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A class-action lawsuit is working to help "TikTok Kia Challenge" victims nationwide

Kia Recall
Posted at 11:44 PM, Oct 31, 2022

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Kia is facing a class-action lawsuit from drivers who say the company hasn't done enough. Attorney's in Orange County, California said they're taking action on the West coast in order to bring the concerns right to Kia and Hyundai’s front doors. Meanwhile here in Buffalo, victims are hoping some solutions will make their way back here to the Easy coast.

"I'm just upset overall," said Kareemah Perry, victim of the Tik Tok Kia Theft Challenge. "Like I said its traumatizing. I will never be the same."

It started out as a day of celebration. Perry who is a Buffalo State College Student and Teacher in the Buffalo Public School System purchased a new Kia in January of 2020. However, just two years later, her dream car turned into a nightmare.

"Typical day," said Perry. "I was getting up for work. I had my dog, I had my lunch, purse everything else and I'm headed out to the door. I realize as soon as I got down the stairs that my car was gone."

Perry said that rainy morning she headed for the space where she always parked her car but said when she got there, all she saw was an empty spot, a puddle of water and some broken glass.

"I'm looking around and I'm like, I know I'm not crazy," said Perry. "Before I overreact, let me just take a deep breath."

Perry said she called her parents right away and told them her car was gone. Soon after they called the police.

"The police officer explained to me everything that happened with my car before I even saw it," said Perry. "He said it's a Kia Challenge going on."

The viral challenge got its start on Tik Tok. People taking part in the challenge break into Kia modeled cars, damage wires under the steering wheel and use USB chords to start them up and take off.

"I'm like, wait a minute," said Perry. "That's not making any sense to me. You're telling me they're going to use my charger chords that I have in my car to start my car? They're like yeah."

Jonathan Michaels, MLG Attorney's at Law Principal, said similar cases have been stacking up and said the best way to describe them all is madness.

"This is just one of the craziest situations I've ever seen quite frankly," said Michaels. "You know it started with this, it really got going with this Tik Tok video, this challenge. One of the things that is just really interesting and unique about this is that we've seen zero slow down. I mean this has just been going and going and going."

Michaels said the challenge came out back in July, which is the same month Perry's car was stolen, the first time.

"My car wasn't back with me for more than 24 hours and my car was stolen again," said Perry. "So, my car was stolen twice."

Perry said between car rentals and other fees she's had to come out of pocket $3,000 while still paying the car note and monthly insurance bill for the car she doesn’t have access to.

"Any way I can get help, I'm looking for it," said Perry. "Again, first way I can is Google it and that's how I found the Lawyer in California."

That lawyer is Michaels who told 7 News a class-action lawsuit was filed in September 2022 and said since then his firm has heard from more than 500 victims nationwide.

"We're asking for a nationwide recall to fix all of these cars," said Michaels. "We're asking for compensation to be brought to everyone that's had their car stolen and everyone who has not had their car stolen but owns one of these vehicles, to provide compensation to them as well because the market is falling out for these cars."

Those reasons are why Perry said she just wants out of the car altogether.

"That's all I want because it's not fair," said Perry."

Michaels said he's hoping to give victims hope. He said there are 10 million cars on the road nationwide experiencing this issue. He estimates that if a recall was issued it would amount to $5 billion. Michaels said that would make it the 3rd largest recall in the entire country.