How does this Toyota situation affect real people in the real world? Today, a woman called me about her Toyota Corolla. She bought her Toyota in May, 2006, brand new, in California. She now lives in Alabama.
Within five (5) months of the purchase, she had an acceleration problem. The car lurched forward. What did she do? She took it in to the dealer. They said that they could not find a problem. This problem continued intermittently over the next several months. She continued taking it in for service, and the dealers would continue telling her that they could not find the problem.
This situation happened so many times that she eventually filed with the California settlement dispute board. What occurred there? Toyota denied that there was anything wrong with the vehicle, and they ruled against her.
In November, 2007, she was in Birmingham on Shades Crest Road in Hoover. The car accelerated, spun out of control, and crashed. It was totaled, and she suffered a slight concussion. Fortunately for her and her family, she was not injured more severely.
Now where does she stand? Like most people, this woman financed the vehicle. Since it was totaled, her insurance only paid the actual cash value, and consequently, she is "upside down" on it, i.e.: she owes more than it’s worth, and she was left owing on a deficiency. She still owes about $2,000.00. Why should she have to pay this? If Toyota had acknowledged the problem and fixed it, she would not have crashed and been in this situation. Toyota should compensate her for this.
While I doubt there is much we can do for her, I told her I would try to help her with her claim. We shall see. I hope we can help her with this financial situation.