Settlement with states resolves consumer protections over vehicles’ sudden accelerations
Texas Insider Report: AUSTIN, Texas – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today announced a $29 million national settlement agreement with Toyota Motor Corp. and its North American subsidiaries. Today’s settlement resolves a multistate investigation into Toyota’s actions in the wake of the discovery that certain vehicle models were susceptible to sudden, spontaneous accelerations. Specifically, the states investigated whether Toyota adequately and promptly disclosed that its voluntary recalls had safety implications for vehicle owners of its most popular models, including the Camry and Lexus sedans, the Tundra and Tacoma trucks and the Prius hybrid.
Under the agreement negotiated by Texas and 29 other states and territories, Toyota, among other things, is required to enhance its safety compliance procedures. The $29 million national agreement also establishes a customer restitution fund, along with $1.14 million in civil penalties and $217,000 in attorneys’ fees for the State of Texas.
The agreement also requires that Toyota set aside at least $5 million for the restitution fund, which will be available to customers who had out-of-pocket expenses – such as rental cars or taxi fees – as a result of recalls in late 2009 and early 2010.
The settlement ensures that Toyota significantly improve corporate communications regarding safety issues on all vehicles it sells in the United States. In addition, the settlement prohibits Toyota from:
- Reselling vehicles it reacquired with alleged safety defects unless Toyota provides notice to prospective buyers of the possible defects and certifies that the vehicles do not have any identifiable problems;
- Designating as “Toyota certified” any vehicles it reacquired with the alleged safety defects; and
- Misrepresenting the purpose of a dealer inspection or repair when directing owners to bring their vehicles to the dealer.
Toyota has provided toll-free numbers for vehicle owners wanting information on eligible restitution. The lines will be staffed from 7 a.m till 8 p.m. (CST) Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. till 6 p.m. on Saturdays. The numbers are: