This lawsuit alleges that Acura’s HandsFreeLink, a unit that allows Bluetooth hands-free calling, has a defect in which it does not shut off. The plaintiffs in this case allege that this defect with the system is a constant drain on the battery system of many Acura vehicles, causing the battery to die which prevents the car from starting. The replacement of the system costs consumers approximately $1,000 and it is not guaranteed to be void of the original problem, leaving many customers to opt out of the feature they initially paid for.
Plaintiff Lindsay Aberin is currently a resident of University Place, Washington but she purchased her 2005 Acura TL on January 21, 2005, in Van Nuys, CA. She was attracted to the Acura brand because of many luxury features, including the HandsFreeLink system. She still owns her Acura TL today. At the time of purchase, she did not realize that her new hands-free calling system was defective. In the time period from February 4, 2008 to November 20, 2015, Aberin brought her vehicle into certain California and Washington Acura dealerships for battery-related issues. The mechanics replaced many parts including lights, batteries, headlight inverters, ignitors, starters, and door locks without realizing that the HandsFreeLink system was the true issue. At the University Place Tire Center in 2016, she discovered that the HandsFreeLink system was the true culprit and disabled this feature that originally attracted her to the vehicle. There are many other plaintiffs from other states who share similar stories
Acura is the luxury name marque of Honda, which has sold vehicles in the United States since 1969. Since 2004, Honda has been offering the HandsFreeLink system that has allowed consumers the safety and convenience of hands-free dialing and talking. The company stated that they “[T]hink the HandsFreeLink system is the most effective, most convenient hands-free vehicle phone system available.” Those who have had their car battery fail on a cold winter’s day are quick to disagree. The parasitic drain of the HandsFreeLink system strains the electric system of Acura vehicles, hastening failure of the battery and other essential components in the vehicle, particularly the alternator. As a result of this defect, owners of certain Acuras are left with cars that do not start reliably, failed electrical components requiring expensive repairs and replacements, and compromised electric components that can fail even when the vehicles are in operation.
Although Honda failed to publicly address the problem, on June 29, 2005, an internal Technical Service Bulletin distributed to Acura dealers for the 2004 model year admitted that the HandsFreeLink system will get “locked up” in an “on” position. They further stated that when the system stays on, it may cause a dead or low battery while the vehicle’s ignition switch is off. The company provided no special warranty coverage for replacement of the system and instructed dealers to continue to use the same system. This inaction has caused multiple forms of consumer harm, including financial damage, failure to start in emergency situations, and stalling on the highway.
Based on all the facts, the plaintiffs in this lawsuit allege that Honda violated the California Consumers Legal Remedies Act, California’s Unfair Competition Law and Business and Profession Code, and the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act among other laws by producing defective hands-free calling systems and then concealing the problem to consumers.