Hyundai Kia Class Action Settlement
How The Hyundai-Kia Class Action Settlement Affects Your Legal Rights
Hyundai and Kia recently entered a proposed class action settlement that could eliminate certain important rights you have under the California Lemon Law, if you own or lease any of the following vehicles with a 2.0 liter or 2.4 liter gasoline direct injection engine (“Theta-II” GDI engine):
- Kia Optima 2011-2019 model years;
- Kia Sorento 2011-2019 model years;
- Kia Sportage 2011-2019 model years;
- Hyundai Sonata 2011-2019 model years;
- Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2013-2019 model years;
- Hyundai Tucson 2014-15 and 2018-19 model years.
In this article, we discuss how your rights under the Lemon Law may be adversely affected by a settlement in the class action lawsuit entitled In Re:Hyundai and Kia Engine Litigation, Case No. 8:17-cv-00838 (C.D. Cal.). We also discuss the options you still have, for a very limited time, to reject the class action settlement and preserve your rights under California’s Lemon Law. You will want to consider your options very carefully — particularly if your vehicle has already had two (2) or more repair attempts for engine problems, oil or fluid leaks, drivability issues, or similar concerns. Simply stated, the more repairs your vehicle has already had, then the greater the likelihood is that the benefits available to qualifying vehicles under California’s Lemon Law would far exceed the benefits offered by Hyundai and Kia under their proposed class action settlement.
The California Lemon Law actually requires that manufacturers like Hyundai and Kia must repurchase or replace your defective vehicle if the defect substantially impairs the vehicle’s use, value, or safety, and has not been successfully repaired after a reasonable number of attempts. For vehicles that qualify under the Lemon Law, this typically means that the manufacturer must take return of the vehicle, refund you the money you paid, plus pay off your loan balance in full, less a credit to the manufacturer for mileage on the vehicle at the time of your very first repair. The compensation you are owed can be very substantial, and it costs you nothing to invoke your Lemon Law rights because the manufacturer must also pay all of your attorney fees, not you. At The Lemon Law Attorneys, we will review your vehicle’s repair history at no cost, explain your options under the proposed settlement and under the Lemon Law, and quickly provide valuable advice to help you determine which option makes the most sense for you. Again, it costs you nothing.
Compare that with the proposed benefits that Hyundai and Kia are offering under their class action settlement (which are fully detailed at www.kiaenginesettlement.com), and you will find that those benefits are not free. They actually do come at a cost, to YOU. It’s called a “Release”, which means that if you fail to timely reject the settlement, by excluding yourself and opting-out, then you will lose any and all legal rights that you may have — now or in the future — to a vehicle repurchase under the Lemon Law. So, the “Release” that you give by remaining in the settlement, and doing nothing to preserve your rights, could end up costing you big time, particularly if the vehicle repairs you have already had would qualify you for a repurchase or replacement under the Lemon Law.
The proposed class action settlement basically amounts to this: You keep the vehicle, you give up all your rights under the Lemon Law, and the manufacturers will keep trying to fix your engine under a “Lifetime Warranty” that applies only to a few specific engine components. They will pay for towing and rental car costs incurred due to certain engine repairs, and reimburse out-of-pocket payments you made for engine repairs that weren’t covered by warranty, plus an additional $140 to $280. If it took them more than 60 days to complete an engine repair, the settlement provides an “inconvenience” payment of an additional $50 if your engine repair lasted 2 to 3 months; $75 if the engine repair lasted 3 to 4 months; and $100 if your vehicle remained in the shop for a whopping 4 to 5 months due to an engine repair. And, if you want to buy another Hyundai or Kia vehicle after experiencing substantial engine problems with the one you have now, then you may qualify for a rebate of $500 to $2,000. If your engine caught on fire or you previously took a big loss on a trade-in, there are provisions in the settlement for that, but those only benefit a very limited number of people in those particular circumstances.
At bottom, the class action settlement appears to provide owners who purchased their vehicles in California with far less than what they could expect to recover, under California law, if their vehicle qualifies as a “Lemon”. Most importantly, if you ignore your options and do nothing at all, the settlement provides that you will release and forever give up all of your rights under California’s Lemon Law, but if you take steps now to timely exclude yourself from the settlement, you can still preserve those important rights. The decision is yours, alone, to make. We at The Lemon Law Attorneys can quickly help you determine which option provides the greatest benefit to you.