Thousands of St. Louis Kia, Hyundai owners eligible for payments from recent theft settlement
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Thousands of St. Louis car-owners who had their vehicles swiped due to outdated technology could soon be getting some relief.
The two car-makers have agreed to pay out $200 million in a class-action settlement from firm Hagens Berman that affects millions. Locally, St. Louis Police report 4,500 instances of stolen Kia’s and Hyundai’s, since May of 2022.
The settlement provides qualifying owners with more than $3,000 for damage done to the vehicle. That total rises to more than $6,000 for a total vehicle loss. More details on the settlement can be found here. Kia and Hyundai have also released a free software that fixes the issue, and if your car isn’t compatible with the upgrade, the settlement will provide steering-wheel locks.
The car-markers faced scrutiny from many cities, including St. Louis City. In a case unrelated to the Hagens Berman settlement, the St. Louis City sued the carmakers in March, with Mayor Tishaura Jones alleging they put “a target on the backs” of local Kia and Hyundai owners. Asked for comment Friday about the settlement that was reached, a spokesperson says the city cannot comment on pending litigation.
Mike Prejna has owned his Kia for seven years. He uses a steering wheel lock wherever he goes and recently received the updated software on his car and a sticker to deter would-be thieves.
“I started using the [steering-wheel lock] all the time,” Prejna said. “I had to take it in for an oil change, and I took the letter with me, and they popped [the software] on there.”
At Columbia Auto Repair in The Hill, owner Joe Barbaglia says they are often fixing one of these cars every week. He says there’s now less of a delay for auto parts, calling it good news for those with car damage.
“We’ve helped many a people, just to get them back on the road,” Barbaglia said.
Copyright 2023 KMOV. All rights reserved.