The Costco Tire Saga

On Tuesday, TBWITWW got a flat tire. It was quickly changed by the Chicago Fire Department (which is another story entirely), and she was able to get home on the baby spare. We went to Costco, where we purchased our tires originally, as they have a road hazard warranty. They determined that the tire could not be repaired, and they didn't have any of that model in stock. The computer system wouldn't allow them to place an order for a replacement at the time, and they told us they would have to call in the morning to order it. The next morning they told us that it would be 4-6 weeks to get a replacement, but if we got the tire from another supplier, they would refund us the difference in price, in addition to refunding us the pro-rated warranty price. (Basically, we'd be out the same amount as we would have been if it had all been done in-house.) She confirmed this with a manager as well.

TBWITWW made some phone calls and after calling several tire places located the tire we needed. She picked it up that evening, but due to another issue we were not able to go to Costco that night to make the switch. However she made an appointment to get the tire changed the next day.

When we arrived, we were told it would be a two hour wait even though we had an appointment. Then we were told that Costco doesn't install tires purchased elsewhere, and that there was no way, within the system to give us the refund as it had been explained to us. After about 40 minutes of working with the computer and consulting store management, the manager of the tire center was able to convince the system to process the order. During his trips back and forth, the manager told us that he was going to suspend or fire the people we talked to the previous day and at one point punched a stack of tires as he walked back to the work area. While is frustration was ceartainly understandable, it felt very unprofessional. Once the work order was finally forced upon the computer, the wait time was suddenly down to 1/2 hour.

Overall, other than the wait times and the apparent mix-up in regards to replacement policy, the experience was, as most of them have been with Costco, good. We continue to stand by our suggestion to others that if they need tires, Costco is the way to go. In this case, however, the experience was frustrating.

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