Wednesday, October 25, 2000
Steamboat Springs Firestone tire owners in Routt County who have been waiting since August to replace their recalled treads can now get the task done at no charge. Just dial the phone and make an appointment. The only catch is you have to be willing to drive to Longmont to get your replacement tires.
"I'm an on-demand store," Charlie Estep said. "We've got lots of tires. I'm caught up and I'll take appointments any day of the week except Sundays."
Estep is the manager of the Firestone store at 940 S. Hover Road in Longmont.
Closer to home, replacements for the Firestone 15-inch light truck and sport utility vehicle tires are hard to find. And the asphalt is still slippery for people who have already purchased replacement tires on their own and need to fill out paperwork to be reimbursed by Bridgestone/Firestone.
Rick Patrick, manager of TDS/J.W. Brewer Tire Company in Steamboat Springs said Wednesday he not only doesn't have any replacement tires available, he's also run out of the "surrender forms" that must be filled out at a Firestone dealer to get reimbursed. It's not as simple as photocopying additional forms they are carbonless forms that create four copies, and Patrick has no choice but to wait for Firestone to ship him another box.
"Who knows when I'm going to get more tires?" Patrick asked rhetorically. "They come in sporadically to be honest with you."
Patrick said when tires do arrive, he never knows if he'll receive eight or 20. Patrick will still accept the original recalled tires off your vehicle; he's already shipped out 400 and has 90 more on site waiting for the truck to pick them up.
But he said he can't deliver on the second part of the equation with replacements or reimbursement forms. That's part of the reason he said he has chosen not to run a waiting list. Instead, Patrick advises customers to call frequently to check on the availability of tires and forms.
Patrick said he isn't exaggerating when he says he probably gets 40 to 50 phone calls a day about the Firestone recall and another 20 people visiting the store to make inquiries. And he estimates that only about 40 percent of the demand for Firestone recall service has been met locally.
Part of Patrick's frustration with the situation stems form the fact that his store is different from Estep's store in Longmont.
"I'm a Firestone dealer," Patrick said. "But I'm not Firestone owned."
While Patrick is an affiliate dealer, Estep said his store is owned by Firestone. He can replace recalled tires with "non-suspect" Firestone tires made at a different plant than the Decatur, Ill., plant where the defective tires were made.
He said he will mount the replacements and balance them at no extra charge. Or, for people who want to stay away from Firestone tires, he'll supply Kelly or BF Goodrich tires.
For Steamboat consumers who think they can find a Firestone-owned store closer to home than Longmont, it would be wise to call ahead.
Woody Woodburn is the manager of a Firestone store on the far west side of metro Denver, where I-70 abuts the foothills. Woodburn's store is on West Colfax Avenue, at the Westland Mall in Lakewood.
He says he's been so swamped with customers from Western Slope communities such as Aspen and Glenwood Springs, that he's running a waiting list of 270 customers looking for replacement tires.
"I'll never get rid of this list if I keep on serving the entire area of western Colorado," Woodburn said.
Woodburn was expecting a shipment of 200 tires Wednesday and was disappointed when they did not arrive.
Woodburn and Patrick can both supply the replacement forms.
Tracy Elliott, customer relations manager at Steamboat Motors, said she takes all the calls about Firestone recalls at the Ford dealership.
She believes J.W. Brewer in Steamboat is doing an excellent job of serving its customers given the circumstances. However, she said Steamboat Motors has applied to change its status to become a Ford dealership authorized as a tire dealer. Currently, they have no option but to refer their customers to a Firestone dealer.
In the meantime, Estep is willing and able to supply Steamboat customers who are driving on the recalled tires with replacements at no charge. His store can be reached at (303) 776-6460.
To reach Tom Ross call 871-4210 or e-mail email@example.com