February 28, 2010

Toyota's acceleration recall does not automatically make it a Texas Lemon

Toyota's recent recall regarding the uncontrollable acceleration of its vehicles has led many Toyota car owners to contact my Texas Lemon Law office for recourse. Most consumers ask if it is possible for them to get an automatic buyback, due to the recall. The answer is "it depends."

Texas Lemon Law has a set of strict guidelines -- the consumer's situation must fit within those guidelines to be eligible for a potential lemon law buyback. Moreover, the Texas Lemon Law is never definitive because it is subject to an administrative judge's ruling.

In general, the lemon law requires that the consumer have taken the vehicle in at least 4 times unsuccessfully within the first 24,000 miles or 24 months, whichever occurs first. If the problem is considered a serious safety matter, then the law only requires 2 times. Toyota's acceleration problem is arguably a serious safety defect. However and again, it is up to the administrative judge at the lemon law hearing to make that decision.

If a consumer who owns a Toyota wishes to pursue the lemon law route, then here are some helpful tips:
* always keep written records of your repair attempt visits;
* always write down names of each person you have spoken with at Toyota;
* write a written notice letter to Toyota regarding your lemon law concerns;

If you live in California instead of Texas and wish to pursue the California Lemon Law route, then here is an interesting article written by Mark Glover of the Sacramento Bee. Click Download file

Disclaimer: this is NOT legal advice. Each case is different and it is recommended that you contact a lemon law attorney for advice about your specific situation. Keep in mind that each legal claim has a statute of limitation or deadline -- you should act as quickly as possible. Failure to do so may mean that you will lose the right to sue.

January 29, 2010

Unofficial Lemon Information for the Toyota Prius

With the substantial increase in fuel costs, the momentum of demand for hybrid and electric cars will also exponentially increase. Inevitably, my Texas Lemon Law Office have received at least one call from a potential client per month regarding a problematic or broken lemon hybrid vehicle.

While surfing the internet for technical service bulletins (TSBs) this morning, I stumbled upon a website that contains a list of car problems that owners of the Toyota Prius recently experienced. The problems range anywhere from fuel system, airbag, dashboard,...to interior lighting.

For more information about this website that contains "unofficial lemon information on the Toyota Prius," go here.

January 27, 2010

Toyota's potential mid-sized lemon colored lemon hybrid car

At the North American International Auto Show several weeks ago, Toyota ironically displayed a lemon/lime colored sub-compact concept hybrid vehicle. I hope that the color of this vehicle is not a foreshadow that the model will become a new strand of lemon cars.

The vehicle is said to be a smaller version of Toyota's best selling hybrid vehicle, the Prius. It is measured to be approximately 22 inches shorter than the current Prius. Toyota executives stated that they plan to introduce this vehicle to consumers in several years.

Currently, Toyota is dealing with a massive recall regarding abnormal surge and acceleration found in several of its current vehicles. If you own a new Toyota and have experienced this problem, it is recommended that you contact a lemon law attorney as soon as possible.

September 29, 2009

Differences between theTexas lemon law and Toyota's safety recall

Toyota recently issued a safety recall to address its vehicles' abnormal acceleration while in operation. This will be considered one of Toyota's largest recall and perhaps most costly recall in the United States relating to the safety of the vehicle.

The reason why this recall is considered so massive is because it applies to numerous Toyota models, including the ever popular Camry, Avalon, Prius, Tundra, Tacoma, and Lexus.

The actual recall itself is still pretty vague. Toyota's current recommendation is to remove the floor mat underneath the accelerator to prevent it from sticking between the gas pedal. Toyota still has not issues any official notice for a permanent fix.

Why is Toyota issuing this recall, rather than not doing anything and waiting for consumers to file lemon law claims? Well, Toyota has known about this problem since 2004, when Toyota drivers reported numerous crashes and injuries due to uncontrollable acceleration. Toyota waited Five years later, right up until the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) finally issued a warning. (Talk about red tape and bureaucracy in action)!

So, how is a safety recall such as this one different from a lemon law claim in Texas? Both situations pertain to defective cars. However, in a safety recall, the car manufacturer is the entity that proactive will correct the defect. In a lemon law claim, you would have to assert your right through the administrative process, or sue under consumer protection laws such as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act or Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Also, a lemon law claim is usually smaller scale, while a safety recall involves several hundreds of thousands, if not millions of cars.

Here's the kicker...Irv Miller, Toyota's spokesman, really shows how much he cars about consumer safety by saying that if Toyota owner's can not remove the floor mat, then they should merely "step" on the brake pedal with both feet until the vehicle slows. Right,...because stepping on the brake pedal with one feet is obviously not enough.

March 7, 2008

Hawaii Lemon Law results for 2007

The state of Hawaii recently released it's Lemon Law results for 2007. In total, there were about $490,000 worth of replacements and refunds. The program requires that consumer participate in SCAP, also known as the State certified Arbitration Program.

Of the vehicles that were replaced under the state lemon law, Ford and General Motors ranked the highest while Toyota and Honda ranks the lowest. Nissan is still in the middle, improving in 9th place, compared to 2006's 14th place.

Personally, I feel that $490,000 worth of lemon car repurchase or replacement for a relatively sizable state like Hawaii is a small amount. If an average car is $20,000, then only 24.5 cars won a lemon law case in Hawaii. This leads me to believe that perhaps many lemon claims may have been rejected because of Hawaii's strict lemon law requirements...or perhaps because the requirements are implemented irregularly.

December 26, 2007

Will Toyota's effort to increase worldwide sales to 9.85 million in 2008 directly create more lemon in Texas?

Toyota has been a consistent reliable brand to drive, with diversified top selling models such as the Camry sedan, the subcompact Corolla, and the semi-environmentally conscious gas/electric hybrid Prius. Growing up, my family were loyal Toyota fans.

However, recently, I've noticed a sharp perceived decrease in the quality of Toyota vehicles. More recalls, more potential client calls under the Texas lemon law, more arbitrations with NCDS, and more complaints about car problems from acquaintances with preowned/used Toyota cars.

On Christmas day (Tuesday, December 25, 2007), Toyota announces that it plans to sell 9.85 million cars worldwide in 2008. According to most analysts, this figure is quite ambiguous due to concerns of a cooling U.S. auto market and a possible recession in the upcoming year.

If Toyota is successful in this endeavor, then it might permanently de-thrown General Motors (GM) in becoming the largest automobile manufacturer in the world. This year (2007), Toyota approximates that it will sell 9.36 million vehicles, as compared to GM's estimated 9.3 million.

It leads me to speculate,...will there be more lemon and defective cars driving on the roads now that Toyota is planning on producing more cars? Although I do not have a crystal ball, my hunch tells me that this will be an inevitable progression, unless Toyota prioritizes its quality control as aggressively as its intention to becoming the world's leading automobile manufacturer. We will wait for 2008 to come and speak for itself...