Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced that Oregonians will share in an estimated $10 million in restitution as part of a $51.5 million multi-state settlement agreement with Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. The Department of Justice today filed a lawsuit and settlement agreement regarding the alleged misrepresentations made by the defendant during the replacement process of some defective tires and in the promotion of those tires. The agreement was filed in Marion County Circuit Court and admits no law violation.
"Oregon had a high participation rate in the earlier tire recall programs with over 272,793 tires already having been replaced at a value of more than $28 million," Myers said. "This final settlement will provide a second chance for restitution to Oregonians whose earlier claims were denied or to those who have not yet filed claims."
Under the nationwide agreement, $26.5 million will be equally divided by all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. An estimated $10 million in restitution will be devoted to consumer restitution. Another $10 million is earmarked to pay investigation costs with $5 million more for a national public service announcement campaign conducted by the Attorneys General.
Today's agreement includes $500,000 for the Oregon Department of Justice consumer protection and education fund and $30,000 to pay for fees and investigative costs.
This agreement is the result of numerous consumer protection claims involving alleged misrepresentations regarding particular tires that had high rates of separations and additional alleged misrepresentations made during the tire recall process. There were three separate tire replacement programs including the first recall of August 2000, which included all P235/75 Rl5 Firestone Radial ATX, all P235/75 R15 Firestone Radial ATXII, and the P235/75 R15 Firestone Wilderness AT tires manufactured at the defendant's Decatur, Illinois plant.
Other tires included were involved in the Customer Satisfaction Program announced in September 2000 (list attached). Another recall was announced in October 2000 that included all Firestone Wilderness AT tires in the P235/75 R15 and P255/70 R16 sizes, which were produced before May 1998 and used as original equipment on Ford Explorers and Mercury Mountaineers for model years 1995 through 1998.
Under today's agreement, Oregonians who were denied refunds under earlier recalls will receive information in the mail on how to seek a reconsideration of their denial. The defendants must send the mailing in the next 60 days.
Oregon seeking refunds for the first time must file a complaint with the Attorney General's office no later than December 19 in order for Justice to process the claims and refer them to Bridgestone/Firestone by a settlement mandate of December 31, 2001.
Consumers wanting to file claims or seeking more information on the settlement may call the Attorney General's consumer hotline at (503) 378-4320 (Salem area only), (503) 229-5576 (Portland area only) or toll-free at 1-877-877-9392. Justice is online at www.doj.state.or.us.
Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) firstname.lastname@example.org