Muscat: The Public Authority for Consumer Protection (PACP) has busted a racket of palming off used faulty tyres as ‘almost new’ and have caught 13 suspects. “We have arrested 13 Asian expatriates for passing off damaged tyres as useable new after working on them at a workshop,” revealed Saeed Bin Khamis Al Kaabi, PACP Chairman. He further added that as part of their (PACP) commitment to safety of consumers in Oman, the authorities were determined to stamp out malpractices in every trade. “The case of re-treaded tyres is a serious one and such practice puts lives of everyone on Oman’s roads at risk,” he pointed out. He, however, revealed that when the team from PACP raided the premises workers were engaged in re-grooving and polishing old tyres while a truck, loaded with faulty old tyres, was parked outside the store. The case has been handed over to the Public Prosecution for legal action against the business owners and the workers.

According to the Royal Oman Police statistics, over five per cent of the fatal accidents in the country are caused due to faulty tyres. According to ROP statistics, defective tyres caused 323 accidents in 2011 and 57 people in died in that out of a total of 1,052 fatalities that year. The statistics for accidents caused by faulty tyres in 2012 was not available. The PACP has refrained from divulging full details of the case as it is ‘sub-judice’ but sources from the tyre industry believe that the accused are trying to pass off damaged tyres as usable to gullible consumers. Another industry source said that from the pictures released by the PACP, it seems that the suspects are working on very old car tyres. “In some countries re-grooving is done on used commercial vehicle tyres but one needs expertise to do so, I don’t think the suspects had that kind of expertise and equipment to re-groove tyres of passenger cars,” he pointed out.

A senior executive with over three decade of experience in tyre industry in Oman and UAE advocates a complete ban on used tyres.

“There are stringent parameters set by the GCC Standardisation Organisation for importing brand new tyres even from the most reputed international companies,” Dennis Lazro, Business Development Manager for Yas Tyres, told Gulf News. However, he added that in Oman authorities allow used tyres. “There should be complete ban on used tyres in the GCC region,” he reckons, adding that about 80 per cent of the over 200 tyres vendors in Muscat sell used tyres also. “The re-treaded tyre for commercial vehicles is used internationally and also helps our environment,” Lazro pointed out. He also said that discarding used tyres was a problem in Muscat as there was no recycling plant in Oman. Therefore, he believes, use of re-treaded tyres for big commercial vehicles should be encouraged. At the same time he stressed that re-treading was different from palming off used-faulty tyres as almost new.