Thursday, August 10, 2000

Tire company's actions criticized

Customers say they were left in the dark

The Associated Press and The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Customers and tire sellers complained Wednesday that Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. left them in the dark by not quickly addressing questions about the safety of its tires.

        The company earlier Wednesday announced it was voluntarily recalling 6.5 million tires after meeting with federal officials regarding an investigation into hundreds of accidents and 46 deaths linked to three brands of the company's tires.

        Some major retailers already had stopped selling the tires, also sold as standard equipment.

        Mike Barbaro of Town Fair Tire in East Haven, Conn., said the delay between reports about the tires and the recall left his customers confused and worried about their safety. He said the company didn't give him adequate information until Wednesday.

        “When customers hear there's a recall or a death involved, they come in screaming and say, "Get them off the car,'” Mr. Barbaro said. “Today, we were able to tell our sales force which tires were in this recall and exactly how the recall will take place.”

        “This is huge,” said Tod Schacheiter, service technician with Fuller Ford in Queensgate, Tenn., who says he sees recalls “all the time.”

        “I wouldn't want to be Bridge- stone today,” he said.

        The local Ford mechanics contacted said the only examples of peeling tires they had seen were those on the news. “We have not had any Explorers in here that have actually experienced a separation,” said Steve Richmond, service adviser with Kerry Ford in Springdale.

        It also was unclear Wednesday night what role area Ford dealers will play in the recall.

        “Right now, we know as much as the public does. I expect we'll know more in a few days,” said Mr. Schacheiter, who was not sure which tire would replace the recalled Wilderness and ATX tires.


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- Tire company's actions criticized
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