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A shabby finance company
Dateline: November 2005

Our correspondent writes ...

In 1998 I bought a Toyota Picnic which has, with few exceptions, been a reasonably good servant and which, at this moment in time, I still possess. But this position may change in the next few days because a company of solicitors called Lester Aldridge have sent me several letters and emails over the past few days threatening legal action if I do not pay two instalments which Toyota say are outstanding. The senior partner at Lester Aldridge has advised Toyota to repossess the vehicle if I do not pay the 'missing' instalments within seven days. So by 7th December my rattling seven-year-old pile of Japanese metal and plastic could be gone from my drive.

And that, you might think, would serve me right for failing to yield to threats from a company solicitors except ...

... except that I do not owe any outstanding instalments to Toyota. The payments to which they refer (October and November 2005) were both deposited in Toyota's bank account prior to the dates they were due - the same bank account that has been receiving my payments since 1998. I have checked and double-checked with my own bank and they have confirmed that the payments were transferred by BACS. I have passed this information to Toyota and their legal people several times but they still insist that I have defaulted on payment.

This situation could be laughable except that this is not the first time Toyota have lost payments that were made to their bank account so let me take you back to the time when, having given up a job with regular pay, my reserves eventually started dwindling because my new business venture was not taking off as fast as I hoped it would. Fortunately, my only hire purchase commitment was to Toyota Financial Services (UK) PLC so I figured I could survive with a little help and understanding from TFS.

Although I bought the car new in 1998 and had completed the original finance agreement I had refinanced the balloon payment with TFS. Having already repaid 19,713 for a 14,900 loan, I had an outstanding balance of 2,839.

The monthly payments were becoming increasingly difficult to meet and I had previously contacted TFS to see if I could negotiate a smaller instalment. After all, they had benefited very nicely during a period of particularly low interest rates. Their best offer was to reduce the next three monthly payments slightly to help out - not really a great deal of help.

After that, I struggled to make payments and eventually asked TFS about surrendering the vehicle. Their employee, Patrick Glasgow, offered me a price that would clear the balance but it was well under the current value quoted in Parker's Guide. When questioned about this, he then told me that if they got more from the sale they would keep the difference for themselves. Clearly this was not a good deal so I refused it.

Then there was a disagreement about the payments I had made - Toyota refused to acknowledge receipt of one payment that I knew had been made. During subsequent conversations, Patrick Glasgow made threats to have the car repossessed even though such action would have been illegal, and he used illegal tactics in an attempt to extract personal information claiming it was necessary under the terms of the Data Protection Act. When I made an official complaint which was investigated by Michael Fry, Glasgow's supervisor, he denied most of it. At this point I decided I did not wish to deal with liars and forced a court hearing in the hope I could get Glasgow in the witness box and expose his lies under oath. I also wanted to show to the court that Michael Fry had manipulated and fabricated evidence which Toyota presented to the court.

Although I turned up for the court case, Toyota - via Lester Aldridge - appointed a very expensive local barrister to act on their behalf and, as it turned out, this was done at my expense. This man had been briefed in respect of the legal situation but knew absolutely nothing about the circumstances leading up to the case, and frankly wasn't interested. No-one from TFS attended the hearing so I was forced into a corner, none of Toyota's illegal actions were exposed, and my 2,839 indebtedness was increased by 1,827.50 to cover legal expenses. What a fiasco!! Whilst I naively believed courts dealt with issues of justice I learned that they actually protect the assets of those who can afford to buy justice and aren't really interested in facts.

Although I was very bitter, I stuck to the terms of the court order and have paid every monthly instalment on or before the due date. So you can imagine how I have reacted now more of my money appears to have disappeared into Toyota's mysterious black hole. They never explained what happened to the first missing payment and, even though I proved to the judge that the payment had been made, Toyota didn't even have the decency to apologise.

I wrote a letter of complaint to Toyota's CEO, David Betteley, and he passed it on to Brian Munday who goes by the grand title of "General Manager Marketing and Customer Relations". His response indicates that 'Customer Relations' are not high on the priority list and I have a mental image of a not-too-intellectual man in white overalls carrying a large brush and a bucket of whitewash. So much for complaining to this company!!

After the first incident I eventually decided to let sleeping dogs lie, accept I had failed in my attempt to expose Toyota, and pay off the balance on what is now a very expensive and dated vehicle. When I make the final payment I will have paid Toyota 27,919.21 for a vehicle priced at 18,440 in 1998 - that's the purchase price plus 51.4% interest. But, worryingly, though I calculate I still owe 3,666.50 - the figure determined by the court - Toyota have provided me with a statement showing an outstanding balance of 7,160.78. God knows what that implies but one thing I do know is that if you ask Toyota or their solicitors a question, they usually ignore it.

Having asked yesterday for an explanation - click here to see a copy of my email - I shall have to wait and see if Mr Betteley is really concerned about matters for which he is ultimately responsible. He may, of course, pass it on to Brian "Whitewash" Munday again, or he may ignore my message completely, accept the advice of the solicitor, and snatch the car back without bothering to check if someone in the organisation is pocketing some of the money I have paid.

If they do take the car, I will be left with no residual value for what has proved to be a bloody expensive vehicle but at least I will be much wiser than I was in 1998 when I foolishly signed a hire purchase agreement with Toyota Financial Services (UK) PLC.

Although I can't fault Toyota cars, I can warn other potential customers about the dangers of dealing with Toyota's finance department if there is any risk that you might not be able to keep up the payments. In my experience their interest rates were always extremely high but their behaviour when things went wrong was ruthless and dishonest.

I spent some years working in the car industry and my job brought me into contact with my Japanese counterparts in Ford and Mazda. All of them were very honourable men and I have no doubt that men like Katsuake Watanabe, and his colleagues at Toyota in Japan, are also very honourable. Unfortunately, I don't think the word 'honourable' could ever be applied to those in management positions in the British Toyota operation because they appear to have little or no integrity and are happy to employ liars and cheats.

Beware ... Toyota Financial Services (UK) are not nice people, nor are their legal advisers - Lester Aldridge.

Toyota update

It's now 15th January 2006. More than a month has passed since Lester Aldridge threatened to advise Toyota to repossess my Picnic yet the Picnic is still sitting on my drive. I have since made the December payment and the January payment will be made next week. The email I sent to David Bettely (CEO of Toyota Financial Services) on 30th November was copied to two of his staff and to Andrew John Corke (Senior partner at Lester Aldridge). All sent read acknowledgements but not one of them had the courtesy to reply.

Although their allegations were completely false, I suspect it would be totally unreasonable of me to expect an apology from such ignorant pigs!!

Definitely not a nice company - they seem to thrive on lies

MB, Wirral writes:

I had my car repossessed by these cowboys because I was one payment behind! I phoned them up to arrange to pay it the following month but the snotty woman at the other end was not interested.

The next day a van pulled up outside my house to take my car! The driver claimed he had a court order to take my car away and stated that I had not responded to previous letters from Toyota! What letters? I never got any!

My car has now thankfully gone and I am just waiting for them to get in touch...

Toyota seems to be truly international ...

Although the original article concerned the UK operation of TFS, we have been contacted by a number of disgruntled customers in the USA, one of whom told us the Toyota people there act just like the Mafia. We have printed some of these comments as we think somebody in Japan needs to get a grip on things.

Tabitha, Livingston, Louisiana writes:

I too have had dealings with TFS and am also not very pleased. I bought a 2006 Corolla S in Feb of 06. I love my little car but if I would have known what kind of practices Toyota implements I would have never signed my loan. My car was repo'd in 2008 because Toyota would not give me a chance to catch up two payments. On top of the two payments I also had to pay the fees for the repo.

Please do not buy a car from TFS as they will jerk you around too. Toyota constantly calls my house, cell, and work numbers trying to get money out of me WAY before the note is actually due and they harass you if you don't pay by phone on the spot. Beware!

Eric Lucchesi, Las Vegas writes:

Toyota Financial Services had repossessed a vehicle belonging to my mother that was rightly fallen delinquent on payments. They, however, gave no notice of intent to repossess the vehicle. The repossession company also broke a gate lock and stole four hundred dollars in equipment from the vehicle.

What is worst is that Toyota Financial Company is now recording a repossession under MY name. I was not involved anywhere in the financial aspects of the deal, my name was only shown as a contact person. They refuse to admit I was not a co-signatory and seem intent on keeping ME in collections for something I had no part of. (In fact, it was originally intended that I was a cosigner at first - and they denied the loan. The company had to take my name off of it distinctly to approve of it.)

They are infuriating in a way that does incite a violent reaction. I've never seen a more brash, unprofessional, illiterate, belligerent and outright criminalistic corporation allowed to prosper like this - never in my entire life. And should such things always exist in this world, a company like this should NEVER be allowed to be in such a position that would be detrimental to people's life in such an absolute way. I'm only thankful that I'm allowed to use a work vehicle in the meantime while I try to finance a vehicle - with now extremely poor credit AND a repossession against my name.

Sandra Smith, Ft Worth, Texas writes:

My mother leased a 2005 Camry from TFS and it was repossessed on Oct 12th after they cashed the cheque (check in US) on Oct 9th.  She had made payments with autodraft from her bank for 4 years. Toyota stopped the payments because the lease was coming due. 

One day before the lease ended she was involved in an accident making the car undriveable.  We contacted the dealership and TFS had the car towed to them and proceeded with the repairs per the contract stating that she was responsible for all damage to the car.  We had expressed our desire to purchase the car and were awaiting a call from the leasing agent to get the papers in order.  For the next three months the car was in and out of the dealership and part orders out of our control were placed and payments were made to TFS. We constantly kept them advised as to the delays.  No correspondence was received from Toyota but the bill showed a delinquent amount due. 

The representative at TFS told me the that the payment wasn't received and the account was past due. I offered the confirmation numbers from the bank showing the payments were made and she refused to even take them. 

The car has now been repossessed and we have since received 2 letters from TFS letting us know how to get the car back, at the same time tacking on fees and charges including the payments they say they never received.  When contacted two days ago the payments miraculously showed up but had taken 5 to 7 days to put on their books, even though they were received electronically from the bank, same as every other payment for the last 4 years including three made after the lease were accepted and received on the same date as the bank had recorded. Yet the two allowing them to repo on the grounds of non-payment (as stated by the tow truck driver) didn't show up until this week. 

The car was towed over 100 miles away and according to their own letter was taken to LCR. I called them, they told me the car had been moved to an auction house on the 16th, 3 days before I had received the reinstatement letter.  They never told us that they could repossess, no warning letter and when I called and asked where the car was and she said LCR I told her no it wasn't. They had moved it. She pretended her computer was frozen and was unable to check that info for me but then was able to give me what they considered I owed and the date the checks had cleared their company. 

They are liars and cheats. They do not care that they have stranded an 82 year-old disable woman from even being able to get medicines or groceries.  They continuously have yelled, talked over me, and even accused me of trying to manipulate them.  I'M MANIPULATING THEM????

They are rude, disrespectful women who have been trained to lie and deceive every person they speak to to cover their own ***. We will not be able to get the car back at this point because their delays have made it impossible to do so. They have refused to help, wouldn't give employee numbers, or even allow me to speak to their supervisors. 

I keep records of every conversation and person I spoke to. I offered to send them bank records showing payment, even their own leasing agent told them that he had the records of payment yet they refused to speak to him and insisted that they speak to us from his office. But at no time did they refuse take my mother's money, just refused to admit they had it.

Maybe there is no honor among thieves and they should look in their own house. They may have big legal teams and fancy lawyers but I'm hoping to make the dealerships at least around here uncomfortable.  I will Facebook, MySpace and Twitter everyone I can to let them know about these legal crooks.  I will place flyers on every Toyota I see and use my car as a billboard to let people know what they've done and hopefully be able to keep someone else from putting their trust in a company that doesn't care about the people who keep their CEOs and Board members families feed. 

Every dollar they make is on the backs of hard working individuals just trying to  survive.  We would be better off spending our money somewhere else than with these corporate vampires. So you may see me driving through your town or parked in front of a Toyota dealership  from city to city, state to state so that NO-ONE ever looks at Toyota the same way again. 

To my father, in heaven, who fought for the freedoms I have today, I did what I thought was right and they attacked when we least expected it with no warning and on a SUNDAY.  LOL  

I can't get Toyota to return my mother's car but I can sure let them know that I have rights too,  and maybe others will join in and we can force them to make restitution to everyone they have ripped off.

Editorial Comment:

Hi Sandra. We originally published this article because we wanted to highlight not only the practises of Toyota staff In England but also the crooked actions of their legal advisors.

We know our website reaches all corners of the earth because our traffic reports tell us where visitors come from. It's therefore quite alarming to hear that our cousins in the States are treated just as badly as we are (perhaps even worse) yet in some ways reassuring to know we're not on our own.

I hope your demonstration produces some positive results for you and we hope some of our visitors from Japan actually work for Toyota and take notice of the way their staff in other countries perform. There used to be a time when there was a meaningful saying that without customers you ain't got a business. Unfortunately, times are changing. Our parents and grandparents did indeed fight to make this world a better place for us but we now find we are surrounded by arrogant sods who would never recognise the values of personal sacrifice and believe they have a right be be rude to everyone else. Hopefully, such people will pay heavily when the day of reckoning arrives.

Laurence Lockwood or Littlehampton writes:

Oh, My God. I have just signed a five year agreement last month with TFS. The reason I found this website was the fact I have just realised that I am being Charged 17.4% which I thought was high. I didn't expect Toyota to "Rip me Off" with high interest rates. Never saw it coming, never expected it, hence I never read the agreement.

I have always taken the Toyota product. Everyone in my family owns a Toyota. It is the manufacturer of choice for me. Never in my wildest dreams did i expect to find issues such as on this web site.

Let me give clear and loud warnings to Toyota Financial Services:- DO NOT TRY and F*** ME OVER. Slightest problem and I will go legal....There will be NO COMMUNICATION FROM ME if you claim you have not been paid. I WILL IMMEDIATELY CONTACT MY BANK AND SOLICITOR. Be aware Toyota....Don't mess with me, I love beating up corporate bullies. There is a long list of those that tried and failed. They paid the costs!!

Mary of Dunnellon, Fl writes:

Well here is another dissatisfied customer that agrees strongly that the Toyota Finance Company is very deceitful. My experience with them was I was given a verbal and written contract stating that the out the door final price of my used Toyota with my trade in and a backup camera installed was going to be $18,565.00. Which of course would have left me feeling like a satisfied customer, until I read the first bill that came in stating the payoff amount (as I am planning on paying it off) was actually $18,885.99.

I couldn't figure out why there was a 300 dollar discrepancy, so i called them and they asked me to add up my figures upside-down or backwards basically as there was an additional $150.00 processing fee above the total cost of the car and I was supposed to add that into my figure!! Who the hell adds backwards? Does this make any sense to anyone? And where does the additional $150.00 come in? Did I miss something else that the finance officer forgot to mention? Now I had told them I planned on paying off the car once my income had come into my account (1 or 2 months) so until then I was left under the assumption by the finance officer that I owed them $18,565.00 and no more!

I have never met such a deceitful company in my whole life ok so its only 300 dollars but that's not the point. The point is ... if you write down one price then say you owe them another price, to me, that is just wrong and deceitful!! Period. I will never buy another Toyota from a Toyota dealership again. It will be a cash deal to either Nissan or Honda as those are the only other two I would even consider driving.

Editorial Comment:

If it's any help, I bought a Nissan after my Toyota gave up the ghost and, so far, it's proving to be quite a good decision.

Joyce of Manchester, NH writes (on 15/6/2012):

Thank God! I am not the only one to experience illegal financial practices from TFS. The end of my note is this month and I was just informed that I owe an additional $3,300? They want it now or are coming for my car within 10 days.

I was told because of my 5 extensions throughout my loan is now due. I said, "That is why my loan took an additional 5 months to pay off?" I was told that is not true. They said I signed an agreement, when I took the extensions. I advised this extremely rude and insulting representative that I never signed any paperwork of that sorts.

He then screamed at me and said that I was taking advantage of them. I said, "In what way have I taken any advantage of Toyota?" I paid every payment. I asked for the paperwork with my signature of this agreement and was refused any copies. In addition, I also received collection calls 10 days prior to the due date of my car payment. Before I fork over $3,300.00 I demand to see my signature on any of these bogus charges and how they are charging the additional charges. I love my Toyota Corolla, but I will never buy another Toyota, due to the employees of this corporation. They have Thug tactics.

Rachel Allison of Arkansas writes (on 7 July 2012):

I've been in a very similar situation in the US. I'm actually 1.5 payments ahead on my vehicle. The latest of which cleared my bank on a Monday and took my car in the middle of the night on a Wednesday. I honestly thought some one with a tow truck was stealing my car as I knew I was more than up to date on my payments. However I am not super man, so I couldn't stop the man from taking my car. When I called Toyota Financial the next day, they insisted that they could not look at my records but they could tell I was late making payments for two months in a row, 3 years ago. (But she couldn't see my records). So I continue to pursue the issue anyway. I collected my bank statements and confirmation numbers. Again they very rudely tell me that there is nothing I can do. I have to sit and wait to receive a letter in the mail which will arrive no later than Tuesday. It's been a week and a half, no such letter has arrived. It's also noteworthy that I never once received a call or notice in the mail that they were going to take my car or claim that I was late on my payments. I even have statements that say there is a zero balance due and no late fees. I naively went to the dealership where I purchased the car (living in a small town, I thought they would help me). Boy was I wrong! It turns out that they new about the illegal repossession before I did! They were in on it. Eventually I was able to borrow the money for a relative and pay off the full balance of what they claim I owed (they didn't give me credit for the payment they cashed 2 days before taking it). Then I had to pay for the actual theft of my car, a whopping $400 plus a $20 a day storage fee. On top of all of this, the gas tank, which was previously full, was now empty, AND to top it off, There were 750 miles on the odometer of a car which was supposedly sitting in a parking lot. Toyota did acknowledge that I'm ahead on my payments, the next payment isn't due for approximately 3 more weeks. But they have not apologized or attempted to correct anything. I will be meeting with a lawyer in the coming week if I can find a way to pay him.


I forgot to add that when I called to determine if my car was stolen or repossessed I was told that I had not made a payment in 65 days. I told them that I had made payments and was ahead. I requested a copy of my payments as they have them recorded (thinking surely that was where the error lies). They very rudely refused stating that they did not have to tell me anything. I then begged to send a copy of my payments from my bank as proof that I made the payments. They refused to accept this and would not give me a fax number or email. I was lied to multiple times on the phone over the next 9 days. As I mentioned before, when I was able to get the resources to pay out the car, I found out that it was in fact on its way to be auctioned off. In the mean time I did receive a letter that stated the name of the company that took my car and stated I would have to pay off my loan if I wanted it back. It very clearly stated I had to pay it off by July 12th. Today is July 7th, and they had my car loaded up on its way to the auction this morning!!! In hindsight the last few times I took my car in for servicing, the dealership persisted in offering to buy my car because of its low mileage, excellent upkeep, and great condition. In the end they made me the off that they would buy it from me with a minimum of $3,000 over what I owed. Upon being asked to sign the paper work, all that really was happening was they tried to get me to sign a paper stating that I would sell them the car. It did not list a price or amount in any way other than to say I had to sell it at the price they gave me and I might still owe them money. The sells representative then quoted me a price that was much lower than my actual balance on the car. At this point, luckily I came to my senses and told them I would not be selling my car to them after all. Thank God I read the paper work (thanks mom for that advice)! Don't sign anything you haven't read! I'm still waiting for Blanca to call me back as she promised she would, on that Wednesday that they stole my car. But I quit holding my breath about a week ago. There's so much more I could add, but I know you do not need every little detail especially since this seems to be a world wide epidemic. And to think I was always worried about a plague or war taking down our civilization.

Dewdrop of Bedford writes:

Agree with the comments - they are not friendly and are out to get your money whether it is legitimate or not. Without my knowledge, my Agreement was based on the wrong costs and they are still not willing to amend the document even though there is written evidence of the items which should not have been included in the price for the Finance Agreement.
Toyota allows this behaviour so, should people be buying Toyota cars? The dealerships are in cahoots with TFS to rip off customers for as much as they can fleece them.
Avoid buying a car from Steven Eagell Toyota (Luton, Watford, Milton Keynes, St Albans, Aylesbury in the UK).

"Many men stumble across the truth ... but most manage to pick themselves up and continue as if nothing had happened."

Winston S Churchill

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