2018 Subaru Outback, 2018 Subaru Forester, 2018 Subaru Crosstrek
Denis Flierl's picture

Subaru Starlink Lawsuit - New $6.25 Million Agreement Benefits 785,000 Owners

The Subaru Starlink lawsuit related to the model year 2018 Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, Legacy, BRZ, and 2017-2018 Impreza has reached a settlement. See what owners will receive.
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The class-action lawsuit that claimed Subaru’s Starlink infotainment systems are defective has reached a final settlement. The agreement affects the 2018 Subaru Forester, 2018 Subaru Outback, 2018 Crosstrek, 2018 Legacy, 2017-2018 Impreza, and 2018 BRZ. A New Jersey Judge signed the order this week that is valued at $6.25 million and could benefit 785,000 Subaru owners and lessees.

The Starlink systems consist of Harman Gen 3 audio and navigation head units, and the lawsuit alleged the head units created safety concerns for Subaru drivers.

2018 Subaru Outback, 2018 Subaru Forester, 2018 Subaru Crosstrek

Owners have been experiencing a number of problems that include backup camera freezing/or shutdowns, 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 will owners receive from the Subaru Starlink settlement?

The seven plaintiffs represented by attorney’s Chimicles Schwartz Kriner & Donaldson-Smith will each receive incentive awards of $3,500. About 9,500 class members will be compensated for visits to a Subaru retailer for a Starlink repair or complaint.

2018 Subaru Outback, 2018 Subaru Forester, 2018 Subaru Crosstrek

According to court documents, they will be compensated $150 for two repair visits, $300 for three or more visits or, as an alternative to the retailer visit, 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.

They will also receive $16 per day during the period of time when Starlink replacement head units were on backorder and refunded up to $90 for the costs of alternative transportation while their car was in the service department.

Subaru, represented by Neal Walters and Casey Watkins of Ballard Spahr’s, said in an email, “Although Subaru denies the claims in the lawsuit, it has, in the interest of customer satisfaction, agreed to extend the warranty for up to five years or 100,000 miles and will reimburse customers for certain out of pocket expenses.”

“We believe that by entering into this settlement, Subaru has affirmed its reputation for standing behind its products and taking care of its customers,” they said in a joint statement.

What can Subaru owners do now?

Unless you are a class member, you are not eligible for any additional payment, but you will benefit from the new extended warranty on your vehicle.

If you are experiencing problems with your Subaru Starlink system in your 2018 Subaru Forester, 2018 Subaru Outback, 2018 Crosstrek, 2018 Legacy, 2017-2018 Impreza, or 2018 BRZ, take your vehicle to a Subaru retailer. The Starlink equipment has been extended from the old warranty of 3-year/36,000-miles and is now covered under a new 5-year/100,000-mile Subaru Limited Warranty.

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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press and the founder of Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Comments

I have experienced these types of issues in the 2020 outback also.
I’ve experienced these problems in my 2020 Outback too!!! How do I get it fixed? It only happens intermittently.
I have on going issues like: alternate screens changing, phone being not recognized, driver monitoring system not recognizing or not registered. Etc. It's been reported with documentation and photos. No response as yet. Frustrated.
There is an update for the 2020 outback already. Any dealer should be able to install it. It's a 6 gigabyte file, so it will take at least an hour. Be warned, though, that some newer built cars already have there newest version and your problem might not have been addressed yet.
I had a 2018 outback, SAME issues and more, replaced the head unit, the USB ports, software updates, nothing worked. Subaru bought the car back!
Same here on my 2020 Forester. I also owned a 2018 Forester, it was so bad I put an aftermarket radio in the car, because they could never fix it.
This report is a bit late. The deadline to apply for compensation for the Subaru Infotainment Class Action expired months ago. If I'm wrong. Please inform me.
You are correct Tony, as I said in the report, you are not eligible for any compensation but do get the extended warranty.
I have 2018 Subaru Outback started the car and every light on the dash came on looked like a Christmas tree lighting drove direct to my local Subaru dealer was told they cannot scan the ECM I must make appointment next week as long as the check engine light is not flashing . For which I did . Latter in the day they called cars finished . I was told open loupe that I must have filled the tank with the car running .or my gas cap was not tight . Few days latter the same problem back again to Subaru . Was told cannot fit me in to service for 2 weeks and I have no loaners sorry plus where short 4 techs they quit. I called another Subaru dealer was told come in tomorrow 8:00 Am . They scanned my Subaru infront of me came up again open loupe . I went with the tech should him gas car is tight. I opened the gas cap in front of the service Dept removed the gas cap I showed him the rubber gasket was ripped . That’s your open loupe. The first dealers tech was to lazy to look at the most easyest thing causing the code open loupe. But they collected labor and blamed the consumer. Paid for rental car . New gas cap was in dealers part in stock . In & out in 20 minutes. I am 100% sure there are lot more with the same problem there must be a factory training for this problem.. I retired from 48 years in the Automotive field. Took me to find my problem . Because of incompetence. Subaru must have a dealer TBS ?
How much did the lawyers get? Owners who have spent thousands on repairs are getting coupons. I'm guessing the lawyers are pocketing millions.
I'd assume about a third of the total settlement. The attorneys did the leg work, contacted affected owners, researched the issue and the law, wrote and submitted briefs, negotiated with Subaru, spent time in court, all while paying all the expenses before reaching a settlement and getting a cent from Subaru. And it was an effort for which there was no guarantee of success. Of course, you could have opted out of the class action and sued on your own.
"We believe that by entering into this settlement, Subaru has affirmed its reputation for standing behind its products and taking care of its customers,” they said in a joint statement." What a load of horse sh-t. If they had offered to repair and compensate their clients before trying to weasel out through a court case that would have been a show of good will and "taking care of its customers". Subaru is heading in the direction of the Titanic and this owner of more than six prior Subarus doesn't swim so sayonara!
I'm disappointed that this settlement doesn't include 2017 Subaru Forester owners. Our 2017 Forester's NAV/Infotainment system has been a glitchy, buggy piece of crap since day 1. Moreover, Subaru's apparent unwillingness to EVER issue one single system update to address the numerous issues with it, or to keep pace with iPhone updates which render the Subaru/iPhone integration completely non-functional, tell me that Subaru simply doesn't give a damn about its customers, once they leave the showroom. This is our first Subaru, but it will definitely be our LAST.
You want to see a bad car company that doesn’t stand behind the customer buy a Chrysler, I have had 5 Subaru’s all have surpassed 300,000 miles with very little issues, most manufacturers are dealing with computer errors on new models.
I'm a Subaru tech in Australia, there has been at least 2 firmware updates for your unit since the unit was built. Compared to the current Harman units this article is about, your Fujitsu unit is basically a saint. But some of them do have problems, like with anything mass produced. Try more than one dealer if you can, sometimes one dealer may not be clued up on latest updates, others are right onto it.
I also own a 2017 Subaru Forester and have had the same issues with the screen going totally black or being frozen and totally non-functional. I have brought it to the dealership twice because several people have informed me that they cannot understand me with Bluetooth calls. I have had the radio freeze where I can't shut it off or adjust the volume and have not been able to use my GPS through the speakers, or make or receive calls or texts. It's been an awful mess. The dealership keeps saying it's fine. Very frustrating. First and last Subaru for me as well.
I also own a 2017 Subaru Forester and have had the same issues with the screen going totally black or being frozen and totally non-functional. I have brought it to the dealership twice because several people have informed me that they cannot understand me with Bluetooth calls. I have had the radio freeze where I can't shut it off or adjust the volume and have not been able to use my GPS through the speakers, or make or receive calls or texts. It's been an awful mess. The dealership keeps saying it's fine. Very frustrating. First and last Subaru for me as well.
That comes out to $8 per person, glad I didn't waste my time. Also, since the last upgrade my my18 system seems to work fine.
I been having issues with my wrx too is a 2019 the dealership replace the radio and still have issues I have videos but that’s not good enough for them. They just keep telling me that I have to wait for a new update. I been dealing with this issue for one whole year. And they haven’t resolve anything.
I was looking for a new SUV and was seriously considering looking at Subaru since their customers seem so loyal to the brand, but from what I see here I will be looking elsewhere.
radio's are not made in Japan these days in most vehicles
The infotainment on the 2020 WRX is no better. Constantly having issues. Volume can not be changed, connectivity issues with my phone, and the integration of Samsung Auto is horrible.
I've experienced some of these same issues in my 2019 Subaru Forester, but worse. My stereo stopped putting out sound about a week ago, even though it's playing. It's especially frustrating because I've only had this car for 6 months!
Same here - I have had the 2019 Touring for 11 months and the speakers just stopped outputting sound - apparently it's a bad amp. I'm going to ensure this is covered under warranty. However, I'm curious if the defects discussed in this article also cover the absolutely infuriatinly finicky android auto connectivity. I literally have tried dozens of cables and no matter what, if i merely pick up my phone from a stationary position while USB-C-connected, it disconnects from Android auto. To the point of causing a hazard if I accidently turn too hard and the phone is ever so slightly moved, directions go haywire, music stops, etc.
Yeah, this still happens with the 2019 Impreza. My Starlink has rebooted several times spontaneously, frozen on making a call, and randomly disconnects with my phone connected via USB. I had to go in on one occasion because the connectivity issue was so bad, Subaru checked the USB port.
I have had these issues in my 2015 Outback. Dealership has just said, yeah everybody has these issues. Pissed that my year wasn’t included.
I have the same issue with my 2016 Subaru Crosstrek. Very Disappointed To not have the 16’s on the lawsuit either. I have seen a lot of YouTube videos of people that own 16 and also have issues.
I have similar problems with my 2017 Outback. I brought it to the dealers attention more than once, only to be told "we can't find a problem with it." As a service man myself, it has long been my experience that it never malfunctions when you need it to! I don't even bother trying to link my phone anymore as it's to frustrating. Sad that such a safety conscious car company allows this to continue.
2018 Forester does not have that head unit... it has the 2.0 system. Also Subaru just released an update for the 2020 head unit that fixes about a dozen or so issues.
I have most of these issues on my 2017 wrx base .. I was starting to believe that it was my phone. Sometimes when I start the car and shift to reverse the screen would go black and freeze, I would have to turn off the car take key off and start again. Constantly disconnecting and connecting to the bluetooth. There's times when it won't pair with my device.. how can I go about this issue.

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