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Toyota RAV4 side airbags blew up in my face with NO impact to car!

jondubusjondubus Posts: 18
As bizarre as this may sound, it happened (on 3/31/08). My Rav4 has no impact damage anywhere, and now sits at my local Toyota dealership with airbags hanging down while I DRIVE A RENTAL CAR AT MY OWN EXPENSE. Both side airbags went off by themselves on a smooth, straight road, and with a huge bang that knocked me sideways when thay deployed. I nearly lost control but managed to get the car stopped, but I was extremely frightened, to the extent I won't drive this car again. I now have a hearing loss in my left ear,possibly the right too. My E,N & T specialist says that inner ear damage is typical with airbag deployment. I've had numerous discussions with my Toyota " customer service representative" (named Havon Finney) who tells me my claim has now been forwarded to the Toyota claims Dept. in Torrance, CA. Havon tells me it's Toyota's "policy" that they have either 30/60 days to respond to my claim. (Whoopee) So far, after a number of complaints including one to a Toyota inspector who photo'd my car, I've got no answers as to why my airbags deployed on their own and what, even is the status of my case. I'm totally puzzled as to why Toyota is not tearing my '07 Rav4 apart to find a cause for this dangerous condition, and finding out how many more Toyota cars like mine are out there. I bought my Rav4 because of it's safety ratings. And I thought Toyota was a stand-up up corporation. I could've been killed on any other kind of road. Toyota case #200804010880. I'll be taking my case to all sorts of media .
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Comments

  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,110
    Omigosh. That sounds like a nightmare. Please keep us posted on your ordeal.

    Has anyone else ever experienced this?

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • jondubusjondubus Posts: 18
    Thanks for your reply; yeah, it's been a nightmare. I feel like I'm getting the corporate stonewall, especially from this customer representative: Havon Finney. I've asked to speak to the Claims dept. but was told they don't accept phone calls, only mail communications. I've asked to speak to Havon's supervisor- I've gotten a name but no extension number or response. I get the same crap over and over. The local dealer doesn't seem seem to know what to do either, but I can hardly blame them, given Toyota's lack of doing anything. Jeez, it's been over a month, the car's been inspected by them, and there's absolutely no body damage. I have another audiological exam tomorrow, and by next week I shoild know if there's any improvement. I'm still missing some hearing that's happened since the incident with my car's airbag's, despite my Doc's treatment. Just a thought: Mom is driving along on a twisty road with her two kids... side airbag deploys causing her to lose control and go off the road... airbag looks like it did it's job when someone finds the wreckage.
  • stevem685stevem685 Posts: 4
    Wow - that is scary. Hope you are okay -

    I have an 06' Rav that I've already complained about on this forum about - but this is now "scary". Toyota better wake up - the one I own is probably the last Toyota I own for a long long time. The only reason to buy a Toyota and they are losing that mantle to Honda quickly.

    Best of luck and keep us informed please!
  • hank119hank119 Posts: 39
    Perhaps you should take a look at these web sites.

    www.autosafety.org
    A private organization dedicated to auto safety.

    www.safercars.gov
    The Federal Government's NHTSA web site

    You can file a complaint at either site but I'm not sure how responsive these organizations might be. If they get enough similar complaints they may do something.

    If you've had a hearing problem as a result of the airbag deployment, contact a good law firm. You should be recompensed.
  • jondubusjondubus Posts: 18
    Thanks for the tip on the websites, I'll give those a try. I have contacted a product liability attorney, and we're having to wait to see if hearing will improve over time. The Dr. tells me it's pretty much determined that it will stay the same after a four month period.
  • jondubusjondubus Posts: 18
    50 days since my airbag blew and still no response from Toyota. I've sent the their claims dept a letter/bill for over $1200 in car rental fees. Toyota should be ashamed.
  • sm685sm685 Posts: 4
    wow - please do keep us apprised. Toyota has some real customer service problems on their hands these days and their ignorance of this has cost them one customer here. More to follow I'm sure.
  • jondubusjondubus Posts: 18
    (Lack of) Progress report:
    I wrote a letter describing my RAV4 airbag defect to Mr. Yukitoshi Funo, CEO of Toyota N. America in New York with copies to the director of the Toyota human resources dept. and the Toyota legal dept. in Torrance, CA. I did then receive some calls from a representative of the legal dept. in Torrance, offering to buy back my car. Seemed like progress. After more return calls I made to work out the details, and with calls to Mr. Funo, and others, I again have had no response from Toyota for the last two weeks. It is now a full three months since this frightfully defective product nearly killed me, yet I still :lemon: have no satisfactory response from Toyota, just more shameful corporate behavior.
  • jondubusjondubus Posts: 18
    I called the NHTSA today and they registered my complaint, and reccommended I call the Federal Trade Commission. I did that too and registered a complaint with them, giving them Mr. Funo's phone number and the number of the Legal dept. representative. I also contacted the Car Talk radio program on NPR. Any other ideas out there of how I can further advertise my experience with Toyota's potentially lethal airbag defect? On the NHTSA website I found another '07 RAV4 airbag incident reported to them in Jan. '08, where the airbags did not deploy in an accident, and caused a "major injury". :lemon: :lemon:
  • sm685sm685 Posts: 4
    I just sold my Rav after 2 years of disappointing failures and service nightmares. My new Honda is just fine - hopefully not a repeat of the Toyota. Fortunately, the Ravs have a good rep and I did well on the sale. As I've said before, Toyota better wake up - there is competition and it's catching up. Good luck with your airbags - I wouldn't take another Rav if I were you - I'd have a lawyer getting a check from them instead.
  • jondubusjondubus Posts: 18
    sm685,
    After 3 months of wrangling, I've finally reached a settlement with the Toyota Legal Dept. (on my own). It's not quite finalized, but we do have an agrement I can live with. Since it's not finalized, I can't review any other details. I've appreciated your support.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,110
    When and if you can disclose the terms of the agreement, please report back to us. I'm sure other would like to know.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • sm685sm685 Posts: 4
    Glad you were able to work it out. Be interested to hear the details sometime.
  • mexateckmexateck Posts: 9
    This is absolutely positively atrocious. I am so sorry you went through all of that hassle and still seem to be living it to this day. You certainly have my support... as, though I have not suffered as much adversity as you, am going through a bit of hell with my own Rav4. Your resolution trail is certainly appreciated and any help that we can provide I'm sure we'll be more than happy to give.
  • I am a 8 1/2 months pregnant owner of a 97 Toyota Rav 4. My driver/passenger side airbags deployed simultaneously 3 weeks ago fo NO REASON. There I was attempting to make my way home after a busy day at the office, I get in the car, turn the ignition, step on the gas, and BANG. Both airbags explode in my face, scaring the absolute daylights out of me. Never mind that the sheer force of the drivers airbag was centered directly on my baby and the passengers side made burned mincemeat of my right arm. I have spent the better part of the past 3 weeks haggling with my own insurance company and Toyota, over who will be responsible for fixing my machine, to this point in time they are both playing a nice game of not it. I am growing more and more frustrated as the days skulk by and the reality seems to be my baby will be here far before anything is done by Toyota to remedy this disaster. Your help in this matter is appreciated.
  • After 5 months of wrangling with Toyota, including letters and phone calls describing the incident to a Mr. Yukitoshi Funo, Chairman and CEO of Toyota N. America, I've finally recieved a settlement satisfactory to me. To get his adress and phone number, simply Wikipedia Toyota. He is in the Torrance, Californis corporate office. I had a long stretch when I would call nearly every day, or send another letter. Finally I recieved a response from the Toyota legal dept. With Mr. Funo, (via his voice mail, you won't get him personally) bring up the dishonor your incident (and mine), has brought to his company. Not to mention that delays in settling with you are criminal. I settled mine w/o an attorney, but you may need one. Reply if you need more help.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,110
    Are you at liberty to share any details of the settlement? We'd all like to know! :)

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • Tidester, I have one last detail to wrap up with Toyota: The RAV 4 was bought back by Toyota, but I keep recieving payment statements from Toyota Financial. If mikfuoner doesn't hear anything soon, I will reveal the terms of my settlement long and loud. Stay tuned. To mikfuoner: If you haven't already, start a thread on the Toyota Nation forum about your experience. Also, I made no excessive demands of Toyota, only that I did demand they return me to the state I was in, financially and healthwise before their defective product injured me. Likewise, you want to be RESTORED. None of that is unreasonable.
  • Hello Jondubus, I'm a journalist in Canada and have been in touch with mikfuoner. I'm conducting research on this airbag issue with RAV's and hoping I might speak to you by phone about your ordeal. Can you please advise if this is possible? Many thanks in advance.
  • Yeah, I'll consider that. My email adress should now be visible in my profile. I'll need some authentication as to your employer before I commit. reply to this if the E adress doesn't appear.
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