FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Todd Hallidy
A.G. BRADY SAYS TIRE RESTITUTION PROGRAM UNDERWAY
(Wilmington, DE) -- Delaware Attorney General M. Jane Brady today announced that the restitution process specified in the recent settlement with Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. is going forward on two fronts. First, consumers whose claims for reimbursement for tires were either fully or partially rejected by the company will be receiving a letter in the mail about the reconsideration process. Second, restitution money is also available for eligible Delaware consumers who did not submit their claim with a Bridgestone/Firestone dealer.
This week, Bridgestone/Firestone is mailing out approximately 30,000 notices to consumers nationwide who received a full denial of their refund request under Bridgestone/Firestone's "Voluntary Safety Tire Recall Reimbursement Program" and Customer Satisfaction Programs announced in August, September and October, 2000. Later this month, approximately 100,000 additional notices will be sent to consumers who requested reimbursement and received a partial denial from Bridgestone/Firestone. The consumers targeted by this mailing are those who submitted their claims directly through Bridgestone/Firestone dealers. It is not known precisely how many Delaware consumers will be receiving the letters, but it is estimated that several hundred Delawareans could be eligible.
"Dissatisfied consumers need to know that these letters are coming and that they should respond in a timely fashion," said Attorney General Brady. " In addition, Delaware insisted on a settlement concession that also assures full restitution to deserving consumers who did not submit their claims through a dealer. Those individuals should contact the Consumer Protection Unit at my office to obtain a complaint form, if they have not already done so."
Delaware consumers with questions, or needing a complaint form, may call the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Unit at (800)-220-5424 or (302)-577-8600.
The $51.5 million settlement was announced in November, 2001 between Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. and all the states and U.S. territories. Under the settlement provisions, consumers who receive and return the reconsideration forms that are being mailed this month will have their denial reviewed by Bridgestone/Firestone under a credible evidence standard. The company will either: (1) pay the request for a refund or (2) contact the consumer and let the consumer know the reason for the denial and that the consumer has a right to send the denial to an independent arbitrator for review. The arbitration process is provided at no cost to consumers. A request for arbitration review must be requested within 45 days by returning the request for arbitration form.
Bridgestone/Firestone has estimated that
this restitution program will cost the company $10 million. However, the
settlement requires Bridgestone/Firestone to complete the restitution
program regardless of cost.