Attorney General Janet Mills announces settlement with General Motors Company over defective ignition-switch

October 19, 2017


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Attorney General Janet Mills announces settlement with General Motors Company over defective ignition-switch

AUGUSTA ? Attorney General Janet Mills today announced that Maine has participated in a nationwide $120 million settlement with General Motors Company (GM) over allegations that GM concealed safety issues related to ignition-switch defects in GM vehicles.

The settlement, reached between the attorneys general of 49 states and the District of Columbia and General Motors Company, concludes a multistate investigation into the auto manufacturer?s failure to timely disclose safety defects in ignition-switches in certain GM vehicles.

?This intentional deception by GM created a dangerous situation for their customers and for everyone else on the road,? said Attorney General Mills. ?My office will continue to go after deception by any business, no matter how big, that endangers the public.?

In 2014, GM issued seven vehicle recalls affecting more than nine million vehicles in the U.S. The recalls involved a defective ignition switch which can cause a loss of electrical systems, including power steering and power brakes. If a collision occurs due to this defect, the vehicle?s safety airbags may also fail to deploy, increasing the risk of serious injury or death in crashes.

The states alleged that certain employees of GM and General Motors Corporation (which went through bankruptcy in 2009), knew as early as 2004 that the ignition-switch posed a safety problem because it could cause the airbag to fail. Despite this knowledge, GM personnel delayed issuing recalls. GM continued to market the reliability and safety of its motor vehicles which were equipped with this defective ignition-switch.

The states alleged that the automaker?s actions were unfair and deceptive in violation of state consumer protection laws, including Maine?s Unfair Trade Practices Act.

Under the consent judgment presented to the Kennebec County Superior Court, GM is ordered to:

 Not represent that a motor vehicle is ?safe? unless they have complied with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety standards applicable to the motor vehicle at issue.

 Not represent that certified pre-owned vehicles that GM advertises are safe, have been repaired for safety issues, or have been subject to rigorous inspection, unless such vehicles are not subject to any open recalls relating to safety or have been repaired pursuant to such a recall.

 Instruct its dealers that all applicable recall repairs must be completed before any GM motor vehicle sold in the U.S. and included in a recall is eligible for certification and, if there is a recall on any certified pre-owned vehicle sold in the U.S., the required repair must be completed before the vehicle is delivered to a customer.

GM also agreed to pay the participating attorneys general a total of $120 Million. Maine?s share will be $1,118,000.