NEWS RELEASE
Office of Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr.


October 16, 2000 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357

CURRAN ALERTS CONSUMERS TO OPTIONS AVAILABLE FOR REPLACEMENT OF BRIDGESTONE/FIRESTONE TIRES

Baltimore - Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr., along with the Bridgestone/Firestone multistate working group consisting of 49 states and territories are alerting consumers with tires listed on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Consumer Advisory tire list dated September 1, 2000 of their options. Consumers can determine if they have tires covered by the consumer advisory by going to the NHTSA home page (www.nhtsa.com). On the home page, there is a complete list of consumer advisory tires.

Free Replacement Tires Via Bridgestone/Firestone Authorized Dealers

If a consumer confirms they have tires listed on the consumer advisory, the states in the working group want to encourage consumers to take action and get the tires replaced as soon as possible. Consumers have a number of options. Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. will replace free of charge all consumer advisory tires if the tires are taken to a Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. authorized dealer. Consumersí tires will be replaced regardless of use and condition and they will be replaced without a pro rata payment. The consumer advisory tires can be replaced even if they are not currently on a vehicle.

Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. will replace consumer advisory tires for individuals or companies. If a consumer previously had a road hazard warranty or insurance, Bridgestone/Firestone will replace that warranty free of charge when the replacement tire is installed. Consumers will not be charged for mounting, balancing, valve stem, sales tax or disposal fees for the replacement of consumer advisory tires at the Bridgestone/Firestone authorized dealer. Bridgestone/Firestone will select the brand and type of tires used as a replacement under this option. Therefore, the replacement of the tire should be absolutely free to the consumer.

$140.00 Reimbursement Option For Competitorsí Tires

If a consumer does not want to go to an authorized Bridgestone/Firestone dealer for replacement tires or prefers to replace the consumer advisory tires with their choice of competitorsí tires, Bridgestone/Firestone will reimburse the consumer up to $140.00 per tire for any tire purchased to replace a tire that is listed on the consumer advisory. The $140.00 reimbursement includes mounting, balancing, valve stem, sales tax and tire disposal fees. The consumer can elect the reimbursement option regardless of the use or condition of the tire. If the consumer previously had a road hazard warranty, Bridgestone/Firestone will pay to replace the warranty on the new tires. In order to be eligible for the reimbursement program, the consumer must return the consumer advisory tires to an authorized Bridgestone/Firestone retailer where appropriate forms to apply for reimbursement will be provided. Consumers will also need an original receipt to attach to the reimbursement form for the tires the consumer purchased to replace the consumer advisory tires. It will most likely take four to six weeks for a consumer to receive the reimbursement from Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc.

The recalled tires are also subject to a free replacement by a Bridgestone/Firestone dealer or reimbursement of up to $100 when a competitorís tires are purchased.

Release Language

At the request of the Attorneys General, Bridgestone/Firestone has removed any release language from reimbursement forms. Basically, consumers do not have to waive legal rights they may have to take advantage of any of the Bridgestone/Firestone tire replacement program. Additionally, at the request of the Attorneys General, Bridgestone/Firestone has agreed not to enforce any "releases" on the recall or advisory forms previously signed by consumers.

"The most important thing for Maryland consumers is to get replacement tires as soon as possible," Attorney General Curran said. "Consumers can either get free replacements at a Bridgestone/Firestone dealer or obtain reimbursement up to $140.00 per tire if he goes to a competitor to have your tires replaced."

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