Mercedes owner says air conditioning mold and mildew odors sicken occupants.

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Mercedes-Benz HVAC Odor Lawsuit Filed in Canada
Mercedes owner says air conditioning mold and mildew odors sicken occupants.

— A Mercedes-Benz HVAC lawsuit has been filed in Canada alleging moldy sour odors fill the cabins due to bacteria that grows on the evaporators.

The Canadian class action includes all consumers and entities in Quebec who purchased or leased any of the following vehicles.

  • 2008-2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
  • 2012-2017 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class
  • 2010-2019 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
  • 2013-2016 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
  • 2017-2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class
  • 2015-2019 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class
  • 2012-2015 Mercedes-Benz M-Class
  • 2016-2019 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class
  • 2010-2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class
  • 2016-2019 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class

According to the lawsuit, Mercedes designed and manufactured the vehicles with defective heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems that don't properly evaporate condensation that forms on the evaporators.

This allegedly creates a moist environment for the growth of mold, bacteria, fungus and spores that create odors that make riding in the vehicles dangerous. Customers allegedly complain about smells of mildew and mold that gets worse in humid weather when the air conditioning is activated.

The plaintiff (petitioner) leased a new 2016 Mercedes-Benz C300 4Matic, but in the summer of 2017 he noticed a strange smell that he couldn't trace to a source, finally believing his kids left food somewhere in the vehicle. He says he asked his dealership about the odor but was allegedly told it was nothing to worry about.

In addition to driving with the windows open, the plaintiff says he placed air fresheners in the Mercedes in an effort to cover up the smells. He also claims he experienced breathing problems twice while driving but didn't know what was causing it until he learned of a Mercedes air conditioning odor class action lawsuit settlement in the U.S.

In addition to the odors, the Canadian lawsuit alleges the air conditioning systems don't perform up to standards as more mold substances grow on the evaporators.

The plaintiff says when owners complain, Mercedes may replace the cabin air filters, flush the HVAC systems and apply disinfectant to the evaporator coils. However, the lawsuit alleges these are band-aid solutions that don't fix the odor problems.

The plaintiff also claims owners sometimes must pay for attempted repairs even when the vehicles are still covered by warranties. Mercedes allegedly tells drivers a lack of maintenance caused the odors, something the automaker isn't required to pay for under warranties.

According to the class action, Mercedes-Benz knows about the problems because dealers have been sent several technical service bulletins (TSBs) about HVAC odors.

In a March 2007 bulletin, the automaker told U.S. dealers about TSB T-B-83.30/91a concerning  musty and moldy odors coming from the HVAC systems. In 2009, TSB LI83.30-P-045340 titled “Air Conditioning Musty/Moldy Odor Complaints” was issued in the U.S.:

“Under certain environmental conditions, typically in a hot and humid climate, the vehicle may emit a musty/moldy odor from the air conditioning system. This may be more noticeable when starting the vehicle due to a residual condensation on the evaporator and interior surface of the heater box.”

In September 2011, Mercedes issued TSB LI83.00-P-051588 in the U.S. titled, “Smell of Mold, Decay or Urine from Ventilation:

“A moldy (foul) odor can typically occur for a short time after the engine start in all vehicles with air conditioning, is a technical inherent effect which likewise cannot be eliminated by cleaning the evaporator.”

TSB LI83.30-P-059119 was issued in the U.S. in 2016 which says, “In the first few minutes after an engine start, damp air may be blown out (laundry smell). This is due to natural causes, repairs do not remedy the problem.”

Owners have allegedly paid too much for vehicles that lost their resell values while occupants with breathing problems may not have a choice but to park their vehicles and find alternative transportation.

The Mercedes-Benz HVAC odor lawsuit was filed in the Canadian Superior Court for the Province of Quebec, District of Montreal: D. Leopardi vs. Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc.

The plaintiff is represented by the Consumer Law Group Inc., of Canada.

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