BEWARE BEWARE BEWARE
Stopped at Flying J Truck Stop in Beaver, Utah for fuel several weeks ago.
After fueling our 2014 Class A Berkshire 390RB and prior to departing the pumps, a person wearing a Goodyear shirt with the name “Brian” on it approached my driver’s side window in a golf cart and shouted up to me in a very alarming manner, “Sir, have you taken a good look at your front tire recently? I think you might want to turn your tire to the right and come out here and take a look at it.” I got out of the motor home and met him at the front driver’s side tire.
At this point, he (“Brian”) stated emphatically,” As I’m sure you know driving a motor home this size, you have a very dangerous tire. If you don’t get that taken care of right away, it’s gonn'a certainly cause a very serious situation by blowing out which could lead to death. As you can see here, there is ‘rivering’ on the inside of the tire. See here—the tread is starting to come apart and if it stretches any further, this tire will blow for sure. You know Goodyear tires are known for this sort thing and I’m not sure why they continue to sell them for RV’s.”
“Brian” then asked me to pull around to the side of the multi-bay tire and auto service center (about 25 feet from the fuel pumps). The name on the tire/auto service center was “Sporty’s To Go”. “Brian” then put air jacks under the motor home and lifted the coach off the ground. “Brian” then proceeded to reiterate not only was the driver’s side tire in “extreme” peril but he stated so was the passenger side tire. I was stunned and shocked hearing this but I told myself this was coming from an individual who presented himself as an expert in the tire/auto service business.
After hearing the emphatic and major safety issues which “Brain” pointed out to us, he told me I needed two new tires—and I consented. After all, “Brian” presented himself as an expert. "Brian" never presented me a written estimate nor any other paperwork. He told me how many years he had been in business at this tire/service center at the Flying J and how many bad tires he had seen due to owners not paying attention to such an important component of motor homes or travel trailers. At the time, my wife heard most of this conversation with “Brian”.
At this point, my wife and I began to discuss how lucky we were that “Brain” had spotted these defects in both tires. We both said a prayer of “thanks” to God that by stopping at this particular Flying J in Beaver UT and having the encounter with “Brian”, our lives most likely had been spared and our vacation not turned into a disaster.
As “Brian” began to remove the original Goodyear tires, he noticed my U.S.M.C. Viet Nam Combat Veteran license plate holder. “Since we value people like you so much for the service and sacrifice you have made for our country, I’m not going to charge you for the labor or the ‘bean bag’ balancing that usually cost about $120 per tire.” At this point, I thanked “Brian” and asked him what kind (brand) of tire he would be replacing my Goodyear tires with. He told me, "Cooper Tires" (and rattled off the numbers for the tires). I said to him, “I didn’t’ realize that Cooper made tires for motor homes (especially like ours----forty feet long and weighing almost 32,000 pounds)”. “Cooper tires are excellent RV tires," he replied. “They have been around a long time and the ones I have are specifically for RV motor homes. You're lucky I have them in stock.” I asked him how much each tire would cost and he told me, "About $629 each."
Very little conversation was exchanged as “Brian” and his assistant worked on the tires. As “Brian” put on the second passenger front tire, I asked him why the Cooper name wasn’t on the tire—just all the number/letter designations. “Oh, the Cooper name isn’t on there but their model number is. It’s called the "GT 279". The brand name Cooper tires was mentioned by “Brian” no less than a dozen times during our conversations as being the brand name of the tires he was placing on our motor home. Since the engine wasn't running and it was about 100 F outside, the front door of the motor home in front of the passenger's seat was open, thus allowing my wife to hear the entire conversation I was having with "Brian".
After about an hour, the two front tires were on the motor home and we were ready to go. However, “Brian” made his way to the rear of our motor home. He “inspected” all 4 of the tires (two tires on each side of the motor home) and looked at me, shook his head. “I’m afraid you have the same thing going on with the inner tires of your duels. As you well know (and I acknowledged) you can’t mix tires so you really need to replace all four back here. I know this is going to cost a lot but as I mentioned before—I’m not gonn’a charge you for labor or the bean bag balances.” ‘Member, I’m cutting you a real break on this job”. At this point, I asked him how much the whole job would now cost—for all 6 tires. He went into his little office area and came back with a written “quote” for a total of $4,440. "You are really lucky that I have four more in stock", "Brian" said to me. He then wrote something on a work sheet. The only thing on the work order was my name, address (which I gave him) and one set of numbers that “Brian” represented countless times as Cooper tires (brand name “GT 279”). I signed the work order. At this point, “Brian” said, “Very smart move.”
As the original Goodyear tires were being removed and the “Cooper” tires were being installed, I asked “Brian” if he knew what the P.S.I. (pounds per square inch) rating was for the Cooper brand. He replied, “What are you running now?” I told him that Goodyear recommended, based on my motor home’s weight of 32,000 pounds, 105 PSI on the front two tires and 95 PSI on the rear four tires. “Good. That’s what we’ll put in these tires then.”
About an hour and a half later, the rear four tires had been replaced and the job completed. At this point, I gave “Brian” my AMEX Platinum card and signed the charge slip. “Brian” walked out with me to the motor home and said, “Well, this sure was your lucky day. Could have turned out a lot worse. It was sure a good thing I just happened to be passing by you when I did. Good luck.” We left the tire shop and headed towards Las Vegas (283 miles away) the temperature was approaching 115 degrees and even hotter in Las Vegas.
Conclusion after two day investigation following call to Cooper Tire to verify PSI and numerous other calls to Freightliner etc
1) The tires WERE NOT Cooper Tires as stated to me numerous times.
2) The tires were manufactured by G.I.T.I. in China.
3) The tires were 14 ply and NOT the required 18 ply--as I was assured they were.
4) The tires had a weight limit of 3,200 each NOT the 6,500 required by the Freightliner chassis.
5) Tire experts concluded we were lucky to make it to Las Vegas (283 miles) on the 14 ply tires given the 115+ outside temperature and my coach's weight.
6) The "safety" issue with my original Goodyear tires was non-existent nor did they require "immediate" attention. We were actually put in worse and more immediate danger with the tires placed on our unit by "Brian" that day.
7) The "history" of this business goes back at least 6 years. This company has operated from the same location under it's current name in addition to: "Gomers" and "Gomers and Goobers".
8) This business was fined $10,000 in 2015 for fraudulent business practices.
9) American Express agreed with all the background information we submitted in defense of this rip-off and WILL NOT be paying this business the $4,42 for the fraudulent and unsafe tires placed on our motor home.
10) Thanks to Ted Wiens Commercial Tire Service on Wigwam in Las Vegas for getting/installing the correct Goodyear tires for us.
11) Additional information about this establishment can be found at: Ripoff Report (numerous reports); Salt Lake City Tribune;; Forest River Forum; Salt Lake City Better Business Bureau and Utah Consumer Protection Agency. Just search "M.A.D.D.", "Gomers" or "Gomers and Goobers" Beaver UT.
We were vulnerable, trusting and naive--that will not happen again! We were lucky this time.
Please spread the word about this experience as well as the past history of this business location so no further unsuspecting, trusting owners become a victim as we did. I have brought this to the attention of the Utah BBB, the Utah Consumer Protection Agency as well as submitted it to the Salt Lake City/Cedar City/St. George newspapers for any appropriate action they deem necessary.