Heads up: if you’re an African American, Asian, or Pacific Islander who bought a Toyota from January 2011 to August 2016 and financed that car with Toyota Motor Credit Company, you might be entitled to a repayment from a $21.9 million settlement fund.
Yeah, it turns out that the US Department of Justice discovered that Toyota Motor Credit Company has been charging the people of color listed above higher interest rates without regard to their credit scores.
This fund was set up in 2016 after an investigation that began in April 2013 found that people of color were charged, on average, $100 to $200 more on their loans than non-POC. Any buyers who were eligible for compensation were sent a notice in the mail in December 2017, but the allegations against Toyota have all come rushing back with this viral tweet that’s getting people talking:
The Department of Justice believes this is due to racial classification, and I’m pretty inclined to agree. TMCC settlement website lists the specific requirements to be eligible for payment:
A buyer must have gotten an auto loan to buy a vehicle financed by Toyota Motor Credit Corporation between January 1, 2011, and August 1, 2016.
At least one buyer on the contract must be African-American, Black, Asian, Native Hawaiian, or other Pacific Islander.
The buyer(s) must also have been identified by the Government as having been overcharged by Toyota Motor Credit Corporation.
While TMCC has neither confirmed nor denied that the allegations raised against them by the Department of Justice, they did agree to compensate any African American, Asian, or Pacific Islander folks who would be eligible. Along with that, they’ve agreed to make significant revisions to their policies to ensure that any dealer markups are employed in a nondiscriminatory manner. If you’re interested, you can read the official settlement document here.
Even though TMCC did send out notices in the mail, it can’t hurt to double check if you fit the criteria above. If you think you might be one of the people scammed by Toyota, there’s a phone number on their website that you can call. Make sure you fill out their eligibility form and send it in by the May 8 deadline.