Consumers File Class Action FDUTPA Against Toyota
According to a report from Law 360, a group of consumers has filed a class action lawsuit under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) against Toyota. According to the allegations raised in the complaint, Toyota and several Florida-based auto dealerships knowingly marketed and sold vehicles with defective HVAC systems. In this blog post, our Miami deceptive & unfair trade practices lawyers provide an overview of the allegations and explain what the plaintiffs need to prove to recover compensation under our state’s deceptive and unfair trade practices laws.
Allegations: A Defective HVAC System
The FDUTPA lawsuit in question is centered on the sale of Toyota Camry vehicles to consumers in Florida. Representatives for the plaintiffs contend that the vehicles were sold with a defective HVAC system that emitted “foul, noxious, and/or toxic odors and mold and other contaminants” into the passenger area of the car. They emphasize that no reasonable consumer would purchase a vehicle with an HVAC system that was defective and, potentially, harmful to their health.
Notably, the plaintiffs contend that Toyota and the dealerships cited in the complaint were aware of the problems with the HVAC system on certain Camry models. According to the complaint, the defendants failed to properly disclose this known product defect to consumers. Several complaints related to Toyota HVAC systems that were filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are cited in the complaint.
What is Required to Prove an FDUTPA Violation?
Modelled in large part after the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act), the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) is among our state’s most powerful consumer protection tools. An FDUTPA claim allows consumers to hold a company liable for damages caused by deceptive or otherwise unfair commercial conduct. To prove an FDUTPA violation, the plaintiffs must establish the following three things:
- The defendant engaged in deceptive or unfair conduct;
- There FDUTPA violation was the cause of the defendant’s damages; and
- Actual, non-speculative harm was suffered.
The key issue in most FDUTPA cases is determining whether or not the defendant actually engaged in deceptive or unfair practices under the law. These are highly fact-specific cases. False advertising, material misrepresentation, and material omissions of fact can all constitute FDUTPA violations. In FDUTPA claims, Florida courts pay very close attention to what the defendant knew and when they knew it. If Toyota and the related Florida auto dealerships were well-aware of the HVAC problems and intentionally hid them from consumers in order to sell more vehicles, they could potentially be held liable for a violation of the state’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
Get Help From an FDUTPA Attorney in Miami, Florida
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our South Florida business & consumer fraud lawyers are dedicated to protecting the legal rights and financial interests of our clients. We are here to help you find the best solution in your case. Contact us now for a confidential consultation. From our Miami office and West Palm Beach office, our attorneys handle FDUTPA claims throughout Florida.