• Report: #258038
Complaint Review:

Sams Club

  • Submitted: Sun, July 01, 2007
  • Updated: Fri, November 30, 2012

  • Reported By:Houston Texas
Sams Club
608 Southwest 8th St. Bentonville, Arkansas U.S.A.

Sams Club Beware of Sam's Clubs Hidden cost of Tires ripoff Bentonville, Arkansas

*UPDATE Employee: Youre wrong

*Consumer Comment: Good Service

*UPDATE Employee: Information about the warranty

*General Comment: Sam's Club invalidates tire warranty if no membership

*UPDATE Employee: Maybe this will help

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I purchased a set of Goodyear tires from Sam's Club for my son's car before he left for college. Although the tire's drive-away cost was slightly more expensive than NTB by $13 for the set of four, I went with Sam's for 2 reasons. There was a Sam's not far from my son's dorm in College Station, TX and NTB had a 1.5 hour cue.

A year or so later my son had a highway blow out which destroyed a tire. He took the tire and receipt to his Sam's Club to have it adjusted. The Sam's tire department told him they wouldn't fix or adjust the tire unless he joined the club for $40. Although the car title, insurance and tires were in my name and my membership was current, they refused to honor the road hazard warranty.

They offered him only 2 options. He could pay the $40 membership fee and they would adjust the tire or they would sell him a replacement tire with no adjustment if he paid cash. He went with buying a new tire as it was cheaper than the $40 membership and adjustment route. Odd how they were able to bend the rules for not requiring a membership if he paid cash for a new full priced tire.

Recently, June 29th 2007, my son while on a trip through Mississippi, discovered one of his tires had picked up a nail. He drove the car to the Gulfport, MS. Sam's club to have them check it out. The tire department told him they wouldn't consider fixing the tire because MY membership had just expired 10 days earlier. He asked if he could pay the renewal fee for my membership, knowing I would reimburse him. They said no because it was a business membership. However they would fix it for free if he setup his own $40 membership.

What I find the most puzzling was when I originally purchased the tires, Sam's had a sign hanging in the tire department making the members aware of the hidden cost of purchasing tires from other tire dealers. How Sam's Club had no hidden cost associate with its $9 per tire "Tire Installation Fee". No where within its contents did it ever mention that you must maintain a $40 per year membership for anyone that may drive the car, for the life of the tire.

Thinking there must of been a misunderstanding along the way I did a little research. I called 8 of the Houston area Sam's Club and asked what their policy was. There seemed to be some differences when it came to flat repairs. Some Sam's said they would fix flats with or without a current membership, but all were consistent when it came to road hazard adjustments. You had to have a current membership. However they were in inconsistent has to who's membership had to be current, the person driving the car or the member noted on the tire receipt.

If you read Sam's Club written policy it does state you must be a active member. Which is again inconsistent with my conversation with my local Sam's Club store manager, who told me the "Tire Installation Policy" goes with the life of the tire only and not the membership status.

This inconsistency in policy between management and written, will only lead to hassles with the rank and file tire jockeys, which gives me no comfort.

When one considers the $40 per year membership fee for the 3-4 years life of the tires and the inconsistent store to store policy, I can't imagine any fool purchasing tires from Sam's Club.

Houston, Texas

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 07/01/2007 08:41 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/sams-club/bentonville-arkansas-72716/sams-club-beware-of-sams-clubs-hidden-cost-of-tires-ripoff-bentonville-arkansas-258038. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 UPDATE Employee

Youre wrong

AUTHOR: MoparMuscle - (United States of America)

It clearly mentions in fine print of initial membership paperwork as well as in tire work order that nonmembers cannot receive services. The system will not allow someone to get anything done thru Sams club w/out a membership.

We have people come in all the time who try and cheat that system somehow, so they make efforts to protect that from happening. By being a member, and paying $40/yr, you become entitled to the services the company provides, although I never shop there personally and dont really care for the store...

The people you spoke w/ who all had different stories (i sincerely doubt you took the time to call 8 different stores), were probably busy and rushed thru the conversation they had w/ you and said whatever they thought would appease you so you would leave them alone.

The fact that you found a tire there for under $40 speaks to the benefits of membership...thats a used tire price, and i hope youre not actually THAT cheap when it comes to buying tires, as no one should ever spend less than $80 for a new tire (mind you it takes 7 gallons of crude oil to even manufacture a tire).

And you and/or your son are not that smart if you think paying $40 for a membership to get a flat repair is a sound financial choice. Most tire shops will do that for $10 MAX. And if those tires are somehow cheaper than a membership, who cares anyhow?

Go somehwere you feel more comfortable with and get safe/decent tires put on that dont cost less than $40.

and $9 per tire installation cost is not a hidden fee if they tell you directly, not to mention, thats an insanely competitive pertire install fee. If you plan on keeping your membership up to date and going there for things other than tires, its not that bad a deal considering all the rotations/balances/flat repairs you can utilize.

And you dont have to pay that anyhow, if you're a member, you can elect not to pay the fee, and void your warranty on tires. Why would any tire place just give someone free rotations/balances for a few years if they had nothing to gain from it? In the time it takes to pay an employee the time it will take that employee to do those rotations, balances, flat repairs, Sam's is LOSING $ w/ their low "installation" fee. Go be cheap somewhere else
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#2 Consumer Comment

Good Service

AUTHOR: Consumer - (United States of America)

I have had good luck. I do have a membership (for years). Someone slashed a new tire, and Sam's replaced it for free. I had a battery that was going bad. Sam's replaced it for free.

This is a good value for me. I alway consider buying my tires and bateries from Sam's now.
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#3 UPDATE Employee

Information about the warranty

AUTHOR: PUNISHER13 - (United States of America)

While I agree that sometimes the warranty information can be grey. We have people that have been with Sams Tire and Battery for 12 years and the warranty is still the same. We have had to change our way of informing you over the years. Such as putting it on the back of the work order. While NOT ALL SAMS CLUBS have the same work ethic, we do share the same guide lines and rules to follow. And the replacement warranty may be void after a 4 year period, your balance and rotation is still valid. Regardless of what anyone says. HOWEVER, we cannot rotate tires that have reached a point. At 2/32 we cannot work on the tires. And it is required to have an active membership in order for us to work on a vehicle. Even for a balance and rotation. And as far as your son buying a tire for cash without a Sams membership, that is not possible unless the peraon he bought the tire from just kept the money. A Sams card is needed for all transactions either cash, credit,or debit. A membership card is needed to initiate the transaction. So either he lied, or they stole from the company. While I cannot speak for everyone working at every Sams TBC, I can say that I work at the one of the best. We are the busiest in the south east region. And we all know the warranty like the back of our hand. And had that been our Sams we would have done anything we could to help you. While it was unfortunate what happend to you both at that Sams I have to say that the actions that the said Clubs does not reflect the entire company. Just that one department and its workers.
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#4 General Comment

Sam's Club invalidates tire warranty if no membership

AUTHOR: RichW - (United States of America)

I have had a somewhat similar experience with Sam's Club in Atlanta, which I thought might add something to the discussion.

In 2002, I purchased 4 tires for my car. Knowing that I would probably not renew my membership, prior to the purchase, I asked how that would affect the lifetime rotation/balance/road-hazard package (I'll call this the "warranty") that I planned to purchase with the tires. A manager from the store said that my warranty would still be valid, even if my membership lapsed.

Through 2004, this was in fact the case - the warranty was honored, despite the fact that I had no membership. However, in 2006, I got a nail in one of my tires, and I took the tire into Sam's for repair under the road-hazard part of my warranty. It was at that time that the store first told me that my warranty was no good without a current membership. After a long and unpleasant argument, they agreed to fix my tire but stated that they would not in future perform any warranty work on my tires. I was, to say the least, outraged.

I called the national customer service hotline for Sam's Club and was told the same thing - I was out of luck. Then, I contacted the Better Business Bureau.

The Better Business Bureau wrote up a complaint and sent it to the local store in Atlanta (Marietta, GA). According to the BBB, the local store did not respond to the complaint (which certainly tells you something about that particular Sam's Club's attitude toward its customers.) The BBB then sent the complaint to the national headquarters of Sam's Club. In short order, I received (through the BBB) a letter from the legal department of Wal-Mart (Sam's Club's parent company, of course) apologizing for the inconvenience I had experienced and stating explicitly that my warranty was in fact good.

Based on the information I received, I believe that Sam's Club changed their policy on requiring memberships for warranty work sometime between 2004 and 2006. Fortunately, according to the letter I received, this change was not applied retroactively, so my warranty was still good.

You would think that this would be the end of my problems with Sam's Club, but getting warranty work done continued to be a constant struggle, since the workers and managers on duty at Sam's Club almost never seemed to be aware of the policy (and - with an exception or two - were not humble about it). Nevertheless, with my letter from the legal department in hand, I persisted and eventually they would agree to do the work.

In January, 2010, (my final visit to the store),  I went in to have my tires rotated  once again. However, this time, I was told that my warranty status was irrelevant because the warranty in question was only good for a maximum of 4 years. Now, this was news to me - I had never heard this before, despite the fact that I had previously had warranty work done well beyond that so-called 4-year window. I will agree that a statement to this effect appeared on copies of the work orders I had accumulated  over the years (which I admit I never read). However, this 4-year limit does not appear on any of the original paperwork I received when I bought my tires, and I seriously doubt printing it on the back of a work order given to the customer years after the original date of purchase is legally binding (seriously, folks).

Was this policy truly in effect when I bought my tires? I don't know, but it seems to me like this was just another case of Sam's Club trying to change the rules of the game after the fact. In any case, on this occasion, I had finally had enough.  I just shook my head in disgust and left the store. Honestly, when did the word "lifetime" in a lifetime warranty suddenly mean 4-years? As a reasonably intelligent person,  I always thought "lifetime" meant for the serviceable life of the tires.

I no longer do business with Sam's Club.

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#5 UPDATE Employee

Maybe this will help

AUTHOR: Adam - (U.S.A.)

Hello, just a small note. First of all I am sorry to hear that your son had such a tough time and unfortunate luck with his tires. However, an active membership is required before any Tire technician can perform work on a car. This is due to the computer system Sam's Club uses in all of their Tire Mounting Area bays. The system will ask for a membership number before any work can be done. If the membership is not current it will not pull up any information and will not allow ANY employee to continue. Memberships are not transferable to other members (even family) and are only valid for the person pictured on the back of the card. The reason why they could sell your son a tire at full price is because the tire would not be prorated through the computer system and would only be rang straight through the cahs register. Yes the register does require a membership card but that is easily over rode by a COS or manager, where with the computer system there is no way to over ride the membership. The tire warrenty also states that an active membership must be maintained for the warrenty to be valid. Please read before you complain. (You also were given a explanation of membership card policies when you signed up for the membership, you had to sign the form agreeing you understand the policy before you are given your card).
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