Toyota issues recalls and consumer notifications, but has yet to formalize any buy back policy.
Online PR News – 29-December-2009 – – Cherry Hill, NJ
An article written by the Los Angeles Times insinuating that Toyota delayed recalls and deflected blame to human error has elicited some heated debate and an official response from Toyota. The LA Times investigation puts the death toll from unexpected, sudden acceleration of Toyota vehicles at 19 since 2001. While Toyota has issued its biggest recall to address the problem, it maintains publicly that proof of a defect is yet to be validated.
In response the suggestion the Toyota has withheld important safety information from consumers, the company released a statement asserting that 'communications with consumers about safety recalls are strictly regulated and Toyota adheres to these regulations. Toyota has absolutely not minimized public awareness of any defect or issue with respect to its vehicles.'
The Los Angeles Times investigation reported that some Toyota consumers have had their vehicles bought back under Lemon Law for unintended or sudden acceleration. But Toyota indicates that is has no buy back policy.
'Toyota has no policy to buy back vehicles under the Lemon Law or any other buyback program for customers complaining of unintended or sudden acceleration. The customers to whom you refer may have interacted with Toyota dealers who on their own have always been able to deal with dissatisfied customers to preserve goodwill.'
Despite the conflicting stories on consumer buy backs, the definitive cause and scope of acceleration issues, and the final outcome of the widespread recall, Toyota has settled several lawsuits related to sudden acceleration. Beyond the acknowledgement that 'Toyota at times has resolved and will continue to resolve matters with litigants through confidential settlement when it is in both parties’ interests to do so', there is no official comment by the company as to any specifics of the agreements.
“Anyone who owns a Toyota or any other vehicle who has suffered injury or loss of the use of their vehicle from an acceleration event should check with an experienced Lemon Law attorney in their state to see what remedies are available,” suggests David Gorberg, New Jersey and Pennsylvania lemon law attorney and founding partner of a lemon law firm. “The lemon laws are very different in every state, and these state guidelines determine the eligibility for compensation for each consumer.”
Some states have increased consumer lemon law protections. New Jersey's Lemon Law, revised in October 2009, now allows a vehicle to be decalred a lemon after a single potentially harmful event. In New Jersey, car dealers are only granted ' one attempt to correct the defect if the defect is one that is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury if the vehicle is driven'.
While Toyota has taken some steps in terms of consumer notification and recalling vehicles, it is clear that the company has a distance to go to ease consumer concerns about the harmful potential of defects related to unexpected acceleration.
The Lemon Law Attorneys at David J. Gorberg & Associates have arbitrated, settled and litigated thousands of lemon law claims throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, recovering millions of dollars for their clients. More information at www.mylemon.com or by calling 1-800-MyLemon.