- Issue: Obsolete analog system
- Result: $650 payment or $1,300 certificate for purchase of new car
In re Mercedes-Benz Tele Aid Contract Litigation
Lieff Cabraser represented owners and lessees of Mercedes-Benz cars and SUVs equipped with the Tele-Aid system, an emergency response system which links subscribers to road-side assistance operators by using a combination of global positioning and cellular technology.
In 2002, the Federal Communications Commission issued a rule, effective 2008, eliminating the requirement that wireless phone carriers provide analog-based networks. The Tele-Aid system offered by Mercedes-Benz relied on analog signals. Plaintiffs charged that Mercedes-Benz committed fraud in promoting and selling the Tele-Aid system without disclosing to buyers of certain model years that the Tele-Aid system as installed would become obsolete in 2008.
In an April 2009 published order, the Court certified a nationwide class of all persons or entities in the U.S. who purchased or leased a Mercedes-Benz vehicle equipped with an analog-only Tele Aid system after August 8, 2002, and (1) subscribed to Tele Aid service until being informed that such service would be discontinued at the end of 2007, or (2) purchased an upgrade to digital equipment.
In September 2011, the Court approved a settlement that provided class members between a $650 check or a $750 to $1,300 certificate toward the purchase or lease of new Mercedes-Benz vehicle, depending upon whether or not they paid for an upgrade of the analog Tele Aid system and whether they still owned their vehicle.
In approving the settlement, U.S. District Court Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise stated, "I want to thank counsel for the ... very effective and good work .... It was carried out with vigor, integrity and aggressiveness with never going beyond the maxims of the Court."