n October 2006, a 2005 Toyota Corolla, while operated by a previous owner, was involved in a collision requiring repairs to almost the entire right side of the vehicle, resulting in body panels that are poorly aligned with obvious gaps and possible structural damage. According to Carfax, the vehicle collided with another vehicle in New Jersey in October 2006. It was repaired and sold at an auction to Nationwide Imports in April 2007, then at another auction it was sold to Koons Tysons Toyota in May 2007.
In May of 2007, our client began negotiations with a salesman for the purchase of a vehicle and specifically asked if the vehicle had ever been damaged, wrecked, or repaired. He claimed that he was told by the salesman that it had not been damaged or repaired in an accident, that it was a "Certified" used Toyota Corolla, that it was in excellent condition, and he explained that it had been rigorously inspected by Koons and its vehicle history was reviewed via Carfax to determine that the vehicle was qualified to be sold as a Toyota "Certified" Used car. He was also sold an extended warranty or service contract for the car that he purchased. Relying on the warranties and representations, the remainder of the factory warranty, the service contract, the vehicle history, its "Toyota Certified Used Vehicle" status, and representations about the vehicle’s condition from Koons, our client agreed to purchase the vehicle. At no time during the negotiations for the vehicle was our client advised by Koons that the certification of the vehicle would cost him an additional $995.00, since he had been told it was already certified, which the dealership charged him to certify the vehicle, misrepresenting it as a "We Owe" charge on the Buyer’s Order.
In July 2007, the plaintiff took the vehicle to have it appraised at CarMax in Dulles, Virginia for possible resale and at this appraisal he learned that the vehicle had been wrecked, that it had extensive body repairs, that there was possible structural or frame damage, and that CarMax would purchase the vehicle for $8,500.00, about $11,000.00 less than what he paid for it less than two months earlier.
According to the Toyota web site for Toyota Certified Used vehicles, in order for a vehicle to achieve the status as a Toyota "Certified" Used vehicle, it must be "the best of the best", it must pass a "rigorous 160 point quality assurance inspection by factory-trained technicians" and get a Car Fax report to ensure it is worthy of the Toyota Certification process. Our client alleges that the prior accident history, damage, and repairs to the vehicle were known by Koons, or in the exercise of the reasonable diligence, should have been known, prior to the selling of the vehicle to our client, but were never disclosed to him prior to his purchase of the vehicle. He alleges that these repairs were obvious to anyone inspecting the vehicles in the auto purchase industry.
In August 2008, the matter was resolved by a cash payment with the agreement of all parties. This case settled for approximately $52,000.