Consumers who purchased or leased certain 2019-2023 Subaru Outback, Legacy, Forester, Crosstrek and WRX vehicles (“Class Vehicles”) equipped with The Starlink infotainment system need to pay close attention to their legal rights after consumers recently filed a Subaru class action lawsuit.
Current or former owners or lessees of these vehicles should be aware that the California lemon law and other state and federal laws may force Subaru to either “buy the vehicle back” or provide further significant compensation for those experiencing this defect.
Under California’s lemon law, qualifying “lemons” must be bought back, and that can mean a large cash refund and payoff of your loan or lease. The refund could be as much as everything you paid for the vehicle and everything you owe: monthly payments, down payments, tax, finance charges, license, registration, etc. You could even qualify for 2 times your money back depending on the circumstances.
What Subaru would have to buy it for has nothing to do with how much the vehicle is currently worth. The law has a formula that starts with you getting all your money back and then taking certain deductions and exclusions away from your payment. Those refunds and exclusions are challenging to understand and can be fought against by knowledgeable consumer attorneys.
Subaru Class Action Over Starlink Infotainment Defect
A federal class action lawsuit titled Cillufo et al. v. Subaru of America Inc. et al., case number 1:23-cv-01897, was filed on April 4, 2023, in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.
The lawsuit claims that the Subaru Starlink Infotainment system has a defect that causes it to shut off, become non-responsive and reboot, among other problems. (the “Starlink Defect”). In particular, the Starlink Defect allegedly causes system freezing, rebooting and turning off, audio skipping when connected to Bluetooth, and a non-responsive touch screen, among other things, which can pose a danger, the class action contends.
According to the class action, Subaru learned of the defect via pre-release testing. Subaru’s knowledge of the defect is also “supported by” service bulletins, consumer complaints on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website and other sites, and consumers who brought their 2019-2023 Subaru Outback, Legacy, Forester, Crosstrek and WRX vehicles in for repairs related to the problem.
On May 26, 2023, a Second Amended Complaint was filed naming 16 plaintiffs from 12 states, asserting claims on behalf of a nationwide class of consumers who own or lease any of the above vehicles, and alternatively on behalf of residents from the states of Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Washington. More Subarus are sold in Washington, Maine and Connecticut than almost any other state.
Status of the Subaru Class Action
The complaint was filed on April 4, 2023, and a consolidated second amended class action complaint was filed on May 26, 2023. Subaru’s response to the Complaint is due in mid-July 2023.
There are no pre-trial or trial dates set in this class action lawsuit at this time.
However, as the plaintiffs allege in the amended complaint, New Jersey-based Subaru of America Inc. settled a class action in 2019 relating to similar Starlink problems in 2017 and 2018 Subaru vehicles. Some owners have had their head units replaced, only to discover that the issues continue, they allege.
Your Class Action and Lemon Law Options
When it comes to vehicle class actions and possible lemon law claims, what to do can be a complicated decision depending on many factors. Important factors to consider include:
- How old is your car?
- Has the defect occurred in your car?
- Have you taken it in for repairs on more than one occasion?
- Do you still own the car?
- Is the car still under warranty?
- Where do you live?
We are available to help you sort through these questions and make an informed decision as to your legal rights.
For a free lemon law consultation fill out the form below or call us at 1-855-OPT-OUT1 (1-855-678-6881).
Subaru Class Action FAQ
What Subaru vehicles have the Starlink defect?
According to the Subaru class action lawsuit, the following 2019-2023 Subaru models may experience the Starlink defect:
How many Subarus have the Starlink defect?
Although the exact number of vehicles affected is presently unknown, based upon the number of Subaru Outback, Crosstrek, Legacy, Forester and WRX vehicles manufactured for sale in the U.S. between 2019 and 2023, the number of potentially affected vehicles nationwide could be over 2.5 million Subaru vehicles.
Does the Starlink defect violate Subaru’s warranty?
According to the Subaru class action lawsuit, the Subaru Starlink Infotainment system falls under the express 3-year / 36,000 miles warranty. The class action plaintiffs claimed to have experienced the Starlink system defect within their warranty period.
The class action lawsuit claims that despite the existence of Subaru’s express warranties, including but not limited to Subaru’s New Vehicle Limited Warranty, Subaru failed to inform the plaintiffs and class members that the Class Vehicles had known defects and Subaru failed to fix or eliminate the defects.
Are Subarus with the Starlink defect unsafe?
According to the class action, the alleged defect in Subaru’s Starlink system presents a safety issue beyond severe inconvenience.
The complaint alleges rebooting, freezing, and non-responsive Starlink infotainment screens can result in serious driver distraction. The alleged defect can also impact the operability of other connected features, including the vehicle’s backup camera, which is a critical safety feature.
If a backup camera screen freezes or the system reboots or shuts off during operation, drivers who rely on the backup camera screen may not realize that the displayed rear view is not in real time (if frozen) or may lose the camera view (if the system reboots or goes blank) and may hit a pedestrian or experience a collision.
Has Subaru offered owners a repair, replacement, or compensation for this defect?
The class action complaint claims that Subaru has failed to fix the defect in its Starlink entertainment system. Currently, there is no class action settlement or evidence of a fix by Subaru.
If I have the Starlink defect, what can I do at this time?
If you have experienced problems with your Subaru’s Starlink infotainment system, you can fill out the form below for a free lemon law consultation or call us at 1-855-OPT-OUT1 (1-855-678-6881).
If you decide you want to bring your own lemon law claim, you do not have to wait for the class action lawsuit and can do so now.
If your Subaru is still under warranty and you believe it has the Starlink defect, we strongly encourage you to take your car to a Subaru dealership for inspection and repair. Most states that have strong lemon law protections will require you to have attempted to repair the vehicle (at least once) while it is under warranty, even if there is no known fix.
As a California resident, do I have special lemon law protections?
California has a number of laws (or “lemon laws”) designed to protect consumers from defects in automobiles.
California’s Song-Beverly Warranty Act, California Civil Code §1793.2(d)(1), is a California state law that requires manufacturers to repair defects after a reasonable number of repair attempts.
What is “reasonable” is not part of hard and fast rules – safety defects such as the Starlink defect should be fixed immediately, for example. The defects have to be important, and must “substantially impair the vehicle’s use, value, or safety.” California Civil Code §1793.22(e)(2).
Under California Civil Code §1793.2(d)(1), manufacturers must promptly offer repurchase or replacement of the Vehicle they cannot fix in a reasonable time frame. In addition, California Civil Code §1794(c) and §1793.2(d) provides that customers are entitled to a civil penalty in an amount up to two times actual damages if manufacturers acted “willfully” (meaning knowingly, but not necessarily with wrongful or malicious intent) in ignoring or failing its obligation under Song-Beverly.
Finally, under California Civil Code §1794(d), manufacturers such as Subaru must pay plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees and costs as part of the settlement, as the Song-Beverly Act is a pro-consumer fee-shifting statute.
What could I get if I bring a lemon law lawsuit?
Current or former owners should be aware that the California lemon law and other state and federal laws may force Subaru to either “buy the vehicle back,” or provide other important compensation.
Under California’s lemon law, qualifying lemons must be bought back, and that can mean a large cash refund and payoff of your loan or lease.
A lemon law refund could be as much as everything you paid for the vehicle and everything you owe: monthly payments, down payments, tax, finance charges, and license and registration. In fact, you could even qualify for two-times your money back, depending on the circumstances.
What Subaru would have to buy it for has nothing to do with how much the vehicle is currently worth. There is a formula in the law, that starts with you getting all your money back, and then taking certain deductions and exclusions away from your payment.
Lemon law refunds and exclusions are difficult to understand and can be fought for by knowledgeable lemon law attorneys. Don’t settle for small dollar payments or possible fixes without first speaking to a qualified lemon law attorney who has your individual best interest in mind.
Get a free, fast legal consultation
There is a lot to consider in deciding whether to pursue a lemon law claim. We can help you quickly sort through the issues and make an informed decision.
Get started now by filling out the form below, or you can call us at 1-855-678-6881.
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