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TIA: Online tire sales affect tire registration

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The Tire Industry Association (TIA) laid out its opposition to mandatory tire registration in its latest Political Action Committee (PAC) newsletter, TirePAC.

In a letter from Dick Gust, TIA board member and chairman of the government affairs committee, he notes a new pressure point on the issue – tire manufacturers selling tires online direct to the consumer.

“TIA believes the risk of email addresses and mobile phone numbers being misused by a manufacturer to the detriment of distributors or dealers is genuine.”

Read Gust’s letter in its entirety below:

 

Dear TIA Member:

We are currently facing a threat from manufacturers who are pushing legislation that would return tire registration to a mandatory system with fines of up to $700,000 per location for non-compliance. The system is currently voluntary and responsibility lies with the consumer to register the tires. The Tire Industry Association (TIA) opposes tire registration language in the “Generating Renewal, Opportunity, and Work with Accelerated Mobility, Efficiency, and Rebuilding of Infrastructure and Communities throughout America Act” or “GROW AMERICA Act” (H.R. 2410).

If passed, the amendment would give the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the authority to make changes to 49 CFR Part 574. TIA believes that NHTSA intends to reinstate some form of a mandatory tire registration system.

Given the fact that more tire manufacturers appear to be moving toward selling tires directly to the consumer via the Internet, there is an increased level of concern about dealers submitting contact information, especially if it includes an email address.

TIA believes the risk of email addresses and mobile phone numbers being misused by a manufacturer to the detriment of distributors or dealers is genuine. First, the dealer or dealers would have to file a complaint that the manufacturer in question was misusing the data. In order to make that claim, they would need to collect evidence over a period of time. After the complaint has been communicated to NHTSA, the Agency would then have to investigate and subpoena records from the manufacturer. If the manufacturer in question did misuse the information, the time between the claim and the ruling would be measured in months, if not years. As a result, a return to mandatory tire registration that includes this information could only further harm independent tire dealers. And if such data collection and submission were required by law, the tire manufacturers would have yet another way to cut the dealer out of the purchase altogether.

There are far too many variables and unanswered questions to sit back and hope that the voluntary tire registration system remains in place. Between NHTSA and the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), there are two influential organizations that have a clear-cut agenda to reinstate mandatory tire registration. But the only way that can happen is for Congress to give NHTSA the authority to make that change. The GROW AMERICA Act is the first attempt at a regulatory solution and TIA is certain that there will be future attempts to solve the problem of low tire registration rates with new legislation.

TIA’s lobbying and educational efforts on Capitol Hill are having a positive impact, but we must launch a national grassroots effort in order to fight the tire registration amendment in the GROW AMERICA Act. Our strength comes from you and our PAC. Now more than ever, we need your support. Please consider supporting the TirePAC but more importantly get involved by writing letters and making calls to your elected officials on behalf of not just your business but the entire tire industry.

Thanks,

Dick Gust

TIA board member and government affairs committee chairman

National account sales and director of government affairs for Liberty Tire Recycling

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