— Ford has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit that alleges MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch infotainment systems malfunction on a routine basis.
The plaintiffs claim the systems freeze, fail to connect to phones, won't provide correct GPS information, fail to respond to repeated voice commands and finally crash.
According to the lawsuit, Ford has known for years about the defective systems and according to the judge, internal documents from Ford have details about repairs that didn't fix the problems. The documents also suggest Ford knew the system failures could cause safety hazards while driving.
The class-action lawsuit includes all customers in the following seven states who purchased or leased a Ford or Lincoln vehicle through a Ford dealership before August 9, 2013.
- California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Washington.
The proposed settlement will provide affected owners and lessees with free software upgrades to the latest version of the MyFord Touch software. Affected customers will also be eligible for compensation for attempted repairs to the systems.
Ford completely denies the systems are defective and the automaker produced 8.3 million pages of documents to support its claims. However, Ford admits some of the MyFord Touch systems aren't perfect and agreed to settle the suit about six weeks before the start of the first phase of the trial.
The first lawsuit was filed in 2013 to represent owners nationwide, then whittled down to 15 states, then nine, but by the end only seven states will benefit from the class-action lawsuit.
According to the proposed settlement terms, affected customers will receive the latest update of the MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch software. Additionally, dealers will verify the software update is working properly for one year after installation of the software update if customers experience problems.
Customers who submit a claim that they sought one or more software repairs before the date of the preliminary approval order will receive their choice of payments or discounts on the purchase of new Ford or Lincoln vehicles equipped with SYNC 3 infotainment systems.
If a customer had their MyFord Touch system software repaired one time, they can receive a $100 payment or a $200 discount off the purchase of a new vehicle.
Two software repairs will make a customer eligible to receive a payment of $300 or a discount of $600 off the purchase of a new vehicle. And a customer who had three or more software repairs to the system can receive a $500 payment or a $1,000 discount toward a new vehicle.
The agreement describes a software repair as services performed by a Ford dealer in response to a customer complaint about MyFord Touch problems. A software repair is also defined as an installation of an updated version of the infotainment software by a Ford dealer or independent repair shop if a customer paid for the repairs.
Customers may also be reimbursed if they paid for repairs to the systems because the vehicles were past their warranty periods. In addition, an eligible customer will receive a payment of $35 if they submit a claim stating they experiences two or more incidents of MyFord Touch or MyLincoln Touch malfunctions.
According to the proposed settlement, attorneys for the plaintiffs may receive up to $22 million for fees and expenses.
The MyFord Touch lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division - In Re: MyFord Touch Consumer Litigation.
The plaintiffs are represented by Hagens Berman, Baron & Budd, DiCello Levitt & Casey, and Chimicles & Tikellis.