Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive
Thursday, November 8, 2001
CORNYN ANNOUNCES BRIDGESTONE/FIRESTONE LAWSUIT, SETTLEMENT
Texas, Other States to Benefit from $51.5 Million Settlement
AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn, along with attorneys general in 52 other jurisdictions, today sued Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. for deceptive trade practices stemming from the advertising, sale and recall of tires the states allege to be defective and dangerous.
At the same time, the states have filed a $51.5 million nationwide settlement with the company. Texas is slated to receive more than $1.2 million under this agreement. Bridgestone/Firestone has denied any wrongdoing.
The joint settlement resolves numerous state deceptive trade practice allegations related to Bridgestone/Firestone's advertising and sale of particular tires that had high rates of tread separations and alleged misrepresentations made during the company's tire replacement process.
"I am pleased that Bridgestone/Firestone has stepped forward to resolve this matter with the states," said Cornyn. "Today's settlement will provide greater protections for Texas consumers who purchase and use Bridgestone/Firestone tires in the future."
The tires involved included those from three separate tire replacement programs announced by Bridgestone/Firestone in August and September 2000 and October 2001.While the scope and terms of tire recalls are governed by federal law through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the states were concerned primarily with representations made to consumers about how the tires could be used safely and how the company honored its warranties and recall promises.
Under the settlement, a total of $26.5 million will be equally divided as a monetary payment to each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Bridgestone/Firestone will spend an estimated $10 million to make refunds to consumers who were improperly denied restitution under the earlier refund programs. This amount is in addition to the approximately $450 million already spent by the company to replace tires in these jurisdictions.
Today's announced settlement does not preclude any legal actions by individuals who claim to have been injured as a result of tire defects.
Approximately $10 million is earmarked to pay for the costs of the states' investigations. Another $5 million will be devoted to national public service announcement campaign conducted by the attorneys general.
In addition, Bridgestone/Firestone will reevaluate consumer claims for reimbursement and make restitution to those Texas consumers whose previous claims are determined to be eligible. The company will mail information to consumers whose previous claims were denied, notifying them of the restitution program.
The settlement also prohibits Bridgestone/Firestone from misrepresenting the qualities or appropriate uses of any tire or the terms of any warranty or recall program. The company must have reliable scientific evidence to support any specific claims of tire safety, performance or durability.
Also under the agreement, Bridgestone/Firestone will provide each consumer that buys tires from Bridgestone/Firestone with detailed safety information. This includes information about proper tire maintenance, load capacity, air pressure, proper tire repair, and warranty information. The company agrees to handle consumer complaints in a truthful, ethical and timely manner.
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