DETROIT (Aug. 23, 2016) — Attorneys for a New York law firm have filed a class-action complaint against Belle Tire Distributors Inc., claiming the tire dealer deceptively told customers they had to buy more tires than they needed to prevent their automobile warranties from being voided.
The complaint, which was filed Aug. 5 in the Michigan Circuit Court for Wayne County, alleges that Allen Park, Mich.-based Belle Tire told customers with all-wheel-drive (AWD) vehicles that they had to replace all four tires at once to maintain their standard and manufacturers' warranties, regardless of how many tires actually needed replacement.
According to the complaint, Paul and Lynn Melton — the plaintiffs representing the putative class — purchased a 2010 Cadillac CTS AWD vehicle in 2012. This car, according to the document, had been driven only 12,000 miles and was in excellent condition when the Meltons bought it.
On Sept. 12, 2013, Lynn Melton went to the Belle Tire location in Roseville, Mich., to have a flat tire replaced, according to the complaint.
Personnel at the Roseville Belle Tire store told Mrs. Melton that replacement of a single tire would leave a tread-depth differential of 3/32nd inch between the replaced tire and the remaining three tires, which were original equipment with the car, the complaint stated.
Such a differential would void General Motors Co.'s standard and extended vehicle warranties, the Belle Tire employees allegedly said. On their advice, Mrs. Melton bought a full set of tires, the complaint said.
Later, however, the Meltons asked GM about the terms of their warranties and, the complaint said, were told that the purchase of only one replacement tire would not have voided their warranties.
“Belle Tire engaged in, and continues to engage in, manipulative and deceptive business practices designed to take advantage of the unsuspecting public,” the complaint claimed.
The complaint lists six counts against Belle Tire, including common law fraud, negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment and violation of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act.
Besides determination of the class action and a jury trial, the plaintiffs seek compensatory and punitive damages; reimbursement of the amounts by which Belle Tire enriched itself from alleged wrongful conduct; and attorneys' fees, experts' fees, and court costs.
Daniel B. Rehns, an attorney with the New York law firm of Hach Rose Schrripa & Cheverie L.L.P., which filed the class-action lawsuit, told Tire Business he could not speculate on the size of the putative class in this case. Belle Tire has not yet acknowledged the litigation, and the court has not set any date for a discovery hearing, Mr. Rehns said.
Officials of Belle Tire could not be reached for comment.