The Importance of Knowing Your Rights As a Consumer

Written by Karen Bryan

I recently bought three new tyres for my car.

It was really annoying as all four tyres were quite evenly worn and I thought I’d get at least another year out of them. However the discovery of a screw embedded in the side of a rear tyre put paid to my plans.

I was advised that for safety reasons that it wasn’t a good idea to just buy one new tyre to use with three tyres that were past their best. This necessitated buying three tyres, using the spare (which had been in the boot since the car was purchased over five years ago) as the fourth new tyre. Then the least worn existing tyre would become the new spare.

As I wanted to replace the tyres with the previous brand, Continental Contact, I went to the Asda Tyres price comparison site to find the cheapest tyres which could be fitted as soon as possible.

The price was £80 per tyre, the same I paid when I purchased four new tyres months previously. I wasn’t happy at parting with £240 for the three new tyres, but safety is paramount.

Unfortunately, I had to wait three days for the tyres to be fitted at a local garage.

Soon after the tyres were fitted I went to check the tyre pressures at the local Sainsbury’s petrol station (where it is still free to use the tyre pressure machine).

I noticed that the rear tyre behind the driver (one of the tyres I had just bought vs the spare) appeared to need more air than the others. I assumed that the tyre fitter had maybe not put in enough air during fitting.

However, I decided to check the tyres pressures again soon. I was dismayed that the rear driver side tyre had lost 4psi.

I drove straight to the garage, hoping that they’d have a look. But they were too busy and asked me to return the next day.

The next day. they took off that new tyre, cleaned and checked the alloy and fitted a new valve.

Two days later on a Saturday, I checked the pressure of that tyre at Sainsbury’s. It had lost 3psi.

I phoned the garage to say that I would like the tyre to be replaced. A faulty tyre seemed to the only possible explanation if the alloy was in good condition and the valve had been replaced. The receptionist told me that I would have to pay for a new tyre. The tyre which was losing air would then be returned to the manufacturer for them to inspect and decided if the tyre were faulty.

Now I knew that didn’t sound right. As I had paid the garage directly for the tyres, my contract was with the garage. Therefore how the tyre manufacturer dealt with issues over potentially faulty tyres was nothing to do with me.

I requested that the receptionist order in a new tyre so it would be in the garage ready to fit. He said the new tyre would arrive on Monday morning.  I asked that he phone me to confirm that the tyre had been delivered. By 10.30 I had heard nothing, so I phoned the garage. The tyres had still not arrived. The receptionist assured me that the new tyre would be there soon and that I should come into at 2pm.

That wasn’t a suitable time for me, as I had planned to go in the morning. However, I had little say in the matter.

The offending tyre was checked for air leakage by covering it with soapy water, but no sign of a leak. The alloy was declared in good condition and the valve checked.

But the receptionist did say that if there is a small leak in the tyre wall, the soapy water may not show this. When a tyre is returned to a manufacturer it is filled with hydrogen to check for leaks.

By that stage, I was adamant that I either received a refund for that tyre, and purchased the new one, or, a new one was fitted free of charge.

The receptionist started all the that’s not the way that we do it spiel. I informed him that as a personal finance writer I was conversant with my consumer rights.

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, I had 30 days after the date of purchase to reject goods which were of unsatisfactory quality and to receive a refund from the retailer. I was rejecting the tyre as it’s not reasonable to expect a new tyre to lose so much air over a short period.

I also said that I would be complaining to Asda Tyres, my credit card provider and looking into making a claim at the Small Claims Court.

At that point, the receptionist phoned someone at head office. After that conversation, the head office contact authorised that the new tyre be fitted free of charge.

Now what a saga. A total waste of time, going back and forward to the garage and Sainsbury’s petrol station to check the pressures, being concerned about my safety in the car and then having to be very assertive to have my consumer rights upheld.