On Friday, May 10, 2013, I was driving in Suffolk, VA with one passenger in my vehicle. All of a sudden, my tire pressure sensor came on and my vehicle started to pull a little to the right. As I am making a left to turn into the gas station, the tire goes completely flat. A couple gentlemen came over to assist me in changing the tire. When my old tire was pulled off, we looked all over for a nail, or some sort of explanation of why it suddenly went flat. After installing the spare tire, one of the gentlemen decided to put air in the tire and that’s when we noticed the side of the tire was bulging out. He said it looked like a busted radial and that I should take it to my dealer because I am still under 30,000 miles. (See attached photos)
On Saturday I took my vehicle to Hall Ford in Newport News and was met by the Assistant Service Manager, Ed Hesse. He said they would take the tire off the wheel to inspect it, and if they found that it was not covered, I would be responsible for 100% of the tire replacement cost. He mentioned that they did not stock this particular tire and he would order it and it would be there on Monday. He asked me to leave my old tire and they would have it all put together when I got there on Monday. Ed knew nothing about the tire warranty, which I thought strange for an Assistant Service Manager. Per my tire warranty book that came with my car, my mileage falls into the range of receiving 30% warranty on the tire ($60.00). I have just over 25,000 miles.
On Monday, I received a voice mail from Ed which I have saved on my phone. He said that any warranty would not be applied because of “side wall damage”. I have the tire now and there is NO side wall damage. I went there when I got off work and he said “they” were taking another look at it. This time, Ed came back and told me that Ford has nothing to do with the warranty, but it’s actually through Michelin. He said he would have the local “tire guy” come inspect it, hopefully the next day. So I leave, still driving around on the donut.
On Tuesday, I heard nothing from Hall Ford.
On Wednesday, I received the following email from Ed:
We got results from the first of two reps regarding your tire. The first rep had examined the tire and stated that the blistering on the inside along with the tear was an indication of tire impact and he unfortunately wasn't able to cover the tire. We do have the second rep who should be coming out this afternoon to make his inspection. When that happens I'll let you know. You may contact me at (xxx) xxx-xxxx or e-mail me if you have any questions. Thank you for the opportunity to service your vehicle.
I replied to Ed and told him that due to feeling like all I was going to get was the run-around treatment for a few more days, my friend would be coming up there to pick up my tire to take it somewhere else so I can get this finished. I was very nervous to continue driving around on a donut tire for an extended amount of time. I was already on my 6th day. My safety and the safety of others driving around me comes first, at least to me. I shopped around only to find this particular Michelin tire is no longer sold. It makes me wonder why a tire on a 2012 Ford vehicle is no longer available. Maybe Michelin found it to be unsatisfactory. I went to Sam’s Club and purchased a Michelin tire very similar to the ones on my Escape. I paid $187 installed. I told the gentleman there about my experience at Hall Ford and showed him the tire. He was shocked at what he saw and said that anyone who had been to tire school would know immediately that it was a tire defect and that there was no excuse for them to blame the customer over a measly 30%. I agree. He said Sam's Club would have replaced the tire at no charge.
On Thursday I get this email from Ed:
I suspect you have already had your tire replaced. Is that right? If not I finally managed to wrangle up an offer for you. We would split the cost of the tire and labor and all with you 50-50. Total is about $200 you would pay $100 and we would pay $100. Probably too late but it's an offer I wanted to extend to you anyway. Lemme know. Thanks and sorry for all the hassle. -Ed
So basically, he waited until after he knew I got another tire to make me this great offer which is more than what the warranty would have paid. So nice for him to add insult to injury. Every time I spoke with Ed prior to this he told me that he couldn't believe they weren't honoring the warranty and that he was doing everything he could. I could have bought the tire from Hall Ford, but why would I want to give money to a place that has called me a liar and wouldn’t honor my warranty. I have never had a business treat me this way and make me this angry. I emailed Ed back on Thursday and Friday asking him to give me the name and number of the “tire guy” and the names of the Hall Ford employees that inspected my tire and he will not reply to me. Really makes me wonder if there was really a “tire guy” and if the warranty even works the way he says.
In closing, I feel strongly that due to this tire coming apart with what appears to be some sort of tire failure, that Ford should have replaced this tire and then pursued their claim against Michelin. I am sure that Michelin wouldn’t have given Ford as hard of a time about it as Ford gave to me. I am driving my 3rd Ford Escape and have been a loyal customer for many years. I get all of my service done there as well. I truly feel like a $200.00 tire on a vehicle with 25,000 miles and only a $60.00 warranty shouldn’t have been a make or break for Ford, and certainly not worth losing a customer for life. As mentioned, this sour experience has made me decide to switch brands when I get ready to purchase my next new vehicle. Until that time, I will be going elsewhere for service.
Monetary Loss: $60.