RALEIGH, N.C. (April 30, 2008) — North Carolina should consider multi-award contracts for retread tires, according to a Smithers Scientific Services study commissioned by the North Carolina General Assembly.
The assembly's Joint Transportation Oversight Committee commissioned the study after the Office of the State Auditor said White's Tire Service Inc., currently the state's exclusive retread contractor, was overcharging by more than $361,000 for spot repairs.
The Smithers study praised the high quality of White's Tire's bead-to-bead retreads, as well as the products of its competitors, but said it knew of no compelling reason to charge separately for spot repairs.
North Carolina currently allows retreaders to charge up to three spot repairs per tire, and White' s Tire usually charges for the maximum, saying that it averages nine spot repairs per retread.
“What we found out was they (White's Tire) were charging just about eve y tire with three spot repairs,” said Rep. Nelson Cole, committee chairman.
The Smithers study said it is traditional in the retread industry to include spot repair charges in the total cost of the retread. Cole said his committee is writing new legislation to change the contract bidding process for retreads, which he hopes to introduce after the Assembly goes back into session in May.
Cole said the bill would change the policy on spot repairs and exclusive contracts, and also probably make it unlawful to buff the Department of Transportation identification numbers off the sidewalls. DOT numbers, used as identification in case of a recall, are often buffed off bead-to-bead retreads.
But Bobby White, vice president of White's Tire, said his company was being attacked unfairly by people who either had ulterior motives or who didn't understand the bead-to-bead business.
“When we remove the information from a tire, it becomes our tire,” White said. “We provide the State of North Carolina and our other customers with free replacement and adjustment for road hazards. And with the repairs and prep we do, we feel we make it better than a new tire.”
The adjustment rate for White's Tire's retreads is one-sixth of one percent, mostly for road hazards, he said.