SARASOTA, FLORIDA -- This letter is being written to warn others of risks taken when dealing with OE Wheel Distributors of Sarasota, Florida. The following is the letter that I have written to the Better Business Bureau, Consumer Protection Agency of Florida, Ford Motor Company, my credit card company who will be contesting the transaction on my behalf and eBay who I'm sure will be doing its own investigation soon.
I contacted "OE Wheels" approximately 10 days ago regarding some Ford OEM wheels that I saw for sale on eBay. I had just bought a new truck and was eager to get some new wheels on it as the stock ones were bland and boring to say the least.
I spoke to a man named "Scott" who assured me these wheels were not used and were in fact "brand-new take-offs" from a brand-new vehicle. His story was that a large dealership was supplying the company he worked for with "brand-new take-offs" from vehicles that were being "upgraded" with even more fancy wheels and tires. That said, it was my understanding these wheels were BRAND-NEW and in perfect condition. Why would I think otherwise after being told the above-mentioned story? So I bought them.
Fast forward to the day they arrive at my shop. With all the excitement that accompanies a child opening a gift on Christmas, I eagerly cut the tape on the top box then proceeded to open it. I was very pleased with their appearance! However, as we all know, looks can be deceiving. After smiling over the now-exposed wheel for a few moments, a co-worker pointed out that 'BENT' was written on the rim in black marker. I immediately took the wheel from its box for a closer look and in fact the word 'BENT' did appear in black marker on what is known as the "barrel" of the rim.
At this point, the other 3 remaining wheels were removed from their respective boxes. Not just one rim had 'BENT' written on it, three of the four wheels that I had purchased from OE Wheels did in fact have the word 'BENT' written on them. I was startled to say the least.
Not an hour after the wheels arrived, I contacted OE Wheels and spoke to "Scott" and told him of my findings and new-found concerns. He repeatedly assured me of their integrity and went on to "guarantee" these wheels were straight. He insisted I have them "spun" (tested) to confirm his statements were true. Of course, I had a slew of questions about 'BENT' being written on three of the four wheels in first place. After all, why would you allow straight wheels to be shipped to a customer with the word 'BENT' written on them? (Sounds like someone forgot to wipe it off before shipping to me.)
After seemingly endless verbal wandering, he reluctantly changed his story from "brand-new take-offs" (see first paragraph) to "Ford wholesale wheels". He claimed that "someone up the chain at Ford Motor Company" was writing 'BENT' on brand-new Ford OEM wheels to "move them at wholesale prices". According to "Scott" at OE Wheels, this is a needed action since truck sales were down and there was a surplus of new Ford wheels lying around taking up space at Ford.
Now at this point, I'd like to make something very clear. This second story I'm now being told is either one of two things: 1) a complete lie fabricated in an attempt to appease a concerned and upset customer; or 2) confirmation of a scam involving OE Wheels and someone working for Ford Motor Company.
First thing's first! Had I been told upfront, upon my first phone conversation with "Scott" that these wheels were possibly being hijacked from Ford Motor Company under the false pretense of being "damaged" in order to obtain a "wholesale price", I wouldn't have purchase them! Again, three of the four wheels I received clearly say 'BENT' on them! Instead I was told they were "brand-new take-offs from a new vehicle that was being up-graded".
I wasn't told they would arrive with the word 'BENT' written on them or that a "guy on the inside at Ford Motor Company" was making the decision to call new Ford wheels damaged in order to "move them" as "Scott" at OE wheels later said was the real story. That's fraud! In fact, if "Scott" second story is true, OE Wheels is in the business of selling wheels that have been obtained under fraudulent circumstances.
I wonder how corporate management or perhaps the financial minds at Ford would feel about the money being spent on researching, designing, manufacturing and marketing wheels that are being chucked out the back door under the false pretense of being damaged goods by one of their own?
On to the test results: I have a attached a copy of the test results clearly showing 'BENT' was not merely a term written on three of the four rims in order to obtain them at wholesale prices as "Scott" at OE Wheels would have had me to believe. They are in fact bent! All four of them! .039 is the standard for most independent tire and wheel shops. The least bent wheel tested at .042! Now compare the results to Ford's maximum run-out specification which is .029!!!
Upon receiving the results via fax, "Shawn" the manager, said a call tag would be issued as well as a refund. I was pleased to hear that this saga was over. However, after speaking with him today, he has informed me that according to HIS machine, only one of the rims is bent and another one was "damaged", which I would be held responsible for, not UPS! What an outrage! He went on to ADMIT that I was lied to and mislead into buying these wheels by his salesman "Scott" but refused me a full refund, citing his "test" results. This is as bad a business as I've ever seen!
EBAY SELLER , SARASOTA FLORIDA -- This company has been a seller on Ebay since 2000. It seems they don't mind selling you wheels. Just be sure you don't have any problems. They have bad attitudes and poor customer service. If you are looking for wheels for your car try AFS or SLP.
ZR-1 wheels were described as being for my car, but had a very bad vibration problem, balanced them 3 times, put other brand ZR-1 wheels on and balanced one time, vibration went away. I spent over $200.00 changing tires and balancing. I tried doing all I could to use these wheels. Enough is enough. I should have been able to put the new tires on the wheels and balance them and drive without vibrations that bad. Just like I did when I put another set of wheels on. Seller says I may need other parts to make these work on my car. Seller is trying to make my keep a bad product, that does not work properly. Seller refuses to give refund.
Buyer beware. Bad customer service. They just point out their disclaimers and no return policy when you have a problem. If you have had problems with this company please Email me about it. There is strength in numbers.
On 10-19-2004 I won an Ebay auction by using the buy it now for a set of ZR-1 wheels advertised as meeting OEM specifications and would fit on my 1994 firebird. On 10-20-2004 I put a money order for $569.60 in the U. S. Mail to the address given me through email from the seller. I received the wheels approximately two weeks later, 11-08-2004.
That Saturday, 11-13-2004, I had them mounted on new tires, balanced, and put on my car. When I drove away from the place that I had them mounted at I noticed vibration and shaking. I took them back on Monday, 11-15-2004, and they balanced them again. Upon leaving I noticed the shaking and vibrating seemed worse. I went right back and they checked the balancing again and when putting them back on the car noticed that the wheels didn't fit tight on the center hub. The Manager told me that was probably what was causing the vibrating and shaking and that if I changed the wheels that would solve the problem.
The following Saturday, 11-20-2004, I replaced the wheels with another set of ZR-1 wheels from a different manufacturer the same tires were used and they were balanced once and the hub center holes fit tight. The vibration and shaking went away. Upon asking several times for a refund for the bad wheels from O. E. Wheel I was told no, called names, and everything but their wheels was blamed as being the problem.
Description of how you were defrauded: When I looked at the auction for the wheels they were described as being made to OEM specifications, and it listed different years and makes of cars that the wheels fit on. I do not believe that they are made to OEM specifications as the wheels fit too loose on the center hub. My other GM wheels fit tight on the center hub and do not shake. I believe I was misled into purchasing wheels that were advertised as fitting my vehicle which in fact do not properly fit and are dangerous.
Information about Victims: I am not aware of anyone that has had the exact same problem. I am aware of others that have had trouble getting refunds because of other problems with wheels they purchased. Below are a couple of emails I received from others.