What happens if you purchase a vehicle based on the stated mileage claims listed on the window sticker only to later discover that your vehicle does not achieve the lofty numbers listed?

In the case of the 2003-2008 Honda Civic Hybrid, the automaker has decided to award those who purchased the vehicle but are disappointed with their actual gas mileage a voucher for up to $1,000 off their purchase of a new Honda product (fuel efficient Honda products excluded.)

The backstory.  The Honda Civic Hybrid referred to above is listed at 49 mpg city and 51 mpg highway.  Two Civic Hybrid owners officially launched a lawsuit against the company stating that their vehicles never obtained more than 31 mpg.  The two plaintiffs challenged the ratings listed on the window sticker and won, sort of.  Honda settled out of court and will award the two plaintiffs in the sums of $12,500 for one, and $10,000 for the other.

Honda then graciously extended their payout to 120,000 current owners of the vehicle in question.  They are offering  either a $500 discount or a $1,000 discount to Civic Hybrid owners who wish to purchase a new Honda vehicle.  If current Civic Hybrid owners opt to keep their vehicle, Honda will offer them $500 on another Honda purchase.  If you decide to sell your Civic Hybrid or trade it in because you are frustrated with the lousy mileage, you will receive a $1,000 voucher for the purchase of another Honda product, excluding the Insight, Civic Hybrid, or Honda Fit.

Along with the voucher, Honda will mail out a DVD that outlines ways to achieve better fuel economy.

Honda does not admit any wrongdoing, stating that they followed all federal regulations.  The companies agreement to settle out of court is not admittance of wrongdoing.

Many feel that the deal reached by Honda is lousy, but you cannot fault a company who,  by EPA regulations and guidelines had no obligations to pay out anything.

Have you  ever read that fine print below the EPA rating?  "Your actual mileage may vary."

Source:  New York Times