Hello, My question concerns a purchase I made from Craigslist for some used tires. There were 4 used tires that had almost full tread on them and looked good other than some cracks showing between them. Not being a tire expert I bought the four tires for $200 after looking at them in person. The advertisement stated that they were "near new" snow tires. Which in fact they were all terrain tires and not snow tires. After about a week when I had time to get them mounted on the rims I found out from two different tires stores that they could not legally mount them because of the cracks and because they were over 10 years old. Apparently, it is not legal in Nevada for them to mount tires that are over 10 years old. I called the seller after I learned this and after some discussion he told me to return them and he would refund my money and that he would relist them for sale. However, after driving 25 miles back to his house from the tire store he called just before I reached the destination that he had to leave to take his family to a movie and would call me back about getting together. Of course the call back never came and I was just being jacked around about the refund. I texted him about the refund after a few days to give him some time and also this was during Thanksgiving weekend so didn't want to interrupt his holiday (or mine). So after the text he texted me back and said that he was not going to refund my money on the tires.
My question is if I take him to smalls claim court do I have good grounds to win the refund on these worthless tires.
1 Answer from Attorneys
You have learned a hard lesson here, Bill. The bottom line is Caveat emptor or "buyer beware." When you buy something from another private party, you must know what you are buying and it is generally acknowledged that you buy it "as is."
I know of no statute, code or ordinance in Nevada that prevents a tire shop from mounting older tires, but they are all afraid of the liability connected with putting on some cracked, aged rubber that might blow out and cause a horrible accident. Who would your widow or parents or innocent victims come looking for to blame? They couldn't get anything out of the guy who sold you the tires, but maybe they could sue the pants off the tire shop that installed them, claiming they should surely have known better than to install such old tires.
It is generally assumed that tires over 6 years old should not be installed - regardless of condition. Ten year old tires should be dismounted and trashed, no matter how much tread they have remaining. The tires you purchased showed obvious signs of the rubber breaking down (cracks!) and the fact is you were responsible for noticing this before laying down your cash and risking putting unsafe shoes on your car.
Please don't un-victimize yourself by selling them to someone else and hoping they can find a shop to install unsafe tires on their car or truck. Take your lumps and never trust a private seller to tell you the condition of something you buy -- check it out for yourself. Google "DOT tire date codes" and see how easily you could have determined, yourself, how old they were and what the standards are for installing older tires. Sorry you got ripped off, but that those tire shops may have saved you from tragedy, and you won't likely ever catch up with the guy who sold them to you. Move on with your new knowledge.
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