I live in Texas. I bought a
Toyota FJ cruiser on April 28,2007. I started having a weird sound coming from the direction of the ABS brakes,at first I would only hear in every so often and did not really give it much thought. A few months went by and it got more and more noticeable where it was doing it every 15 mins or so. I brought it to a toyota dealership,and it was doing it every minute by then. The service tech there kept in a few hours,and finally said it was normal and that they all do that,and sent me on my way.
I left on vacation to Az at the beginning of June,only to get there with a much louder sound and my steering wheel shaking. I went to a dealership there,they hooked it up to a computer and lights lit up,and buzzers went off. they advised me not to drive it again,determined that it was the brake booster,and replaced it. $2,000 part,that was covered by warranty.
Since then my truck has had the same thing happen 3 more times,and 2 more brake boosters were put on. the Each time my car has done this,I have beed
n driving down the road,at a normal speed,when all the sudden the wheel shakes,ABS lights all go on,and a loud warning buzzer sounds. On the 4 occasion My brakes went totally out as I was exiting the highway. The lights had just gone on,I called service department right away and told them they were on again,and they told me they would call right back. I hung up,went to exit highway,and when I stepped on brake it would not work. That is 5 times in the shop in 5 months,and 3 new brake boosters,and they still have no idea what is wrong. They have been able to replicate the problem,and have been very nice about fixing it right away. the first time it was fixed it was in the shop for a week,next time a few days,3rd time 2 weeks,and this last time 1 week. I just picked it up last night,they did not replace any parts. This last time the corporate office was involved,and they sent a field tech supervisor out to work with my car. he was there the morning after I brought it in,he drove it around a little bit,and could not get it to duplicate problem. The customer service rep called me and said the field tech was going to come back next Tuesday (Nov 4) and spend the day with it. I was told yesterday that thy could not get it to duplicate the problem,and that was to come pick up my vehicle. I called Toyota 800#,the corporate office,talked with my case worker there named Nicole,and she was not nice at all. Nicole told me that since they could not duplicate problem,there is no problem. I explained to her that this has happened in such different time frames,with no warning whatsoever,and that theyonly had it for 2 day,how could they say their is no problem. I even comment on the time my brakes would not work,and her words to me were"well.they worked fine for the field technician didnt they". I was stunned,and still am. I feel like this is such a huge safety issue,and everyone at toyota has admitted to that,and that they should replace the vehicle.
My question,after my long story,is if I am right,and if I should try for arbitration,or get a lawyer. I have no idea what to do. All I do know is i dont want to drive with my kids in the car anymore. Toyota stressed to me yesterday that they feel my car is fine. I am not looking to get get money back,I just want then to do what is right,and replace my vehicle with a new one. I LOVE this car,and could not wait to get it,and just want a safe one back in my driveway. My husband and I have never missed a payment,in fact we pay double payments every month.
Thank you for taking the time to read this,
You may have a lemon law claim. The criteria for such a claim are very narrow. You need to start the process by yourself because the law does not automatically pay for attorney fees if you win the claim. Try the link to start the claim.
While Toyota usually builds a good vehicle, this one doesn't sound like it. Sounds more like a lemon to me but you don't mention if you bought it new or not. Every state's lemon law is a little different but in Texas a lemon is defined as 4 unsuccessful repairs when 2 occurred within shorter of 1 year or 12,000 miles, and other 2 occur within shorter of 1 year or 12,000 miles immediately following second repair attempt; or 2 unsuccessful repairs of a serious safety defect when 1 occurred within shorter of 1 year or 12,000 miles and other occurred within shorter of 1 year or 12,000 miles immediately following first repair; or 30 calendar days out of service within shorter of 2 years or 24,000 miles and at least 2 attempts were made within shorter of 1 year or 12,000 miles.
Your legal rights are triggered by sending written notice to the manufacturer and a state-run arbitration process is available. But don't do any of this by yourself. You should talk to an experienced Lemon Law attorney in your state who knows your state law. If you don't know one, call your local attorney Bar Association or look for one near you on this National List of Lemon Law Lawyers here: http://ohiolemonlaw.com/locate-a-local-attorney.shtml
I would strongly disagree with Ms. Trevino's comments. You always should use an attorney. If you go through arbitration and lose, that evidence can usually be used against you later. An attorney should be able to represent you at no cost because at a minimum, you should be able to get attorney's fees under the Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act. Get an attorney, never go it alone. You can try calling Travis Shackelford at Consumer Legal Services, PC at 734-261-4700. I believe he is a Texas attorney that handles lemon law claims.
Actually the National List of Lemon Law Lawyers is NOT a paid listing at all and it NEVER has been. Any Lemon Law lawyer who asks to be listed is freely listed after a short vetting of their competency which I personally conduct. It was created by me about 8 years ago specifically as a response to the paid lawyer listings that are seen on the internet which often do not look like a paid listing at all. I also absolutely agree with Dan Ruggiero's advise about using an attorney and being wary of any arbitration process, state run or not. After 30 years of Lemon Law work I can very confidently say that consumers who use lawyers to get rid of lemon cars typically come out better than the ones I have seen who go it alone. This is one area of law that is more complex than many consumers realize and Texas' Lemon Law presumptions are a good example of why any Texas consumer ought to talk to an experienced Lemon Law attorney for help.
In Texas, the only way for a consumer to get attorney paid by the dealer/manufacturer is if the dealer/ manufacturer responds to the administrative claim by and through an attorney which does not always happen. I'm not saying a consumer should not consult an attorney, but they should be aware of the possible costs. Also under Texas Lemon law, there is still a cause of action for deceptive trade practices against dealer and manufacturer for have stated that the vehicle was repaired when it was not. That part of the claim really needs attorney skill.