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Complaints About Toyota Recall Fixes Grow

Mar 5, 2010 | Parker Waichman LLP

Earlier this week, we reported that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) received 10 complaints from Toyota owners since mid-February claiming recent recall fixes haven’t resolved problems with sudden unintended acceleration (SUA). Now, the NHTSA is reporting that it has received over 60 such complaints, reported ABC News. "Officials are contacting each and every consumer to learn more about what they say is happening," NHTSA said in a statement, quoted ABC News.

Since last fall, Toyota has recalled six million vehicles in the U.S. for problems involving sudden acceleration. The recalls started in September, when Toyota announced it was recalling and replacing floor mats on approximately 4.2 million vehicles which were allegedly causing accelerator pedals in the vehicles to become stuck in the depressed position, leading to uncontrollable and rapid acceleration of the vehicles. On January 21, Toyota recalled 2.3 million vehicles due to accelerator pedals on those vehicles becoming stuck in a depressed position, causing unexpected and unsafe acceleration.

The NHTSA said it "asked Toyota to provide information about any complaints it has received from customers," quoted ABC News. "If it appears that a remedy provided by Toyota is not addressing the problem it was intended to fix, NHTSA has the authority to order Toyota to provide a different solution," it added.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee said that the auto giant has not yet proved its massive recalls are resolving its “potentially fatal safety problems,” said ABC. "They are false reassurances that people are getting from Toyota if, after the recall, after their car is supposed to be fixed, there is still this problem of sudden acceleration," Representative Henry Waxman, Democrat-California, told ABC.

ABC News reported on a number of consumer complaints in which cars allegedly repaired continue to experience dangerous SUA problems. In the last week alone, the NHTSA said it received 15 such complaints, said ABC News. These so-called post-recall complaints were initially revealed in a report issued by Safety Research & Strategies (SRS), a private research firm, according to ABC News. According to SRS, "Toyota executives are confident that their recalls will end the SUA complaints—they've said that into every microphone that's been put in front of them. Some consumers who have taken their recalled vehicles in for the fix have a different story," reported ABC.

In response to the growing list of post-recall complaints being filed by consumers who have received repairs on their recalled Toyotas, Toyota said, it has "found no evidence in these investigations of a failure of either vehicle electronics or of the recent remedies that Toyota has announced for floor mat entrapment and sticking accelerator pedals." Regardless, the complaints continue to stream in to the agency.

"As soon as we received these new reports, our new on-site inspection ‘SWAT team’ moved quickly to investigate them," said the statement issued by Toyota, which went on to state, "We have submitted the results of this initial review to NHTSA. Though these reports involve a tiny fraction of the more than one million vehicles our dealers have repaired to date, we take them extremely seriously," quoted ABC News.

Steward Stogel, a former ABC News producer owns a 2009 Toyota Camry that just had the failsafe system—the fix being installed on recalled vehicles—installed, which cuts power when the brake is engaged, said ABC. Stossel reported that the system does not work on his car when the car is moving at “moderate speed” and "the car has lurched out of control on at least one occasion since the fix," despite that all recall procedures were performed at a Toyota Dealer.

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