A COUPLE who sued motor giant Toyota after rats infested both their Avensis cars have spoken of their relief after they were awarded over €25,000 by a court.
Ina and Alan Dempsey, from Cummer, Corofin, Co Galway, purchased two new diesel Toyota Avensis cars – one in March 2006 and the other in April 2007 – from Tom Hogan Motors in Ballybrit, Galway.
In January 2008 Mrs Dem- psey noticed a hole the size of an apple in the back seat of her car.
"I ran back into the house and told Alan that there must be a mouse in the car.
"But then I thought it had to be a rat to make a hole like that as it had eaten up through the seat from underneath.
"I told Alan I was afraid to drive the car that day and he gave me his car instead.
"Little did I know his car was infested as well," said Mrs Dempsey.
A pest controller discovered rat droppings in both cars and pools of urine in the boots.
The cars were taken back to Tom Hogan Motors where they had been purchased and it was confirmed the rats had entered both cars through the vent under the rear wheel arch.
The couple managed to sell the cars as pest-damaged goods to a trade buyer for €32,000, suffering a cumulative loss of €18,200 on the deal.
"We just couldn't clean them up and sell them on to other people as if they were normal. That wouldn't be fair," said Mrs Dempsey.
The couple pursued Toyota Ireland through the courts to recoup their losses.
Following a six-hour hearing at Galway Circuit Civil Court, the couple won a judgment against the car-maker.
"We're relieved it's all over. We were very frightened taking on the biggest car manufacturer in the world and we're now glad it s all over and we won.
"We feel we got justice in court on the day and we can now move on, " Mrs Dempsey said.
When asked to comment on the court's decision, Toyota Ireland said: "As the case may be subject to appeal, it continues to be sub judice and we are precluded from commenting further."