Rockauto bait and switch on brake rotors -- how to proceed?

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Mar 2, 2004
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I purchased two front brake rotors from Rockauto for my 1996 Maxima. Ordered Centric C-Tek, inexpensive non-coated rotors.

What I received doesn't look anything like what I ordered. One was a plain brown box with no brand marking whatsoever (could very well be C-Tek), and the other was a severely repackaged off-brand I've never heard of.

I fully understand that Centric C-Tek is likely cheap Chinese goods with a brand name attached, as are most inexpensive rotors these days. And brake rotors after all are just a hunk of metal for a pad to bite onto. My concern is the different brands could have dissimilar wear, different metallurgy / quality, who knows.

My last experience with using two different rotors didn't go well-- on a closeout purchase from RA, I ordered two Wagner rotors (for same car). One came in Wagner branded, the other was clearly different-- different anti-rust coating and no branding on the box. I didn't contest this as they were closeout products, and I thought perhaps Wagner changed suppliers and didn't brand the box. Low and behold the non branded rotor (on driver's side) developed a warp only a few thousand miles after installation. Could be coincidence or just luck of the draw, but sort of soured me on using different rotors on same axle.

But I consider this really dishonest of RA, to send whatever they had on the shelf that fit my car. What would you guys do in this situation?

RA customer service is abhorrent and it will probably take a couple hours of my time to get this returned without having to pay for return shipping, if they even do it at all. I'm probably going to make the initial effort and if they don't comply, just initiate a chargeback on my credit card. I think the photo evidence is in my favor that they didn't ship what I purchased. If this was a closeout item, I wouldn't be writing this post and would have accepted what came to me. But I paid full price for a certain product and believe that's what I should have received.

Curious what you all think, thanks in advance.
 

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I have no experience with Rock Auto returns or credit card charge back. The rotors would not be acceptable to me and I would return them whichever way is easiest. That is very bad what they did. I also would be leery of installing two different brands/grades of rotors on the same axle.
 
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I've only had to return an item once and they make you answer a series of questions... No big deal, just make sure to answer them correctly and they'll cover return shipping. Going down the path of "didn't receive correct item" should get them to cover the return.
 
Jury is out-- wrong item(s) sent. I was apprehensive about opening the rotor packages, but when I did, one rotor is a 4-lug, the other a 5-lug, neither part number match what I ordered.

Rockauto is absolute crap when it comes to customer service. Use an automated system online which you have to use some serious intuition to get where you want to go. I got there with little difficulty, they gave me a preprinted label for the return and will supposedly send me the correct replacement parts.

The sad thing is, this old used/abused 4-lug rotor (it has rust all over the inside of it) will have to make another trip across country. The rotor and packaging looks like it's made its way around the world at least twice, and at least 5 rolls of packing tape (mostly to rehab the box it's in) were sacrificed for the cause. The other one probably matched my car, but I'm not taking any chances -- it's unmarked brown box, and neither the rotor or packaging bears the Centric part number.
 

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Yes, their customer service is at the bottom of the auto parts industry in my experience. I've learned & never made that mistake again. Perhaps you will too.
Amazon and Rockauto are my go-to these days. If you can find me a local parts store that doesn't have a 100-300% markup (on nearly everything!), I'll entertain that idea.

For RA, my success rate is probably 95%. The 5% they miss on, sucks terribly due to their customer service.

Obviously I compare RA part + shipping prices versus Amazon, and many times Amazon wins. But Amazon will always have the leg up on customer support-- click return, print label and you're done.

Ebay is a solid asset too, but you're seriously gambling on counterfeit / cheap merchandise depending on what you're buying. Paying through Paypal gives peace of mind, they're pretty buyer friendly when it comes to returns/disputes.
 
While I agree that RA customer service is crap, I've more often than not found the savings to be more than worth the risk.

I was able to get a NEW front CV axle and hub bearing for my WJ for something like $56 plus a few bucks shipping. From my local vendors, even at cost+10% plus tax, I was looking at almost double that.
 
While I agree that RA customer service is crap, I've more often than not found the savings to be more than worth the risk.
That's been my experience to a T.

But when they fail, it's more trouble than it should be. I piggybacked these rotors on to a CV axle order I did for a friend (same warehouse) because it only added $3 shipping for heavy rotors. Thought I had good luck, turned into a hassle. But in the end I'll save $20 shipping, I guess that counts for something...
 
That's been my experience to a T.

But when they fail, it's more trouble than it should be. I piggybacked these rotors on to a CV axle order I did for a friend (same warehouse) because it only added $3 shipping for heavy rotors. Thought I had good luck, turned into a hassle. But in the end I'll save $20 shipping, I guess that counts for something...

That's the thing with RA: on things like closeout brake pads and no-name rotors, I'm willing to take the chance that they show up wrong. I'm not about to initiate an RMA over a $12 rotor... I'll just chuck it and try again.
 
I've more often than not found the savings to be more than worth the risk.
Yeap, people, myself included, buy from RockAuto because of their low prices. I don't buy anything I need now, i.e. breakdown, from RA either. When it comes to parts needed right away, I equate auto parts stores with "convenience" stores - I can get what I need right away but I'll pay more .... for that convenience.
 
clearly not the right parts! Get an RMA

Where did they ship from? What was the return address? That will lead you to the supplier :unsure:

Remember that Rock Auto is a drop shipper and that no RA employee touched of the rotors or even saw them before being boxed up. They just send a RA-generated label to the warehouse, and the warehouse does the rest.

Also, I will recommend coated rotors, like Powerstop or Raybestos E3. However, Centric does make good coated rotors, too.
 
That's the thing with RA: on things like closeout brake pads and no-name rotors, I'm willing to take the chance that they show up wrong. I'm not about to initiate an RMA over a $12 rotor... I'll just chuck it and try again.
I don't know what your experience has been, but lately RA closeout prices have been anything but closeout. Maybe a few bucks saved, but I no longer find myself ordering parts "just because I might need them or will need them in the future" and have reverted to buy them when I need them and get the best deal. Maybe they did me a favor, I won't have a dozen parts left over on my shelf after I sell a car. But seriously, I miss the old Rockauto closeouts.
 
clearly not the right parts! Get an RMA

Where did they ship from? What was the return address? That will lead you to the supplier :unsure:

Also, I will recommend coated rotors, like Powerstop or Raybestos E3. However, Centric does make good coated rotors, too.
I always buy coated rotors--- except this ride. It's a '96 Maxima with 313K on it, my work commuter. The car still looks reasonably good and I do my best to keep it that way but the wheels cover up the entire rotor surface, so there's no aesthetic advantage to coated rotors. Not really a salt/rust issue where I live. No point in spending an extra $30-40 on something coated when you can't see it, and uncoated rotors will do the job-- either until I have to spend another $50 on rotors, or the car dies. Anyone wanna place wagers or betting odds on which one goes first?? :) I personally think it's 50/50.
 
I always buy coated rotors--- except this ride. It's a '96 Maxima with 313K on it, my work commuter. The car still looks reasonably good and I do my best to keep it that way but the wheels cover up the entire rotor surface, so there's no aesthetic advantage to coated rotors. Not really a salt/rust issue where I live. No point in spending an extra $30-40 on something coated when you can't see it, and uncoated rotors will do the job-- either until I have to spend another $50 on rotors, or the car dies. Anyone wanna place wagers or betting odds on which one goes first?? :) I personally think it's 50/50.

The advantage isn't just cosmetic--it's actually being able to remove them without a hammer when the time comes :sneaky:

Oh, you're just bragging that you don't have to deal with rust :D
 
I had this issue. Except mine was misboxed. Right part number wrong part. Ordered rotors for my Mazda truck and sent brake drums for an Oldsmobile Bravada in the brake rotor box haha. Contacted them and right away had another shipping label sent to me to cover the return shipping and the new parts arrived in three days. I like RockAuto but I prefer to get stuff from work cause I get it dirt cheap.
 
Obviously you got the wrong rotors, at least one of them. But it is a super common practice in the hard parts industry that when a warehouse or retail store switch lines the existing parts on the shelf are re-boxed and part numbers changed to the new line, rather than the parts lifted and replaced with complete new. I'm not saying this is done in every case, but it is a common practice.

Early in my career I did a lot of re-boxing at retail stores and warehouses. It was dirty, hot work, but it was paying your dues in the automotive aftermarket.
 
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