The Truth About Cars » complaints The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 24 Jul 2014 17:47:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » complaints Jeremy Clarkson Is A Pig-Ugly Homophobic Fri, 02 Dec 2011 21:46:31 +0000

We at TTAC get our fair share of complaints once in a  while. (They usually start with a “b” and end in “ias.”)

We are nothing compared to Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear.  The likewise UK site Carbuzz chronicled the biggest complaints against Clarkson.  According to The Guardian, “Clarkson, who flew out to China to film a new series of Top Gear as the row erupted on Thursday, issued an apology.”

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Just Like A Good Neighbor: State Farm Joins Toyota Shake-Down Thu, 15 Apr 2010 09:18:20 +0000

More and more Americans have recently detected that they have a rich uncle in Japan. The uncle’s name is Toyota. From LaHood to a bevy of lawyers, all have a yen for Toyota’s money. Latest (but surely not last) to join the fray: State Farm. You know, that same insurance company that had disclosed all those claims to NHTSA and never received an answer. They went public with the story a few days before the congressional hearings. Now we know why: Like a good neighbor, State Farms wants its money back.

“Armed with reports of accidents for which they’ve already paid claims, State Farm insurance has asked Toyota to repay them for any crashes related to unintended acceleration by its vehicles,” reports USA Today. The request for a little Farm Aid is just the beginning.

Other insurance companies are expected to – make that will follow and ask for money. In the trade, this is called “subrogation.” No, it’s not a kinky sex practice. It is a complicated matter on which a Wikipedia has a whole article, in case you are interested. Executive summary: The insurance companies did pay the claim, Toyota is supposed to hold the bag. To the tune of another $20m to $30m. If the insurers get their money back, customers who filed a claim may get their deductibles refunded. (Just make sure that you will.)

State Farm had sent a letter to Toyota in September 2007 asking it to pay for claims in an accident involving a 2005 Toyota Camry. State Farm wrote, “We are aware of several complaints to your company of sudden acceleration involving the Toyota Camry.”

The letter was copied to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NHTSA replied they had looked into similar complaints, starting in August 2006, and closed the investigation on April 3, 2007. State Farm wasn’t reimbursed.

What if Toyota refuses to pay? Easy, says USA Today: “The cost could trickle down to consumers, who could end up paying higher insurance rates for Toyota vehicles.” This gives the insurers more leverage than the law: Toyotas are cheap to insure at the moment. If it changes, it will hurt sales. Toyota must decide to settle now, or pay later.

Toyota has no comment.

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Many NHTSA Complaints Unverifiable Sat, 06 Mar 2010 12:36:12 +0000

Just as Paul Niedermeyer, Edmunds, Consumer Reports or anybody else who has the time to download and analyze 103.1 Mbytes worth of customer complaints to NHTSA, Toyota is pouring over the data. However, their attempts are being thoroughly frustrated.

According to The Nikkei [sub], Toyota found out that oftentimes complaints submitted to the NHTSA “either are unverifiable or lack vehicle-owner information required to facilitate follow-up.” In other words, a lot of the complaints look like they are bogus. Even if they are real, their validity cannot be ascertained.

And herein lies the rub:

Anybody can file on-line complaints at NHTSA without a VIN number. Try it. With any car make you hate. Anybody can give a bogus email and a likewise bogus physical address. There is no on-line checking. That information is as useful as most of the email we receive each day: It is garbage. Counting garbage intermixed with real complaints is useless unless the garbage has been removed. Drawing statistical conclusions from a 0.03 percent complaint rate, poisoned by data that just asks for being abused and messed with, is an exercise in futility. It takes us back to the witch-hunts of the Middle Ages, where anybody could point at a woman, call her a witch, and get her submitted to the sink or swim test. At least in the Middle Ages, you couldn’t do it anonymously and on-line. As Wikipedia says: “In modern terminology ‘witch-hunt’ has acquired usage referring to the act of seeking and persecuting any perceived enemy, particularly when the search is conducted using extreme measures and with little regard to actual guilt or innocence.”

If Carfax can correlate a VIN number with a car’s whole history, then the NHTSA should at least be able to cross-reference a VIN-number with an owner. Why does the NHTSA accept and publish a complaint without a VIN? Does the IRS process your tax return without a SSN or tax payer’s ID? If I can’t order a book at Amazon without a credit card number that matches my address, why can I report dead people to the government without the merest of checks? Idiocy or intentional? You decide.

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Toyotas Recalled, Fixed, Blamed Again Thu, 04 Mar 2010 11:09:01 +0000

Legions of Toyota owners have brought their automobiles to their dealers to have their carpets zip-tied and their pedals shimmied. But did that end the customer complaints? You guessed it: It did not. The NHTSA has already received 10 complaints that the fixes were for naught and that cars still have a mind of their own. Understandably, do-nothing-NHSTSA, having received congressional tongue lashings about lackadaisical attitudes, is on it like sonic.

Reuters says that NHTSA “is reviewing reports that have been received since mid-February and are interviewing vehicle owners. The regulator said the allegations were unconfirmed.”

Stealing LaHood’s lines, David Strickland, the NHTSA administrator, said that the agency wants to “get to the bottom” of the matter and ensure that Toyota is doing “everything possible” to address the situation. “If Toyota owners are still experiencing sudden acceleration incidents after taking their cars to the dealership, we want to know about it,” Strickland said.

If you have a shimmied or zip-tied Toyota and you want some attention, or a new car while the old one is being investigated, now is the time to speak up.

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The Truth About NHTSA Complaints Fri, 12 Feb 2010 05:10:48 +0000 Click to enrage … we mean, enlarge

According to the MSM and many on-line pundits, the NHTSA has been drowning in customer complaints about Toyotas for years. Supposedly, the warnings were thrown in the wind.

Edmunds went through the pain of sifting through NHTSA’s complaint database from 2001 through Feb. 3, 2010 . After the counting was done, Edmunds came to a startling conclusion: The deluge of complaints is a myth, to put it charitably. “Fabrication” would be a better word. Amongst 20 brands, “Toyota ranks 17th among automakers in the overall number of complaints per vehicle sold,” says Edmunds. NHTSA’s own data shows: Only drivers of Mercedes Benz, Porsches and Smarts have less to kvetch than Toyota owners.

According to the hard data, Land Rover owners complain the most about their vehicles. Much to the horror of Germany’s Autohaus, “inordinate amounts of complaints come from VW drivers.” Volkswagen ranks 4th in NHTSA’s hall of shame. Two days ago, Christian Wulff, Premier of Lower Saxony, 20 percent owner of Volkswagen, warned about Wolfsburg complacency: “The troubles of the competition should be a warning to undertake everything so that the same doesn’t happen to oneself.”

The most complaints in the database, 25.3 percent of the total, concern GM cars. Relativized by GM’s large market share, this lands GM on place 11. Ford, where quality is job one, gets more complaints per car than the cross-town rival. Chrysler, the other ward of the state, ranks 7th. Volvo, supposedly the pinnacle of safety, created even more complaints per car: Place 6.

Edmunds points out that these are raw “complaints filed by individuals.” The complaints are “not checked for accuracy by NHTSA.”

In the blood & guts dept., Edmunds tried to get hard numbers about deaths and injuries, but decided that it’s an exercise in futility. “It quickly became clear that the data is unreliable,” says the Edmunds press release. “For example, one complaint indicated that 99 people had died in one vehicle as a result of an accident. It should also be noted roughly 10 percent of total complaints appear to be duplicates.” Which may explain some of the confusion, and some of the wild numbers circulating with no dependable source.

“No one should overlook the issues raised by the Toyota recalls, but it is important to keep things in perspective,” said Edmunds’ CEO Jeremy Anwyl. “A broader view shows that consumer complaints reflect an industry issue, not just a Toyota issue. As Toyota’s experience in recent months clearly demonstrates, it is no longer an option for car companies to dismiss consumer complaints, even if the event is difficult to replicate or diagnose.” Looking at the list, car companies have their hands full.

Edmunds and NHTSA’s own data prove that there is a witch hunt and mass hysteria that are not born out by hard facts. Whether the witch hunt and mass hysteria have been created, or are just exploited by other interests, is left as an exercise to the student. Conspiracy theories? Henry Kissinger pointed out that even the paranoid have enemies. By the dubious virtue of being the world’s largest auto maker, Toyota has no shortage of enemies. And a lot of reason for paranoia.

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