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“California Tire Fee” Scams

The California Tire Fee is a Tax of $1.75 for Every “New” Tire Sold in California

Under California law (specifically, California Public Resources Code Section 42885), everyone who purchases a “new” tire in California must pay a “California Tire Fee” of $1.75 per tire. This includes new car buyers, who typically have to pay the California Tire Fee for the four new tires installed on their new vehicle, plus the spare. In most new car purchases, the buyer pays a total California Tire Fee of $8.75 (i.e., 5 tires x $1.75 each). Not surprisingly, California Public Resources Code Section 42885(b)(3) requires car dealerships to pay over the money they collect for the California Tire Fee to the California government.

Some Unscrupulous Car Dealer’s Attempt to Collect the California Tire Fee on Used Car Sales

Because the California Tire Fee only applies to “new” tire purchases, it generally should not be imposed on the sale of a used car or truck. Rather, the first owner would have paid the applicable California Tire Fee when he or she purchased the vehicle, or when he or she installed new replacement tires. Nonetheless, because the California Tire Fee is an official government fee – which has the appearance of legitimacy – some car dealers have attempted to insert phony charges for the California Tire Fee into the purchase contracts for used vehicles, in order to keep the supposed “government fee” for themselves.

Although tricking people into paying an extra $8.75 each may not sound like much, this scam works so well that some dealerships charge everyone the California Tire Fee, regardless of whether or not the car has new tires. For used car dealerships, an extra $8.75 of illegal profit per vehicle multiplied by the hundreds or thousands of used cars that they sell every year turns into a significant amount.

Victims of California Tire Fee Scams May Entitled to a Vehicle Buyback or Substantial Monetary Damages

Although this scam does not violate the California lemon law statute, it is a form of auto fraud that the Vachon Law Firm has substantial experience in prosecuting. Charging consumers for the California Tire Fee, when no fee is owed, is illegal under California’s Automobile Sales Finance Act, the Consumers Legal Remedies Act, California’s Unfair Competition Law, and Public Resources Code Section 42885(e) and (f).
If you purchased a used car or truck, and the dealership wrongfully charged you for the California Tire Fee, call the Vachon Law Firm right now at (858) 674-4100 Consultations are always FREE! And we can tell you whether you are entitled to monetary recovery or a vehicle buyback.