Ryobi Electric Zero Turn Mower – The Review Home Depot and Ryobi Don’t Want You to See
This is an update on my initial review of the Ryobi Zero Turn mower after less than one year of use and subsequent return. Both potential buyers and current owners should be aware of what may very well be imminent battery failure and actions they may need to take. I was genuinely excited when I took ownership of this mower, but less than a year later that quickly faded. Substantial battery degradation has happened to many other owners as well. I tried leaving reviews on both Ryobi and Home Depot’s websites, but they moderate them and chose not to publish mine, so here goes.
During this process, I came to realize how terrible Ryobi customer service is. I’ll document these experiences and having to reach to both the Attorney General’s office and Better Business Bureau. Read on…
The battery is the root of the problem. After only 3 months of ownership I already noticed I wasn’t able to mow our 1.86 acres on a single charge. Everything I’ve later researched on lead acid batteries shows that they are not designed to handle anywhere near as many “cycles” as Lithium-ion batteries. The lead acid battery used on this mower seems to be its achilles heal. Approximately 10 months into ownership, I was now charging 3-4 times just to mow our entire property. Knowing the 1-year warranty on the battery was coming up, I called Ryobi. They told me to take it to an authorized repair center that was about 45 minutes away. I called the repair center, and verified when I could drop it off.
Dropping the Mower Off at the Ryobi Authorized Repair Center
Upon dropping off the mower in May, I was informed it would take 3-4 weeks before they could even look at it. While certainly inconvenient, I realize this is likely peak season for them. In about a 3 weeks, I received a call from the service center who confirmed one of the four battery cores was bad. Worse yet, I was informed the batteries were backordered and weren’t expected for 8 weeks.
I called the service center after 8 weeks had passed for an update (July 2021). This update was not good. I was now told the batteries would not be available until October 22nd. This would now be over 5 months without the mower. That doesn’t include time for the vendor to ship the batteries, arrive at the service center. The service center would also need time to install the batteries.
Home Depot and Extended Warranty Customer Service
After hearing they didn’t expect batteries until October, I reached out to Home Depot (both a local store and their toll free number. Their customer service is pretty much useless if you haven’t experienced it yourself. They have a 90-day window on mowers so I knew I was outside of that. They advised I reach out to Asurion, who was their previous extended warranty company. I believe they now use All State. Asurion said they could not doing anything since it was still under the factory warranty and advised I reach out to Home Depot. The customer service bounce around was beginning. I’ll leave it at this, but this continued with Ryobi customer support also giving me a runaround and saying there was nothing else they could do.
Home Depot Buy Back
After several weeks and months, Home Depot agreed to buy the mower back. They had offered to replace the mower, but there was no way I wanted to deal with anything Ryobi again. During several weeks of conversations, the Home Depot rep tried placing the long delay on the service center. They can’t replace the batteries if Ryobi says they’re backordered and doesn’t send them any.
The Executive Escalations rep at first tried telling me I could use my extended warranty from Asurion to have them transport the mower back to Home Depot. If I did this, I would not be eligible for a refund. The closest Home Depot to the authorized service center was only 1.5 miles away. Essentially having to pay $300 (voiding my warranty refund) sounded absolutely absurd. I also had to get my trailer from our cabin if I was going to pick up the mower and drop it off myself. This was going to cause me to miss a full day of work. Long story short, I picked up the mower and dropped it off at Home Depot. They gave me a refund via two separate gift cards since it was well past their 90 day warranty. Still not sure why they couldn’t have issued just one.
Was This Just My Mower?
Certainly parts can be defective and go bad sooner than expected, but the battery is an ongoing problem with Ryobi. When I picked up the mower from the authorized service center there was another Ryobi Zero Turn in their main area when you walk-in. It didn’t look like mine, and wasn’t. When I got a chance to talk to the guy at the counter, he informed me mine was in the back with yet another. This is a relatively small repair shop and they happened to have 3 of the Ryobi Zero Turn mowers in for repair. I asked if they were all for battery degradation issues, and he said yes.
How many other owners had called in? I didn’t get that number, but this is should definitely be a red flag for potential buyers as well as current owners. If you own a Ryobi Zero Turn and are coming up on the 1-year battery warranty be careful.
Reviews on Home Depot’s Website
For anyone thinking this still might be an isolated situation, filter the reviews on Home Depot’s website for the 1 and 2 star reviews. You’ll come across quite a few battery issues. Ryobi seems to give a fairly generic copy and paste response to all the 1 and 2 star reviews. The email address they provide I’ve reached out to three separate times, zero response. That’s when I started calling.
At the time of this article, the Consumer Reports overall rating for the Ryobi Zero Turn mower was a mere 72 out of 100. I can only imagine this rating will decrease as people own this mower for a couple years or more. Compare this to the EGO Zero Turn which currently has an overall Consumer Reports score of 87.