A Wisconsin couple have brought a federal class action against Honda, alleging the automaker should be made to pay for selling CR-V automobiles it knew would intermittently reek of gasoline inside the passenger cabin, and for doing nothing to fix the problem, even after receiving potentially thousands of complaints from owners of the compact sport utility vehicle.
On Aug. 31, plaintiffs Bruce and Leean Beehler, of Fox Point, Wis., filed suit in Chicago federal court, alleging the company had violated federal law in not honoring the customers’ requests to fix the problem under the terms of the warranty they received with the auto when they purchased it.
According to the complaint, the Beehler’s purchased their new Honda CR-V in January 2016. Within days, the complaint said, the passenger cabin “smelled like an open pool of gasoline” and the smell persisted no matter how they drove the vehicle.
Honda CR-V | nitinut380 / Shutterstock.com
Over the next few weeks, the smell would come and go, the complaint said, ultimately prompting them to take the vehicle in to a Milwaukee-area Honda dealership in March for service to remedy the problem.
At the dealership, an employee allegedly told the Beehlers that Honda “was aware of the odor problem from similar complaints by other customers who had purchased or leased the 2016 CR-V and did not have a solution.”
The Beehlers alleged they returned to the dealership to seek service for the problem five more times from April-August, and each time received no assistance from Honda to fix the problem. Most recently, Honda allegedly instructed them to try purchasing their fuel from “a top tier gas station.” When they received the list of such “top tier” brands, the Beehlers said they represented the brands from which they had purchased the fuel consistently.
The Beehlers alleged Honda repeatedly acknowledged it was aware of the problem, yet did nothing to remedy the presence of the fumes, which, whether it may arise from fuel or other sources within the vehicle, represents dangers to human health.
“Honda claims the 2016 CR-V ‘feels like home’ and invites customers to ‘sit back and enjoy the ride,’” the lawsuit said. “The 2016 Honda CR-V does not feel like home because it reeks of gasoline. Plaintiffs and Class members cannot sit back and enjoy the ride when they are enveloped with harmful fumes.”
The plaintiffs said they believe the lawsuit should be certified as a class action, which could include thousands of others from throughout the U.S.
They have requested unspecified damages, including money to compensate them for “out-of-pocket expenses and costs they have incurred in attempting to rectify the horrible, noxious, odor in their vehicles,” plus attorney fees.
“Such expenses and losses will continue as Plaintiffs and Class members must take time off from work and, pay for rental cars or other transportation arrangements, child care, and the myriad expenses involved in going through the recall process,” the lawsuit said.
The plaintiffs are represented in the action by attorneys Daniel J. Voelker and Alexander N. Loftus, of the Voelker Litigation Group, of Chicago.