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Friday, June 9, 2023

Hyundai and Kia Settle Lawsuit Worth $200m Over Vehicle Theft Due to TikTok

Hyundai and Kia Settle Lawsuit Worth $200m Over Vehicle Theft Due to TikTok – Hyundai and Kia have reached a resolution to a consumer class-action lawsuit valued at $200 million due to widespread vehicle thefts attributed to a TikTok trend. Earlier this year, the Korean car manufacturers announced their plans to provide software upgrades to approximately 8.3 million vehicles in the United States. 

This initiative aimed to address the significant rise in thefts that were influenced by a method that gained popularity on TikTok and other social media platforms. In 2021, a TikTok trend emerged that involved users attempting to steal Kia and Hyundai cars ranging from model years 2010 to 2021 using a USB cable. This trend quickly gained traction, resulting in a significant surge in vehicle thefts across various cities in the United States. 

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By the autumn of 2022, officials in Los Angeles reported a striking 85% rise in thefts of Kia and Hyundai vehicles compared to the preceding year. The videos, commonly associated with hashtags such as #KiaBoys, frequently depicted individuals unlawfully entering the vehicles, using a USB cable to hot-wire them, and subsequently driving them around.

As of this week, the settlement encompasses approximately 9 million owners in the United States and provides compensation of up to $145 million to cover out-of-pocket losses experienced by consumers whose cars were stolen, according to the owners’ legal representatives. The settlement pertains to individuals who own Hyundai or Kia vehicles from the model years 2011 to 2022, featuring a conventional “insert-and-turn” steel key ignition system. 

It encompasses various compensatory aspects, such as payments for the complete loss of vehicles up to $6,125, reimbursement for damages to both the vehicle and personal property up to $3,375, and coverage for expenses related to insurance. Additionally, the settlement includes provisions for other relevant costs, including reimbursement for expenses incurred for car rentals, taxis, or alternative transportation methods that were not covered by insurance.

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Owners have the opportunity to seek reimbursement for towing expenses and receive compensation for stolen vehicles that were involved in accidents or never recovered. Furthermore, the settlement provides payments for any tickets, penalties, or fines incurred as a result of the theft of a vehicle. Many major cities have sued the automakers over the thefts including St Louis, Missouri; Cleveland, Ohio; San Diego, California; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Columbus, Ohio; Baltimore and Seattle.

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