Palm settles class action suit

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based handheld maker Palm Inc. has settled a class action lawsuit which will give some Treo 600 and 650 smartphone owners in the U.S. a chance to receive either a cash rebate or extended warranty for their phones.

The lawsuit claimed that both Treo models had certain defects and failed at unacceptable rates. As part of the settlement Palm has agreed to provide a cash rebate to class action member (U.S. resident who purchased either the Treo 600 or 650 in the U.S.) 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.

Michael Rozender, Oakville, Ont.-based consultant who specializes in wireless technology, said he is unaware of any similar action in Canada.

“For Palm Treo 600/650 adaptation in Canada, I don’t think it was as popular, percentage wise, as in the U.S. where you have a lot of Palm OS advocates,” Rozender said. “Of course we have a large number of Blackberry advocates here, to make up for that.”

Michelle Warren, senior research analyst at London, Ont.-based Info-Tech Research Group, said that whether at fault or not, the settlement was the right move for the PDA maker.

“It’s really smart of Palm to settle this quickly,” Warren said. “They are avoiding a costly litigation and potentially there name getting through the press, regardless of whether or not they are guilty, the negative feelings would fester.”

Palm denied all allegations and claims to have entered the settlement to avoid burdensome and costly litigation.