Brian Buys Tires & Wheels

Friday, Nov. 10 – I called the Tirerack and ordered a set of Bridgestone 195/50-15 RE71 tires mounted on Kosei Racing Seneka wheels using my credit card. I was told that I’d get my order in 4-5 working days.

Saturday, Nov. 11 – Customer Service Rep (#1) called and left her name, Debby (I think that is what it was,) her extension, and a message telling me my charge had been refused and please call back. Lesson #1 – A Debit Card is not the same as a Credit Card even though there is a Visa logo on the front. Usually $300 is the biggest hit they’ll take. Called back and she said she understood the problem and offered to break up my order into bank-bite sized bits.

Monday, Nov. 13 – Called the Customer Service Department and I spoke to a different person (Rep #2, Penny?) She confirmed that the charges had gone through the bank OK and that my order was approved. Restart the clock.

Thursday, Nov. 16 – Wonder where the tires & wheels are, I figured that 4-5 working days from Monday could be today. Called Customer Service to see if they would give me the UPS tracking numbers for my order so I could track their cross-country journey. Was informed by Rep #3 (Cathy?) that their Mounting & Balancing Department was way behind, but my order should ship today. She gave me some tracking numbers, but told me they wouldn’t be active until the order actually shipped.

Friday, Nov. 17 – The UPS Website knows nothing of my numbers. I’m getting nervous, had planned a trip for Thanksgiving weekend and needed/wanted the new tires. Called Customer Service to find out is going on. Spoke to representative #4 (Tammy? Does the name of everyone who works there end in Y?) and she told me the order should ship today. I asked if I could get a shipping upgrade so I could get my order by the next Tuesday. She said she’d try. Got my work number and said she call before my quitting time, 4pm.

Just before quitting time and I still hadn’t heard from the Tirerack. Called Customer Service and spoke to someone else (#5, let’s call her Wendy.) Told her that I had spoken to someone earlier whose name I couldn’t recall and that I think that now because of my situation that I should just go ahead and cancel my order and maybe get some new tires locally. She told me she was sorry about the problem and she would cancel the order if she could. She would call and let me know. I gave her my home phone number. When I got back to my desk after wrapping up one last bit of work before the weekend I noticed I had a voice mail message on my phone.

It was from Customer Service Rep #4, good to her word, calling me to let me know that she couldn’t get the upgrade because the order was already finished and going to ship tonight.

Went out to eat and run some errands. Something came up that changed the Thanksgiving weekend plans, the trip was called off. Great, I’ve cancelled the tire and wheel order when I didn’t need to, or had I? Last word I got was they were going to ship. When I got home the message light was blinking on the answering machine. It was Customer Service Rep #5 calling to tell me she had successfully managed to cancel my order. Pulled it right off the truck. Drat her efficiency.

Saturday, Nov. 18 – By now I have the Tirerack phone number memorized, 1-888-541-1777, so it flows from my fingertips to the phone keypad. This time I get Customer Service Rep #6. I tell her my tale of woe and ask if I could reinstate my order. She tells me that the computer shows that they shipped, so there should be no problem. But that I should call back Monday because if they were actually cancelled they would have to refund my money and then recharge my card. What a mess this is turning out to be. She gives me her name, Grace (I write down Cindy) and her extension number. Lesson #2 – Get the Customer Service Person’s ‘correct’ name and phone extension the first time and then just deal with that one person.

Monday, Nov. 20 – Called "Cindy" at Customer Service and fortunately I got her voice mail, it was informed that Grace was away from the phone or on the other line. I left her my work phone number and asked her to call. Grace called me later that day and told me that the order had indeed been cancelled but she managed to catch the paperwork before it got too far. She told me because of that, they were able to keep the same charge on my account and use the same tracking numbers. She told me my tires & wheels would ship that day or tomorrow and with the holiday I should get them early next week.

Saturday, Nov. 25 – I checked the UPS website at various intervals during the holiday weekend and every time I got the same results – Manifest Pickup. That told me that the shipment had not yet left the Tirerack warehouse. I called Customer Service and asked for Grace. She wasn’t working that day, "Could someone else help me?" Spoke to Rep #7 (Tracy? Or it could have been any one of the first 5 I spoke to.) She told me that perhaps UPS wasn’t updating their web page or maybe they weren’t working over the holiday weekend. She looked at some other screen and said that it showed my shipment was in Bergen, NY. What? They must be paying the truck driver by the mile, as that is the long way to get to South Carolina from Indiana. I thanked this person for their help and said that I’d call Grace on Monday.

Monday, Nov. 27 – The UPS website once again gives me the same response when I try and track the shipment, Manifest Pickup. Called Grace and left her some voicemail asking what the heck is going on with my order. Where is it? New York? Has it even shipped? Grace calls back and apologizes. She has no idea why somebody told me New York. My tires and wheels are still in Indiana. First she tried to tell me that the delay was because Mounting & Balancing was 4 to 5 days behind. When I pointed out that they were mounted and balanced on the 17th she changed to tell me that when they got pulled from the truck that Friday they must have been put aside and got "lost" in the warehouse. She would make sure that they shipped today.

Tuesday, Nov. 28 – Manifest Pickup. Man, I hate those words. UPS’s web site says that they didn’t pick up my wheels again last night. It is now 18 days from when I first placed an order and 11 days since I "reordered" them. I call and leave Grace as polite a voice mail as I can muster. I want the wheels overnighted or 2nd day aired to me today or I would like to cancel my order, again. She calls me later in the day and says that they shipped; really, she says that UPS just hasn’t updated their web site. I think, but don’t say, "Yeah, right. And Mounting & Balancing are 4-5 days behind." I do say, "OK, but if it doesn’t show that way tomorrow on the UPS site I’m gonna call back."

Wednesday, Nov. 29 – In Transit. I can’t believe my eyes. LOCATION SCAN – 1:04 A.M. INDY 81ST, IN, US. I check the website several times during the day. Just before bed the last status is still In Transit. DEPARTURE SCAN – 10:04 P.M. COLUMBIA, SC, US

Thursday, Nov. 30 – ARRIVAL SCAN – 7:12 A.M. AIKEN, SC, US. When I started this ordeal my mother-in-law was staying with us and I had planned for her to be at home to sign for the shipment, nearly 3 weeks later, she was now in Florida and obviously can’t do it. The local UPS site is right up the street from where I work. I look in the phone book and they don’t have a local number. All that is listed is the 800 number which is probably located deep inside a mountain range in Colorado. At 7:30 I call 1-800-PICK-UPS and after listening to all 7 options, I am about to hang up as none apply, when the 8th unnumbered option is to stay on the line. After a short wait, one of UPS’s Customer Service Reps, named Mary (I’m kidding, I didn’t even follow Lesson #1 above, I didn’t pay attention to her name) answers the line. I ask if it is too late to change the delivery address to my work. She takes down all my info and says, "I’ll mark it Urgent and pass it along." Less than an hour later someone from the local UPS place calls and leaves me a message saying that they managed to get the delivery location changed. Less than an hour after that, the tires & wheels were on the loading dock at work. Now how do I get them home? I mentally ran through my head a mailing list thread from a while back on how many tires you can carry in a Miata and where….forget it. I enlist a co-worker to turn his car into a MSV for an hour. At lunch we put all four tires & wheels in the trunk of his Crown Vic, with room to spare, and drive to my house to put them in my garage. Lesson #3 – Maybe paying a couple hundred dollars more and buying locally isn’t such a bad idea. Maybe.

Looking back at this you can see all the trouble was caused by me, the customer. The folks at Tirerack went out of their way, sort of, to help me. I don’t hesitate to recommend them to people and I have ordered from them a couple of times with complete ease and satisfaction since this incident.