AG Gansler Secures $29 Million Settlement with Toyota
Vehicles were recalled over unintended acceleration safety defects
Baltimore, MD ( Feb. 14, 2013) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that his Consumer Protection Division, along with 29 other Attorneys General, reached a $29 million settlement with Toyota Motor Corporation and its related North American entities over allegations that Toyota concealed safety defects in its vehicles, including issues related to unintended acceleration. In addition to the $29 million payout, Toyota has agreed to provide additional restitution and incentives to vehicle owners to promote compliance with unintended acceleration safety recalls.
"Drivers shouldn't be putting their safety and wellbeing at risk because of miscommunication over faulty equipment," said Attorney General Gansler. "This settlement will help ensure that consumers are not in danger when they get behind the wheel."
In a complaint filed today in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Attorney General Gansler alleged Toyota engaged in unfair and deceptive practices when it failed to disclose in a timely fashion known safety defects caused by sticky accelerator pedals and floor mat entrapment. According to the complaint, poor communication between Toyota's headquarters in Japan and Toyota's United States holdings were partially responsible for its failure to promptly report known safety issues. Toyota has agreed to significantly change the safety culture within the company's United States operations and will ensure that officials and officers of its U.S. operations have timely access to information and the authority to fully participate in all decisions affecting the safe operation of Toyota vehicles advertised and sold in the United States.
In addition, the Consent Order provides that Toyota is:
- Prohibited from advertising the safety of vehicles without sound engineering data to support such safety claims.
- Prohibited from reselling a vehicle it reacquired with alleged safety defects without first informing the purchaser about the alleged defect(s) and certifying that the reacquired vehicle has been fixed.
- Prohibited from misrepresenting the purpose of an inspection or repair when directing consumers to bring their vehicles to a dealer for inspection or repair.
- Required to exclude from the "Toyota Certified Used Vehicles" or "Lexus Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles" categories any vehicle acquired through lemon law proceedings or voluntarily repurchased by Toyota to ensure customer satisfaction.
Consumers who suffered unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses in connection with the recalls may be entitled to reimbursement and should contact Toyota at www.toyota.com or 1-800-331-4331. Consumers may call Lexus at 1-800-255-3987 or file a complaint with the Maryland Attorney General's Office at 410-528-8662.