We have previously written about how class actions affect individual lemon law claims and about the FCA ZF 9HP class action specifically. This is an update.
It appears the class settlement was in fact approved by the Court, or at least that FCA took action on it. A company called Dahl Administration LLC is administering the settlement claims process, including notification about the right to opt out.
Choosing to remain in the settlement and receive a smaller cash payment or coupon, or to opt out and potentially seek a buyback in a lemon law claim is an important decision. If you do nothing and remain in the settlement, it is possible Dahl Administration will determine that you receive no cash compensation whatsoever. Missing the chance to opt out is something we have seen consumers regret once they understand what their lemon law rights are.
What’s interesting is that it appears the settlement was only approved at the end of November 2018, and yet the opt-out deadline was January 2, 2019. This means that FCA and Dahl Administration only had slightly more than a month to notify class members of the important effects of the class settlement on their individual rights. Further, that notice period just happened to overlap three major holidays.
What are the chances that consumers were properly notified? Furthermore, what are the chances that FCA cares? They will surely argue that lemon law rights were wiped out by the failure to opt out, whether the notice was viable or not.
In answering these questions, a picture is worth a thousand words. Check out this opt out notice.
Granillo, et al. v. FCA US LLC, et al. Opt Out Notice
Note the postmark date (1/14/19) versus the opt out date (1/2/19). It would be tough to opt out two weeks after the deadline has passed, unless you have a time machine handy.
Somehow, we don’t think think it was lost on FCA or Dahl Administration that they were mailing notice of the opt out deadline after it was impossible to meet.
Our office has seen FCA use other class settlements administered by Dahl Administration to try to defeat lemon law claims. Often consumers are shocked when they learned that they were supposedly notified in advance.
So what should you do if you receive a late opt out notice? First, make sure to save it. Documentation is critical. Second, all of the facts of your claim have to be taken into account to determine how the settlement may affect your individual lemon law claims. Because the opt out deadline is technically already passed, the sooner you act the better. Contact us today if you would like a quick evaluation.
P.S. The same ZF 9 Speed transmission involved in the Granillo class action is also in 2014-2017 Range Rover Evoque, 2015-2017 Land Rover Discovery Sport, certain trims of 2015-2016 Honda Pilot and 2015-2017 Acura TLX and in Fiat 500X.