Hyundai, Kia settle a $200m lawsuit over vehicle theft due to TikTok
A trend on TikTok challenged users to steal cars manufactured by OEMs using a USB cable.
Hyundai and Kia have agreed to pay a $200 million settlement to a consumer class-action lawsuit stemming from rampant vehicle thefts caused by a TikTok trend.
The Korean automakers said in February that they would offer software upgrades to 8.3m US vehicles to help curb a stark increase in thefts using a method popularized on TikTok and other social media channels.
The TikTok fad began in 2021 when people were challenged to steal 2010 to 2021 model year Kia and Hyundai cars using a USB cord. Vehicle thefts increased dramatically in cities around the United States. Los Angeles officials reported an 85% rise in thefts of Kia and Hyundai vehicles by the fall of 2022, compared to the previous year.
The TikToks, which were sometimes followed with hashtags such as #KiaBoys, typically featured someone breaking into the car, hot-wiring it with a USB cord, and then driving it about. According to lawyers for the owners, the settlement reached this week covers around 9 million US owners and includes up to $145 million in out-of-pocket expenses for individuals who had their automobiles stolen.
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It applies to owners of Hyundai or Kia vehicles with a traditional "insert-and-turn" steel key ignition system from the 2011 to 2022 model years, and covers payments for total car loss up to $6,125, vehicle and personal property damage up to $3,375, and insurance-related fees.
Other connected expenses, such as car rental, taxi, or other non-insurance transportation charges, are also included in the settlement.
Owners may be compensated for towing expenses and stolen automobiles that were involved in accidents or were never found, as well as payments for tickets or other penalties or fines incurred as a result of a stolen vehicle.
Many large cities, including St. Louis, Missouri, Cleveland, Ohio, San Diego, California, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Columbus, Ohio, Baltimore, and Seattle, have sued the automakers over the thefts.
There have been several trends on TikTok that promoted violence in different parts of the world. A TikTok trend threatening violence across American schools has gone viral. The anonymous social media threat suggested that school shootings and bombings could take place on 17 December 2021 in schools across the country.
The posts, which ABC2 said were believed to have originated in Arizona, encourage students to stay at home. Several school districts and police departments across the country released statements at the time assuring communities that no credible threats were identified.
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