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Issues with KIA warranty leaves Columbia man without a car

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - It’s a situation we all dread when getting behind the wheel: your car suddenly dying on you.

“Back in May, I was driving. Just going along and had no warning. All of a sudden my car loses power,” Columbia resident Joey Cunningham said. 

Joey Cunningham says he called Greenway KIA in Franklin, hoping they could repair it. 

“He ran my VIN number, pulled it up and said yes, there is an extended warranty on it. Why don’ you go ahead and bring it in. And we’ll start the process to try to get this approved for you,” Cunningham said. 

So Cunningham towed it to the shop, only to get stalled again. 

“The gentlemen told me that -um, that normally recalls things like that….they go through the DMV, but with these “Product Improvement Campaigns” they go through their manufacturers’ parts--and for me, I bought the car used,” Cunningham said. 

When he says Product Improvement Campaign, he’s talking about a letter that KIA typically sends out if they have to make major updates to their engines or parts. In this improvement campaign, KIA says “At no cost to you, KIA will perform a software update.” It also says KIA will extend the warranty coverage for the engine to 10 years starting from the date of first service, or 120,000 miles, whichever comes first.” 

But Cunningham did not qualify. 

“They said it was my responsibility to update my information with them on the vehicle’s purchase,” Cunningham said.

He says he never received any notification that this Product Improvement Campaign even existed. 

News4 reached out to KIA’s corporate office. A spokesperson issued the following statement:

Kia America (KUS) takes reported customer concerns seriously and after careful review of the customer’s case it was determined there were numerous factors resulting in Kia denying warranty coverage. In this case, the subject vehicle has approximately 116,000 miles, placing it 56,000 miles out of Kia’s comprehensive 5 year/60,000 mile new-car warranty. The extended warranty the customer refers to is specific to a product improvement campaign issued by Kia and is applicable only to vehicles that have completed the campaign. This action was never installed on the customer’s vehicle and therefore the extended warranty does not apply. Additionally, a review of the vehicle’s CarFax report noted a salvage title and multiple owners where it could not be determined if the vehicle was maintained to Kia’s service requirements. Kia customers with questions regarding their Kia vehicle and warranty coverage should contact their local Kia dealer for assistance or Kia’s Consumer Assistance Center directly at 1-800-333-4542 (4Kia).

All of that, Cunningham says, is unfair. Right now, his car is still at the dealership. He can’t afford to tow it back home. 

“I don’t know anybody that just has $10,000 that they can pull out of their pocket to get a new engine,” Cunningham said.

He feels KIA is missing the point and says if the company has issues with their vehicle as a whole, they should fix it, no questions asked. If a car has massive issues as a whole, he feels, KIA should step up. 

“I hope that me speaking out about it would not only help me, but also help other people that are having the same issue. Because, it’s a trying time to be  without a vehicle,” Cunningham said.  

Cunningham says he bought his car from a buy here, pay here in Murfreesboro, not an actual dealership. Still, he thinks if a car is made by KIA and it runs into a major engine or technical issue, KIA should fix it. 

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