Learning, Battery,

How to Avoid the Battery Core Charge (Surcharge Law)

The price you pay for a battery from most retailers normally includes a core charge.

It’s a fee added in most states by law to ensure the batteries are recycled or disposed of safely. The amount differs by state but is usually a $10-25 surcharge, depending on the battery’s size and capacity. The amount is refunded when returning the battery after it expires and purchasing a new one.

The battery core charge is an unavoidable one. You cannot avoid paying for it, but you can ensure you get it back when returning the dead battery. To do that, keep the original receipt and packaging, ensure it is clean and undamaged, and return the same battery to the same store.

**If you’re buying a used battery from a private individual, there usually wouldn’t be a core charge because it’s a private transaction, not a retail purchase.

I will go into more detail below.

The Battery Core Charge Policy

The policy of applying a refundable battery core charge encourages lead-acid batteries to be returned for recycling.

Producing new leads is a very expensive process. Besides, it is an almost 100% recyclable metal, as it retains its properties well. Therefore, recycling and reusing lead in lead-acid batteries is a wise choice. It is also beneficial for the environment and health, as lead is highly toxic, and lead breakdown in landfills can contaminate the water supply.

The highest demand for lead is in the production of lead-acid batteries. Around 85% of lead is used in lead-acid batteries, mostly in the automobile industry.

Battery TypeCore Charge (USD)
Car Battery$12 – $20
Marine Battery$10 – $20
Motorcycle Battery$5 – $10
Industrial Battery$20 – $50
RV Battery$15 – $25
Golf Cart Battery$15 – $25

Avoiding the Battery Core Charge

Although the battery core charge policy is good in principle, refunding the core charge is not always straightforward.

If you face this problem persistently, you might think it is better to avoid the battery core charge altogether when purchasing a new battery.

Unfortunately, however, the core charge cannot be waived. It’s an unavoidable, necessary deposit. The policy is in place to ensure that old lead-acid batteries are recycled. The charge is added to the cost of the battery at the time of checking out.

Although you cannot avoid the battery core charge, you can ensure that you get it back when returning the dead battery.

Used Batteries Second Hand and Core Charge

When buying a used battery from a private individual, there are a few possibilities concerning the core charge:

  1. The person selling you the used battery might have already paid the core charge when they bought the battery new but lost the receipt or didn’t return the old battery for a refund. In this case, they have essentially forfeited their right to get the core charge back.
  2. The person selling you the used battery has the receipt and could return the battery themselves to get the core charge refunded. If this is the case, you could technically negotiate to deduct the core charge amount from the price you pay for the used battery.

However, it’s important to note that not every retailer will refund the core charge to someone other than the original purchaser, so it may not always be possible to return the used battery for a refund of the core charge, even if you have the original receipt. You would need to check the retailer’s policy to be sure.

Getting Your Core Charge Back

receiving refund on battery
Video | Tasca Parts

The amount paid for the core charge is refunded when buying an equivalent-sized battery.

It must be the same battery you purchased when it was new. Check with the store you purchased it from to know how long you have. You might also need to return the original packaging and show the original invoice.

So, if you’re unable to avoid the core charge, to ensure you get it back:

  • Keep the original receipt and packaging.
  • Ensure the battery is in clean and undamaged condition. Clean it carefully in case of acid leakage because it is corrosive.
  • Return the same battery to the same store.

The more the above conditions are met, the more likely you will be able to get your core charge back.


Battery Replacement. https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeepersmedia/14938275588

Video Reference

Tasca Parts

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About Alex Robertson

AvatarCertifications: B.M.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Mechanical Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Hi, I’m Alex! I’m a co-founder, content strategist, and writer and a close friend of our co-owner, Sam Orlovsky. I received my Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (B.M.E.) degree from Denver, where we studied together. My passion for technical and creative writing has led me to help Sam with this project.

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