Lawsuit Filed Against Hyundai for Disabling Blue Link Systems
March 26, 2015—The law firm of McCuneWright, LLP, has filed a national class action lawsuit against Hyundai Motor on behalf of six class representatives who are among the thousands of Hyundai owners of select 2012-2015 models equipped with the Hyundai Blue Link Telematics System.
Beginning in 2011, Hyundai introduced the Hyundai Blue Link Telematics System in select models, including the popular Hyundai Sonata. With Blue Link, Hyundai customers get automatic emergency assistance in the event of a collision, point-of-interest search and navigation assistance, the ability to remotely operate various vehicle features, and self-diagnostic vehicle reports. Though Hyundai owners must subscribe in order to receive the benefits of the Blue Link system, all necessary hardware for the Blue Link system is included as a "standard feature" of Blue Link equipped Hyundai vehicles. If Hyundai owners either did not subscribe to Blue Link or thereafter allowed their subscription to lapse, Hyundai provided a telephone number that the vehicle owner, or any subsequent owner of that vehicle, could call in order to reactivate the Blue Link service for a nominal connection fee.
But beginning in 2015, Hyundai notified owners of its Blue Link equipped vehicles whose Blue Link subscription services had been inactive for more than one year, that "[i]f you do not reactivate your Blue Link services by January 15, 2015, your current Blue Link system in your vehicle will be permanently disabled." In the same notice, Hyundai informed the owners that "[r]eactivating your Blue Link services after it is disabled will require a hardware change, dealer-assisted installation, and will cost a minimum of $500 to replace the telematics unit plus any applicable subscription fees."
The lawsuit alleges that that the permanent disabling of unused Hyundai Blue Link Telematics Systems constitutes a breach of the contract terms of the sale of Blue Link equipped Hyundai vehicles, a breach of Hyundai's express and implied warranties, and an unfair business practice.
"For Hyundai to threaten the permanent disabling of Hyundai Blue Link Telematics Systems that they have already sold to their customers unless those customers agree to pay the additional Blue Link subscription service fee constitutes an unfair and illegal business practice," McCuneWright attorney David Wright said. "It is no different than if an auto manufacturer were to sell a vehicle with an XM radio receiver, but then to later permanently disable that receiver if the owner did not subscribe to the XM service."
The lawsuit seeks to prevent Hyundai from the future disabling of Blue Link Systems, to reimburse the subscription fees for those owners who subscribed to the Blue Link service after receiving notice that their Blue Link system would be disabled, and to reimburse those customers whose cars have been devalued as a result of the disabling of their Blue Link systems.