A revamped settlement deal has the potential to deliver substantial relief, with an estimated sum of up to $145 million or even more, earmarked for Hyundai and Kia vehicle owners. This represents a promising development that could significantly benefit those who have been affected. The revised agreement seeks to provide substantial financial support to individuals who own vehicles from these manufacturers, signaling a positive stride towards resolution and compensation.

A preliminary agreement has been achieved in a class action lawsuit targeting Hyundai and Kia, claiming that specific vehicles are susceptible to theft due to inherent defects. The lawsuit encompasses more than five million vehicles spanning from the model years 2011 to 2022, notably lacking engine immobilizers, rendering them more vulnerable to theft. This issue gained widespread attention on TikTok last year, turning into a viral trend.

Here’s the lowdown on the settlement and what steps lie ahead for you to secure your payments. Stay informed about this development, as it could impact your eligibility for compensation.

What falls under the umbrella of the settlement?

Lawyers from Hagens Berman have disclosed that a court has granted preliminary approval for an amended settlement agreement, anticipated to provide around $145 million or potentially more in assistance to Hyundai and Kia owners. With this approval, the door is now open for owners and lessees to initiate the claims process and seek compensation.

As part of the process, class members can anticipate receiving notifications by mail no later than March 4, 2024, detailing their eligibility and providing guidance on filing a claim. Additionally, email notifications will be dispatched where applicable, ensuring a comprehensive and timely communication process.

The updated settlement introduces several forms of relief, encompassing a range of categories and estimated to be worth up to $145 million or more in cash for class members. The relief incorporates the following:

  • Compensation for expenses: Class members can claim from a $145 million fund for out-of-pocket costs related to theft or attempted theft, not covered by insurance.
  • Software upgrades: Owners of specific affected vehicles are eligible for a free software upgrade to address the lack of an immobilizer.
  • Cash payments option: For certain ineligible vehicles, owners can seek reimbursement of up to $300 per claim for anti-theft measures like steering wheel locks or alarms.

To check if their vehicle is covered, class members can enter their VIN on the settlement website. Included in the eligibility are specific models and years of Hyundai vehicles, such as Accents, Elantras, Sonatas, and Santa Fe Sports, along with Kia models like Rio, Forte, Optima, Sorento, and Soul.

Visit the Kia and Hyundai settlement sites for more specifics, or this Consumer Affairs coverage for a more detailed summary.

The settlement’s final approval hearing is set for July 15, 2024. Claimant payouts hinge on the judge’s final approval order and the resolution of any appeals, making the process potentially lengthy before the distribution of settlement funds. The judge’s final approval order may be issued at any time after the July date, and only after this order and the resolution of any appeals will payments be released to claimants. Any appeals in the process will contribute to delays in these payments.

What does this mean for you? Stay patient. Keep an eye out for settlement notifications through both mail and email if you own one of the affected vehicles. Essentially, if you faced expenses due to theft of your Hyundai or Kia, this agreement offers a potential avenue to recover those costs. Further details can be found on the settlement website, and you can also reach out to the claims administrator for additional information.