— A Subaru Starlink class action lawsuit has been preliminarily approved to settle a case that alleges the infotainment systems allegedly do just about everything except function properly.
The class action settlement includes these vehicles equipped with Generation 3.0 Starlink Infotainment systems manufactured by Harman International Industries.
- 2017 Subaru Impreza
- 2018 Subaru Impreza
- 2018 Subaru Outback
- 2018 Subaru Forester
- 2018 Subaru Legacy
- 2018 Subaru Crosstrek
- 2018 Subaru BRZ
According to the lawsuit, Subaru Starlink users claim their systems can experience any of the following problems.
"The backup camera freezes and/ or shut downs; failure of the system’s head unit with resulting loss of audio and radio functions; complete system lock-up/error message displayed on infotainment system that only goes away after vehicle is turned off for several hours and then turned back on to properly reset entire system; display shuts off even though functions of infotainment system remain working; inability to shut radio/audio off or turn high volume level down (set automatically by way of technical glitch) when backing up; radio automatically comes on at high volume when the car is turned on, even if the radio was off when the car was last turned off; loss of functionality of the navigation system and/or erratic glitches i.e. navigation system providing inaccurate directions; loss of audio cue or warning sound for various safety features, including the forward collision and blindside detection functions; favorites from smartphone or connected device not being saved to the system; audio/radio functioning is erratic, in that radio/audio will turn off at random intervals then come back on suddenly without warning; touchscreen controls unresponsive; and Bluetooth connectivity issues preventing phones from connecting properly and calls from being made as well as disabling Apple CarPlay or Android Auto functionality with the system."
The settlement still needs final approval, but Subaru and the plaintiffs have agreed to the following conditions.
To receive benefits from the Starlink settlement, customers will need to provide proof of previous repairs, including the date, amount, what repairs were made, etc.
The settlement terms say qualifying repairs mean "any type of repair, replacement, diagnosis, or inspection of the Settlement Class Vehicle performed by an Authorized Subaru Dealer to address a Qualifying Starlink Malfunction."
However, certain repairs do not qualify, such as those performed during previous recalls involving the rearview camera systems.
A Subaru Starlink warranty extension will cover qualifying repairs performed by Subaru dealers for a period of five years or 100,000 miles from the date the vehicles were first in use. The extended warranty will cover all firmware updates and repairs needed to fix the Starlink malfunctions.
As for compensation, Subaru customers may qualify based on the number of visits to dealers to complain about the infotainment systems regardless if repairs were performed.
Two dealer visits may earn a customer $150 and three or more visits may get a customer $300.
The Starlink settlement says customers may also qualify for compensation if the infotainment systems stopped working, but only under the following conditions.
- The customer must have contacted or presented the vehicle to a Subaru dealer between July 1, 2018, and January 31, 2019.
- The Starlink system must have been suffering from one or more of the problems listed above.
- The Subaru dealer must have placed an order for a replacement Starlink system head unit.
- The customer must have waited more than one full day for a replacement head unit to be installed in the vehicle.
Subaru Starlink customers may also be eligible to receive compensation of $16 for each day they waited for their vehicles to be repaired. It's also possible customers who were forced to wait for repairs may be eligible to receive up to $90 as reimbursement for rental car fees.
Attorneys for car owners will receive $1.5 million.
The Subaru Starlink lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey - Udeen, et al., v. Subaru of America, Inc.
The plaintiffs are represented by Chimicles & Tikellis, and J. Llewellyn Mathews.
CarComplaints.com has driver complaints about the Subaru vehicles.