Honda named in class action lawsuit alleging defect in the HandsFreeLink™ system

American Honda Motor Company

Honda introduced the Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink™ system in its 2004 model year Acura vehicles. Honda promotes Acura as its luxury brand, offering advanced technology and high performance. The HandsFreeLink™ system was initially offered as a luxury add-on but soon became a standard feature of Acura models. The hands-free interface of the HandsFreeLink™ allows drivers to use their phones without using their hands. Drivers “pair” a smartphone with the car, allowing calls to be made using a microphone and the speakers in the car, and enabling the phone to receive voice commands such as “call home” or “call my office” through the car’s system to dial certain numbers or places.

As alleged, the HandsFreeLink™ system is defective. It becomes locked into the “on” position even if not in use and remains “on” even after the car’s ignition switch is turned off. Once locked “on,” the HandsFreeLink™ unit exerts a continuous, substantial, and (in Honda’s words) “parasitic” electric drain on the vehicle’s electric system. This drain depletes and consumes batteries, and leads to premature failure of other essential electric components—such as alternators, which are forced to compensate for the failing batteries. Acura owners are left with cars that will not reliably start, electrical systems prone to fail even while the car is being driven, and essential electrical parts such as batteries and alternators that must be serviced and replaced.

The complaint contends that Honda has known about this defect in the HandsFreeLink™ system since at least June 2005 but has not warned its customers. As a result, Plaintiff and class members have had to pay out of pocket to replace drained batteries and other electrical components, unaware that the real problem is the HandsFreeLink™ system. By the time customers discover the defect resides in the HandsFreeLink™ system (if they ever do), the warranty period is typically expired. Thus, Plaintiff and class members are left to choose between replacing the costly HandsFreeLink™ unit—with no guarantee that the replacement HandsFreeLink™ unit will not also be defective— or paying to disconnect their HandsFreeLink™ system and losing the use of this feature entirely.

Honda continues to sell and lease vehicles with HandsFreeLink™ without disclosing the defect to consumers. 5. Plaintiff seeks relief for himself and a class of all other consumers who purchased or leased Acura vehicles equipped with a HandsFreeLink™ system under California law or, in the alternative, a class of Acura owners in Washington, to redress the harm they have suffered as a result of this defective technology. Plaintiff requests an award of damages and appropriate equitable relief, including an order enjoining Honda from continuing to sell vehicles with the defective HandsFreeLink™ system and requiring Honda to disclose the defect to current Acura owners and repair their vehicles.

Ismael A. said
498 days ago
I recently bought a 2008 Acura RDX from a Honda dealer in Jacksonville nc around march of 2016 and I am starting to experience all kinds of electrical problems. It is equipped with the HandsFreeLink and my wife uses it

David W. said
381 days ago
Same issue with a 2007 Acura RDX. After repeated battery failures, paid to replace the battery with a new one. The problem persisted, more diagnosis performed by mechanic without a resolution. Located and disconnected the HFL. No more battery drain, and no HFL.

204 days ago
I own a 2016 Honda Pilot touring, car has about 35k miles. I am having issues with the lack of power or hard shifting of gears with the transmission. There are times although I am accelerating the car hesitates to pick up and the car fluctuates in RPM's as if it cant find a gear. I have also experienced hard shifts where the car will "jerk" into gear and accelerates on its own. I have taken the car in a few times for this and I have been told by the service advisor that they are aware of this and receive numerous of complaints but there is nothing they can. The car is unsafe in this driving condition and Honda does not want to assist with this issue

Tiffany C. said
152 days ago
I’m having the same issue. 2nd time in 5 years.

rachel s. said
112 days ago
I have a 2011 Acura MDX with the same issue regarding excessive battery drainage. I have replaced the battery twice and have had to be jumped 4-6 times since buying the vehicle in 2013 along with many other random electrical failures(door locks, toggle buttons, USB, cigarette outlet etc...). But most recently the car suffered a "catastrophic engine failure" with no warning while driving resulting in a unfixable engine thus zero equity car (unless I want to put 5k into a used engine including labor) which appears to be the result of a known MDX issue of excessive oil consumption leading to engine problems or "death". While speaking with Acura Corporate customer care, they informed me that Acura is well aware of the issue and is looking into whether or not a recall is applicable, but refused to offer any kind of good faith incentive to keep me as an Acura customer toward a new vehicle...Very disappointed in Acura with branding their fleet as a "luxury" brand of vehicles should come with more than a high price tag when a well known and acknowledged problem leads to premature failure leaving the customer stranded both financially and physically on the side of the road!

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