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.