A California woman beat Honda in small-claims court last week, receiving nearly $10,000 in damages after getting lower-than-advertised fuel economy in her Civic Hybrid. Early next week, we may have a better idea of how many people intend to follow her lead.

A key deadline arrives Saturday that affects all U.S. residents who bought a Civic Hybrid between 2003 and 2009. Those owners are considered part of a class-action lawsuit regarding the fuel-economy issue – unless they opt out of the case by Saturday.

Owners who opt out will not be entitled to the expected settlement of up to $200 and a coupon off their next Honda purchase. But opting out preserves their right to go it alone in court, as Heather Peters did, and seek a more substantial payout.

In order to opt out, owners must send a certified letter to the settlement administrator postmarked no later than tomorrow. More information can be found at hchsettlement.com.

Automakers, legal experts and consumer-rights advocates are all keeping an eye on what happens in the class-action suit, both in terms of how the case is settled and how many people forgo a smaller settlement with the intent of filing individual cases.


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  • 38 Comments
      ken
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think this fuel economy BS is getting increasingly silly. EPA data is for comparative reason ONLY. Individual driving style, maintenance cycles, and the environment can make huge differences. If you got a problem about it, just don't read the damn label.
        carfan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ken
        read the facts dude...don't blabber
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ken
        [blocked]
          Whatamooseiam
          • 2 Years Ago
          Actually, she said she never got more than 41/42 mpg on its very best day before the updated software. The updated software was madatory because the battery was deteriorating too rapidly at the cost of the fuel savings. It's the deceptive behavior of Honda trying to have it both ways (fix the battery life yet maintain the higher MPG ratings) without notifying its customers that cost Honda this lawsiut, and deservedly so.
      Dunit
      • 2 Years Ago
      I owned a 2003 Civic Hybrid for 7 years and put 240,000 miles on, regularly averaging over 50mpg. You had to learn to make slight adaptation to your driving style to get good mileage, avoid jackrabbit starts and learn to use the regenerative braking, not waiting til the last second to slam on the brakes. Other than the car being painfully slow it was a joy to own, with no problems whatsoever.
        XT6Wagon
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dunit
        perhaps you missed out on the reprograming that largely turned off the hybrid function to keep the batteries from wearing out prematurely. THIS is why people are going after Honda. They take it into the dealer for an oil change or something and BAMN, Honda reflashes your car without your permission and suddenly you get shittier gas milage. Whats most suprising is that the EPA hasn't nailed them to the wall for this. In the past they have been quite pissy about car companies putting out new ECU tunes that affect the emissions output.
      g2k
      • 2 Years Ago
      this is why America's legal system is a joke. I'm going to buy a prius, load it with 800 pounds of cargo, floor it all the time, then sue Toyota because I only got 25 mpg, and it doesn't even matter that it's the EPA that comes up with the numbers, not the auto makers
        wickedme91
        • 2 Years Ago
        @g2k
        Honda flashed the computer on civic to reduce usage of battery (after people purchased them). This allowed the car's battery pack to survive beyond the warranty so that they won't have to replace battery under warranty. But this reduced mpg as hybrid system was not being used as much.
      clquake
      • 2 Years Ago
      After reading some of these comments, it's pretty obvious that those who think this is a bs lawsuit know nothing about the case. They don't realize that the owners were getting the advertised mileage, but Honda realized the batteries would fail quickly, so they reflashed the ecu so the car would work virtually off the gas engine all the time, except that they forgot to mention to the owners what the ecu "update" was for. Now the owners are getting worse mileage than the normal gas Civics. Sounds like a legitimate gripe to me, and the settlement of $200 & a coupon is basically a kick in the groin because now not only do the owners get penalized for driving a useless hybrid, everyone now knows the Civic hybrid is crap, making the resale value basically nothing. No one would want a hybrid that doesn't do the hybrid part, but still needs to lug around a failing battery, which would still need to be replaced. In my opinion, the small claims judgement is too small, Honda needs to buy back the cars at full price.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      EG6AJK
      • 2 Years Ago
      This reminds me of another Honda/Acura screw up - their 5AT trannies in 00+ V6 cars which after replacement also received an ECU downgrade. The shifting slowed down, power was reduced inorder to preserve the fragile gearbox. Honda should pay the price on this, by paying the difference in fuel as well as resale value to each customer.
      imtoomuch1
      • 2 Years Ago
      I like Honda, but they deserve to get screwed on this. All manufacturers that lie deserve it because it's false advertising. More power to this lady for having the balls err ovaries to stand up for what's right.
      thedriveatfive
      • 2 Years Ago
      Just some weenie looking for a payout. She should get a job.
      MONTEGOD7SS
      • 2 Years Ago
      Turn the screws on em I say. Their offer of $200 and a coupon is similar to them kicking you in the balls and asking you to then pay them do to it. This might revolutionize going after large companies, and take the lawyer leeches out of the loop.
      truckguy
      • 2 Years Ago
      Honda s**ks BIG AS* !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      Krishan Mistry
      • 2 Years Ago
      That settlement is way too small, if the Civic Hybrid's ECU downgrade is as bad as everyone says. So you are driving a hybrid with a next to useless battery now, and the reflash also makes it less efficient than a standard gas Civic? They should make that at least $2000 to every affected Civic Hybrid owner. And screw the coupon, I dont think once realizing the extent of their screw over, that they would so soon line back up at Honda dealers to get another.
      techie69
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hyundai, you are next!
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