Most people have heard of the problems with Toyota’s accelerators by now. For those of you who have gone through the traumatizing experience of having your car accelerate against your will, the legal avenues through which you have to navigate can be confusing and overwhelming. There have been many different types of claims made against Toyota for the accelerator problems. Some of these claims include the following:
Lemon Law: Lemon laws are in place to protect consumers from being financially responsible for purchasing a faulty vehicle. If their vehicle is repeatedly found to be defective, then lemon laws make the consumer eligible to receive compensation for their purchase. State laws may vary, so you will have to investigate what your specific rights are depending on where you live.
Magnusson-Moss Law: This is the federal equivalent of a lemon law. The Mag-Moss law protects a consumer if they have purchased an item that is under warranty and requires multiple repairs for the same problem. Usually the same problem must be sent in for repair at least two or three times, after which the law is on the side of the consumer, and the warrantor must compensate the consumer for his or her purchase.
Fraudulent Concealment: Toyota allegedly knew about the accelerator problem long before making a public announcement about it. This is fraudulent concealment, which is defined as "deliberate hiding, non-disclosure, or suppression of a material fact or circumstance (which one is legally or morally bound to reveal) with intent to deceive or defraud in a contractual arrangement. See also suppression of evidence."
Deceptive Trade Practices Act- This law, which was first drafted in 1964, is similar to the Fraudulent Concealment law in that it protects consumers from entering into business transaction due to deception or the concealment of the truth. Since Toyota allegedly deceived the public about the nature of their products’ safety, this law could be enacted to protect your financial rights as a consumer.
There are many other laws that can be used in claims against Toyota, including those dealing with strict product liability, breach of express warranties, unjust enrichment, and negligence. You have rights and are well-protected by the law, so don’t let large corporations walk all over you.