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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I noticed that there are a lot of recent reviews online about the customer service declining at the napaonline.com website and at the local NAPA stores. An average review score of like 1.8 out of 5, particularly regarding returns or warranty replacement. What is your experience? Has there been some sort of coporate change with NAPA recently?

I haven't ordered from the online site in several years, but still use the local store. The service has never been particularly "friendly" at the NAPA store like it was at our now-closed Car Quest store, but OK if you know what you need. Prices of course are sometimes high compared to other places like Advance Auto or O'Reily, and especially compared to Rockauto.com.

In looking recently at napaonline.com, it seems that website has changed a lot from a few years ago. When you select a vehicle and then search for the part needed, it sometimes gives you a huge list of parts, most not specific to that vehicle. Or in a generic part name search it gives you all sorts of parts that simply have a word similar to one word in your search. Also, a lot of the important parts specs have disappeared from the individual listings. The old website worked much better and had complete part specs.

There are also several complaints about napaonline.com not honoring the NAPA warranty, as well as local stores not honoring the warranty any more for parts purchased at different local stores. That was never a problem years ago at the local stores if you had the dated receipt. Parts purchased from napaonline.com apparently must be returned to them directly for warranty replacement, not a local store (unless you used "ship to store.")

I've personally noticed some weird stuff at the local NAPA store, like small parts that before came two to a box, such as a bearing grease cap, now only have one part. One review I saw mentioned the same thing.

Unfortunately, Car Quest (NAPA's main competition) was mostly wrecked when they were bought by Advance Auto, and many of the stores were closed (our two local stores are gone.) I believe you can still get Car Quest parts through Advance Auto, but the service you got with local stores was excellent (with a nationwide warranty) and they supplied many local mechanics, including with their Tech Net support network. Now most of the stores are gone and none of our local mechanics display the Tech Net membership sign any more. That type of Corporate takeover is what people call "vulture capitalism". I read that something similar happened in the Cabela's hostile takeover, where many employees lost their jobs.
 

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Why would you try and return an item that you purchased from your supposedly closest local store to another location. Only scenario I can think of is if you're travelling and need to return/exchange a part while you're on a road trip. In that case I would ask my local NAPA store directly what that policy is.

I've had zero issues with my local NAPA store as far as order online and pickup. If the item isn't in stock locally when I order online...I'm notified it needs to be shipped to the local store and gives an available date for pickup.
 

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The biggest frustrations I have had with the Napa web site are total lack of detailed information on parts, and for non-vehicle-specific items that come in different sizes, such as hardware (screws, nuts, washers, etc.), threaded fittings, and hose clamps, to see what the sizes are once you have searched for the type of part, you have to go to the page of each candidate part number to see what size they are. In general, whoever designs their site are not people who understand how to shop for car parts, nor does it appear that they have people experienced in shopping for car parts critique their work - no beta testing by customers or people who understand the information that customers need.
 

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I COMPLETELY agree with everything that peva said. I've even googled the part numbers of some parts to actually find more info about it on OTHER websites, since the info and pictures on the NAPA site are so vague. Can't do that for NAPA specific part numbers though.
I've ordered from NAPA before and had it shipped to my house, but it wasn't parts it was tools. I like their Carlyle tool brand, but some item the local store doesn't carry. I've ordered parts and consumables online for "store pickup" and haven't had any issues. In fact, I actually ordered their cheaper oil sending unit but he said he didn't have it in stock. He substituted their top of the line oil sending unit in its place for no extra charge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
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I COMPLETELY agree with everything that peva said. I've even googled the part numbers of some parts to actually find more info about it on OTHER websites, since the info and pictures on the NAPA site are so vague. Can't do that for NAPA specific part numbers though.
I've ordered from NAPA before and had it shipped to my house, but it wasn't parts it was tools. I like their Carlyle tool brand, but some item the local store doesn't carry. I've ordered parts and consumables online for "store pickup" and haven't had any issues. In fact, I actually ordered their cheaper oil sending unit but he said he didn't have it in stock. He substituted their top of the line oil sending unit in its place for no extra charge.
Yes, I am convinced that the website must have changed for the worse a few years ago. I left a comment for them about the weird search results and many of the parts specs now missing.

Regarding one comment that was made, obviously if you move, even 100 miles within a state, having a nationwide warranty is important. I once bought a Carquest sensor when I was living in one state. Then moved ~1000 miles and the Carquest store there honored their "nationwide" warranty when the sensor went out within a few months (their "red economy" line from SMP - never again). Many years ago NAPA did the same when I moved about 100 miles. According to info online, O'Reily, Advance Auto, and Autozone enter the part and your name & phone number into their computer, and the warranty is nationwide.

O'Reily Warranty: "....At O’Reilly Auto Parts we offer limited warranties on any products purchased from us. If your product is defective and covered by warranty, you may return it to any O’Reilly Auto Parts store for a replacement, repair, or refund..... "

Advance Auto: "... During the warranty period, we will replace or refund, at our option, any new part that fails due to a defect in materials or workmanship under normal use and service after proper installation. Simply return the part along with your original sales receipt to any Advance Auto Parts store..."

Autozone: "...When you purchase a part - online or at one of AutoZone's retail stores - covered by AutoZone warranty, your warranty information is automatically entered into AutoZone's national warranty database. If you need to return a part under warranty, please take it to any AutoZone store...."

In doing a site search on Napaonline, lots of individual warranty pdfs come up. One brake parts warranty (below) says "...submit a claim to a NAPA AUTO PARTS Store," but at the end of the paragraph it says "returned .... to the place of purchase for warranty consideration." I asked today, and the new young guys at my local NAPA didn't know if that meant any NAPA store or not. Seems like "place of purchase" might mean only the local store where you bought it (some online reviewers said they were told that). Most of the old guys that were formerly at my local NAPA and knew everything all quit during the Covid stuff. Same at the local O'Reily and Autozone. The Advance Auto store keeps limiting their closing time to 6 pm, because they said they can't keep employees now.



By the way, I'v seen some posts online that people have had some trouble returning things to Rockauto that are supposed to have a long warranty. And of course their low-priced "closeouts" only have a 30-day warranty, so I only buy the quality brands. As was mentioned before, things that can age, such as hood lifts (leaking air/oil) you don't want to buy NOS.

Also, info online say Advance Auto was trying to revive their Tech Net program for mechanics after they messed it up with the Car Quest takeover. But like I wrote, the local mechanics here took down the small Car Quest Tech Net signs that were on their signs or buildings. Some joined the NAPA Autocare Center network or AAA's network. By the way, the NAPA Autocare info online does say they have a nationwide warranty on parts installed by one of the shops.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
In Googling Rockauto and reviews, it does look like similar to NAPA, some people have had problems with Rockauto lately trying to return items to them, either for refund or warranty replacement. Their review averages are also like two stars out of five. Their prices seem to be the lowest, especially with the NOS "closeouts," but just be aware that returns could be a problem. Don't know if this is recent or not, since I only have had one return several years ago on a small defective part, and that was replaced by them.

So if you need an expensive part these days it might be worth it to get a brand name part (ACDelco, Moog, Raybestos, Centric, SMP, etc.) through your local O'Reily, Advance Auto, Autozone or one of the other national chains that offers a clear nationwide return policy (as usual, stay away from their economy lines). Regardless of what NAPA's actual policy is now, their warranty pdfs seem to to indicate that before replacement, they may have to send the part in somewhere for "anaylsis," which of course could take some time. And it doesn't look like they will do a refund like some of the other stores, just replacement. I've seen people walk into O'Reily or Autozone with a bad part and the receipt and walk out with a replacement.
 

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I'm a little late to this discussion however I feel compelled to comment.
Prior to retirement our large trade school had a deal with NAPA for parts pricing and availability, even had a "store" in one of the school shops. Due to the poor service, expensive pricing, poor quality of parts, and warranty issues, I made a deal with the local Advance for our facility.
I had and have been a loyal Advance customer for many years. Having retired from NJ to SC 2 years ago I was sure to locate the local Advance stores. I did have some warranty issues ( ex. lifetime warranty radiator that was 5 years old) that were handled quickly and without question. Who saves receipts? No need, look me up in your system, replace the warranty part and have a nice day.
Loaner Tool Program is also a bonus.
Advance has been and is my first choice
I do also shop Rock for some items that I can wait for, no issues ....yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm a little late to this discussion however I feel compelled to comment.
Prior to retirement our large trade school had a deal with NAPA for parts pricing and availability, even had a "store" in one of the school shops. Due to the poor service, expensive pricing, poor quality of parts, and warranty issues, I made a deal with the local Advance for our facility.
I had and have been a loyal Advance customer for many years. Having retired from NJ to SC 2 years ago I was sure to locate the local Advance stores. I did have some warranty issues ( ex. lifetime warranty radiator that was 5 years old) that were handled quickly and without question. Who saves receipts? No need, look me up in your system, replace the warranty part and have a nice day.
Loaner Tool Program is also a bonus.
Advance has been and is my first choice
I do also shop Rock for some items that I can wait for, no issues ....yet.
Just curious with that background, if you have any insight into the takeover of Car Quest by Advance Auto. From everthing I have heard from professional mechanics that relied on Car Quest, it has been a disaster. Both of our great locally-owned Car Quest stores were closed by Advance. One was about a half mile from me and I went there all the time, and they delivered parts all day to several local mechanics.

They had quality parts, good tools, and a big paper catalog from which you could order any shop tools, supplies and car accessories. I think there are only a small number of Car Quest stores now, scattered around the country, owned by directly by Advance - no more local ownership. The Car Quest Tech Net mechanic's network was abandoned by nearly all our local mechanics. I can't tell what they are doing with it now. Advance had said they would continue to supply mechanics, but I think most of our local shops just use NAPA now, despite their problems and high pricing.

Just like O'Reily and Autozone, our local Advance Auto store has a l big turnover in employees. The guys that used to be there are gone - don't know if they tried to force people to vaccinate or not like many retail stores. They often have a paper sign posted on the door now that they are closing at 6 p.m. due to staff shortages - and they are right by a Walmart, so they are losing money from the customer traffic by doing that. It can't be just Covid problems at this point unless they are still requiring vaccination. The pricing is also higher than Carquest was; at least on the items in the store like paint and tools, it is not much better than NAPA, and the selection is poor. Even though the store was built just a few years ago, it is TINY - probably half the size of a typical O'Reily or NAPA. The only advantage is that you can still order some brand name parts, and get some of the Car Quest labeled parts (but I don't know where those are coming from now).

As I recall, Car Quest used to have a very clear rebranding systems where the marjority of parts were just branded "blue" (OEM quality or better), some were available as "red" (economy), and I think a few "gold" (premium). If you bought a regular blue Car Quest part, it was a quality part rebranded from SMP, Moog, Raybestos, Centric, etc. Advance Auto seems to have retained the Car Quest brand in some parts, but now they are directly competing with other branded parts on their site and in the store. Do you know where these parts are coming from now?

I'm not saying they are any worse than O'Reily and Autozone at this point, but man did Advance screw up the Car Quest purchase, a great parts chain with many locally-owned stores. All those store owners who owned the shops for years had their long-time businesses just ruined by the corporate suits.
 

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Sorry no insight into the Car Quest/Advance deal.
Locals to the area when I was in NJ were Advanced, Auto Zone, Pep Boys and NAPA. Always got the best and consistence service with Advance. Used a number of stores in state and a lot of On Line purchases. Yes there was employee turnover but the stores appeared to have maintained a professional level of service over the years.
Similar experience now here in SC. There are Car Quest and O'Reily's in the area but have not yet had to deal with them.
 
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