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Defective Infotainment System and the Lemon Law

Posted by Adam Alexander | Jul 03, 2023 | 0 Comments

Infotainment system glitches in your vehicle can be frustrating. You may experience screen blackouts, dropped calls, bad connectivity/connection, static, inaccurate GPS, erratic safety functions or a host of other problems.

Today's automobile has evolved from simply a mode of transportation to a tech-infused medium for pleasure, convenience and control. Along with this transformation, automakers have struggled to avoid the kinks.

These systems have various names, as manufacturers try to one-up each other with the newest technology. Some examples:

Audi - MMI

BMW - iDrive

Cadillac User Experience (CUE)

Chevy - MyLink

Ford - Sync

Honda - HondaLink

Hyundai - Blue Link

Kia - "your voice" (UVO)

Mazda - Connect

Mercedes-Benz - Mercedes-Benz User Experience, or MBUX

Stellantis, (Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep, Fiat, Ram, and Alfa Romeo) - UConnect

Toyota - Multimedia System

Volkswagen -  In Car Application Server (ICAS)

Volvo - Sensus

Whatever the name, they all have in common a touch screen that manages and displays GPS and radio/media, as well as accessing and controlling multiple vehicle functions, cell phone connection and safety features.  But these systems have proven defective in millions of vehicles, with automakers unable to debug consistent problems that that are not only causing delay and frustration, but creating dangerous situations for drivers.

Class Action Lawsuit

In 2019 a class action lawsuit was filed in California regarding 2018-19 Honda Odyssey minivans and 2019 Honda Pilot crossovers alleging defects in the infotainment system.  Honda owners alleged the defect caused their vehicles' infotainment system to frequently freeze or crash, disabling features including the navigation system, radio and rearview camera. (Woo, et al., v. American Honda Motor Co. Inc.).

The lawsuit highlights examples of malfunctions that have occurred not only in Honda vehicles, but across the board in with multiple automakers and models. 

Court Finds Infotainment System Problems are Substantial

In another recent case, the owner of a Mercedes Benz presented the vehicle for repairs four times, primarily due to “repeated problems with the vehicle's navigation system.”

The case went to trial and the jury found that “the vehicle had a defect covered by the warranty that substantially impaired the vehicle's use, value, or safety, and that MBUSA failed to repair the defect or replace the vehicle.” The jury required Mercedes Benz to repurchase the vehicle and pay Plaintiff's reasonable attorney fees and costs.  (See Patel v. Mercedes Benz, USA, LLC).

Cell Phone Connection

A report from Straits Research found that 98% of newly produced vehicles were compatible with either CarPlay or Android Auto. This connectivity is yet another source for defects that may qualify for Lemon Law remedies.

In the Honda lawsuit the Plaintiffs alleged that each plaintiff's vehicle has a "Display Screen" allowing him to access and operate the vehicle's safety, information, communication, and entertainment features, such as smartphone integration, hands-free calling, navigation (if equipped), Bluetooth audio streaming, radio and music controls, rear-view camera and vehicle settings. According to plaintiffs, their respective Display Screens were defective because they "dim and go dark, freeze, or shine at full brightness, causing driver distraction and rendering the vehicles' information center inoperable. Plaintiffs allege such "malfunctions" occur "regularly and unexpectedly."

The Court found that these allegations were sufficient to support a finding that the asserted defects compromised the drivers ability to operate their respective vehicles safely, and, consequently, that plaintiffs have pleaded a claim for breach of the implied warranty.

What to do if your Infotainment System is acting up?

The best advice is to take your vehicle to the service department whenever you experience any of the defects referenced above in this article. Some of my clients found it inconvenient to keep taking their vehicle in for service. This is particularly true when dealerships often don't have loaners available these days. That feeling is understandable. However, these problems are serious and sometimes can be dangerous. The Michigan Lemon Law requires at least 3 repair attempts for the same defect or condition or at least 25 days out of service in the first year. Be sure to get the vehicle in for repairs as much as possible. Keep those repair invoices and call Adam Alexander at (248) 246-6353 to assert your Lemon Law rights.

About the Author

Adam Alexander

My job is to help people protect their legal rights. I enjoy it. My career is focused on fighting corporate overreach and deception and representing consumers who are wronged.  Since 1996 I have helped thousands of Michigan residents fight back and pro...


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