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Toyota Prius HVAC Smells Like “Rank, Sweaty Socks” Class Action

Should an upscale vehicle come to smell like “a pile of rank, sweaty socks”? Those who buy or lease certain Prius vehicles fron Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc. certainly don’t expect that. But the complaint for this class action alleges that the vehicles’ heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are defective and allow moisture to accumulate and microbes to grow, leading to a bad smell and exposure to toxic contaminants.

The Nationwide Class for this action is all persons and entities in the US (including its territories and the District of Columbia) who bought or leased a class vehicle. A California Class has also been defined for those who bought or leased a class vehicle in California, or who bought or leased a class vehicle and live in California. The class vehicles include 2006-202 Toyota Priuses.

The complaint alleges that the HVAC system “permits the accumulation of moisture and microbial growth … causing it to emit foul, noxious, and/or toxic odors into the Vehicle’s passenger compartments and exposing the Vehicle’s occupants to a safety risk from the mold and other contaminants that are emitted in the air circulated through the Defective HVAC System.”

The plaintiff in this case, James Bettles, bought a new 2016 Toyota Prius on December 3, 2016 at a Toyota dealership in Sacramento, California. Less than six months after he bought the Prius, he began noticing a foul smell coming from its air conditioning vents. At first, he thought it was his own socks or shoes, but even after he rewashed his socks and got new shoes, the smell continued.

When he’d had the vehicle for around six months, he took it to the dealership for servicing and mentioned the smell issue. The dealership reported that its technicians found nothing wrong with the HVAC system. But the smell got worse over the summer of 2017.

In December of that year, he brought the vehicle in for servicing again, and again was told there was no problem with the HVAC system. He was advised to replace the filter or use disinfectant or air fresheners in the vehicle. When he complained that Toyota was not honoring its warranty, the complaint alleges, the dealership supervisor exclaimed that others had bought in “thousands of similar complaints about smells from these kinds of cars, and that there is no fix…”

The complaint claims that there have been numerous complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distributors, and dealerships about the problem. One persons described it as “an overpowering urine smell” and others have said it smells like dirty socks, band-aids, or a horse stall.

Despite the postings and Technical Service Bulletins issued by Toyota, the complaint alleges that no permanent fix has been found for the problem and that Toyota continues to sell the vehicles anyway, without warning customers about the problem.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Automobile

Most Recent Case Event

Toyota Prius HVAC Smells Like “Rank, Sweaty Socks” Complaint

September 22, 2021

Should an upscale vehicle come to smell like “a pile of rank, sweaty socks”? Those who buy or lease certain Prius vehicles fron Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc. certainly don’t expect that. But the complaint for this class action alleges that the vehicles’ heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are defective and allow moisture to accumulate and microbes to grow, leading to a bad smell and exposure to toxic contaminants.

Toyota Prius HVAC Smells Like “Rank, Sweaty Socks” Complaint

Case Event History

Toyota Prius HVAC Smells Like “Rank, Sweaty Socks” Complaint

September 22, 2021

Should an upscale vehicle come to smell like “a pile of rank, sweaty socks”? Those who buy or lease certain Prius vehicles fron Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc. certainly don’t expect that. But the complaint for this class action alleges that the vehicles’ heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are defective and allow moisture to accumulate and microbes to grow, leading to a bad smell and exposure to toxic contaminants.

Toyota Prius HVAC Smells Like “Rank, Sweaty Socks” Complaint
Tags: Defective Automobile, HVAC System