— Mercedes-Benz heated seats that allegedly can catch on fire will be repaired for former and current owners and lessees of 2000-2007 M-Class, 2006-2007 R-Class and 2007 GL-Class vehicles equipped with original seat heaters.
According to the Mercedes class-action lawsuit, about 270,000 vehicles are included in the proposed class-action settlement after owners sued Mercedes claiming the seat heaters cause fires and injuries.
Mercedes denies there are problems with the wiring or the heated seats but will settle the suit to avoid prolonged and costly litigation.
According to the Mercedes-Benz lawsuit, the problem exists because copper wires used for the seat heaters can overheat and cause smoke and fires. Mercedes owners say seeing smoke and burned seats are a common result of the seat heater wiring.
"I was about to pull off the parking lot when I noticed thick white smoking coming from my seat. I immediately turned off the seat warmer. The smoke dissipated afterwards. I continued to drive the car about 1/2 mile to the grocery store. I got out and noticed a burn on seat." - 2007 Mercedes-Benz E350 owner / Little Rock, Arkansas
"My husband was driving when he smelled something burning and then felt something burning, he pulled over and jumped out to check and found the seat warmer had malfunctioned and burned through the seat, his shirt and had slightly burned him." - 2007 Mercedes-Benz E350 owner / Yucaipa, California
Plaintiff Elizabeth Callaway says she noticed the smell of smoke in her 2006 Mercedes-Benz R350 shortly after turning on the driver-side seat heater. A day later the car filled with smoke and the seat heater allegedly caused a hole to burn through Callaway's dress in addition to causing a deep burn in the seat material.
Mercedes fought the action by telling the court that federal regulators twice investigated alleged problems with the heated seats and closed the investigations without finding issues with the seat heaters.
Once the paperwork is done and the judge gives final approval to the settlement terms, affected owners can receive free repairs that involve dealers bypassing wires, or owners can receive extended warranties for the seat covers.
For owners who already paid for repairs to their cars related to seat heaters, Mercedes agrees to reimburse those owners up to $1,000.
Attorneys for vehicle owners may receive more than $6 million, and court documents say Mercedes may be looking at paying $54 million to repair the 270,000 affected vehicles.
Affected owners will be able to learn more at www.MercedesBenzSeatHeaterSettlement.com.
The Mercedes-Benz heated seats lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California - Elizabeth Callaway et al., v. Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC et al.