Ordering auto parts used to be something local – whether it was through a car dealer, the neighborhood auto parts store or a trip to the junkyard. But the Internet has opened the door to anyone who needs any auto part, from roof rack to radiator, to shop online for the best deal.
Unfortunately, the online auto parts business is rife with sites that might look good but don’t deliver. An analysis of hundreds of SiteJabber.com reviews revealed common problems auto parts buyers are running into but could easily avoid.
Here are five problems to beware of if you’re shopping for auto parts online and comments from consumers who experienced them:
1. Wrong Parts
You need a part for your 2005 Dodge and get one for a 1998 Toyota. Or you order a bumper that’s actually for some car three inches wider. Now what?
SiteJabber users report regularly running into this situation. It can pose some serious issues when the company wants you to pay for return shipping, doesn’t take your calls or never sends you the right part – and then says it’s your fault.
Here’s how one user described his experience: “I bought a liner for my Audi A4 and it is a wrong part. their web showed it is the right part but it does not fit … they told me to send it back but it will cost about $32 to send it back for the $28 (part)… they are telling me it is my problem.”
2. No Refunds
If you receive a broken part, the wrong part or a defective one you’d think you’d be able to get your money back. Not if you buy from a site that could care less what happens once a sale is completed.
“This company is terrible! They sent me damaged parts,” one consumer writes. “Then when I went to return them for a refund it would have cost me more money to ship them back than the parts cost in the first place.”
How about this scenario?
“Ordered a set of halo projector headlights, which arrived broken and uninstallable. When I called to have them replaced I was treated poorly and (was) told it wasn’t their problem. They will do absolutely nothing to remedy the problem. I’m out money and time on this purchase, the worst purchasing experience I’ve had to date.”
3. Excessive Wait Times
Your order was received and your credit card was charged. But a week goes by, then two, then four, and still no part. If you call you might hear the part is on back order or is due soon to their warehouse. It is a maddening situation and can leave you dealing with the no refund scenario.
Would you want to have had this consumer’s experience?
“i bought something and now they emailed me saying they don’t have it in inventory and said it will take 3 months till they get it and ship it to me. Then i wanted my refund and it’s been 2 weeks. still my refund didn’t arrive.”
4. Extreme Shipping Charges
The As Seen on TV industry developed a reputation for making its money by advertising seemingly low prices and hitting consumers with shipping and handling charges that could run more than the product itself.
Sadly, that model has been adopted by some online auto parts sellers.
“I was prepared to order 2 parts,” one user wrote. “A Mazda pickup lower valance, and a tailgate handle. Total for both: $20.86 Shipping, $34.72, and ‘handling’ $17.40! Cheap parts followed by outrageous shipping costs, and then I have to pay their employee $17+ to take it off the shelf? STAY AWAY!”
5. Customer Service?
Would you order a part you couldn’t install or wasn’t the right one for your vehicle? Not likely. So when you realize you got something other than what you expected or the wrong thing altogether you’d hope you were dealing with a company that would apologize and take back the item.
Many consumers have had the opposite experience.
“I specifically asked if the bumper was a simple installation with no mods needed to the rest of the car since my car was new and had all original paint which is how I wanted it. They confirmed no cutting, bonding or trimming would be need to the stock hood and fenders to make it fit so i decided to order it. $500 later and about a week in shipping i take the bumper with the car to 2 different body shops … and (it) doesn’t even come close to fitting”
That consumer said he told the company that he’d ship back the part and was told that all sales are final.
Learning about a company’s reputation is important before doing business with them — particularly when the company is online. Checking out a business is easy on SiteJabber. See what other community members have to say before buying auto parts, or anything else, online.
You can check out specific companies or do a simple search for “auto parts” and see what SiteJabber users have to say about more than 100 auto parts sites. It’s not all bad news. You’ll find plenty of reputable sites, too.