The Environmental Protection Agency has announced that Kia and Hyundai falsely labeled their 2012-2013 vehicles’ expected fuel economy by as much as six miles per gallon on window stickers. The companies will be required to re-label vehicles currently on dealer lots. The manufacturers have not identified the source of the problem other than to state, in Kia’s case, that it was due to a human error. The manufacturers have admitted to over-estimating gas mileage on 35% of their models dating back to 2011.
After receiving numerous complaints from consumers regarding what they were told, heard and read regarding Hyundai and Kia vehicle gas mileage, the EPA conducted its own investigation into the advertised gas mileage estimates from Kia and Hyundai and found discrepancies from one to six miles per gallon on thirteen models which covered almost the entire line of the manufacturers= vehicles.
But what about consumers who relied on the advertised estimates in making their purchase decision? These consumers may not only relied upon window stickers, but also upon aggressive television advertisements promoting the fuel economy of Hyundai and Kia vehicles. According to Auto Pacific’s 2012 New Vehicle Satisfaction Survey, 93% of Kia buyers listed good fuel mileage as a very or extremely important to their buying decision.
While the car buying decision may be based on numerous factors, consumers are entitled to rely on labels that accompany the sale of automobiles. In fact, it is a violation of California lemon law for a product not to conform to its label.
These consumers can rely on the provisions of California=s lemon law, unfair and deceptive practices statutes, and other California consumer protection laws for relief against this type of automobile fraud. These laws provide protection against false labeling and false advertising and provide remedies such as restitution (your money back), damages (increased fuel expenditures), punitive damages and civil penalties (for intentional or malicious misconduct), injunctions (to halt the practices) and for payment of attorney=s fees and costs.
Consumers can also expect the value for their vehicles to drop given the false estimates of gas mileage and publicity generated against these companies that have lied to the public.
Qualified attorneys can prosecute actions under these laws and can provide legal services at no charge to the consumer.
If you feel you have relied on Hyundai and Kia’s advertising regarding fuel economy and gas mileage to your detriment, you may contact us to discuss the matter in full. As always all our services are provided at no charge to you at any time.