Online Auto-Part Sale Boils Over, NBC 7 Responds Cools Things Down - NBC 7 San Diego
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NBC 7 Responds

Consumer Investigative Unit

Online Auto-Part Sale Boils Over, NBC 7 Responds Cools Things Down

NBC 7 Responds helps a man get his refund after an air conditioning unit for his car was defective.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Broken A/C Heats Things up for Auto Parts Company

    A Texas man bought an A/C unit for his car from a San Diego auto parts company. NBC 7's Consumer Bob has more on the heated events. (Published Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018)

    When Ivan Parizotto bought a used Audi A4 in November of last year, he didn’t think to test the car’s air conditioning. Living in Austin, Texas, Parizotto said there wasn’t much need for it in the brisk winter months.

    But by February the mercury inside the thermometer was rising and while Parizotto was working his second job as a food delivery driver, he clicked on the air.

    “It was already in the eighties, so we just thought, let’s turn it on, get a little more comfortable. That’s when it started blowing hot air in our faces,” Parizotto told NBC 7 Responds during an interview in August.

    Fearing the arrival of the Texas heat, Parizotto took his car to a mechanic that specializes in Audi repairs. The mechanic told Parizotto that the A/C was shot and that he needed a whole new system, condenser and all. The mechanic quoted Parizotto $2,000 to do the job.

    That was too steep of a price for Parizotto. As a way to save some cash, Parizotto decided to find an air conditioning unit online. He went online and the top result on his search was a link to San Diego-based Buy Auto Parts. The parts he needed were $700 dollars cheaper than buying it from the mechanic.

    Parizotto said he made sure the company was legitimate.

    “I checked their reviews,” Parisotto said. “They had four out of five stars, glowing reviews, Better Business Bureau accredited, and their price was so good. I was like, ‘Whoa, this is great. I feel great about this.”

    Parizotto bought the new condenser. When it arrived he took it to a automotive center to have it installed for just under $900.

    The following day the shop called and said his car was ready.

    He paid and drove off and turned back twenty minutes later.

    “I got in my car, turned on the air and it worked fine. Twenty minutes later I heard the compressor click off. It never came back on.”

    He took it back to the shop, and later to an air conditioning specialist in Austin. They told him the part was defective, that the electrical circuits wouldn’t close. The condenser, said Parizotto, was no good.

    By April the temperature in Austin continued to climb.

    “Oh, I was sweating, from the heat, anger, and anxiety,” Parizotto said.

    He contacted Buy Auto Parts and a representative told him that the company would give him store credit so he could buy a new part and he could return the defective part when he installed the other.

    In the meantime Parizotto had decided to get a more expensive unit. The only problem was he needed some time to save up to pay the difference.

    Parizotto said those two months at his side job delivering food was brutal. He did manage to convince the automotive center to refund the nearly $900 he spent on installation, but he still needed more money for the new part and second installation.

    “It’s not like just a creature comfort when it’s as hot as it was outside and you’re working in your car like I do, it’s a necessity.”

    Parizotto saved enough money and contacted Buy Auto Parts to finish the deal. But when he called, he got some bad news.

    “They said there is no credit applied to your account. They said I must return the parts first,” Parizotto told NBC 7 Responds.

    Parizotto called to speak to a manager but the company still refused to budge.

    “I was ready to go down the warpath,” Parizotto said. “I was incensed that they were treating me this way.”

    That’s when Parizotto said he started to look for help. He searched “consumer protections” in San Diego and found a link to NBC 7 Responds. [LINK: https://www.nbcsandiego.com/consumer-form/]

    “I said, ‘why not?’ This is a service out there to protect consumers, let’s see what gives.” 

    NBC 7 Responds contacted Buy Auto Parts. The following day Parizotto said the company’s Vice President called to tell him he was there to help.

    The company gave Parizotto the store credit he was promised. 

    In a statement, Buy Auto Parts vice president Jim Brannen told NBC 7 Responds, “The service Mr. Parizotto received is not representative of our standards. We have issued a credit to Mr. Parizotto, in advance of him returning his original purchase. I gave Mr. Parizotto my direct phone number and email address in case he or his mechanic have any questions, or need any help. The email the NBC Responds team sent to us was helpful in getting Mr. Parizotto’s issue escalated quickly – so thank you for that.”

    Now Ivan is back on the road in the cool ride he fought so hard for.