San Diego

Point Loma Teacher Challenges Toyota Truck Warranty

Michael Montgomery found rust on his three-year-old truck and thought it would be covered under his warranty but the manufacturer declined to cover the full repair costs.

“Yeah there’s a lot here,” Michael Montgomery said, pointing out rust spots around the windows of his 2014 Toyota Tacoma pick-up truck. 

Michael said you can see the rust around all four windows and that’s why he took the truck back to Toyota of San Diego where he originally bought it. He said the rust should be covered by his truck’s new car warranty. 

“For rust, corrosion, you have a five year, unlimited miles warranty,” Michael said, showing the warranty section in his paperwork. 

Michael said the dealership took pictures of the rust spots and said they would show the pictures to a Toyota District Manager so that Toyota’s corporate office could make a decision. Ten days later, Michael said he got a call from a Toyota Auto Body Technician saying Toyota’s corporate office had rejected his warranty claim, stating the rust was caused by “outside influences.” Michael said as a sign of good will, the technician told him the dealership would pay 50% of the repair costs. 

“I said no, that’s an insult and I want to speak to a [district] manager,” Michael said. 

When a local manager called Michael back, Michael said the manager was unable to explain the reasoning behind the decision with the source of the rust and said 50% off repair costs were all the dealership could offer. 

“Why are you willing to pay 50% and not 100%?” Michael said. 

Michael said his Tacoma has been a good truck but he shouldn’t have to pay anything to fix the rust problems when the truck is still under warranty. 

“I haven’t done anything that would cause my truck to rust like that,” Michael said. 

Michael called NBC 7 Responds and the team contacted Toyota’s corporate offices to explain Michael’s situation. Within a week, Michael said he received a call from the local dealership. 

“They said they wanted to give me the good news that they could fix my truck,” Michael said. 

In an email, Victor Vanov, a spokesperson for Toyota’s corporate office told NBC 7 Responds, “We are working with the customer to resolve this issue, which is currently being remedied by the dealer. In the meantime, the dealer has provided Mr. Montgomery with a loaner vehicle.” 

Michael said the dealership told him there was an update to a service bulletin dealing with rust and window panels. The work included new paint and clear covers to protect the window frames. Michael said he feels NBC 7 Responds made a difference. 

“I believe it was you that showed them the wisdom to honor the warranty,” Michael said. 

In an email, a spokesperson for Toyota San Diego said, “We at Toyota San Diego were happy to work with Toyota on behalf of our customer to ensure that his repair could be properly handled. At Toyota San Diego, customer satisfaction is our number one goal."

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