PACIFIC GROVE, Calif.-The Tire Retread Information Bureau is asking industry associations to take legal action against Consumer Reports after the magazine failed to respond to retread industry complaints about an article that called passenger retread performance unpredictable. But according to officials at the Tread Rubber Manufacturers Group, American Retreaders' Association and National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association, that action will not take place until later this year-if at all.
Officials of each of these associations said they received a copy of a TRIB memorandum calling for ``appropriate'' legal action against the consumer magazine, but have yet to formally discuss it with their members.
TRIB's objection stems from an article in Consumer Reports' February issue examining different methods of reducing scrap tire piles that stated: ``You can't predict handling characteristics, tread life or safety with recaps.''
Soon after the article was published, TRIB and at least a dozen of its members, including Ray Carr Tires Inc. in Harrisonburg, Va., and Canada's Ministry of Transportation, sent letters to the magazine asking for a retraction, an apology to the retreading industry and the documentation Consumer Reports used in making its claims. When the May issue failed to contain the retraction or any of the letters, TRIB Managing Director Harvey Brodsky issued the memo calling for legal action.
``In view of the fact that Consumer Reports has apparently decided to ignore our request that they apologize for their slur about retreads in their February issue, I strongly recommend that our industry consider taking whatever legal action may be appropriate to obtain the redress we rightfully deserve,'' the memo said.
During an interview, Mr. Brodsky said Consumer Reports' widespread credibility makes its claims about retreads particularly damaging. ``This is the kind of information that is used as fuel by those government organizations that are looking for an excuse not to buy retreads,'' he said. ``We in the industry who allow this to go unanswered should be ashamed of ourselves.''
TRMG President Jack Woodland Jr., president of Oliver Rubber Co., said he also believes Consumer Reports owes TRIB and the industry a retraction or a source document showing passenger retreads are unpredictable or unsafe. But he said the TRMG would not discuss the matter until its September meeting.
``(Mr. Brodsky) is going to get industry support once people have a chance to get together on this,'' Mr. Woodland said.
ARA Executive Director Marvin Bozarth said he expects board members will discuss possible legal action and its implications by the end of May.
NTDRA Executive Director Phil Friedlander said he received a copy of the memo, but has yet to discuss it with members.
Consumer Reports can only print a few of the hundreds of letters it receives each month, a spokeswoman said, and did not print any of the retreading letters because they were not among the most ``interesting or pertinent.''
The magazine did, however, acknowledge receipt of TRIB's letter, Mr. Brodsky said, which also included retread information and statistics and a videotape.