California Tire Fees May Be Charged for Only New Tires


California law requires sellers of new tires, including new and used car dealers, to charge customers a fee for the sale of new tires.  The current fee is $1.75 per new tire.  The tire fee is collected to defray the cost of used tire disposal and is deposited into tire disposal and air pollution control funds.  The funds help pay for things such as tire recycling, cleaning up disposed used tires, shredding used tires, and researching alternative ways of disposing of used tires. 

The tire fee, however, may not be collected in connection with the sale of used tires, including used tires sold on used cars.  Car dealers sometimes use pre-printed forms with the maximum tire fee ($8.75) already filled in and use this same pre-printed form for new and used vehicle sales.  Car dealers also might enter the tire fee in contracts for used cars out of habit.  In addition, car dealers might intentionally charge buyers of used vehicles the tire fee to line their pockets.  As a result, there are a number of circumstances under which consumers might be charged the tire fee even though their vehicles were not sold with new tires.  For these reasons, buyers of used cars with old tires should double check their sales agreements to ensure that they are not being charged a tire fee for used tires.  Further, although the tire fee may be relatively small, the potential penalty for illegally collecting the tire fee is huge.


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