Wal-Mart has agreements with tire manufacturers such as Goodyear and Michelin/Uniroyal/Goodrich (same company) to exclusively sell certain tires from these manufacturers. These include the Goodyear Viva/Viva II/Viva
Touring, Uniroyal Radial A/S and others. However, the manufacturers DO
NOT provide their normal warranties for these tires. If you search on these tire names on the manufacturer's websites, you will find that they specifically disclaim warranty coverage for these tires, and say that warranty coverage is only available through Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart provides no such disclaimer in their advertising, so there is no way to know this without going to the manufacturer's websites. Customers are led to believe that they are buying national-brand tires with a national warranty, when they are not. It appears that these manufacturers are simply allowing their names to be used so they can sell a high volume of lower-quality tires through Wal-Mart.
However, the problem is much more serious. Wal-Mart still advertises mileage and defect warranties for these tires, but in fact, they WILL NOT provide copies of warranties to customers, nor are they available in the stores or by mail. These warranties apparently DO NOT EXIST. This is a violation of Federal Trade Commission regulations under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, which requires advertised warranties to be provided to customers or be available in stores. (See "A Businessperson's Guide To Federal Warranty Law" at www.ftc.gov). It is also a violation of federal and state laws for deceptive sales practices.
I have tried for nearly a year to get a copy of the warranty for some tires that I purchased at Wal-Mart, and they will not send it to me. The Wal-Mart managers and customer service people seem oblivious to the requirements
of the federal regulations. Even worse, an automotive consumer radio show on KKZN radio (760 AM) in Denver has reported that Wal-Mart is not honoring these advertised tire mileage warranties. Obviously, if they won't give you a copy of the warranty, it makes it impossible to enforce it's terms.
This same sort of scam is going on with various manufacturers of other products such as car batteries. For example, Exide batteries will not honor warranties for their auto batteries sold through the now-defunct Country General farm supply stores.
Michelin/Uniroyal/Goodrich and Goodyear are well aware of this situation and disclaim any responsibility. I will not buy any Michelin/Uniroyal/Goodrich tires or Goodyear tires so long as this nonsense is going on.
I would suggest that, whenever you buy tires, ask for a copy of a MANUFACTURER'S warranty in advance, before you buy the tires. Don't settle for a store warranty or verbal promises. If the warranty has a list of tire models that are covered, make sure your model is listed. If you don't have something in writing, you've got no warranty.