Merchant's Tire & Auto

Virginia/Maryland/DC

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Consumer Complaints and Reviews

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Called Merchant Tire to make an appointment to get a balance and alignment. They gave me an appointment for the next day at 11:00 AM. I arrived on time to find the manager complaining about his job. I should have known that was a sign to get out of there quick. Left my car to get service at 11:00. And a young man called me at 4:30 to tell me his mechanic called in sick. It took them five hours to let me know this. I could've taken my car somewhere else if they would've let me know early. A whole day wasted because of Merchant Tires in Lanham, Maryland.

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Slow, expensive, sloppy workmanship. You Get all 3! Recent trip to get 4 tires and an oil change ended up taking almost 3 days to complete. They stripped the oil pan plug and it took a day for them to get a replacement. Two of the tires needed to be rebalanced within a month. Thank goodness this was a work vehicle and not my own. I will never go back for any reason.

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2:30 PM, Sunday, 18 Sept. I called Merchant Tires to set up an appointment to repair a flat tire for Monday, 19 Sept., at 4:30 PM. The phone operator confirmed I had an appointment. Monday I show up and I am told I have no appointment. They assured me I will be taken care of. It's 2 hours later and I am still waiting for my tire to be fixed.

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It was inspection time and I needed tires. I'm new to the area and decided to give Merchant's Tire on Virginia Beach Blvd a try because they were close to home. Bought tires and got an inspection. The inspector said although he could smell gas, he couldn't see a leak anywhere. They wanted to charge me $200 dollars just to remove my gas tank to see if they could find what was wrong and that the $200 dollars wouldn't include any type of fix. I explained that I had spilled a gas can in my trunk a few weeks before and gas had gotten dumped all over my tool bag in there and I was sure that was what they were smelling. I could tell the guy at the counter was trying to squeeze me for unrequired fixes. They also said the strap that holds my battery in needed to be replaced and they wanted to overcharge me for that as well.

I told them I would get that done on my own (the part was only $4 at the auto parts store). They handed me my paperwork and noticed that instead of writing that I needed a battery strap. They wrote it failed because of the brakes. Okay so... got the strap, got rid of the gas smell and now I have returned twice only to hear that the guy that does inspections is not in. So if you go there, prepare to be bled dry, and if you don't let them do what they want and get work done elsewhere or on your own they just say the inspector isn't in. I highly recommend going anywhere else!

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Watch out for the store on Woodfield Rd in Gaithersburg, MD. If I could, I would give them 1,000 stars NEGATIVE to show my dissatisfaction. Took my car for oil change, tire rotation and top off fluids. After just 2 months there was an alert light showing oil life was 15% (I had not even reached 2,000 miles yet) and the reservoir for the windshield fluid was empty. I like to change the oil every 3,000 miles. They must have seen the oil was still ok. Needless to say, they did not change the oil and not even take a look at the level of windshield fluid. I was charged for a work they did not do. Had the next oil changed at a gas station. I will NEVER go to Merchants again.

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Had an electrical issue. Battery dead (AAA roadside diagnostics). Jumped and drove straight to Merchant's Tire Store #409, 5222 Indian River Rd, Virginia Beach, VA. Diagnostic was that Alternator had gone bad (5 year old rebuilt unit), and battery was shot (also 5 years old). Meanwhile, had to take my wife's car to work after taking her to her job. Told Merchant's to replace both; that was done, along with serpentine belt (98,800 miles of wear on it; replace while already off). Life is good, right?

A week later, intermittent Battery light on the Instrument Panel. Took car back, left it for a day of troubleshooting. Could not recreate. Said Alternator, Battery numbers were showing good. Drove out of parking lot and had 4 repeat Battery lights within 8 blocks; captured the last 3 on Cell Phone camera! Returned car, left again for a 2nd day's troubleshooting by a different mechanic. Still nothing found, although the new battery was changed out since it "might have a bad post". Waited for change out to take place. Battery light continued to light up (more often, longer periods) over that weekend. Dropped car off at Dealer on Monday morning for their diagnostic. No appointment, and so it took two days to get car back. (Now without car for over 4.5 days in a 2 week period. Even had to rent a car for 24 hours for a couldn't-miss meeting 45 miles away.)

Dealer's diagnostic was that the battery light lit up when the alternator was providing low voltage output. Told this to Merchants, and was told "as a dealer, they may have some diagnostic systems we don't have". Paid dealer for their diagnosis, returned to Merchant's for another couple hours of waiting while the alternator was replaced. Overheard mechanic telling the manager that they needed to use a new Motorcraft alternator, not a rebuild, as there was a documented issue with the rebuilds in Ford (and my car is a Ford Focus). The manager (at first) did not agree with the mechanic, but I am told I do have a new (non-Motorcraft) alternator now.

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One on the worst experiences I've had purchasing new tires. I had an appointment. I showed up early and was told a completion time of just over an hour. It took them twice as long to perform the work. After a short drive I noticed the tires were out of balance. Three of the four tires were incorrectly balanced. Three more hours later I made it out of there never to return. The worst part is there was no apologies no words of apathy of any kind.

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Oil change and tire rotation. They didn't rotate the tires as I was warned by my friend and neighbor. This is what they did to him. I marked one tire and showed the manager. He apologized and had them rotated. Went for an inspection once, actually my wife. They tried to sell her new tires and a $400.00 brake job. Neither was remotely necessary. I will never go there again. Period.

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Absolutely lied to my wife's face. Got an oil change and the car was leaking oil afterwards (straight away). We took it back and they said it was the oil pressure sensor and adapter. We took it elsewhere and turns out they had pinched the oil gasket and over tightened the oil filter.

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Came in to get inspection for my car. It took them 2 hours to just get my car in. There were very limited cars in their bays. The inspector brought my car in, and I watched my car sit there while he worked on another car. The service here at the Stafford store is horrible, and customer service is the same. Merchants then wanted me to spend unnecessary money to fix my car of issues that was minor repairs. On total I spent 4 hours for something on a Monday. That really should of took 1/4 of that time. Very disappointed, and now know to use another brand. If you know better you should too!!!

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DO NOT USE THIS STORE FOR ANYTHING!!! The concept of customer service, listening to the customer or the customer is always right is ABSENT from the staff. Find a new location and stay away from here. Scheduled online appointment, after speaking with staff, car sat for 6+ hours until I walked in the door. Stay away.

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I had made an appointment and they set it for the wrong day so when I showed up for appointment 30 minutes before I was told they had to check to see if they can fit me in, that took 30 minutes. I then waited 1 1/2 hrs before they took car to be serviced. That's 2 hrs gone. Now I go & check progress 35 minutes later & they haven't started on car & the employee who's suppose to be working on my car is sitting in my car texting on his phone. That's over 2 1/2 hours & my car is still sitting & not being serviced.

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I was with my Son picking the car after a tire rotation and oil change when the tire got off. The accident damage all front left side, no lives involve but they have a claim service that takes long time to get this fix. 24 days and my car still on repair center. I think is better to hire a lawyer to fight for your rights.

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After an alignment on my car at Merchant's Tire in Chesapeake, VA. my car started making a scraping and clunking sound. I stopped into the next service station I could find and learned that the jam nut on the left rear tire had been left loose. Essentially, my left rear tire suspension was moving freely. When I called to notify the management, they said it couldn't possible be their fault because they didn't touch the jam nut. Obviously they did and just didn't want to admit to it. I have used this shop for the past several years but the new management team is terrible. I won't be back.

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I went to Merchant's @ 6443 Chesterfield Meadows in Chesterfield for my inspection sticker. They kept my car for 3 hours and charged my $130 dollars to look at my car and to give me a rejection sticker. They told me I failed my inspection because of suspension issues and that it would cost $1000 to replace the necessary parts. I have been taking my car to this store for years and found in my records that I had paid them in the recent past to replace the parts in question. I decided to take the rejection sticker and skip the $1000 "repair" because my car is 10 years old and it would probably be cheaper to just go buy a new car. When I told the mechanic this, he offered to buy my car for $1000 dollars because I have been a "valued customer" for many years.

A week later, I took my car to a different more reputable inspection station. They passed my car in less than 30 minutes and charged me the $16 dollars I had expected to pay originally, because just as I suspected, nothing is wrong with my car. The people at Merchant's Tire & Auto are obviously running some kind of scam and banking on their customers being stupid and having lots of time and money to waste. Basically, Merchant's cost me 130 dollars and hours of precious time, but I learned that if you want to be treated honestly and fairly, you should skip the nonsense and shop local.

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The woman who works at the front desk talks badly about the business as well as the customers, in front of other customers! Highly unprofessional! She should find another, less public job asap! As far as the service, I have had to go back twice for two different issues because they weren't fixed correctly the first time. Not recommended!

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Rip-off. They charged me $418.94 for one (1) front brake caliper on a 1997 Nissan pickup. At Napa the Part Number: CAL SE1507 cost $ 38.99, Merchants changed me $130.75 to buy it from them. One (1) small brake line, Napa Part Number: UP 38554 cost $15.99, Merchants charged $27.54. The real kicker is all the ** "fees". $60.49 to bleed one brake caliper? WTF. $35.00 shop fee? For what? After the cost of (their parts) it cost $260.65 in labor alone, the best part is... the truck was only on the shop for about 55 minutes, I have witnesses. How can they charge $250.00 in labor for one (1) hour of work on a 97 pickup, nothing fancy. Stay away from this place. There are mechanic shops around Chesterfield Va. that treat their customer really decent, do yourself a favor and find somewhere else for auto repairs and tires.

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I thought $20 for an oil change was such a great deal. I got my oil changed at Merchant's after taking advantage of this special offer. After I got my oil change... I noticed my car was acting a little wonky. I just blamed it on wear and tear and the age of the vehicle. The weather has finally changed here in Virginia, so it was freezing the other night, my car lost power so bad, I almost didn't make it up the hill! I went to the nearest trusted mechanic in my neighborhood, who started asking me some probing questions in regards to what happened. He then advised me to test drive my car around the block and up a hill, MAJOR difference! Merchant's had loaded my car up with a cheap, watered down oil that has caused damage to my intake AND exhaust solenoids.

Thankfully the mechanic that caught this issue was able to pinpoint the issue. He even recommended I reach out to Merchant's and let them know the issue... but I don't even want to deal with the whole "well bring it in and we can take a look at it for you" and end up paying more money for them to do more damage to my car. Congratulations, you lost a customer.

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I had an appointment to have tires installed. I stood in front of the counter in front of the service writers and waited 20 minutes before I was truly acknowledged. With an appointment, I still waited almost three hours. When I got home the tire pressure monitor came on and there was as much as 12lbs of pressure difference in the tires. One had 49lbs, one had 37 and so on. There's a lot more to this story, even a second trip to the store but all you need to know is never do business with these people.

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I give this place zero stars!!! We met my sister halfway between her school ECU and our hometown both two-hour drive in Greensboro NC. Her car broke down with NO brakes. We seen this merchant tire and pulled in. Of course it says they fix brakes! My dad went to ask them if they could help us out because our situation, we could not leave the car. The manager tells us they close at 6 and basically "Sorry about your luck we can't help." It was 4pm!!! They had two hours and still could not help us! Thank god for the auto parts store right beside this hell hole!! We also ask about another place that could help us because we was not familiar with this town the manager told us again "Sorry can't help. I don't know of anywhere that could help you." This place needs NEW management!! And obviously someone who can tell time!!

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If I could leave zero stars, I would. The only reason there is one star at all, is because of the courteousness of two individuals I'm afraid to name, because I don't want them to get in trouble. The other two store managers, who tried to help me, mysteriously disappeared as is the initial mechanic, oh please Lord Almighty, don't get me started on him! Outright lies to me and tried to tell me I needed new struts and shocks. My vehicle is dangerous to drive! Turns out, as I suspected, my vehicle does not need those things and they are fine. They are, in addition to being completely and utterly clueless when it comes how to service a vehicle, liars, cheaters, and scam artists! Complete and utter ineptitude and lack of customer service from every single person in that store other than those two gentlemen is beyond belief! Do not, under any circumstance, visit this location! Ever!

It took 12 visits. 12! In two months, for them to figure out they do not know how to balance tires. Beyond that, they neglected, after being asked repeatedly, to check the wheels for rust and corrosion before mounting and balancing $1000 worth of brand-new tires. Not only that but I was also told that they would never service my vehicle ever again, including the rotating of the tires which are supposed to come with the purchase of the tires for life!

I'm needless to say this is not going to be my first review nor will it be my first communication to as many people as possible about this particular establishment. Therefore, not only will post this, but I will tell every single person I know anywhere not to visit Merchants Tire and Auto on route 28 in Centreville Virginia and I've also told them to take their business elsewhere, oh and by the way, that is Virginia Tire and Auto on Lee Hwy. in Centerville. They're amazing! Oh, and watch out for the hole in the floor when you walk in the front door. It's covered over by a rug. That should tell you something.

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I had an axle changed. The car broke down 100 feet away. They changed a belt. Car has never been the same. GM took a week to call back. He was nonchalant.

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Took my car in to get my State inspection sticker renewed and was told it would be 1900 dollars. I got in my car and drove away. Are you kidding me?? I did get my state inspection sticker renewed without giving Merchants 1,900. I will never ever never never go back there again.

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I bought a new tire and had Merchant install the tire. Upon driving away from the shop, a pair of pliers flew out from beneath my car, popped the new tire and scratched the side of my vehicle. I immediately took it back and they said they won't cover it, I have to a new tire. They said it wasn't their pliers. I am pursuing legal action. My attorney is also looking at past records for possible padded charges.

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Jacksonville, NC off Western Blvd. - I took my car here starting out with a simple oil leak. When I got my car back the check engine light was on and it was hard to turn. After driving it for about a month my car caught on fire because the power steering line rubbed against a bolt and leaked out. After spending another $300 to fix that I drove it off and it was once again hard to steer and my check engine light came back on. So I brought it back again and they told me my EGR valve was broken so they replaced that again costing me money, and then I drove it off and the check engine light was still on. After coming back at least 4 times they told there was something else that needed to be replaced which they did. So I drove off.

Weeks later I'm sitting in a drive-thru and my car starts smoking so I pull over and all my antifreeze leaks out and my ac no longer works. So I bring it back again and they tell me there's a crack in my antifreeze reservoir. So I spend $320 to fix that and another hose that was leaking. So I drove off again. And when I went through another drive-thru my car overheated again and started smoking. So I pulled over and all my antifreeze leaked out again.

So I took it back and they said "The cooling fans are not working Which will cost $260 and that's half off of labor" he said. I asked if I had to pay for it and was told yes because this is an electrical problem which is totally different from the first problem I had and since I didn't call the day I drove it off and say that it was still overheating that that was my fault. And I asked why this problem was not brought up when I first brought it in and he said because the fans worked when I brought it in a few days ago. Needless to say, I will no longer bring my car to Merchant's and I would highly recommend people to not waste their money being scammed at this establishment.

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I took my 2006 Ford Expedition to Merchant's in Frederick Maryland on June 11 due to my steering was not functioning properly. I first met a salesman named ** (I think). I described the conditions I was having with my steering, not able to return to center and difficult turning. Since I was there, I wanted to check into some new tires for my SUV as well. Once they took it into the bay, another gentleman (**, Store Manager) began to evaluate underneath my SUV.

Watching him from the window, I was impressed how thorough (it appeared) he was going from front to back underneath my SUV. When he came into the show room with his report on my truck, he had mentioned my front struts were leaking and showing wear and the rear ones were similar condition as the front ones. Also, I had a front axle seal leaking.

In conversation, he had mentioned he could also do a power steering fluid flush. He was proud to say, before working with Merchant's, he worked for Ford and basically knew what he was talking about and what he advised and recommended would likely take care of my steering problem. I told him that I did not want the rear struts replaced and just focus on the front and take care of problems by the "PROCESS OF ELIMINATION" repairing my steering. He agreed and confirmed performing the work with that idea of Process of Elimination. I had to leave my SUV all day for the repairs.

Yes I did purchase 4 tires from them as well. Replacing my front (2) struts including labor was $792.46. Left front axle seal $24.47, wheel alignment $124.99, "Steering wheel labor" $66.00 assuming this was the power steering flush and an air filter at $15.99! Everything including four tires came close to $1800.00. The initial estimate was a little over $1600.00 and when I questioned him about it, he did agree it was around that estimate and he began to change the price by discounting various charges, making me feel like he was doing me a favor. Final bill was $1699.93 (including 4 tires).

I also asked him "if I had to replace my power steering unit, how much it would cost.” He gave me a written estimate for a new "Steering Rack & New Power Steering Pump" for $1272.29! When I was ready to leave, he said if I wanted to come back and have my power steering flushed again, he would do it for no charge, but recommended to use it for a while to see if conditions improve. When I left, I was still having the same problems turning, but maybe a slight improvement. I did have to return the next day because of one of the wheel weights came off in my driveway when I returned home from my repairs. I met with ** with my invoice in my hand.

I mentioned to him I had a concern with the invoice and went over with him my concerns. I questioned him on an "air filter $15.99" which was listed under "install left front axle seal" and the replacement of my front struts @ almost $800. I asked him if the air filter was part of the axle seal or a typical air filter for an engine. He said it was a typical air filter for an engine. Then I asked him if the air filter and struts had anything to do with repairing my steering problem. He said NO, that it was "Safety & Routine" maintenance issues. Prior to the work being done, he DID NOT mention these other items were safety issues and/or maintenance issues and did not have anything to do with fixing my steering.

He clearly understood I was only interested in resolving my steering issues by performing repairs as needed by the Process of Elimination. By this time, I felt sick to my stomach and embarrassed how I could have been taken by them performing other work that had nothing to do with my steering. I relied on his advice and recommendations to resolve my steering problems. I was so upset, I walked out and left. I went online to find a "corporate Merchant's office" to complain and have not been able to find one.

I think of this experience everyday and to this day, I have not discussed with my wife why I approved all the work done, when clearly the majority of the work had nothing to do with my steering. It appears there should have been a $66 charge for flushing out my power steering and replacing my tires. It appears I have been over charged approximately $1000.00 for work that had nothing to do with my steering!!! I do not plan returning back to Merchant's ever again for service. I feel I have been taken advantage of from a company that I thought I could trust. Any advice on what I should do next would be appreciated.

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Merchant's Tire, Jacksonville, NC - The salesman guaranteed me that my car would be looked at, and I would be consulted with before any work was done to give an informed consent. He specifically said that the tech would tell him what was wrong, he would convey this to me, and I could then speak with the tech. He said he would even escort me into the service area to ask questions before anything was done. The man promised my ac would be recharged for $159.00 total price and $69.00 total price for an oil change.

He never mentioned additional fees for other items or labor. He indicated the quotes were all inclusive by being totally silent about additional fees and labor costs. These extras were never once mentioned to me. I called an hour later and was told the tech was still inspecting. I returned shortly after my call to find they had completed evacuating and recharging my ac even though they found my compressor and fans were bad and needed replacing. So, this work was completely bogus. I had just come from another place that put in the dye, and merchants even said they saw the dye, but still did the work anyway. The $69.00 oil change was a lie as well because they charged me for 4 other items that was not quoted to me upfront. I would have declined that service if the man had been honest and revealed the extra fees to me.

Also, I would have declined the evac on my ac if they had discussed with me up front that my compressor needed replacing along with my fans. Why did they evac an ac compressor that did not even work? Why did they fill it full of dye when they saw it had just been done 15 minutes before I arrived there? Why did the salesman hide the fact that he was going to charge me for labor and instead lead me to believe his one price quote was all inclusive. Because he thought I was a dumb woman. They never gave me the opportunity to decline the service because they never discussed their inspection with me like they promised. They saw a female come in all by herself and took complete advantage of me. However, I recorded the man's whole spiel on my phone, so this time merchants will not get away with this.

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Merchant's Tire- 10008 Brook Rd. Glen Allen, VA 23059 - I brought in my Toyota 4Runner three weeks ago for an inspection and was told that I needed a few things, most importantly wheel bearings. I sat for 6 hours waiting for them to take it apart (to be fair, it's a pain) and do the work, and was also told I needed to get my headlights repointed which I had done a year or so prior.

Literally upon leaving the store, on the ride home I noticed I now had a vibration in the steering wheel when breaking out of highway speeds (for example, taking an off ramp). I drove it a couple more weeks and had others drive it to make sure it wasn't just a rough road issue, then brought it back in. I was told that I now have a bad caliper that would not have passed inspection, which is interesting since I was here FOR the inspection three weeks ago.

Total refusal that it could be related to the work they did, in spite of the fact that they PASSED me for inspection and it started immediately upon leaving after they did the work. I will never return to this shop and will be sure to let everyone I know about this. I knew they had a bad reputation, but took a chance out of necessity on timing, and am paying a huge time and financial price for it. These guys are scam artists and liars.

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I recently spent nearly $2,000 with Merchant's Tire & Auto Center in Leesburg Virginia on standard maintenance items like tires and an oil change. Over-priced, but I'm willing to spend money if I trust the shop that's doing the work. A couple month's after my oil change I found that my truck had leaked all of the oil out via somewhere around the oil pan. I refilled the engine with oil and dropped it off for merchant's to take a look at. They told me that they could not find anything wrong with the truck. The very next day the oil light came on and I dropped it off again. They gave me a long list of items that they 'recommended' me to replace and they tell me that they will waive the diagnostic fee of $110 if I choose to have them do the work. I know my way around an engine, but have no time to do this work myself. I call them back and tell them what items that I wanted them to correct and what items I didn't want to replace at this time.

The manager gets on the phone and tells me very rudely that he will not do the work unless I replace everything on the list ($700 worth of replacements). I explain to him that I work on my vehicle, know it, and therefore do not want certain items replaced at this time. He finally gives in and says that he will replace the items that I was asking for, but will not warranty it and that I now owe the $110 diagnostic fee. So I tell them not to touch my truck. I share this information in hopes that it helps to prevent someone else from wasting time and money on a shop full of parts-changers as opposed to mechanics. There are several other places in town that do honest work at reasonable prices. This place doesn't fall into either of those two categories.

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Something stinks! Had an appointment at 9:00 for balance and rotation. Recently noticed that when I was there the last time one tire had been mounted with white lettering facing in, all others were facing out, so asked that it be corrected this time. An hour later I was told my truck was ready. The manager even walked me out to see that the tire mounting had been corrected. When I questioned why the tire was still in the same location if they had been rotated, he gave me some lip service and said he had watch the guy rotate them. Once at home, I asked my husband how are tires supposed to be rotated and why then was this one in the same place on the vehicle. He called the store and was told by the manager, that it apparently was missed and an honest mistake. Right??? I immediately took the vehicle back and spoke with the technician that had done the work.

When I asked if the tires had been rotated, he did not answer. At this point I stood outside the bay and watched while they rotate and balanced all four tires. The manager had no problem with taking my money for service not completed. He even clipped the coupon I had brought in with me for rotation and balance. I only take my vehicle back there, as this is where I purchased the tires and free rotation is part of the warranty. But if they don't rotate them, then it really doesn't matter!!! If you do decide to use this company for any type of service, I suggest you stand outside the bay and watch carefully. That's what I will do going forward, should I decide to go back. My advice find another dealer!

Expert Review

Lauren FixAutomotive Contributing Editor

Lauren Fix is an automotive expert who earned the title of The Car Coach, and is recognized throughout all forms of media as a woman with in-depth knowledge on vehicles, technology, automotive finance, repair and trends. Founder of Automotive Aspects, Inc., her understanding of automobiles has made her the “go to” person on TV, radio, print and the internet. She writes a column for multiple outlets including Parade Magazine, NewsMax and Car Coach Reports. She is a regular guest on all the major news and morning shows discussing the latest updates on cars that will help drivers of all ages learn to about cars and make smart decisions.    More about Lauren→

Merchant’s Tire & Auto was founded as a family business in Virginia in the 1940s. Today, the chain is owned by TBC Retail Group and headquartered in Florida. Merchant’s sells and mounts tires and also performs other automotive services.

  • TBC Retail Group brand: Because TBC owns Merchant’s, the company’s other brands will honor customers’ store agreements and warranties for products and services purchased at Merchant’s. Other brands include Tire Kingdom, NTB and Big O Tire stores. There are over 1,200 TBC owned locations in the United States and Canada.
  • Environmental practices: Merchant’s helps customers make their vehicles more fuel efficient by offering free tire pressure checks (low tire pressure contributes to low gas mileage) and selling low rolling resistance tires. They also properly recycle or dispose of old batteries, used fluids and tires.
  • Wheel tool: Those shopping for wheels can use Merchant’s Wheel Visualizer Tool, which shows users how different wheels might look on their make and model of vehicle.
  • Online scheduling: Customers can find the nearest Merchant’s location and schedule an appointment online. By creating an online account, customers can receive maintenance reminders via email.
  • Best for Merchant’s is best for those looking for tires and/or who want services performed by an ASE-Certified technician.

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Merchant's Tire & Auto Company Profile

Company Name:
Merchants Tire Auto
Website:
http://www.merchantstire.com/