Customers affected by faulty DPFs in Toyota Hilux, Fortuner or Prado models can apply for compensation.
If you were sold a defective Toyota Hilux, Fortuner or Prado between October 1, 2015 and April 23, 2020, then you can apply for compensation from today. Hundreds of thousands of these vehicles were sold over the period.
What’s the compensation for? Well, it follows a class action brought on by Gilbert + Tobin on behalf of Toyota customers. Specifically, the class-action surrounded Toyota DPFs – Diesel Particulate Filters – fitted to specific models. A DPF is a filter that treats diesel fumes once they’ve been created and before they leave the car. In basic terms, a DPF captures and stores exhaust soot, keeping the air cleaner.
In the judgment handed down back in April, the court found that the DPF systems in relevant Toyota vehicles were faulty, “because it was not designed to function effectively during all reasonably expected conditions of normal operation and use of the vehicle.”
As reported by ABC News, the court found a 17.5 per cent reduction in the value of the cars as a result. Toyota was also found to have engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct in marketing and selling the cars.
In the April ruling, as an earlier version of this article reflected, the Federal Court found Toyota customers essentially purchased vehicles with defects, and, as a result, the vehicles were worth less at the time of purchase than the price they were valued at. The estimated cost of damages for customers who bought an affected car is calculated to be $7,474.59. Considering that 264,170 vehicles were supplied in Australia with a defective diesel particulate system, this could add up to a sizeable bill of almost $2 billion.
“The conduct in marketing the vehicles as being of acceptable quality was misleading,” the judgment from Justice Michael Lee reads.
“The individual claim of DCS [Direct Claim Services, led by first applicant Keneth John Williams] should succeed. So should the representative claims made on behalf of group members with regard to common issues.”
In a statement from earlier this month, Toyota said it will fight the Federal Court decision.
“Toyota’s appeal includes challenges to the factual and legal basis for the award of damages, particularly in circumstances where many of the group members did not experience the DPF issue,” the press release reads.
“At the same time, we understand some customers have experienced inconvenience and discomfort from this issue. For this we apologise. We have worked continuously since becoming aware of DPF concerns on an effective resolution for affected customers.”
Payouts could be delayed until the result of the appeal has been determined. Free of charge repairs will continue to be offered to owners of vehicles with the defect.
According to Gilbert + Tobin, court-approved notices are being sent by email, text message and post, to people who acquired one or more of the affected Toyota models in the period 1 October 2015 to 23 April 2020, inviting them to register for compensation. If you’d like to register your interest for compensation, head to the portal for that here.
This article has been updated since it was originally published.