Our consumer investigation into used tires netted some results in the form of a refund.
We showed you Monday night how a Houston tire company put what some called unsafe tires on two vehicles. While selling used tires in bad condition is not illegal, Texas lawmakers tried to pass a bill to ban the sale of unsafe tires. SB 459 got stuck in a House committee at the Texas legislature in Austin this session. But even without it, we managed to get a refund for consumer Jetrice Gardner.
We delivered $103.40 to Gardner. That's how much she paid 713 Used Tires for two tires. She called Local 2 when she realized something wasn't right.
"I noticed that as I'm driving my car, every time I turn, it's making this weird noise," explained Gardner.
A check of her tires by AAA-certified technician Scott Miller revealed one of the tires she purchased was a 2003; the other was made in 1994...nearly 20 years ago. They were weather-worn, cracked and according to Miller, simply unsafe.
"I wouldn't put this tire on a vehicle," Miller told us.
713 Used Tires sold four more tires to our producer wearing a hidden camera. One employee told her the tires were safe with plenty more life left in them.
"Sixty percent life," said the employee to our producer.
"Sixty percent life?" she asked.
"Yeah," the employee answered.
"What does that mean?" the producer asked.
"It means that's how much tread," he told her.
The four tires 713 Used Tires put on the producer's van were nearly bald. Hours before our investigation aired Monday, 713 Used Tires agreed to refund the money Gardner paid them.
"It just confirms that they acknowledge that they were wrong for what they'd done," Gardner said.
On the contrary, 713 Used Tires sent us a statement that reads in part: "We operate within the limits of the law regarding the sell (sic) of used tires."
Since there is no law on selling used tires, there seem to be no limits.
We wondered where all of the used tires come from. We learned salvage dealers are paid to take the old tires off the hands of repair shops that would otherwise have to pay to dispose of them properly. Those salvage dealers turn around and make more money by reselling the tires to shops like 713 Used Tires. Between 30 and 35 million used tires are sold in the U.S. every year.