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FTS outlines recall plan, including replacement protocol

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In a letter sent to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration earlier this week, Foreign Tire Sales Inc. (FTS) outlined the details of its recall program, including replacement procedures.

Starting on July 16, FTS intends to recall up to 450,000 light truck radials it sourced from Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Co. Ltd.

Hangzhou manufactured the tires between mid-2002 and mid-2006 under the names Westlake, Compass and YKS.

To have their tires replaced, consumers will be asked to fill out "a recall information questionnaire," say FTS officials.

"The questionnaire will also request the identity of the dealer from which the tires were purchased.

"If the tire qualifies for the recall and the dealer purchased the tire from a customer of FTS, the dealer will be instructed to replace the affected tire with a substitute tire from stock. FTS is in the process of determining the reasonable replacement value of each size," the explain.

"Due to safety concerns, if the consumer has utilized the affected tire in an inappropriate or unsafe manner such as mixing different tire designs, sizes, etc., the dealer will be instructed to give the consumer the replacement tire and not mount and install it on the vehicle.

"The dealer will mount the replacement tire subject to the above statement, and if the replaced tire had been balanced, the dealer shall balance the replacement tire subject to the statement above at no charge to the customer.

"The dealer will then present its invoice to the distributor from which it purchased the affected tires, who will in turn present same for reimbursement to FTS.

"In the event that the consumer cannot return to the dealer where the tire was purchased, once replacement is approved by FTS, the consumer will be instructed (as to) where in their area they can have the affected tire replaced."

At this point, the dealer will "render the (recalled) tire unusable by either cutting the bead or creating an irreparable hole in the tire. The dealer also will cut the DOT number out of the tire and return it to FTS. The dealer will dispose of the replaced tires in a manner consistent with state and local law and include the cost in its request for reimbursement."

In addition, FTS says it will notify customers by letter of the requirements for the recall, including tire identification, tire disabling, disposal and reimbursement.

The Union, N.J.-based importer is in the process of creating a public notice program that will include:

* ads in USA Today starting July 16. They will run three days per week for two weeks.

* a video news release to be distributed via satellite to all national makets the week of July 16.

* press releases "as necessary" to wire services like Associated Press, Reuters and others.

* certified letters sent to all FTS customers, "mostly wholesalers." FTS will request that these customers forward a copy of the letter to their clients.

* certified letters sent to all owners who registered their tire ownership with FTS.

* an 800 number for additional information. "Consumers will be able to determine if their tires do not meet the recall requirements.

"If their tires meet recall requirements, they will be asked to complete a recall questionnaire."

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