Palm Treo 600/Treo 650 Owners Can Claim Class Action Benefits

If you had experienced two or more repairs on your Treo 600 or Treo 650, Palm has just settled a class action lawsuit under which you might be able to claim benefits. You can either get a $50 or $75 rebate good for purchase of a new Palm smartphone, or you can get your device repaired even if the original warranty has expired. The deadline for filing is July 28, 2008. More information is available at palzasettlement.com. Inside, The full text of the email Palm sent out. Out of curiosity, are there ever any class action lawsuits that don’t settle out of court?

If you purchased a Treo 600 or a Treo 650 smartphone, you could be entitled to benefits under a class action settlement.

A settlement of a class action lawsuit affects you if you purchased, in the United States, a new Treo 600 or Treo 650 smartphone for your own use and not for resale. The settlement will provide either: (a) a cash rebate to any United States resident who purchased a Treo 600 or Treo 650 smartphone, experienced two or more repairs or replacements (in lieu of repair) on that device, and purchases a new Palm smartphone within a defined time period; or (b) a right of repair for hardware defects, beyond the expiration of the warranty on your Treo 600 or Treo 650, even if you did not experience two or more repairs or replacements.

If you qualify, you may send in a claim form to ask for a rebate, or a repair form to seek a repair. You can also exclude yourself from the settlement, or object. The United States District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division, authorized this notice. The Court will have a hearing to consider whether to approve the settlement, so that the benefits may be paid.

WHO’S AFFECTED?
Purchasers of a Treo 600 or Treo 650 smartphone. You’re a “Class Member” if you are a United States resident who purchased in the United States a new Treo 600 or Treo 650 smartphone for your own use and not for resale.

WHAT’S THIS ABOUT?
The lawsuit claimed that the Treo 600 and Treo 650 smartphones had certain defects, failed at unacceptable rates, and that Palm made misrepresentations concerning the Treo 600 and Treo 650 smartphones. Palm, Inc. denies all allegations and has asserted many defenses. Palm is entering into this settlement to avoid burdensome and costly litigation. The settlement is not an admission of wrong-doing or an indication that any law was violated.

WHAT CAN YOU GET FROM THE SETTLEMENT?
Palm, Inc. has agreed to provide a cash rebate to Class Members who experienced two or more repairs or replacements in lieu of repair, who purchase a new Palm smartphone within a defined time period, and who send in a valid claim form. The settlement provides for different rebate payments depending on whether you purchased a Treo 600 smartphone or a Treo 650 smartphone requiring repairs or replacements. Rebate amounts are as follows:

SMARTPHONE REPAIRED OR REPLACED AT LEAST TWICE TIMEFRAME OF PURCHASE OF NEW SMARTPHONE REBATE AMOUNT
Treo 600 Anytime after September 30, 2005 until the end of the “Redemption Period,” which is six months after the Effective Date (the date the settlement becomes final) $75

Treo 650 Anytime during the Redemption Period $50

Palm has also agreed to provide a right of repair for hardware defects to any original purchaser of a Treo 600 or Treo 650 smartphone who submits a valid and timely Repair Form, even if they did not experience two or more repairs or replacements, and even if the warranty period has expired.

HOW DO YOU GET A PAYMENT?
A detailed notice and claim form package contains everything you need. Just go to http://www.palzasettlement.com to get one. You will be required to sign a declaration under penalty of perjury that your Treo 600 or Treo 650 smartphone was repaired or replaced at least twice and you will be required to provide documentation for at least one of the repairs or replacements.

IMPORTANT DEADLINES
Cash Rebate: The claim form for a cash rebate must be postmarked on or before July 28, 2008 and received by Palm no more than 21 days thereafter.

Right of Repair: If the warranty on your device has already expired by the Effective Date, the right of repair is valid for 120 days from the Effective Date. If the warranty on your device is still in effect on the Effective Date, the right of repair will extend for 120 days beyond the expiration of that warranty.

WHAT ARE YOUR OPTIONS?
If you don’t want a cash rebate or to obtain a repair, and you don’t want to be legally bound by the settlement, you must postmark your request to exclude yourself by April 7, 2008, or you won’t be able to sue, or continue to sue, Palm, Inc. about the legal claims in this case. If you exclude yourself, you can’t get a payment from this settlement. If you stay in the Class, you may object to the settlement. Objections must be received by April 7, 2008. The detailed notice describes how to exclude yourself or object. The Court will hold a hearing in this case (In re Palm Treo 600 and 650 Litigation, Master Case No. C-05-03774-RMW) on May 2, 2008, at 9:00 a.m. to consider whether to approve the settlement and attorneys’ fees and expenses totaling no more than $1,554,000 and incentive payments to the named Plaintiffs in the aggregate amount of $21,000. You may appear at the hearing, but you don’t have to. To obtain a full notice and claim form, and for more details, go to http://www.palzasettlement.com or send an e-mail to palza.settlement@palm.com, or write to Designated Co-Lead Counsel, Ralph M. Stone, Shalov Stone Bonner and Rocco, 485 Seventh Avenue, Suite 1000, New York, NY 10018.

(Thanks to Jeremiah!)

(Photo: brianc)

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  1. huadpe says:

    Out of curiosity, are there ever any class action lawsuits that don’t settle out of court?

    Not often. There aren’t incentives to go to jury for either side.

    For the defendant, juries tend to give gigantic awards (where real damage exists), and they award cash, not rebates, coupons or discounts, but just cash.

    For the plaintiff, those giant jury awards are subject to appeals, and allow the defendant to drag their feet for years more than getting a settlement. Going a few rounds in federal circuit court is not cheap or quick.

  2. Parting says:

    My Treo always worked like a charm. So I think if you had it repaired more than 2 times, you got a lemon. And the company should just replace it by the same model. Everyone, around me who had these models, loved them for their reliability.

  3. mrwilson says:

    You typically only hear about the settlements. Plenty of cases get thrown out or are otherwise derailed before settlement. Defendants file a motion to dismiss in most cases, which plaintiffs fight. If plaintiffs win that and some or all of the legal claims survive, the next step is class certification, which defendants always oppose. If the judge agrees with plaintiffs and certifies a class, then often defendants will file a motion for summary judgment in their favor before trial, which plaintiff will, of course, oppose. (Discovery occurs usually after the motion to dismiss is litigated, but before class cert and summary judgment.) At any of these stages, if defendants win, the case effectively ends unless plaintiffs appeal.

    In addition, in some cases in which theere are lots of similar cases filed, the cases are consolidated for pretrial proceedings into one court, in an “MDL” (multi-district litigation). There is usually plenty of arguing on all sides about whether that should occur, and in what court, also.

    Settlement can and does occur, however, before, after, or somewhere in the middle of these stages. And every once in awhile, there is a trial of a class action. But those are even more infrequent than trials in regular civil cases (which are themselves already quite rare, and increasingly so).

  4. friendlynerd says:

    Working in the IT department of a law firm, and supporting Treo 650s and 700s, has taught me that they are crap. It’s not a fluke, you don’t have a lemon, they are consistently terrible.

    We’re switching over to Blackberries, but not before we get the max benefit out of this decision.

  5. Parting says:

    @friendlynerd: Blackberry are the best. Then comes Treo that works on Palm OS. Everything else, has Windows mobile (or as tech support jokes, Windows millennium). But PDA are far from perfect, everything is comparable.

  6. MickeyMoo says:

    @chouchou:
    Gotta say that I’ve had a whole lot fewer problems synching my WinMo phone to my Mac with Missing Sync than I ever had with PalmDesktop in OSX (it was so-so in OS9) You may face some large scale implementation issues that I’m not privy to, but everyone I personally know who’s had a Treo HATED it for one reason or another.

  7. Buran says:

    Nice. So you can have your outdated POS repaired just so you can use an outdated POS for longer, or you can buy a new one from a company that is irrelevant today and has long been passed by by other smartphone makers.

    No thanks.

  8. RottNDude says:

    I know people who have gone through 5-6 Treo 650s on Verizon. I gave up after my 2nd one broke.

  9. l951b951 says:

    I have owned a Palm M105, M130, Treo 600 and loved them all. Never had a major problem with my 600. I upgraded to the 700p and have regretted it. Treocentral.com has forums where you can see the numerous complaints about the 700. Nothing has failed on it, but there are so many things that just don’t work right 100% of the time. Bluetooth headset gets disconnected at least 2 times during the day for no reason. Web connectivity fails randomly for short periods. Lag going between apps. No deal breakers, but certainly annoying to deal with every day.

    I am hoping that the next generation works better, but I will not be an early adopter.

  10. BlkCav says:

    Wow, i hope this will affect Canadian users as well.

    When it initially came out, I bought the Treo 600, was a great phone for the first month, but then a slew of issues ranging from the mic to the speaker, to the 1x Wireless modem, to buttons forced me to replace it a total of 7 times.

    On the last 600 i told them, i want a Treo 650, and they gave me one… to only have it for 11 months and have the headphone jack mess up and render the phone completely useless without a headset plugged in.

    Any word if Canadians can claim too?

  11. 4ster says:

    @l951b951: I never had problems with my 650 and I love my Centro, but I’m with L951B951. I can’t believe the 700p isn’t a part of this lawsuit. That thing is a dog.

  12. ekthesy says:

    @l951b951:

    An acquaintance of mine is on their third Treo 700, and can’t understand why it isn’t included in this class-action as well. It’s just as much of a POS as the previous models.

  13. MickeyMoo says:

    @l951b951: Palm has stated that their “next gen” OS (a Palm emulator running on Linux) won’t be ready to ship till at least 2010 at the earliest. In the meanwhile – they’ve spun off and rebranded a number of times, sold the OS, bought it back, changed their name, etc. What a waste of potential – they had the lead on the smartphone market and totally squandered it. A couple of folks that I know bought PalmOS phones because they thought that they were the only phones that they could enter data on. Kudos to Palm for perpetuating a myth, but ignorance is not a way to grow market share, innovation is.

  14. XTC46 says:

    this sucks. My company had about 20 of these and we had to replace every single one of them at least once a year. The most I had to replace a single users was 7 times in 2 years, the average was 2 or 3 within the 2 year period. For 500 dollar phones it is ridiculous. We finally moved to blackberries and a few select windows mobile devices and everyone is happy. I think we have 3 or 4 of these stupid treo;s left that we need to replace.

    The settlement sucks because I don’t want another stupid palm phone…they suck, I want a cash refund due to the inconvenience and hours I spent troubleshooting with stupid tech support and getting the phones replaced.

  15. So let me get this straight. Because my Treo 650 has broken and been replaced twice (the incredibly poor placement of the audio jack) I get get a credit… towards the purchase of a new Palm device?

    Palm, let me know when you have a device with built-in WiFi, GPS and Bluetooth 2 and maybe we’ll talk. Or give me the cash.

  16. DoctorMD says:

    I have a a 700 POS replaced 5 times still laaaagggggs, drops calls, freezes, and crashes.

    I have tried to find a lawyer to sue Palm for the 700 but no luck. This lawsuit is that the 600 and 650 were of poor quality and broke too often. Every single 700POS has the above problems out of the box. Sounds like a better case to me.

    I was thinking about taking the complaint find/replace “600 and 650″ to “700″ and resubmit the case myself.

  17. Buran says:

    @smartwatermelon: AT&T Tilt/HTC TyTN II/8900/Kaiser, although I had one and got rid of it because Windows Mobile bogs down bad if you run more than 2-3 apps, or just likes to randomly bog period.

    I have an iphone now.

  18. XTC46 says:

    @doctormd: Id happily join your case. My companies CEO is a palm fanatic and refuses to get rid of his and forced 2 of the other senior managers to get the 755ps. 2 of the 3 were DOA, the replacements failed twice and after two factory resets have remained stable (but its only been 2 months)

  19. seraphicstar says:

    i had a 700p with VZW… that thing was so terrible!! it lagged, it froze, it rebooted…
    texting on it was the worst… after every text sent the phone would freeze for a good minute, no calls could come in, no texts either.
    i finally got rid of that POS and got a blackberry… sweet salvation…!

  20. Fait Accompli says:

    @doctormd: First, you cannot represent a class of people unless you are a lawyer. Second, even if you could, be prepared to spend hundreds of hours and most of your life savings (if you make it past the first motion to dismiss) working on your “resubmission.”

    People tend to underestimate the massive amount of work involved in class action litigation. They also overestimate their own “common sense” approach to the law and civil procedure.

    While it is true that many class cases settle, they typically only do so after the plaintiffs have beaten multiple motions to dismiss, muscled through months (if not years) of discovery obstacles, motions and document withholding, and then finally prove to the court that the case meets the standards for class certification. Next up, if the defendants believe they have a good case, is more discovery (docs, interroatories, depositions, expert witnesses etc. (this time relating to the merits, whereas prior to class cert if will be limited to class issues)), and motions for summary jdugment (major evidentiary undertaking). If the plaintiff beats the summary judgment motions (or does not win their own summary judgment motions), trial comes next (this is where real settlement talks really start).

    My guess that the reason you can’t find a lawyer to take the case re: the 700 is because the case against the 600/650 was not that strong, and the course of litigation only showed its faults. Remember, a loser case can settle too — sometimes a company will buy its way out of a lawsuit to avoid the litigation expenses, not to avoid what it fears will be a big loss in court. On the other hand, if a company sees a series of copycat cases, it will often take them to judgment in an effort to create favorable precedent and deter other lawsuits.

  21. harlemdk says:

    I spent 35 min on the phone with Sprint to retrieve the dates that I had my Treo 650 replaced. I was told the dates and the reasons the phone was replaced. I then asked for the information to be either mailed or emailed to me and they refused citing “confidentiality.”

    I explained the reason I needed the information in writing about my personal account and they still refused. They said if Palm called them to verify, they would give them that confidential information.

    So they will release my supposed “confidential information” to a third party but will not release my own information concerning myself to me!?

  22. Leohat says:

    For Verizon Treo’s, at least, there was/is a known manufacturer defect. It had to do with the tolerance of a capacitor in the antenna. The cap used had too wide a tolerance so when the antenna powered up, it would try to draw too much power from the battery and it would reset. Because some of the caps were within the spec they would work fine. Thus not every Treo had the problem.

    Also, for Verizon, it was not uncommon for units to straight back out as refurbish replacements with out even being hard reset. I took calls from customers that received replacement units with contact numbers and such still on them.

    Personally I wouldn’t give a Treo to my dog.