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You Could Benefit From The New 6.25 Million Dollar Subaru Starlink Lawsuit Settlement

Subaru has settled the recent Starlink class-action lawsuit for an estimated $6.25M. Is your Subaru Outback, Forester, Crosstrek, Impreza, Legacy, or BRZ on the list?


Update: We need to clarify that this is a proposed class action settlement. It still requires preliminary approval by the court, notice going out to all of the class members, and then another determination by the court that it warrants final approval. All in all, it could take several months for the process to play out, and no one is entitled to benefits yet. Stay tuned.

On Friday, Subaru of America (SOA) settled the class-action lawsuit filed against the automaker in December 2018 involving the Starlink informant system. Attorneys representing the case from Chimicles Schwartz Kriner & Donaldson-Smith LLP sent Torque News documents of the class-action settlement and agreement between SOA and the plaintiffs.

The lawsuit alleged the Subaru Starlink infotainment systems on certain 2018 Subaru Outback, 2018 Crosstrek, 2017-2018 Impreza, 2018 Legacy, and 2018 BRZ would “freeze and malfunction because the head units fail, and updates offered by the automaker have allegedly failed to fix the systems.”

Subaru Starlink

The Starlink systems consist of Harman Gen 3 audio and navigation head units, and the lawsuit alleged it's the head units that create safety concerns for Subaru drivers. Owners have been experiencing 10 problems with the Starlink infotainment system.

In addition to the backup camera freezing/or shutdowns, there has also been loss of audio functions, complete system lockup, display shutoff, inability to shut radio/audio off or turn high volume level down when backing up, radio comes on at high volume when the car is turned on, smartphone favorites aren’t saved, audio/radio functioning is erratic, touchscreen controls are unresponsive, and Bluetooth connectivity issues.

What the settlement means for you

The proposed settlement class is comprised of all individuals in the U.S. who purchased or leased a 2017-2018 Subaru Impreza, 2018 Outback, 2018 Legacy, 2018 Crosstrek, or 2018 BRZ.  The proposed settlement provides benefits for the class estimated at over $6.25 million. This includes, among other benefits, an extended warranty covering the Starlink systems on all affected vehicles.

The plaintiffs receive compensation

Even though Subaru of America has denied any wrongdoing in the case, they have reached a settlement and have agreed to pay “service awards” of $3,500 to the seven plaintiffs (Chad Udeen, Mary Jane Jeffrey, Lydia Runkel, Michael Block, Gary Gilpin, Alicia Smith, and Susan Williams). All Subaru owners affected will be entitled to receive cash compensation on a claims-made basis based on the number of visits made to the dealer complaining about a Starlink malfunction.

If class members made 2 visits, you can receive an additional $150, and if you made 3 or more visits you receive $300. As an alternative to the dealer visit compensation, owners can opt to receive two separate $100 coupons redeemable for Subaru merchandise, or a $400 credit towards the purchase or lease of a new Subaru vehicle.

Other compensation includes $16.00 for each day class members waited to receive a replacement Starlink head unit, rental car expenses insured while their vehicle was in the service department getting the new unit, and ride-hailing expenses for out-of-pocket expenses for engaging a ride to travel to the dealer during the backorder period. Subaru of America has also agreed to pay plaintiff’s attorney fees associated with the case.

What owners can do

If you are experiencing problems with your Subaru Starlink system, the equipment is covered under the 3-Year/36,000-Mile Subaru Limited Warranty. Take your vehicle into a Subaru dealer and document your conversation and get written proof of your complaint with each visit.

2018 Subaru Outback, 2018 Crosstrek, 2017-2018 Impreza, 2018 Legacy and 2018 BRZ owners with Starlink problems can check on any current Subaru recalls for your vehicle. If you would like more information on the case, you can go here.

You Might Also Like: Having Problems With Subaru Starlink? What Owners Can Do

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Photo credit: Subaru


Terry (not verified)    November 6, 2020 - 12:28PM

In reply to by Denis Flierl

I bought a 2019 Outback for our business. If the car sits for a few days, the battery dies. Subaru replaced the battery once, but I am concerned that my employee could get stuck somewhere. I would appreciate opinions regarding options.

Cesare (not verified)    September 2, 2019 - 1:14PM

Not with Starlink, but the head unit on my '14 Impreza Limited is continually failing. It does the same thing as described above. Brought it to the dealer twice already and they said they couldn't find anything wrong. It's now out of warranty. A lot of things have gone wrong with the car and I'm skeptical of ever buying a Subaru again.

Abe Gold (not verified)    September 2, 2019 - 4:09PM

I have a 2016 outback, my radio has been replace twice by the dealer. It still acts up occasionally by changing stations or going to Starling on its own. IDoes the class suit apply to me?

GB (not verified)    September 2, 2019 - 4:17PM

2016 ob limited, functionality loss when backing up especially ability to control radio (turn off) and switching of the video feed back to normal after changing to drive, or late display feeds when reversing, all star link junk

mike (not verified)    September 2, 2019 - 5:24PM

This is typical of Subaru...when they have problems they don't fix them properly but they give you a voucher. It amazes me that people think that this is a great car company.

Kenneth Freels (not verified)    September 2, 2019 - 6:16PM

My 2015 Crosstrek Starlink head unit, made by clarion, was also hot garbage. Honestly dangerous. Ripped it out and replace with a Pioneer that works great.

Coll (not verified)    September 2, 2019 - 7:41PM

My 2018 Subaru Forester has the same problem - but not one of the vehicles listed in the article above. Any other Forester owners have this problem too?

Bill Carlson (not verified)    September 2, 2019 - 10:02PM

I own a 2015 Subaru Outback and have hated the Starlink system from day one. I have experienced varying degrees of these same symptoms very frequently. I attributed most of it being due to the first model year redesign so I never brought it up as an issue with the Subaru dealer service department. Other than the worst sound system in the world and the compass always in the wrong direction (I gave up on recalibrating it) the vehicle has been flawless. I will just leave it at saying that electronics must not be Subaru's strong suit (although the Eyesight system has worked well).

Mike H (not verified)    September 3, 2019 - 7:47AM

I own a used 2017 Outback and the head unit does freeze, and rather unexpectedly. I noticed this while traveling this summer,especially after about 2 hours of driving. Stop for about 30 or so minutes and good to go for a while longer.

LAP (not verified)    September 3, 2019 - 9:03AM

How about if you didn't bother going to the dealership - you just decided that the head unit was so awful, that you removed and installed a different one entirely? You should get money back from that investment.

Debra Boots (not verified)    September 3, 2019 - 11:05AM

I have a 2018 Outback and have had to have my entire radio/navigation system replaced twice and waited 3 to 4 weeks for a new system each time. I made5 trips total for questions or repairs. It started out as they system would freeze up, nothing would work until I stopped the car & restarted, progressed to not saving my favorites in my phone then a total system failure. Same progression both times. How do I recieved compensation?

Louis Cioccio (not verified)    September 3, 2019 - 11:31AM

Although I bought a 2018 Forester Premium in September of 2018 I was disappointed with sound it did work well for phone calls but had to reload the contact list every time I got in the car. Within two months I (and my son) installed a Kenwood 9904s keeping STARLINK with the telemetric unit. All speakers work and STARLINK works. The hardest part was stuffing the telemetric unit below the radio and AC controls. The sound clarity is much better with the Kenwood and no need any amplification. I did not have the HK amp system.

A Rogers (not verified)    September 3, 2019 - 5:35PM

Luckily no known issues with Starlink but the dealership still has not been able to fix my blindspot sensors. They quit working at random usually when need it most.

gayleen Wallace (not verified)    September 7, 2019 - 4:08PM

I have had all kinds of problems with my 2018 Outback. The Starlink system has never worked right and frequently does not connect with Apple Carplay. I plug it in and try to make a call and they can hear me but i can't hear them. Have to wait and redial.

Had the radio replaced and it still does not work all the time.

Also, the battery had to be replaced after 6 mths as the battery kept draining and I had to call AAA about five times. .

Would like to join a class action as I've had to take my new car in many times for service on these issues. Almost ready to call a "Lemon Lawyer".

Tom (not verified)    October 19, 2019 - 10:48AM

I occasionally have issues with my radio freezing in my 2015 Crosstrek, but it doesn't happen enough for it to really bother me.

Sally Gaslin (not verified)    January 12, 2020 - 7:31PM

I have had trouble with my radio not turning off and not responding to station changes and sound level. I also had trouble with GPS during directions disappearing with my phone attached to the system. I have a 2018 Legacy.