Lawnmower buyers could get cash

A preliminary settlement to a class-action lawsuit promises to put some green in the pockets of consumers who purchased lawn mowers in the past 16 years or so.

A preliminary settlement to a class-action lawsuit promises to put some green in the pockets of consumers who purchased lawn mowers in the past 16 years or so.

Under the settlement pending in U.S. District Court in Wisconsin, people who purchased certain mowers between 1994 to April 12, 2010, may be entitled to $35 cash for a push mower and $75 for a riding mower, according to information on a Web site for Heins Mills & Olson, a Twin Cities law firm representing plaintiffs in the suit.

Also, warranties for qualified purchases are to be extended an additional year under the settlement, which could be finalized later this summer, according to the law firm's Web site.

The lawsuit claimed that the defendant companies misrepresented and overstated the horsepower of their lawn mowers and engines and that mowers with the same engine power sold for different prices, with more charged for machines labeled with an inflated horsepower rating, according to court documents available on a Web site set up to inform consumers about the settlement.

The suit also claimed that defendants communicated among themselves about how they misrepresented horsepower ratings and that they conspired to conceal the practice.


The suit did not concern the safety of the lawn mowers.

The defendant companies deny wrongdoing but have agreed to a settlement that totals $65 million.

About $51 million of that is to be paid by a group of six defendants comprised of Sears Roebuck & Co., Briggs & Stratton Corp., Deere & Company, Husqvarna Outdoor Products Inc., Tecumseh Products Co. and the Toro Company, according to the legal firm's Web site.

The rest of the settlement will be paid for by American Honda Motor Co., Kohler Co. and Kawasaki Motors Corp. USA.

Lawn mower makers stopped putting horse power numbers on their machines about two or three years ago, apparently as a result of the suit, said David Facey, a department manager at Scheels Home and Hardware in south Fargo.

Facey said when customers ask about the horsepower rating of a mower, the best that sales people can do is try to provide an approximation based on the size of the engine, which is measured in cubic centimeters.

Making a claim

While some customers may receive a notice in the mail, a Web site has been established to provide buyers of lawn mowers with information about the lawsuit and allow them to file a claim online.


A claim can also be made by requesting a hard copy form online that may be mailed in.

The information Web site, , provides a list of mower brands covered by the settlement.

Information about filing a claim may also be obtained by calling (877) 773-8196.

The deadline for filing a cash claim is August 31.

Claims must include the lawn mower brand and identification number and the brand of the engine and the engine model number.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555

I'm a reporter and a photographer and sometimes I create videos to go with my stories.

I graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead and in my time with The Forum I have covered a number of beats, from cops and courts to business and education.

I've also written about UFOs, ghosts, dinosaur bones and the planet Pluto.

You may reach me by phone at 701-241-5555, or by email at
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