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'It affects millions of people': Class action lawsuit filed against Hyundai, Kia alleging ease of theft

Class action lawsuit filed against Hyundai, Kia alleging ease of theft
Class action lawsuit filed against Hyundai, Kia alleging ease of theft 02:28

CHICAGO (CBS) -- They are too easy to steal.

That's the claim behind a new class action lawsuit in Illinois against Kia and Hyundai.

CBS 2 has  been investigating the alarming jump in thefts of those cars, leaving many drivers feeling helpless, but Political Investigator Dana Kozlov has learned, now there's something you can do about it.   

It was a proud moment for Yvette Davis when, after years of struggling financially, she was finally able to buy this 2011 Hyundai Sonata and call it her own.

"That was something I purchased all by myself," Davis said.

That pride was crushed August 28 when Davis came outside to find her car gone, stolen from in front of her home. 

"When I got to the curb, that's when I saw the glass," Davis said. 

Davis filed a police report and then started digging. She found a slew of class action lawsuits have been filed across the country against Hyundai and Kia, alleging a failure to install something called an immobilizer is the reason the cars are particularly easy to steal.  

Then CBS 2 found one had just been filed in Illinois too, in federal court, in Chicago.

"It affects millions of people, potentially."

Ken McClain is the lead attorney on Illinois lawsuit and a dozen others, all alleging Hyundai and Kia did not install the immobilizers in order to keep the price down on the cars.

"Kia and Hyundai have known for a long time that their failure to install an immobilizer put their cars at a disadvantage," McClain said.

Davis said it's inexcusable. So, she said, is stealing. 

"Stop taking people's stuff! Stop taking it," Davis said.

But she's one of the lucky ones. In the last 24 hours, she got a letter stating her Sonata was in a city impound lot.  Damaged, but drivable. 

But with only liability insurance, she doesn't have any money to fix it. CBS 2 put her in touch with lawyers handling the class action lawsuit.

McClain said people who've had their Kias or Hyundais stolen are part of the lawsuits.

"We will have several categories of people with damages, including those that have had their cars stolen, and we will be seeking to have them compensated," McClain said.

While McClain is the lead attorney on 13 lawsuits against Kia and Hyundai, there are at least three others. CBS 2 reached out to both Hyundai and Kia, asking for an interview or a response. Both said they do not comment on pending litigation.

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