A proposed class action lawsuit alleges Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. has deceived thousands of drivers nationwide by falsely claiming that its pricey ToyotaCare Plus maintenance plan is a good value and would save them money.
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The 21-page ToyotaCare Plus lawsuit alleges the automaker has misleadingly touted the maintenance plan, which can cost more than $1,000, as “a lower-cost alternative” to paying for each scheduled service individually.
The case claims Toyota Motor Sales and its financing arm, Toyota Credit Corporation, one of the largest auto lenders in the United States, have profited substantially from selling maintenance plans that, in truth, increase a driver’s loan amount, monthly payment and finance charges by more than the consumer would have incurred had they opted instead to pay for scheduled services individually, at the time of service.
“Plaintiff alleges that the Defendants exaggerated how much scheduled services ordinarily cost in order to artificially inflate the value of the Maintenance Plan and perceived cost-savings associated therewith,” the complaint summarizes.
According to the filing, Toyota represents that ToyotaCare Plus is meant to cover scheduled services that consumers ordinarily pay for at specific vehicle mileage intervals. For instance, rather than pay for maintenance every 5,000 miles, a driver can instead pay upfront for a ToyotaCare Plus plan that is meant to cover all scheduled maintenance on their vehicle for five years or up to 55,000 miles, the suit explains.
However, the lawsuit alleges the defendants have “devised a scheme to increase profits” and retain the revenue from ToyotaCare Plus plans by having Toyota representatives “lie to consumers about the value” of the plan, include the plan in contracts “without consumers’ knowledge,” or otherwise “rush through paperwork to hide buried terms.” The suit also claims Toyota reps have “deceived consumers who inquired about the value of the services they were receiving and why certain services were scheduled ahead of time.”
Lastly, the case says the Toyota defendants have included in the maintenance plan services that “were already covered by a vehicle’s warranty” and have failed to provide consumers with every prepaid service they bought under their ToyotaCare Plus plan.
The plaintiff, a California resident, claims to have paid $1,025 for a ToyotaCare Plus plan under the belief that she was saving at least $875 in service costs. The consumer claims, however, that she began to realize that when she would bring her car in for scheduled maintenance pursuant to her plan, “certain work was being performed ahead of schedule or skipped entirely.”
“For example, on or about January 15, 2022, when Plaintiff brought her car in for her scheduled 20,000-mile Regular Service, Toyota did not perform the 20,000 Regular Service. Instead, Toyota performed a Major Service that should not have been performed until her car reached 30,000 miles. Further, the invoice the dealership billed to Toyota for this service was only $210 – $190 dollars less than the purported $400 value of a Major Service.
Plaintiff also learned that had she walked in as a cash customer, she would have been billed $380 dollars – again, less than the purported value.
Then, on July 19, 2022, when Plaintiff brought her car in at 29,500 miles for what should have been her 30,000-Major Service, she was instead given the 35,000-mile Regular Service. This time, only $30 dollars was billed to Toyota ($70 less than the purported value of Regular Services). She also realized that had she paid cash without the Maintenance Plan, she would have only been billed $43 dollars.”
Ultimately, the plaintiff began to recognize “a consistent pattern” whenever she brought her car in for service, as the dealership, the case claims, would often skip certain scheduled services and bill Toyota amounts “less than the value Plaintiff was told when she purchased the Maintenance Plan.” The lawsuit says that each time the plaintiff questioned Toyota’s service department, she was told that “everything was being done as it should” and that she was “getting exactly what she paid for.”
“At the end of the Maintenance Plan, Plaintiff realized that if she had paid out-of-pocket each time she brought her car in for service, she would have only paid between $800 and $900 – less than the total price she paid for the Maintenance Plan,” the complaint states.
The lawsuit looks to cover all consumers in the United States who, within the fullest period allowed by law, bought a ToyotaCare Plus maintenance plan within 90 days of buying a vehicle from Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. and Toyota Credit Corporation at any time and at any location.
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