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August 2015    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 30, No. 8   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Aqua Lung Facing a Class-Action Lawsuit

for faulty dive computers somebody else made

from the August, 2015 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Ralph Huntzinger, a diver from San Diego, filed a lawsuit in May against Aqua Lung America, alleging the software on some dive computers it distributes in the U.S. can malfunction, giving inaccurate information and thus making them life-threatening. According to the complaint he filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, Huntzinger is seeking class-action status, and wants more than $5 million in damages, plus court costs, for all affected buyers.

The computers he claims to be faulty are all Suunto computers; Aqua Lung, headquartered in Vista, CA, is the sole U.S. distributor for them. They include some Cobra models, Vytec models, Vyper and Vyper Air models, some D4, D6 and D9 models, the HelO2, the Gekko and the Zoop. When a permanent malfunction occurs, the computers report incorrect depths, show "self-dive" or indicate a dive is occurring when it's actually not, report incorrect air time remaining and/or incorrect air tank pressure.

"As an authorized repair facility for the dive computers, [Aqua Lung] is acutely aware of the defective software and/or hardware," Huntzinger's complaint states. "In fact, the defect is so well known to Aqua Lung that when a dive computer comes in for repair due to malfunction, its only attempt at repair is to replace the battery." If the computer continues to malfunction and is still under warranty, it's replaced with a new one because the defective software/hardware can't be repaired, but that replacement still contains the defective software and/or hardware. If the computer is outside of warranty, Aqua Lung simply tells the customer that there is no repair. Apparently, the computer defect is so prevalent that the ordinary two-year warranty for Suunto computers was extended to five years for problems related to self-diving, incorrect depth readings, tank pressure and temperature, but Aqua Lung didn't publicly state that it extended the warranty....

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