Victim of stolen car left to pay expenses out of pocket as vehicle sits at dealership

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – More than 700 people have had their cars stolen in our county this year. Now we’re starting to hear from people getting caught in a donut hole: The parts aren’t in to fix their car. They’ve exhausted their insurance rental. Now they’re left paying out of pocket to get to work and family.

Carol Thomas got her KIA stolen in mid-January and it was found in Syracuse. Insurance paid for a rental but that ended two weeks ago. Her car is still at a dealership waiting for parts to repair the damage. So she’s getting around with taxi’s, buses and Ubers. 

Berkeley Brean: “But you have to pay money to do that?”

Carol Thomas: “Yes.”

Brean: “Money out of your pocket?” 

Thomas: “Yes I am.” 

Brean: “And it’s getting expensive?” 

Thomas: “It is very expensive, yes sir.”

Thomas says when she called KIA to complain, she was told the car company isn’t liable for stolen cars. 

Brean: “So when you called KIA for help, they basically told you to read the fine print?”

Thomas: “In so many words, yes. Read that manual that I didn’t have because your defective product caused it to be stolen as easily as a bag of M&M’s out of a store.”

There’s been a problem with used KIAs and Hyundais getting stolen for six months. Some models didn’t have anti-theft software installed and there was a how-to video challenge on social media. When Brean shared Thomas’ problem with KIA, the company emailed a statement. It didn’t address Thomas’ problem, but said it is committed to supporting law enforcement and owners in addressing these crimes.

Brean: “What would make this situation right, in your eyes?”

Thomas: “Mr. Brean I feel that, not just myself, but all citizens that have been affected by this rash of robberies of KIA, Hyundais, their deductibles need to be paid and their if their insurance, the level of what they’re going to pay, runs out.”

Brean emailed KIA and thanked them for the statement, but said they didn’t really answer the core question. They replied later and said they consider reimbursement on a case by case basis. 

So he is going to share Carol Thomas’ information with KIA and we’ll see what happens.

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