A proposed class action lawsuit out of New York alleges TomTom North America, Inc.’s promises of “Lifetime Maps” and “Lifetime Maps and Traffic” for some of its GPS devices are false and misleading in that consumers are unaware at the point of sale that “lifetime” means not the lifetime of a device, but rather “the amount of time [TomTom] chooses to support the device.”
Filed by a plaintiff who last week presentedsimilar allegations against Garmin, the 20-page case centers on TomTom’s Go, One, XL, Via, Start, XXL and Ease GPS devices, which are marketed and advertised as coming with Lifetime Maps or Lifetime Maps and Traffic. As the lawsuit tells it, TomTom’s supposed lifetime maps and/or traffic support are used by the company to induce consumers who, at the time of purchase, are reasonably unaware of just how restrictive the company’s “self-serving” terms and conditions that overlay the features actually are. That’s because, according to the suit, TomTom does not make the terms of its “lifetime” maps and traffic updates available to consumers prior to the time of sale.
Whereas a reasonable consumer may understand “lifetime” to mean the entire length of time during which they own a device, TomTom, the case claims, arbitrarily defines “lifetime” as “the period of time that TomTom continues to support your device.” According to TomTom, a device has reached the end of its life when software updates, services, content or accessories become unavailable for that particular device.
The plaintiff argues that TomTom’s definition of a device’s “lifetime” runs contrary to “basic fair dealing” to consumers who may not have paid as much for a GPS device had they known they may need to buy a replacement product once TomTom decided to no longer roll out maps and traffic updates. At the end of the day, the suit says, TomTom’s so-called “sunsetting” of older devices by way of ceasing maps and traffic support is merely a guise to promote new products by way of “replacement offers.”
“Instead of defendant offering refunds to consumers in the amount of the present-value of the lifetime maps services,” the case reads, “they were offered ‘rebates’ on new devices.”
Further, when a consumer’s GPS device experiences standard, non-exceptional glitches, TomTom customer support, according to the lawsuit, “does not adequately engage in good-faith repair efforts” in an attempt to incentivize the sale of new devices and/or map and traffic subscriptions.