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TikTok trend leaves Arkansas car owners frustrated

A theft trend that started on TikTok has become a consumer nightmare for Hyundai and Kia owners, including recalls and rising insurance rates.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A theft trend that started on TikTok has become Hyundai and Kia consumers’ worst nightmare as owners experience reoccurring problems.

“That was just the farthest thing from my mind,” Robert Griffin Jr. said. “I couldn’t imagine that it would be four or five different recalls.”

In the last year, Hyundai and Kia reported a security flaw in their system after it was exposed on TikTok and other social media platforms. The flaw has made the vehicles a target for thieves.

And it’s an issue Robert Griffin Jr. is familiar with.

“Somebody tried to steal it,” Robert Griffin Jr. said. “I ran down, and the car was lit up. Everything was on like it was started, but it wouldn’t start, so I had to unplug the battery to get everything turned off.”

Now, the recent string of recalls has Robert Griffin Jr. regretting his purchase back in January as it stops him from going to work.

“I do run many errands for people in my building,” Robert Griffin Jr. said. “They pay me to take them to the store and do all that stuff, so it’s a good way to make extra money… but like today, I can’t because I have to get the car fixed.”

His mother, Beverly Griffin, said it’s frustrating, and wishes dealerships would pay more attention before selling these vehicles.

“They should’ve been honest enough just to make the repairs before they sold us the car,” Beverly Griffin said. “If they wanted us to buy the car, they could have said we have some issues we need to fix before you take it off the lot.”

Along with the thefts and recalls, owners like the Griffins also have to worry about increases in their car insurance rates.

“I’m paying twice as much insurance,” Robert Griffin Jr. said. “The insurance is at least double the price of the car.”

Now, they’re just trying to keep their heads above water as they get flooded with bills while trying to keep their Hyundai running.

“We’re trying to keep him working so that he can afford his car and his insurance,” Beverly Griffin said. “If he can’t, it falls on us. We’re returned. We need all the help we can get.”

Hyundai and Kia rolled out free anti-theft software updates for millions of vehicles in February.

The automakers started reaching out to impacted customers shortly after, and both companies are working on a settlement with owners who had the cars stolen because of the flaw.

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