State of Rhode Island will receive approximately $654,000 to resolve allegations of state consumer protection law violations
The State of Rhode Island will receive approximately $654,000 as part of a multistate settlement with automakers Hyundai and Kia to resolve claims that the companies misrepresented the mileage and fuel economy ratings for some of their model year 2011, 2012 and 2013 vehicles, Attorney General Kilmartin announced today.
The $41.2 million settlement between the 33 states and the District of Columbia and the Hyundai Motor Company, Hyundai Motor America, Kia Motors Corporation, Inc., and Kia Motors America, Inc. concludes a multi-state investigation into the companies' business practices relating to fuel economy estimate adjustments that occurred at a time when gasoline prices in the United States were especially high. As part of the settlement, the State of Rhode Island will receive $654,000 to resolve allegations the companies violated state consumer protection laws.
"Automakers need to be honest in how they represent their vehicles, especially when it comes to such matters as emissions and fuel economy. Many consumers weigh these factors heavily when making a decision on what make and model of automobile to purchase. To fix the data to sell more cars is deceptive and violates our consumer protection laws," said Attorney General Kilmartin.
State and federal law set limits on emissions from vehicles sold in the United States. Before vehicles may be offered for sale in the country, auto manufacturers must conduct testing under mandatory protocols set by government regulators and use the resulting data from that testing to support applications demonstrating their vehicles' conformity to those standards.
In November 2012, Hyundai and Kia announced they were adjusting and restating the fuel economy ratings for certain model year 2011, 2012 and 2013 vehicles after it was revealed that the companies had overstated the fuel efficiency of certain vehicles.
The states alleged that Hyundai and Kia incorporated the inflated and inaccurate data into the estimated mileage ratings displayed on the window stickers of hundreds of thousands of cars in Rhode Island and across the country. The states also alleged that the companies sought to capitalize on the erroneous mileage estimates by placing them prominently in a variety of advertisements and other promotional campaigns.
The states alleged that these actions were likely to mislead consumers and were material to consumers' decisions to purchase particular vehicles during a time of high gasoline prices. Attorney General Kilmartin alleged that these actions constituted violations of the Rhode Island Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
In addition to Rhode Island, the multistate group – led by the states of Connecticut, Iowa and Illinois – includes Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.