Recalls due to security concerns are certainly the red-hot issue within the automobile industry. News channels never fail to have a handful of raging headlines over faulty tech, bad arrangements of the car parts, etc making it necessary for the automobile giants to do recalls. In fact, according to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), the automobile industry did more than one-third recalls (15 million) among the cars that it had sold (22 million).
While Toyota, Honda, Lexus have been known for nearly 5.3 million plus cars up-to-date, consumers spending six-figure cash on high-end automobiles such as Audi, Mercedes or Lamborghini, etc expect premium services with the premium price tags attached to their purchases. Yet, some of these high end vehicles also end up being in the pile of recalls among the day-to-day SUVs and Sedans. According to Forbes, the Mercedes Benz C Class made it to the top of the most recalled SUVs in the USA during the time period 2013-2017. In fact, Mercedes recorded a recall ratio of 4.77 out of every model sold over the period of 5 years.
Out of the 15 automobiles surveyed, the iSeeCars.com found that Mercedes had reacted to the HVAC problems in its cars with 2.1 million recalled vehicles among the 5.2 million sold, a whopping 0.41 recall rate due to HVAC problems alone!
The HVAC problem in Mercedes
HVAC stands for heating, ventilating and air-conditioning – a state of the art, industrial technology meant for indoors and vehicular comfort. Although for years, automobiles had incorporated the HVAC systems for complete cooling and heating functionalities of their cars, the problem arose in the Mercedes Benz C-class’s HVAC systems when mold starts growing causing bad odors and mildews.
A Mercedes consumer facing HVAC problem recalled the experience as:
“a pungent, mildew, sweaty, moldy, sweat sock smell.”
followed by a class action lawsuit against the automobile giant.
Another unfortunate Mercedes car consumer took to Reddit to share their problems related to the HVAC systems in their car:
“Mercedes won’t fix the musty smell from HVAC. On the 8th month of ownership, I started smelling a musty moldy smell through the AC vents. This gets aggravated and can be prominently smelled during the first 30 seconds of start.”
The German automobile manufacturer initially ignored any statements made by the consumers complaining about the HVAC systems claiming that it had nothing to do with faulty assembly of the cars. However, Mercedes agreed to do recalls and provide repairs based on any wrongdoings on its behalf.
In response to an NHTSA inquiry related to the recalls, a Mercedes spokeswoman said
“Obviously, the safety of our customers is our highest priority. We make every effort to ensure our recall campaigns and customer notifications are executed in a timely manner. We will work closely with NHTSA on this audit query to address any concerns it has.”
The final verdict was provided on September 11, 2020 with a Mercedes class action lawsuit settlement granted by the Court to resolve the problem. Mercedes agreed to provide two benefits to Class consumers with problems related to the HVAC in their car systems. The settlement includes the following two benefits:
- Cash reimbursement for all the costs related to the repairs related to the HVAC problems in their Mercedes cars such as mildew, mold or odors emanating from their ventilation systems – the reimbursement will also involve a payback for costs related to the repairs made on the evaporator and replacing the filters;
- Since the settlement is not capped, the Mercedes is also liable to pay for any costs made in the future due to any of the reasons mentioned in point (1);
In addition to the current and future reimbursements the Court settlement resolved issues for past repairs made before May 11, 2020 which were to be made no later than July 25, 2020 through an Online reimbursement form. Fortunately, for any repairs on Mercedes HVAC systems made during the time period between May 11, 2020 and December 07, 2020, consumers can choose to file a claim for reimbursement using the same Online reimbursement form (this must be made within 75 days of the repair date). Consumers will need to submit the claim application online with all the supporting documents.
Since the Mercedes recalls due to HVAC involved various other models than the Mercedes Benz C-Class such as the 2008-2019 C-Class, 2015-2019 GLA Class, etc, the class action lawsuit settlement covers all the cars as mentioned (in order of model years):
- Mercedes C – Class (model years 2008-2019);
- GLA – Class (model years 2015-2019);
- GLE – Class (model years 2016-2019);
- GLS – Class (model years 2017-2019);
- GLC – Class (model years 2016-2019);
- CLS – Class (model years 2012-2017);
- GL – Class (model years 2013-2016);
- M – Class (model years 2012-2015);
- GLK – Class (model years 2010-2015);
If you are a Mercedes Class consumer of any of the above mentioned vehicles, you’re automatically subject to an additional 10 year birthday of your Mercedes car with any reimbursement due to the HVAC problems automatically applicable to deal with in the future.
How to file for a Mercedes Class Reimbursement due to HVAC problem?
If you are the owner of any of the above Mercedes Class models, you will need to make an online reimbursement claim to the Mercedes to pay for any repairs. Depending on the type of the problem, you will then be reimbursed from 50 to 100% amount of costs related to the HVAC repairs. Any repair costs related to problems other than the HVAC will automatically be deducted from the reimbursement.
In addition, the reimbursement amount collectible by a Class Member will also depend on the age and mileage of their Class vehicles. Also, you can also look up through a 17-digit VIN number here to check if your vehicle is eligible for reimbursement.
Lastly, in order to benefit fully from the settlement, you must not only make the reimbursement claim within 75 days of your repairs but also have all the necessary documentation at hand to act as supporting documents needed by the settlement. These documents will include proof of purchase, documentation of repairs and payment of repairs (if more than one repair was made, then documentation for each repair dated on the day the repair was made) with sufficient proof that the Class member filing the claim actually owned or leased the vehicle at the time of the repairs mentioned in the reimbursement.
*Remember for any repairs made after May 11,2020 or between May 11, 2020 till December 07, 2020 the date of reimbursement claim is no later than February 20, 2021 or within 75 days from the date of repair.
If you are a Mercedes Class member with the same unfortunate problem of HVAC as mentioned above, you can now file a reimbursement claim online. If you are unsure of how to proceed, you can consult our lemon law attorneys to help you navigate through the whole process until the end.