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Q: Legal recourse for misleading sale of improperly sized new tires / wheels ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Legal recourse for misleading sale of improperly sized new tires / wheels
Category: Sports and Recreation > Automotive
Asked by: cabryant-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 03 Jun 2005 01:58 PDT
Expires: 03 Jul 2005 01:58 PDT
Question ID: 528837
I wish to determine if I have any legal grounds with respect to being
sold new wheels/tires that scrape the wheel well of my car under
normal use.  At the time of the purchase, it was made clear to me that
they would work "with no problem" on my car.  Unfortunately, they do
not.  A description is below:

I recently entered a franchise auto service to buy new tires and
wheels for my 1998 Toyota Corolla.  When I inquired about doing so,
the salesman told me that he didn't currently have available 15 inch
wheels (which is the size of the stock wheels on the Corolla), but
that he could get 17 inch wheels that would work on the car.  I asked
him point-blank if that would work, and he assured me that it would. 
I decided to purchase the new wheels and the tires that come with

The very next day, I offered to drive my co-workers to lunch, and with
four passengers sitting in the Corolla, the new rear tires scraped
harshly against the body of the wheel well when the car was turning,
ascending mild hills, or merely hitting bumps in the road.  After
immediately returning to the tire dealer with the problem, the manager
responded that adjustments would have to be made that were my
responsibility (e.g. new struts).  When I asked if I could have these
brand-new wheels/tires replaced with a smaller version that works with
my car, he said no, while placing the onus on me to make my car fit
the new wheels.

My question is whether or not I have any legal footing in the matter
to encourage him to correct the problem with appropriate wheels/tires
for my car (or, in the event that they don't honor that request, to
seek legal recourse).  My primary complaint is that I was misled into
believing that there was no risk that additional work would have to be
done in order to make the tires work on my car (rather, it was clearly
suggested that the substitution of the new wheels/tires would be
seamless).  If I had been made aware of the potential problems, I
would have not agreed to buy these wheels/tires.

Thank you for your reply.

Request for Question Clarification by richard-ga on 03 Jun 2005 04:54 PDT
Can you tell us in what U.S. state you bought the tires?

Request for Question Clarification by richard-ga on 03 Jun 2005 04:56 PDT
And since it's a franchise auto service, please also tell us the name
of the franchise.  There may be a particular customer satisfaction
policy that you can take advantage of.

Clarification of Question by cabryant-ga on 03 Jun 2005 07:50 PDT
Hi Richard,

The state is California.

The company is Big O Tires.

Thank you,
Subject: Re: Legal recourse for misleading sale of improperly sized new tires / wheels
Answered By: richard-ga on 03 Jun 2005 08:25 PDT
Hello and thank you for your question.

I was able to find the central customer service department for Big O Tires.
I dialed 800-321-2446 and after waiting on hold for a while, I spoke
with Gary.  He is checking with the store where you purchased the
tires, and I expect they will take care of the problem.

If this does not work, let me know via a Request for Clarification and
I'll tell you about your legal alternatives.  But it's looking like
you'll be getting the tires replaced without needing to sue them.

Search terms used:
"Big O Tires" satisfaction guarantee

Thanks again for letting us help.
Google Answers Researcher

Request for Answer Clarification by cabryant-ga on 03 Jun 2005 08:33 PDT
Hi Richard,

As of this morning, I too had contacted the customer service
department.  Within 5 minutes, the manager of the store had called me
back with a replacement offer.  (Perhaps the simultaneous request was
responsible for the quick turn-around).

I am still interested in learning my legal position as a consumer. 
How responsible are they for advising me of potential problems when I
have little knowledge in their field of expertise?


Clarification of Answer by richard-ga on 03 Jun 2005 09:42 PDT
Hello again.

California like most states has a lemon law that gives you special
rights if you car is defective, but it does not specifically cover
tires.  There are some 'tire' provisions in the California Vehicle
Code, but they wouldn't cover your situation.

There are also California 'help' agencies but again, they wouldn't help here.

As you note in your question, most people don't know a lot about
tires, so they need to rely on the saleperson when making a purchase.

So your legal recourse is no different in this case than if you bought
some other item, say a pair of pants, and shortly after leaving the
store you discovered that the salesperson was wrong in advising you
that the fit was right.  A good general review of how to handle
automobile-related disputes is at

In most cases you'll find that small claims court is the best recourse
for the kind of problem you had in this case (if the dealer refused to
make good).  Generally small claims court is a friendly forum.  Once
you tell your story in court the defendant will tell it's side, and I
would expect the court would believe you.  However, I wonder if your
receipt for the tires includes disclaimer language like the following:

If it does, the court will need to decide whether the disclaimer
language provides a sufficient defense.  Personally I think you'd win
anyway in that informal court, but in a 'real' court a disclaimer like
that would probably be respected.

Fortunately your seller seems ready to do the right thing, so you
won't have to try your luck in small claims court (and further get
your winning judgment collected, which is often the hardest part!).

There are no comments at this time.

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