Judge rules Toyota's 'buy 3 tires at regular price, get the 4th tire free' event wasn't deceptive.

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Judge rules Toyota's 'buy 3 tires at regular price, get the 4th tire free' event wasn't deceptive.

— A Toyota "Tire Savings Event' lawsuit has been dismissed after the plaintiff couldn't prove his claims concerning a tire sales deal that offered “three tires at regular price, fourth tire for one dollar.”

Plaintiff Joseph Presti filed the proposed class-action lawsuit against Toyota alleging unjust enrichment and deceptive practices under Massachusetts and New Hampshire consumer protection laws.

In September and October 2016, Toyota advertised a “Tire Savings Event” at dealer locations throughout the U.S. that said customers could buy 3 tires at regular price and get the 4th tire for only a dollar.

Presti made the trip to a New Hampshire Toyota dealer after seeing an advertisement where he was offered three tires at $173 each and a fourth tire at $1, bringing the total price of the four tires to $520. However, the plaintiff claims the price of $173 per tire was not the “regular price” because the tires had previously been sold at $149.30 per tire prior to the promotion.

Presti complained of this discrepancy to the dealer and received a $35 “loyalty" payment/discount, but the plaintiff claims the price of the tires was “reduced to under $150 each" after the promotion ended.

Presti filed the original lawsuit in February 2017 and then filed a second amended complaint in September 2017, causing Toyota to file its motion to dismiss.

In its motion, Toyota told the judge the plaintiff failed to plead a "legally cognizable injury" and didn't allege such harm. The lawsuit alleges the tires were “regularly” sold at a price of $149.30 per tire, which would total $597.20 for four tires compared to the $485 he paid for four tires. Toyota therefore claims Presti’s only proposed injury is deception, nothing else.

The automaker says Presti does not plausibly contend the value of the four tires is $448.90 and there is no basis for the argument the identical fourth tire is worth $148.30 less than the others. As Toyota points out, "price and value are not synonyms."

Presti’s argument that four tires are worth less than $485 is allegedly pure conjecture and in fact he allegedly provided no “objectively identifiable” basis to claim he did not receive exactly what he paid for.

Toyota says by Presti’s own admission, the only evidence to suggest the tires are worth anything less than $149.30 each ($597 for a set of four) is Presti’s own purchase of the set of four tires for $485. According to the automaker, this necessarily means the plaintiff has "presented no legally cognizable injury."

The plaintiff also alleges Toyota was unjustly enriched by advertising "three tires at regular price, fourth tire for one dollar,” because the automaker charged higher prices for the tires than normally charged.

However, Toyota argues the plaintiff failed to allege that Toyota received any specific benefit from the sale, which means a claim of unjust enrichment fails.

Additionally, the plaintiff never claims he never received the tires he wanted to purchase and in fact Presti did receive a benefit because he got the four tires at a price cheaper than their "regular" price. Toyota also says the plaintiff doesn't claim the four tires he bought are worth less than what he paid for them.

The plaintiff claims the damages in the case is the difference between the “bait” price and the “switch” price of the tires. But U.S. District Judge Denise J. Casper says it's not a “bait and switch” case because there was no “switch” of products and Presti received the four tires he bargained for.

Judge Casper agreed with Toyota concerning all claims and dismissed Presti's second amended complaint in its entirety.

The Toyota Tire Savings Event lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts - Joseph Presti, et al, v. Toyota Motor Sales Inc., and Colonial Imports Corp.

Presti is represented by the Family and Consumer Law Center of Claude Lefebvre, Christopher Lefebvre, P.C.

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