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CONSUMER ALERT: AUTOMAKERS OFFER REIMBURSEMENTS

LITTLE ROCK - Hyundai and Kia owners in Arkansas may be eligible for money from the automakers to reimburse for errors in the car companies' advertised fuel economy ratings.

The two companies voluntarily established a consumer reimbursement program because of the incorrect ratings for more than 900,000 vehicles sold in the United States between 2010 and 2012. Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued this consumer alert today to make sure Hyundai and Kia owners in Arkansas are aware of the issue.

Last November, the companies announced that procedural errors at Hyundai/Kia testing operations in Korea caused fuel economy to be incorrectly stated on many 2011-2013 models sold before Oct. 31, 2012. The error caused fuel economy to be misstated by an average of 3 percent, according to the companies.

The reimbursement program followed discussions with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It is already in effect.

"We encourage affected Arkansans to participate in the reimbursement program offered by these companies," McDaniel said. "And, regardless of the issue, we hope Arkansas consumers will contact our office any time they are unable to resolve problems with car manufacturers, home improvement contractors, cell phone companies, telemarketers, or other businesses."

Owners and former owners of affected vehicles are eligible for the reimbursement program. Hyundai and Kia have contacted eligible consumers with information and a list of affected vehicles. The automakers have set up websites with more details about the program, www.hyundaimpginfo.com or www.kiampginfo.com.

Consumers may register for the reimbursement program online or by mailing, emailing or faxing a claim form.

According to the manufacturers, reimbursements will be applied to a debit card given to consumers. The reimbursement is based on the difference in the EPA combined fuel economy rating, the miles driven by the consumer and the average fuel price in the area. The automakers said they will add 15 percent to the reimbursement to acknowledge consumers' inconvenience.

Vehicle owners must visit a Hyundai or Kia dealership so that the dealer can verify the vehicle's odometer reading. A debit card will then be mailed to vehicle owners.

The automakers said current owners who purchased their vehicles by Nov. 3, 2012, are eligible to receive reimbursements for as long as they own their vehicles. The companies recommended that vehicle owners make one claim per year.

Initial claims must be submitted to Hyundai or Kia by Nov. 3, 2013.

For more information about other consumer issues, visit the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division website at www.GotYourBackArkansas.org or call the Consumer Protection Division hotline at (800) 482-8982.

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