Frequently asked questions

1. How do class actions work?

A class action is a legal proceeding where seven or more people have claims against the same individual or corporation in respect of, or arising out of similar circumstances, such that their claims give rise to a substantial common issue of law or fact. Where these criteria are met (as in the present case), class action proceedings can be commenced by one or more of those people on behalf of some or all of them.

The class action process is intended to save time and expense and avoids the need for the court to determine common issues of fact or law more than once. It enables disputes and claims involving large numbers of people to be resolved via a single case.

2. What is the Toyota class action about?

The Toyota class action claimed compensation (that is, money) for defects in Toyota Hilux, Fortuner and Prado vehicles with a 1GD-FTV or 2GD-FTV diesel engine acquired between 1 October 2015 and 23 April 2020 in Australia (Relevant Vehicles).

On 16 May 2022, the Court delivered judgment in favour of the applicants and group members.  Copies of the judgment orders made on 16 May 2022 and the Court’s reasons for judgment (which sets out the Court’s findings on liability and the applicants’ and group members’ entitlement to receive money (damages) from Toyota, and which was published on 7 April 2022) can be viewed here.

The Court found that:

  • the Relevant Vehicles were not of acceptable quality because of their defective DPF systems;
  • Toyota engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct in connection with marketing and selling the Relevant Vehicles;
  • the value of the Relevant Vehicles at the time of initial supply was reduced because of their defective DPF systems;
  • the amount of the reduction in value was 17.5% (measured against Average Retail Price); and
  • eligible group members are entitled to be paid money to compensate them for this reduction in value and for the excess GST they paid as a result of acquiring their vehicles at prices which were higher than the true value of those vehicles.

Direct Claim Services Qld Pty Ltd (the second applicant) was awarded $7,474.59 for the reduction in value of its Toyota Prado and a further $747.46 for the excess GST it paid to acquire the vehicle.

DCS was also awarded $246.60 for excess stamp duty paid in connection with acquiring its Toyota Prado, $1,650.32 for excess financing costs paid in connection with acquiring its Toyota Prado, $4,725 for income lost due to having its Toyota Prado serviced for issues associated with the DPF system and $3,559.79 in interest on the above amounts.

In total, DCS was awarded $18,401.76 in damages.

Group members will receive a notice from the Court in June 2022 inviting them to register their interest in receiving money to which they are entitled under the judgment.

It is in group members’ interests to register in response to the notice they will receive in June 2022.  If group members do not register, they will not be able to receive any money to which they may otherwise be entitled under the judgment.

3. Which Toyota vehicles are affected?

This class action involves any model of Toyota motor vehicle in the Hilux, Prado and Fortuner ranges fitted with a 1GD-FTV or 2GD-FTV diesel engine which was acquired between 1 October 2015 and 23 April 2020, in Australia (Relevant Vehicle).

An inclusive but non-exhaustive list of Relevant Vehicles can be found here.

If you can’t find your vehicle on this list or if you are unsure whether your vehicle is one of the Relevant Vehicles in the class action, you can contact us on 1300 487 602.

4. Am I a group member?

Group members are people who meet certain criteria. You are likely to be a group member in the class action if:

  • you acquired a Toyota Hilux, Fortuner or Prado with a 1GD-FTV or 2GD-FTV diesel engine between 1 October 2015 and 23 April 2020;
  • you did not acquire the vehicle in an auction;
  • you did not acquire the vehicle for the purpose of re-supply; and
  • you acquired the vehicle from a Toyota dealership or other retailer (including Toyota Motor Corporation Australia itself), including second-hand through used car dealers, or from any person who directly acquired the vehicle from a Toyota dealership or retailer.

If you meet the group member criteria, then you are a group member automatically. Group members will be bound by the outcome of the class action unless they previously took steps to “opt out”.

Pursuant to a judgment delivered by the Court on 16 May 2022, eligible group members are now entitled to be paid money (damages).  Group members will receive a notice from the Court in June 2022 inviting them to register their interest in receiving money to which they are entitled under the judgment.

It is in group members’ interests to register in response to the notice they will receive in June 2022.  If group members do not register, they will not be able to receive any money to which they may otherwise be entitled under the judgment.

5. Do I need to register or sign up to be a group member in the class action?

No. Anyone who satisfies the relevant criteria and who has not already opted out of the class action is automatically a group member.

However, to receive any money to which they are entitled under the judgment, group members will need to register their interest in doing soGroup members will receive a notice from the Court in June 2022 inviting them to register their interest in receiving money to which they are entitled under the judgment.

It is in group members’ interests to register in response to the notice they will receive in June 2022.  If group members do not register, they will not be able to receive any money to which they may otherwise be entitled under the judgment.

6. What will it cost group members to become a part of the Toyota class action?

It does not cost you anything to be a part of the Toyota class action.

That is because a company called Balance Legal Capital I UK Ltd (Balance) agreed to pay the costs of bringing the Toyota class action, including to pay the legal costs of Toyota if the action was unsuccessful, in return for reimbursement of those costs plus a funding commission in the event the class action was successful (that is, if money was recovered from Toyota).  Because it funded the litigation, Balance intends to ask the Court to deduct an amount from the damages to be paid to all eligible Group Members.  Whether such a deduction can be made and, if so, the amount of that deduction, will be determined by the Court and you have a right to raise before the Court any issues you have in respect of such a deduction.  You will be informed about this process when you register.  If there is to be a deduction, this will occur before any money is paid to eligible Group Members.  Balance does not intend to seek an amount exceeding 25% of the damages to be paid to eligible Group Members (and it may seek a lesser amount if more Group Members register their interest in receiving money under the judgment).

7. What is opt out and how do I opt out?

The Toyota class action is an “open class action” meaning it was brought by the applicants on their behalf and on behalf of other persons who also own or have owned the affected Toyota vehicles (known as “group members”). The criteria for group members can be found here.

In an open class action, any group members who do not wish to participate in the class action must “opt out” of the class action. An Opt Out Notice and Supplementary Opt Out Notice ordered by the Court was previously issued to group members, setting out their options for opting out of the class action. A copy is available here.

The deadline for opting out of the class action has now passed. The deadline for filing an Opt-Out Notice with the Court was 30 September 2020 for Opt-Out Notices sent in July/August 2020 or 22 January 2021 for Opt-Out Notices sent in November/December 2020.

If you did not opt out by the deadline, you will no longer be able to “opt out” of the class action without special leave of the Court and will otherwise remain a group member.

8. What if I did not opt-out?

If you did not opt out, you remain as a group member.

Pursuant to a judgment delivered by the Court on 16 May 2022, eligible group members are now entitled to be paid money (damages).  Group members will receive a notice from the Court in June 2022 inviting them to register their interest in receiving money to which they are entitled under the judgment.

It is in group members’ interests to register in response to the notice they will receive in June 2022.  If group members do not register, they will not be able to receive any money to which they may otherwise be entitled under the judgment.

9. Who is conducting the Toyota class action?

Gilbert + Tobin are the solicitors on the record in the Proceedings and are working with a team of barristers, consisting of Stephen Free SC, Patrick Meagher and Peter Strickland.

10. Who is Balance Legal Capital?

Balance Legal Capital (Balance) is an experienced litigation funder which is funding the class action. This means that Balance agreed to pay the costs of bringing this class action against Toyota, including to pay the legal costs of Toyota if the class action was unsuccessful, in return for repayment of those costs plus a funding commission, should the class action be successful (that is, if money was recovered from Toyota).

Group members are not, and will not be, responsible for any “out of pocket” legal costs by remaining as group members in this class action (whether or not they signed a funding agreement with Balance).

However, because it funded the litigation, Balance intends to ask the Court to deduct an amount from the damages to be paid to all eligible group members.  Whether such a deduction can be made and, if so, the amount of that deduction, will be determined by the Court and you have a right to raise before the Court any issues you have in respect of such a deduction.  You will be informed about this process when you register.  If there is to be a deduction, this will occur before any money is paid to eligible group members.  Balance does not intend to seek an amount exceeding 25% of the damages to be paid to eligible group members (and it may seek a lesser amount if more group members register their interest in receiving money under the judgment).

11. How long will the action take?

The class action was commenced in July 2019 and the initial trial concluded in December 2021, with the Court delivering its judgment on 16 May 2022.

The next case management hearing is scheduled for 17 June 2022.  At this time (or shortly afterwards), the Court will determine the manner in which the remaining issues in dispute between the parties (including group members’ claims for additional damages) will be resolved.

12. Will I need to register or sign up to receive any money to which I am entitled under the judgment?

Yes. Group members will receive a notice from the Court in June 2022 inviting them to register their interest in receiving any money to which they are entitled under the judgment.

On receiving that notice, group members will be able to register their interest to receive any money to which they are entitled under the judgment.

It is in group members’ interests to register in response to the notice they will receive in June 2022.  If group members do not register, they will not be able to receive any money to which they may otherwise be entitled under the judgment.

13. What if the warranty applicable to my Relevant Vehicle has expired?

Whether or not your warranty has expired, you can still be part of this class action.

You may or may not be covered for services from Toyota related to your vehicle’s DPF issues after your warranty has expired. You may need to make enquiries with your Toyota dealer to understand what services will be covered.

14. Does it matter if my Relevant Vehicle was / is financed?

No. Financing of the vehicle does not affect your ability to be a part of the class action, provided that you meet the group member criteria.

Group members’ entitlements to receive compensation for excess financing costs was not determined at the initial trial. However, we are considering how group members may be able to establish their entitlement to receive compensation for excess financing costs and will provide a further update on this topic as soon as we are able to do so (likely following a hearing on 17 June 2022).

15. What if I have already received a replacement vehicle or refund from Toyota?

If you have not already been paid a refund by Toyota in respect of your Relevant Vehicle or had your Relevant Vehicle replaced by Toyota, this section is not relevant to you.

Refunds

If you have already been paid a refund by Toyota in respect of your Relevant Vehicle, then you are not entitled to money under the judgment.

Replacement vehicles

If your Relevant Vehicle was replaced by Toyota during the Relevant Period (between 1 October 2015 and 23 April 2020) with another Relevant Vehicle, then you are entitled to be paid money for reduction in value and excess GST under the judgment and the amount of money you will be paid (if you register) will be assessed in the manner described above.

If your Relevant Vehicle was replaced by Toyota:

  • after the Relevant Period (i.e. after 23 April 2020); or
  • during the Relevant Period (between 1 October 2015 and 23 April 2020) with a vehicle other than a Relevant Vehicle,

then you are entitled to money for excess GST (assessed in the manner described above), but your entitlement to receive money for reduction in value has not yet been determined.  That is, group members in this category may still be found to be entitled to receive money for reduction in value in due course.  We will provide an update in respect of when these claims may be determined following a hearing on 17 June 2022.  If you wish to receive ongoing updates in respect of the class action, you can register your interest in doing so here.

Compensation payments

If you have already received a compensation payment from Toyota in respect of your Relevant Vehicle for:

  • the reduction in value of that vehicle; or
  • the difference between the price you paid to acquire your vehicle and the price at which you traded it in to Toyota or sold it,

then this payment will be taken into account in assessing your eligibility to receive money under the judgment and the amount of any such money you may be eligible to receive.

16. What if I have sold my Relevant Vehicle?

Group members who acquired their Relevant Vehicles during the Relevant Period (1 October 2015 to 23 April 2020) but who also sold those vehicles during the Relevant Period were found to have suffered damages for the reduction in value of their vehicles at the time of acquisition and excess GST paid in connection with acquiring those vehicles.

However, the amount of the damages suffered by those group members was held not to be able to be determined other than on an individual basis.  That is, these group members are not eligible at this time to receive an award of damages under the judgment (which addressed the eligibility of group members to receive an aggregate award of damages on a common basis).

We are considering this finding and will provide an update in respect of this issue when we are able to do so.  If you wish to receive ongoing updates in respect of the class action, you can register your interest in doing so here.

17. What if I have not experienced any issues with my Relevant Vehicle?

In its reasons for judgment, the Court found that all Relevant Vehicles were not of acceptable quality because of their defective DPF systems.  This was so even if the consequences of the defective DPF system had not yet manifested in some vehicles.

Pursuant to a judgment delivered by the Court on 16 May 2022, eligible group members are entitled to be paid money (damages).  Group members will receive a notice from the Court in June 2022 inviting them to register their interest in receiving money to which they are entitled under the judgment.

It is in group members’ interests to register in response to the notice they will receive in June 2022.  If group members do not register, they will not be able to receive any money to which they may otherwise be entitled under the judgment.

18. How do I receive future updates about the Toyota Class action?

To receive updates about the Toyota Class Action directly to your nominated email address, please register your details here.

19. What if I have previously signed up to receive updates about the Toyota Class Action, but my details have changed?

If you have already signed up to receive updates about the Toyota Class Action and your contact details have changed since you did so, you can provide us with your updated details here.

Funded by

Balance Legal Capital

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Prosecuted by

Gilbert + Tobin

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