I am now supposed to be covered under Lowes warranty. I read to the rep their own terms and conditions. The rep tells me that he needs s to escalate this matter to the executive support department for their Extended Protection and Replacement Plans.
I end up speaking with another rep by the name of Kaylo, EMPLOYEE ID # 1244367, he proceeds to inform me that because the deck on my tractor is cracked that it is considered “cosmetic damage” and therefore it is excluded from Lowes warranty plan. I explain to him that on my estimate from Altaquip, nowhere, does it state that I have “cosmetic damage”. According to Altaquip’s repair estimate report it clearly states that the spindles were worn out due to "normal wear and tear". Normal wear and tear is a covered item in the terms and condition from Lowes protection plan. It's funny how the rep tries to change the wording around to suit their needs and not cover the tractor. Then the rep changes the word “cosmetic” and tells me that “they do not cover wear and tear”. That's when I decided to read to him the terms and conditions under LOWE'S EXTENDED PROTECTION AND REPLACEMENT PLANS TERM AND CONDITIONS.
Under the sub title called “COVERAGE” it states:
OUR PRODUCTS WILL BE RESTORED TO NORMAL OPERATING CONDITIONS IF IT / THEY HAS/HAVE FAILED DUE TO DEFECTS IN MATERIAL S AND WORKMANSHIP, NORMAL WEAR AND TEAR, DUST, HEAT, HUMIDITY, OR POWER SURGE. THIS PLAN COVERS ALL LABOR AND PARTS COSTS NECESSARY TO REPAIR YOUR PRODUCTS FOR PROBLEMS DUE TO FUNCTIONAL PART FAILURES UNLESS OTHER WISE STATED BELOW. GENUINE MANUFACTURER'S PARTS WILL BE USED WHENEVER POSSIBLE; HOWEVER, THE USE OF NON-ORGINAL MANUFACTURER'S AND RE-MANUFACTURED PARTS IS ALLOWED UNDER THIS PLAN.
At this point, Kaylo, the Lowes protection plan rep, transfers me to a girl named Kayla.
She tells me that the only person that has the power to help me and the highest person who works in the executive support department is of course Julie at extension 7794 who has not been diligent to return my calls since this ordeal first began. Kayla sends another message to Julie. At this point when Kayla sends another message to Julie we are in the week of September 2, 2013. At this point this has been an ongoing 3 week run around of being tossed like a hot potato and getting nowhere with this issue.
I go back to the Lowe's store and I find the manager who had previously helped me on Tuesday, September 3, 2013. He told me to give him until Friday, September 6, 2013 to resolve this issue.
Friday comes, and I don't hear anything from the manager, so I decide to go to the store once again. The Manager who was helping me was off on that Friday.
Monday, September 9, 2013 I get a call from Altaquip asking me what they should do with the tractor since it’s been sitting with them since August 12, 2013. I tell them that I have been trying to get in contact with a person name Julie from the executive support department who deals with the Warranty. I asked the lady from Altaquip if she wants Julie’s number to see if she can reach out to her. I proceed to give the Altaquip rep Julie’s number and extension. I believe that the rep also started contacting Julie as well.
I decide to go back to the Lowes store where I bought the tractor. On September 9, 2013, already tired, upset, exhausted with this whole ordeal, I speak with a different manager named Manu.
I explain to Manu my whole situation and go on to tell her that their Policy Pamphlet that they sell you states on the front cover that "it feels good knowing you're covered" and as a customer I have not felt that I have been covered. As a customer I feel like Lowes has robbed me of my time, patience and most of all, money. I also explained to Manu that my grass had grown extremely high and had to pay for a company to come out and cut the grass. Manu decides to call Lowes Protection plan once again. Again, the protection plan rep tells Manu and me the same thing as before: “Lowes warranty starts after the manufactures two years end." I tell Manu the manger that I need to talk to the store manager. Manu tells me that he is not in at the moment. I tell Manu, to have the store manager to get in touch with me. At the same time, Julie, the Lowes Executive still has not called.
The store Manager by the name of Alex Rodriguez calls me the next day on Tuesday, September 10, 2013 and tells me that he is going to try to get in touch with Julie. A day later the store manager calls me to tell me that he has not forgotten me and he is going to see if he can go above her.
The next day, Wednesday, September 11, 2013, I miss Julie’s call by a split second. I call her back, she does not pick up the phone. I leave Julie a voice mail. (All this within in seconds from her call) I again call the protection plan department and speak with a rep that tells me that Julie is on another line and passes the message to Julie. Julie tells the rep that as soon as she hangs up she will call me back. I don't get a call back.
I call Thursday, September 12, 2013 the rep that picks up the phone tells me that she is sitting next to Julie and that Julie is on another line. Rep sitting next to Julie tells Julie that I am on the phone. Julie tells the rep to tell me that she will call me back as soon as she hangs up. I don't get a call back.
Friday September 13, 2013 I finally get the call from Julie. Julie tells me that my tractor is not covered I explain to her that I paid for extended warranty and that their terms and condition, states that once the manufacturers' warranty ends that there warranty commences. She tells me that since I exceeded the 120 hours that they will not cover it. I tell her that the 120 hrs is the manufacturer's warranty not their warranty. I begin to explain to her that I paid for an extended 4 year warranty and that I should be covered. She repeats to me very rudely that their warranty does not cover after the 120 hrs.
I then asked her, to show me on their terms and conditions where it states that they only cover up 120 hrs or not cover passed 120 hrs. She tells me (very rudely) that she did not call me back to discuss their policy that all she called me back to tell me is that they are not covering the repairs for the tractor. I try once again, to explain to Julie that since my warranty ended with the manufacturers because of the 120 hrs Lowes warranty has to take over and cover it. Again that is why you buy an extended warranty. Since my warranty with Troy Bilt is voided their warranty should COMMENCE like it states in their terms and conditions.
I ask Julie again, how is it possible that having the terms and condition in front of me and reading them to her, PER VERBATIM, and it clearly stating that my tractor is covered she has the nerve to tell me that it's not covered because of the 120hrs. Nowhere, not even in the exclusion, under the terms and condition, does it state that.
As of September 21, 2013 my tractor is still sitting with Altaquip and I have not been able to resolve this problem. I do believe that I have been wronged and their Extended Protection Plan is a fraud. I have been a long standing customer of Lowes and this has been a slap in the face. Not only do I feel as if I was ripped off but I also feel like i was treated with little regard by Lowes, in particular with their executive department head, Julie. Julie continously ignored my phone calls for several days; made me feel as my complaint had little importance; lacked empathy, patience, and interest in helping me resolve this situation. As a customer who has spent thousands of dollars throughout the years with Lowes, I believe that Lowes should have tried to offer solutions or options to resolve my case.
I would appreciate any help you can offer because I am at my wits end with this matter. I have tried to take this to the highest level possible to get some type of resolution but with little success. I shouldn't have to jump thru so many hoops or be subjected to having to go thru so many barriers for a warranty that i initially paid for. I am tired of feeling like a victim.
Product or Service Mentioned: Lowes Replacement.
Monetary Loss: $3000.