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The hood of a Honda Civic car showing signs of degradation in the blue paint.
Isabelle Roberge (View profile)Isabelle Roberge
The process leading to compensation for owners of Honda Civic and Acura CSX whose paintwork was defective should soon conclude, after being slowed down by various delays.
One year after the conclusion of an agreement between Honda and the lawyers leading the class action, the administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP Canada has almost completed the sorting of claims from owners, in Quebec, of old Honda vehicles as current, forming part of the appeal.
Of the approximately 27,000 requests, 16,000 of them have already been refused in whole or in part by the administrator chosen by the two parties. On October 7, the last refusal notices were sent. Good news should therefore follow, believe the lawyers of the members of the collective action.
If you haven't received a response, don't despair. This is probably because your claim is accepted.
A quote from CBL & Associates and Firm BG Avocats, lawyers for the members of the class action
The two law firms assess that the confirmations of acceptance will be sent after Christmas.
It is undoubtedly next December 14 that we will know the true results, during a hearing before the Superior Court. At least that's what the two firms to whom
The bill spoke hope.
According to According to preliminary calculations by lawyers, 9,000 owners will not receive any compensation. They have already received a refusal, and despite their request for reconsideration, the administrator maintained it. Or they didn't contest it.
8,000 owners who have not received any news so far should soon learn that their complaint has been completely accepted.
Finally, 8,000 others Owners who have already received a partial refusal notice or who have contested the first notice should receive another, more positive letter soon.
The lawyers of the firm CBL & Associés and the BG Avocats firm hoped that the compensation period, which began on October 1, 2022, would make it possible to distribute at least $15 million. When the agreement was ratified in July 2022, a ceiling of $27 million was even expected.
Now, lawyers estimate that ultimately only about $12 million will be paid.
The agreement provided for several types of claim. If an owner chose to have the vehicle repainted and was found eligible, the maximum compensation was $2,675.
Only about 10% of class members have requested this form of compensation. All the others claimed the monetary compensation without having it repainted, even if it was less.
The billhas received dozens of messages since May from owners deploring having been refused or having received lower amounts than they expected. Several Internet users also expressed their surprise or dissatisfaction on the Facebook page: Paint problems with Honda Civics manufactured between 2006 and 2013. (New window)
The two law firms that led the collective action are well aware of the administrator's reasons for refusal.
Certain, they believe , were reported for legitimate reasons. For example, the 11-page form was sometimes incomplete or the member sent photos of a snowy or dirty vehicle, which made it impossible to distinguish paint delamination. Or invoices for painting work were sometimes missing.
In more than 1,000 cases, the applicant sent or even returned a truncated photocopy of the registration certificate: the back indicating the date was missing, important information to corroborate the period of ownership.
In some cases, errors could be corrected. This is the case of 880 people who checked the dealer box, thinking that it was necessary to indicate where they had purchased their vehicle, which disqualified them. However, they had submitted a purchase contract which clearly demonstrated that they were individuals. When they noticed the confusion, the class action lawyers reviewed these files with the administrator.
It is the same for owners who acquired the new vehicle as a lease and then exercised their purchase option 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 were awarded this compensation.
The main cause of refusal was the date the problem appeared. If it had been noted before May 4, 2015, Honda had the right to refuse the claim, which it took advantage of.
At the start of the complaint period, the administrator first instructed the owners to give the date of appearance of the premature deterioration paint. Many reported the date the first small stain appeared on their vehicle.
The members' two law firms returned to the Superior Court in February to broaden this notion, which the Court accepted. The administrator therefore sent a second notice to clarify that the required date was that of the appreciable and widespread observation of the problem. Members could therefore correct their declaration by means of an affidavit and give a date to the best of their knowledge.
We gave people the chance to rectify the situation. Many have seized it. Unfortunately, some did nothing.
A quote from Me Éric Cloutier, CBL & Associates
In addition, the lawyers wonder if the members understood that in the event of refusal – and this, regardless of the cause – they had the possibility of contesting with the help of the lawyers if they wished. In the refusal letter, the administrator told them that they had 30 days to do so. However, the two law firms say they have helped only 1,350 people request a review of their case over the past three months. They expected more owners to challenge a negative decision by the administrator.
On December 14, the class action lawyers will return to court to request a review for more than 1,000 owners, either because they contested or because the lawyers noted errors by the administrator in their file.
For example, in some cases, the administrator considered that he had not received the photos, even though both law firms have proof that the member produced them. In other cases, the member demonstrated that he owned the vehicle with the insurance certificate and the purchase contract, instead of the registration certificate as required.
In other cases, ultimately, lawyers believe that the photos show the problem despite the dirt or snow on the vehicle, photos that the 'admin has rejected.
Me Benoît Gamache also hopes to speed things up to partly compensate for the long delays that have been added to the case.
We will try to authorize payment to members even if certain disputes have not yet been resolved.
A quote from Me Benoît Gamache, Cabinet BG Avocats
Deadlines have postponed the payment of compensation. First scheduled for summer 2023, distribution was postponed to October 2023. Lawyers now predict that it will begin in early 2024.
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