The process that led to compensation for owners of Honda Civics and Acura CSXs with paint defects is set to end soon, after being slowed by various delays.
A year after a settlement was reached between Honda and the lawyers leading the class action, the manager of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP Canada has almost finished sorting through the claims of owners of Honda vehicles, old and current, in Quebec that are part of the appeal.
Out of about 27,000 requests, 16,000 of them have already been rejected in whole or in part by the administrator chosen by both parties. On October 7th, the last rejection notices were sent. Therefore, good news should follow, according to the lawyers of the members of the collective action.
If you haven’t received an answer, don’t despair. This is probably because your request has been accepted.
Both law firms estimate that acceptance certificates will be sent after Christmas.
Undoubtedly, we will know the real results next December 14, during the hearing before the High Court. At least that’s what the two companies hope. Account Talked.
Encouraging reviews are coming
According to preliminary calculations by lawyers, 9,000 owners will not receive any compensation. They had already received a rejection, and despite their request for reconsideration, the administrator stuck with it. Or they didn’t dispute it.
The 8,000 owners who have not received any news so far should soon find out that their complaint has been fully accepted.
Finally, the 8,000 other owners who have already received a rejection notice partial or those who disputed the first opinion should soon receive a second, more positive letter.
Lawyers from CBL & Associés and Cabinet BG Avocats hoped that the compensation period, which began on October 1, 2022, would allow at least $15 million to be distributed. When the agreement was ratified in July 2022, there was even a cap of $27 million.
Now, lawyers estimate that only about $12 million will be paid in the end.
The agreement provided for several types of claims. If the owner chose to repaint the vehicle and was deemed eligible, the maximum compensation was $2,675.
Only about 10% of collective action members requested this form of compensation. All the others asked for monetary compensation without repainting it, even if it was smaller.
Why so many rejections?
Account has received dozens of messages since May from owners who regret that they were rejected or received lower amounts than expected. Several netizens also expressed their surprise or displeasure at Facebook page: Honda Civic paint issues from 2006 to 2013 (New window)
The two law firms that led the joint lawsuit are well aware of the administrator’s reasons for refusal.
Some, they believe, were reported for justified reasons. For example, the 11-page form was sometimes incomplete, or a member submitted photos of a snowy or dirty vehicle, making it impossible to distinguish paint delamination. Or sometimes makeup receipts were missing.
In more than 1,000 cases, the applicant sent or even returned an abbreviated photocopy of the traffic license: the reverse side with the date, important data confirming the period of ownership was missing.
In some cases, errors can be corrected. This is the case for 880 people who checked the box
trader, finding it necessary to state where they bought their vehicle, which disqualified them. However, they submitted a sales contract, which clearly shows that they are natural persons. When they noticed the confusion, the class action attorneys reviewed those files with the administrator.
The same applies to owners who bought a new vehicle as a lease, and then used the option to buy a few years later.
The administrator initially denied them the $125 compensation provided for the original owners, believing that the plaintiffs had repurchased the vehicle from the original owner. The lawyers went to court and got this compensation.
Fewer requests for reconsideration than expected
The main reason for the rejection was the date of the problem. If it was recorded before May 4, 2015, Honda had the right to reject the claim, which it did.
At the beginning of the claim period, the administrator first instructed the owners to state the date when the premature deterioration of the paint occurred. Many reported the date of the first small spot that appeared on their vehicle.
Two member law firms went back to the Supreme Court in February to have the term expanded, which the Court accepted. The administrator therefore sent a second notice to clarify that the requested date was that of
noticeable and widespread observation of the problem. Members were therefore able to correct their statement using an affidavit and provide the date to the best of their knowledge.
We gave people a chance to fix the situation. Many have caught him. Unfortunately, some did nothing.
In addition, lawyers wonder if members understand that in the event of a rejection – regardless of the reason – they have the option to challenge it with the help of a lawyer if they want to. In the rejection letter, the administrator told them they had 30 days to do so. However, the two law firms say they have helped only 1,350 people who have requested to review files in the past three months. They expected that more owners would challenge the manager’s negative decision.
Next hearing on December 14
On Dec. 14, class action lawyers will return to court to seek a review for more than 1,000 owners, either because the latter objected or because the lawyers spotted administrative errors in their file.
For example, in some cases the administrator believed that he had not received the photos, even though both law firms had proof that the member had taken them. In other cases, the member proved ownership of the vehicle with a certificate of insurance and a contract of sale, rather than a certificate of registration as required.
In other cases, ultimately, attorneys believe the photos show a problem despite dirt or snow on the vehicle, photos the administrator rejected.
Me Benoît Gamache also hopes to speed things up to partially offset the long delays added to the case.
We will attempt to authorize payment to members even if certain disputes have not yet been resolved.
The delays delayed the payment of compensation. First planned for summer 2023, distribution has been pushed back to October 2023. Lawyers now predict it will begin in early 2024.
Isabelle Roberge is a journalist and researcher in the show Account