A war of words has recently ensued between the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Toyota Motor Corporation over an inaccurate
statement made by Toyota about a recent recall. This particular recall—affecting
an unprecedented 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles—involved
the design of the floor and layout of the floor mats. This design can
lead to the accelerator jamming under the floor mat causing unintended
acceleration. ABC News recently cited reports of 16 acceleration-related
deaths and 200 accidents connected with the defect.
Following the recall, Toyota issued a press release that stated that the
NHTSA had reached the conclusion that no defect existed in vehicles in
which the driver’s floor mat is compatible with the vehicle and
properly secured. The NHTSA issued their own statement rebuking Toyota’s
claim, stating that the design was the basic problem, that the NHTSA had
reached no such conclusion, and that the matter was still open.
“Toyota’s attempted mitigation of the problem comes as no surprise,”
said Norman Taylor, leading California lemon law attorney. “Recalls
can affect hundreds of thousands—in this case, millions—of
vehicles and cost the manufacturer tens to hundreds of millions of dollars.
Needless to say, manufacturers will do almost anything to avoid a recall.”
Taylor understands such issues well. He has been a California lemon law
specialist since 1987, and he and his firm, Norman Taylor and Associates,
have handled over 8,000 cases for consumers with a 98 percent success rate.
Under a recall, a manufacturer must take certain actions. They must arrange
to repair the defect at no charge or, if the manufacturer chooses, to
replace or repurchase the vehicle or defective component. The manufacturer
must file a public report, which must contain information on the defect,
the types of vehicles or equipment affected, the major events that led
to the recall, the remedy that will be provided to consumers, and the
schedule for the recall.
The manufacturer must also send a written notice to all owners of affected
vehicles, outlining specific data. They must then pay for the repair or
other remedy, whether or not the warranty is still in effect. If some
owners have already had the defect repaired at their own expense, the
manufacturer usually must reimburse them.
If you think you are driving a lemon, don’t wait for a recall, however.
Contact a qualified lemon law attorney right away.