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Class Action Lawsuit Chews Out Toyota for Soy Wiring

Does soy wiring entice rodents to chew and damage electrical components?

Nowadays, there is a movement toward health. People are trying to eat better, remove toxins from the environment, and take care of the planet. And our cars reflect that attitude as evidenced by the popularity of the various electric cars that are rolling out on a mission to eventually replace gas-powered, pollutant-producing models.

Being good for the environment is admirable. But can that go too far and actually be a bad thing? Some Toyota owners and lessees are claiming their cars even feed the animals—and they aren’t happy about it or the vehicle warranty dispute questions that have arisen over it.

A class-action lawsuit in Massachusetts alleges that in 17 different Toyota models spanning the years 2009-2016, Toyota used wiring coated with soy-based instead of the long-standing petroleum-based insulation. This soy wiring allegedly “entices” animals like rats, mice, and squirrels to chew the wires and cause “damage to all kinds of electrical components”.

The damage from chewed wires can allegedly render the vehicles dangerous fire hazards and necessitate very costly repairs that end up coming from the owners’ pockets. And to compound the problem, the same kind of soy wires are allegedly used again for the repairs, perpetuating a potentially vicious cycle of inconvenience and expense.
Not only do the dealers make money on these costly and sometimes repeated repairs which they claim are not covered by warranty, but the lawsuit alleges the dealers profit from “selling traps, repellents, and other items as preventative measures”.

Further, plaintiff’s claim that the dealers shift the responsibility for the costly repair bills to the owners and lessees by claiming the damaged wires fall under the “other environmental conditions” clause of the warranty and are therefore not covered under the warranty. Damage from these items is excluded under the warranty: “[a]irbone chemicals, tree sap, road debris (including stone chips), rail dust, hail, floods, windstorms, lightning and other environmental conditions.”

The plaintiff who alleges that on more than one occasion a mouse entered the passenger cabin of the vehicle while driving, frightening occupants and that his truck had to be completely ripped apart in order “to remove the rodents and repair the damage” claims “he incurred out-of-pocket expenses including lost use of his truck for nearly two months, rental car fees and a decreased resale value”. He further claims that despite specifically requesting that soy wiring not be used in the alleged $16,793.79 repair, that “the exact same rodent-attracting wiring” was used.

If you believe you have a breach of warranty claim, have been the victim of dealer fraud, or that a dealer has engaged in deceptive and unlawful practices, the Law Offices of Timothy Abeel & Associates can help you. We are skilled in all aspects of consumer law, lemon law, and breach of warranty claims. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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