LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas will receive more than $570,000 and vehicle owners could receive restitution for costs related to safety recalls under a state settlement agreement with Toyota Motor Corp. announced Thursday.
The $29 million agreement involving Toyota and 30 states settles allegations that the automaker concealed its knowledge of safety defects in accelerator pedals.
Arkansas will receive $576,244 in the settlement. Additionally, Toyota has agreed to provide restitution to vehicle owners who may have incurred costs related to safety recalls associated with the unintended acceleration problems. Toyota is also prohibited from advertising the safety of vehicles without sound engineering data to back such claims.
"Car buyers deserve the assurance that manufacturers will quickly and appropriately respond to known safety risks," Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said in a release announcing the settlement. "The terms of this settlement require that Toyota make changes to improve its responsiveness to safety issues, and that benefits consumers."
In a complaint filed Thursday in Pulaski County Circuit Court, McDaniel alleged that Toyota engaged deceptive practices when it failed to timely disclose safety problems related to unintended acceleration. The complaint was filed contemporaneously with the settlement agreement.
Under terms of the settlement, Toyota is prohibited from reselling a vehicle it reacquired with alleged safety defects without informing the purchaser about the alleged defect and certifying that the vehicle has been repaired.
The company may not misrepresent the purpose of an inspection or repair when directing consumers to bring their vehicle to a dealer for inspection or repair, and it is required to exclude from "Toyota Certified Used Vehicles" or "Lexus Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles" any car acquired through Lemon Law proceedings or voluntarily repurchased by Toyota to ensure customer satisfaction.
The settlement provides for reimbursements for consumers whose vehicles were part of the safety recall related to unintended acceleration problems, but had unreimbursed expenses. Consumers who believe they are eligible for reimbursements should contact Toyota at (800) 331-4331 or Lexus at (800) 255-3987.