Toyota Facing Defective Camry Air Conditioning Class Action Lawsuit

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New York NY:Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc. is facing a defective products class action lawsuit alleging the car maker was aware of a defect in its Camry models that causes the cars' air conditioning system to become moldy, emitting foul odors and potentially causing health problems.

Filed in Los Angeles earlier this week, the lawsuit claims that Toyota' 2012 Camry models have a "uniform and widespread defect" in the heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems that causes emissions of noxious and foul odors from the growth of mold in the system.

"Defendant has actively concealed and failed to disclose this defect to plaintiff and class members at the time of their purchase or lease of the class vehicles and thereafter," the complaint states.

Further, the lawsuit contends that the affected Camry models' HVAC system contains one or more design or manufacturing defect that causes the emissions of the bad odors from the mold. The plaintiffs allege that exposure to mold and its related smells is "extremely dangerous" and can lead to sickness, nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing and other health problems.

The mold emanating from the HVAC system in the 2012 Toyota Camry vehicles allegedly grows on a part known as the evaporator, which is located inside the car dashboard. When cold refrigerant passes into the evaporator, it absorbs heat from the air in the passenger compartment and collects moisture from condensation, which creates a favorable growing condition for mold, the complaint claims.

When a consumer complains of the mold build-up in his or her Camry, Toyota "merely replaces" the defective HVAC components with the very same components, and doesn't repair the defect, in violation of warranty, according to the lawsuit.

According to the plaintiffs, Toyota knew, or should have known, about the defect as early as 1997. However, the automaker "actively concealed" the defect and didn't inform consumers.

Further, the complaint states that Toyota had "already offered" previous model year Camry vehicles that had similar HVAC systems and acknowledged the defects as early as 1997 and as recently as 2009.

The complaint seeks certification of a class of California purchasers of 2012 Camry vehicles.

The plaintiffs are represented by Jordan L. Lurie, Robert Friedl, Tarek H. Zohdy and Cody R. Padgett of Capstone Law APC. The suit is Forsley et al v. Toyota Motors Sales USA Inc. et al, case number BC577240, in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles.

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Reader Comments

Posted by
TW
on
Toyota Tundra and 4Runners, new at 3000 miles develops this problem Many families have become Ill Despite Numerous complaints Toyota continues to conceal the problem Dealers are well aware

Posted by
Anonymous
on
New Toyota 4Runners Also have the same problem, the vents produce a Musty Moldy Odor after just 4000 miles the dealer and Toyota have been no help and claim that this Moldy odor is due to ordinary Mold and Bacteria growth in the evaporator

Posted by
Angela
on
I have the same problem with my 2014 Toyota Camry LE. It's so bad that you can smell it even when the AC isn't running- even my 6 year old noticed it. I've changed the cabin filter (which was admittedly dirty) and sprayed Ozium into the air intake, but that only solved the problem for a few days.

I've filed a complaint with the NHTSA. I looked and there are AT LEAST 15 other complaints from Camry owners about this, dating back to 2013. As far as I know, NHTSA has done nothing about this. This is completely unacceptable. I am highly allergic to mold, and am forced to drive this scum bucket of a Camry for an hour to work each way every day.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE file complaints too- the squeaky wheel gets the oil. I've also contacted the lawyers who represent the plaintiffs in this case (Capstone Law APC in CA).

NHTSA link: https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/VehicleComplaint/

Posted by
Selim Ahmed
on
My 2015 highlander has the moldy, musty odor as well. The smell is very bad! I talked to to dealer but they didn't do anything to solve the issue. They just said that it's not their issue and I have to contact Toyota. The odors is so bad that my four years old is hesitant to ride into the car. I am not buying Toyota again.

Posted by
Maley Walsh
on
We have the same problem with my 2017 Toyota Highlander. We bought it the end of December and the smell is horrible. I live in Phoenix, so I'd be surprised if it's mold. I spoke the the service advisor when I took it in for the 5,000 mile maintenance. All he said was maybe the filter needed cleaning and they would do that at the 10,000 service. My husband checked the filter the other day and it's fine...you can see right though it. Now that I know I'm not the only one, I'll be going right back in there on Monday. This is not right!

Posted by
Karen
on
I have a 2017 Highlander 2 months old and the smell is so bad it gives me heart palpations Not old enough to be moldy and I live in the Phoenix area so not excess moisture. Have to run AC but whatever the chemical is that is being emitted it can't possibly be good for a persons health.

Posted by
Terry Day
on
I have the same problem as the other posters. Terrible oder coming from the Air Conditioner. Add my name to the list Very unhappy costumer. Fix or never a Toyota again.

Posted by
Joseph Chavez
on
The problem is not only on Camry's, but can be found on Tacoma's and 4Runner's. It appears to be a Toyota issue, in that I've owned several Toyota models over the last 20 years, and they all have the same foul odor if you run the air system in the re-circulate mode. I did notice my daughter's Nissan Altima, quite older than my Toyota, did not have the foul odor issue, so it's my guess it's a simple design issue that needs to be addressed by Toyota.
To eliminate the odor, although not completely, I run in fresh air mode at times, and other times, I run the heater, fresh air mode and with the windows down for as long as I can tolerate it, just to kill the mold growing in the vent system. Other solutions: vinegar and water sprayed into the intake, or Lysol, anything known to kill mold, but safe for humans to breathe.

Posted by
leonardo
on
I have the same problem on my 2013 Camry a/c. If Toyota wont do anything to solve this problem, one thing is for sure, I will not buy any Toyota anymore & I will let my friends & relatives know about this defect on their product.

Posted by
Lisa
on
My 2016 Camry LE have a problem when I turn the AC on you can see some kind of fog coming out for awhile, it does have a moldy smell to it. I'm in FL any help will be great

Posted by
Maureen Sharib
on
Hyundai has this same problem.
There;s plenty online about this.

it's become so bad in mine I can't even drive it - my eyes water all the time and it makes me ill.

Please look into this!

Posted by
Liz C
on
I have a 2013 Toyota Camry SE and when I turn on my AC not only does it have a foul moldy smell it's blowing extremely hot air. I took it to Toyota and was told I had to bring the car back they couldn't fix it right now, even though auto technician saw that inside my car was 102 degrees, I have a upcoming appointment hope there will be a better outcome !

Posted by
Robert
on
Aware that my parents 2005 Avalon had a smell, I was sure to "air out" my vents on my 2014 Camry by running fresh air everytime I used the AC (ridiculous, I know).

That seemed to keep the smell at bay until this year. Now, I'm up to running heat through my vents to keep the smell at bay - but I'm getting to the point of not running AC at all (totally unacceptable).

Sign me up for the class action....

Posted by
Andrew
on
I recently bought a 2004 Camry and the mold smell is very bad when running the Air Conditioner. I have been coughing and my sinuses are acting up since I've been driving it. Starting to become concerned...

Posted by
J
on
I am getting ready to turn in my 2013 leased Camry and likely won't get another. Each summer, the car smells like a dead animal and the smell, even with windows down, makes me sick to my stomach. I told my Mentor, Ohio, Classic Toyota dealer about this when I first got the car, and the service department manager would only admit they got a "bulletin" from Toyota about the issue but no recall or fix, saying this happens in lots of makes and models. But this is the first car I've ever had in decades that had this problem, and it is literally sickening. Each time I visit the dealership and complain, no one admits being aware of a problem. I love most everything about the Camry, but this ongoing smell problem is enough to now make me switch to another type of car. PS. My sister has the same big problem with her 2013 Camry.

Posted by
Vicki
on
I leased a 2012 Toyota which had leakage so bad the drivers airbag had to be replaced. Supposedly there was a recall and I paid nothing for the repairs. Toyota then offered me a deal to get out early from my lease. I liked the Camry so much that I bought a 2014 but only after assurances from the dealer that Toyota would not ship a car without the recall being done. Said it would be illegal. Guess what? You guessed it....moldy smell.

Posted by
Cathy
on
I purchased my Camry new from Lancaster Toyota in Lancaster, PA in Sep 2013. A short while after the purchase we started noticing a strong moldy, musty odor coming from the dashboard air vents constantly. We contacted dealership and they did not resolve the problem except to ask us replace the glove compartment filter which we did, but it offers no relief of the odor. The odor is making me sick and giving me a headache. There must be some mold buildup in the HVAC system causing this. The musty and moldy odor is so sickening and the driver is constantly breathing it in which is a health hazard. I need to know what can be done to this problem. I called Toyota today and they basically said there is nothing they can do. This is not acceptable.

Posted by
mitchell dorman
on
we bought a new 2014 camry,same deal.less than a month,it started blowing mold/mildew in our ace.same thing,toyota knows of the problem,but will not fix it. mold/mildew blowing in your face can and will cause lung cancer.my girlfriend is the main driver and has to wear a surgical mash to barely stand the oder.she stays sick with lund infections.and has had spots now showing up in her lungs.we took the deathtrap for some corp,guy to test. we told them. do not spray anything in the vents.you can guess what appened. they did. they also went through our glove box,removed our floor mats,put them in the trunk.they had no right to do this.they didn't even bother to call us,letting us know they were done. they were rude to us,acting like,tuff sh%t you bought the car,die with it.here's their fixes,,,roll the windows down, or let it run with the a/c on 15 or so mins with the windows down to air out.last really stupid fix was to put a charcoal filter in it,and change the Freon.the filter will only hide the problem. changing the Freon does nothing. it's a sealed system.and this would have been at our cost. people look up what mold/mildew does when it blows in your face.we can not,and will not sale this death trap to anyone. it needs to be crushed.we have not heard back on the test they did yet,but we are going to ave it tested again,we did last year,mold/mildew showed up.but it was late in the year,and not hot.the warmer it gets,the worse the mold/mildew smell. I would love to have a judge and jury smell this car and make the head person of Toyota drive it for 2 years.thanks for your time

Posted by
Jon Wood
on
I have a 2013 Camry SE with the same awful moldy, mildew smell coming from the a/c vents after it rains and after the a/c is turned off.
The dealerships and Toyota Motor Co say it normal environmental contamination!

Posted by
Denise Pottmeyer
on
I bought my 2014 camry of August of that year. I have a terrible smell in my car when I start it up. It smells like some thing dead. I thought there may be a dead rat in my air conditioning. I have had to Toyota dealership four times. First time they said they found no dead rat. To roll down Windows on a hot day and it would get rid of it. It did not. I have had it flushed with a foam disinfectant. It was ok for two weeks but I did smell a very slight smell. I had to take back in the two weeks and had it done again..they said if it happens again we will try a charcoal filter. I have not done that. I need my car so I have been driving it. I get a headache and feel nauseous. I feel this way all day.. I do not want to have to repeat this every time. It gets costly if I'd do this slot. If I do a trade in I will lose approximately 6,000 dollars. I am not happy. I haven driven Toyota's for years. I looked on internet for feedback and have found that this has happened to a considerable amount of buyers. What is the answer? The dealership just said all they can do is flush and filters. This stinks! Please answer my plight.

Posted by
Annette Crane
on
I bought a new 2013 Toyota Highlander first part of 2014. Its not only the Camry's that have a problem. I have taken the Highlander back to the
Toyota dealer several times and all they do is put Fridgie Fresh in it and tell me to turn the air conditioner off several minutes before I get home and that they cannot do anything about it! I have allergies and asthma and since using the air this year have had to use my inhalers a lot more.

Posted by
dean osing
on
Our 2014 Camry has 14000 and developed a musty smell coming from the vents at about 12000 miles. Will go to the dealer next week to get the problem reported and hopefully fixed.

Posted by
Kim
on
I have a 2014 Camry and am experiencing the same problem with a musky smell when the air is turned on. It is an extremely strong smell and enough to make you gag. So much for the new car smell!!!

Posted by
Bala
on
I have the same issue on my 2014 Toyota camry, I do not have the new car smell anymore!!!!

Posted by
AC
on
I purchased a 2014 Camry. I've had the same problem. I spoke with Toyota Service and they told me that it is my fault because I occasionally park it under a tree. (This never happened with my 2002 Camry). I am bringing my car in tomorrow for them to check it. I only have 4,400 miles on it.

Posted by
Deirdre Johnson
on
I purchased a 2011 an also having the same problem

Posted by
trina green
on
I have a 2011 toyota camry with same problem and toyota refused to fix it and the odor is so strong that even with air on low it fulls up whole car to where your coughing

Posted by
LW
on
I own a 2014 Camry and I'm having the same smell. I brought it into the dealership and they smoked my car, but now my car smells like smoke. I don't believe they fixed the problem.

Posted by
Elyse Jenkins
on
I have a 2014 Camry. I am having the same odor issues. I have taken the car in multiple times. The dealership informed me this is a common problem and there is no solution. I'm trying to pursue with the lemon law.

Posted by
George
on
I purchased a Toyota Camry 2015 less than 2 weeks ago for my Dad whos 82 years old, today i decided to drive his car to make sure everything is OK but as i was cruising on the highway i noticed that the AC smells like a dead body, i was so disappointed and unhappy for the fact that Toyota didn't tell me anything about this problem, My dad has a problem with his longs and this smell was enough that it make me feel a burning sensation in my throat, there is no way i can let my dad drive this car because it will cause a huge health issue, i will need to talk to the general manager there to let him know that this vehicle need s to be returned and or traded in for another model, i have done enough research and i know there is a class-action law suit against Toyota Camry for the AC issue for the Camry models 2011 to present there is no way that i can let my dad drive this car with his condition so please let me know what are my options and what can you do?

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