Reader writes: Merchant did him wrong

January 17, 2014 

Ripped off on the road

I have read many letters in your paper from people who were stranded in Johnston County and were saved, one way or another, by local merchants. I found the letters interesting at best until I had the misfortune to be stranded with a blowout on my tow dolly in Virginia. As a 25-year member in good standing, I phoned AAA only to be told “Sorry, you don’t have an RV membership, so we can’t help you. Goodbye.” Who knew.

I took the tire off the tow dolly, jumped the fence and flagged down a motorist who took me to a towing and repair shop. Fortunately, they had a tire and were able to get me on my way. That’s where the good news stops.

I was charged $129.95 for a tire that I can buy at Agri Supply for $89 for just the tire or $104 for the tire and rim. That I don’t mind. After all, he wasn’t looking to make me a repeat customer. What hurt was that he charged me $90 to mount the tire. In 50 years of driving, I have never been charged to have a new tire mounted. In my days up North, the cost to take off summer tires and remount winter tires ran between $10 and $15 a tire, certainly not $90.

To add insult to injury, when the serviceman put the tire on the tow dolly, he didn’t clear away the debris from the plastic fender that was destroyed when the tire blew. I had not gone even a quarter-mile down the interstate when a piece of the broken fender got stuck between the tow dolly and the tire, and it destroyed the tire. When we went back to the repair shop, he again charged me $129.95 for another tire (even though his serviceman, in my opinion, didn’t do the job right). Then, he “only” charged me $70 to mount the new tire.

My reason for writing is that if Johnston County merchants don’t overcharge tourists the Virginia repair shop did me, then Johnston County residents can rest assured that the merchants will treat them with equal honesty.

Ken Fitzgerald

Pine Level

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