TomTom North America, Inc. promised buyers of its navigation devices “lifetime maps” for its devices. The complaint for this class action alleges that it does not fulfill that promise, because “lifetime” refers to the device’s very limited lifetime.
The Nationwide Class for this action is consumers in all states who bought any of the products showing the actionable representations during the statutes of limitations. New York, Idaho, Ohio, Massachusetts, Kentucky, and California classes have also been proposed.
One of the frustrations of consumers these days is the short lifespans of expensive electronic devices. People dislike paying a great deal of money for a device only to find out perhaps two years later that the device is no longer usable because the maker no longer supports it. The promise of “lifetime” services can therefore be an important selling point.
TomTom makes navigation devices for drivers, walkers, and users of ATVs. It advertises its devices with promises of lifetime traffic and/or maps, through such phrases as “Lifetime Traffic & Maps Edition,” “Lifetime Maps of US Can & Mex,” and “Lifetime Maps.”
The complaint says that these promises were “an inducement to consumers” but that they were also false. On TomTom’s website, the terms of “lifetime maps” explained that updates “are available without additional charge and for as long as the product is supported.”
Also, the “lifetime” of the device is defined as “the period of time that TomTom continues to support your device with software updates, services, content or accessories. A device will have reached the end of its life when none of these are available any more.”
In fact, TomTom has terminated its “lifetime” offers. The complaint says, “In its January 2018 announcement terminating lifetime map updates, [TomTom] explained this was caused by technological limitations.” As the company explained, “It has become clear that some of our older generation navigation devices do not have sufficient resources to run the newest maps and software available.”
According to the complaint, there are three problems with this withdrawal of benefits. First, it claims that “whether or not the Products have sufficient resources to continue with updates is entirely dependent upon the prior updates” consumers received. Second, many or all of the devices can accept SD cards, so that lack of memory is not a problem. Third, the “probable explanation” for ending the lifetime promises “is to promote the sale of new devices” with the pretense of a replacement offer.
The complaint alleges that the company should have offered refunds but instead has offered rebates on new devices, to keep its sales up.
The complaint alleges violations of state consumer protection laws, negligent misrepresentation, and breaches of warranty, among other things.