Toyota NZ to pay up after businessman goes to tribunal over $525 key

Businessman Damian Funnell took action after dealership company Armstrongs Auckland charged him $475 and a $50 programming fee on top of that to replace a lost remote. Photo / 123rf
Businessman Damian Funnell took action after dealership company Armstrongs Auckland charged him $475 and a $50 programming fee on top of that to replace a lost remote. Photo / 123rf

A Kiwi businessman has come out tops over big-time car manufacturer Toyota, after a replacement key remote cost him more than $500.

Businessman Damian Funnell took action after dealership company Armstrongs Auckland charged him $475 and a $50 programming fee on top of that to replace a lost remote for his Estima.

Fairfax said Funnell - who owns IT company Choice Technology - felt the remote could have been replaced for a much cheaper price; with the components needed for a replacement key estimated at about $33.

Funnell told a disputes tribunal he felt the excessive cost showed Toyota was taking advantage of its customers - something the latter denied.

A tribunal hearing resulted in Toyota revealing the replacement cost of the remote, but in private, after Funnell said he would drop his claim if they did.

Fairfax said tribunal referee Clayton Luke said the most - but still reasonable - a key would cost was about $200.

As a result, Toyota will now have to pay the $325.62 difference.

Luke said Toyota's claim had been misleading and that it did not disclose a "significant portion'' of the price charged by the dealership, Armstrongs Auckland.

Toyota breached the Consumer Guarantees Act that outlines that a manufacturer must guarantee reasonable availability of spare parts.

"I am satisfied that the price charged by Armstrongs was not a price whereby Toyota New Zealand could say the keys as spare parts are reasonably available,'' Luke said.

"The part is simply not reasonably available when what is being charged is more than 10 times its manufacturing cost and that cost is likely to grow to some 10 per cent to 20 per cent of the value of the vehicle within the reasonable lifetime of the vehicle.''

- NZ Herald

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