Add On or Up-Sell Services

"Lifetime Balance and Rotation"

In July of 2011, I purchased a lifetime balance and rotation service plan from Wal-Mart at a cost of $26.00. The gentleman up-sold me this service plan after I paid to have my tires balanced and rotated, telling me that this was worth the extra cost. This plan was purchased without buying a new set of tires, it was merely an add-on to the cost of having the tires balanced and rotated. During this visit, the technician indicated that the right rear rim was bent and it could not be balanced and that I would need to replace it.

This past Wednesday I took the car in to have the tires balanced and rotated under this plan.   After returning home, I discovered that the tires had not been rotated, the right rear rim that was recently replaced was still in its original position on the car. This led me to question whether or not the tires were actually balanced. I called the Wal-Mart tire center to complain about the tires not being rotated, the person on the phone indicated that she was waiting for my call, she was informed that the technician made a mistake and did not enter the rotation into the computer. She then offered to have me come in and have the rotation done free of charge. I told her it was covered by the lifetime plan and that it was just going to be the cost of time. This would mean that I would be returning to the service center and spending at least another hour or more waiting for the car to be serviced, bringing the total of time spend at Wal-Mart for the day to at least three hours.

Today, I returned to Wal-Mart because the left front tire was still leaking, it was not checked or repaired. I wanted to have the tire repaired and the rotation done as requested this past Wednesday. Ten minutes after the car was taken in to be worked on, the technician had me paged to return to the services area to answer a question about the car. When I spoke with the technician, he informed me that all of my tires were beyond the safe tread wear and that he recommended that I purchase new tires. I asked him why because the tires were 60K mile tires and there are only 27K miles on the car and the tires. It appears that the tires were wearing unevenly and he indicated that who ever balanced the tires last time must not have attached the weights right because they were all missing. I politely informed him that he was the last person to balance and rotate the tires and if they are not right it is on him.

Long story short, I had to purchase 4 new tires, which made me a little angry. Then to add to my anger and the cost for this purchse was a new "lifetime" tire balance and rotation plan at an additional cost of $26.  I asked why I needed to purchase a new lifetime balance and rotation plan, I just bought one in July and have only used the coverage once, and that one time the technician did not do the job right he only balanced the tires. My question aroused the interest of every Wal-Mart technician with-in earshot of my interaction because I had four people talking to me at once. Each telling me that "Lifetime" means the life of the tires, not the car. I told them that I understand, but the person that did the work on my tires did not tell me that, he told me it was good forever, I did not buy tires at that point in time, just the plan. I was told that it does not matter, that plan is now null and void and that I would have to pay for the new "lifetime" balance and rotation plan.

After four months of having the "lifetime" balance and rotation plan with Wal-Mart, I am now purchasing another "lifetime" plan. I would like to tell everyone out there that when you are offered this plan, you should only accept this plan if it is with a purchase of four new tires, or within the first 3000 to 6000 miles of purchasing new tires. Purchasing this plan is a waste of money for tires with more than 20K miles on them, especially if the car is driven more than 15K miles each year. It is also important to keep the receipt for the purchase of this plan in the glove box, some Wal-Marts will not accept you have the plan without the receipt, especially if you have moved to a new area. This plan is only good for the lifetime of a set of tires, not the car even though you may be told otherwise by the technician who is just looking to do an up-sell.

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