The New York Times published an article yesterday about the new trend of lenders putting monitoring and shut down devices in vehicles. As the article states, this can often put people in dangerous and compromising positions. The times when you need a car the most are also going to be the times that you are in an unfamiliar place or are short on money.

What is this exactly?

Banks will tell you that people with poor credit are likely to try to “steal” their used cars. Of course, you can’t really steal your own car, but the bank doesn’t think that it is really your car. To combat this, used car dealers and lenders will put GPS enabled tracking devices on cars. Sometimes these tracking devices will also have the ability to turn the car off and prevent it from restarting.

Why is this bad for me?

If you complain about this, you’ll probably be met with the argument that it won’t bother you as long as you make all your payments on time and aren’t trying to do anything wrong. But this is completely untrue. No matter what, your privacy has been destroyed. This lender, who has no duty to keep your information confidential, has a complete record of everywhere you go. And, if they lose a payment, apply it to the wrong account, or just decide that you’re late for whatever reason they choose, they can strand you wherever you may be.

What can I do about it?

When you’re buying a car, ask the dealer if one of these devices is installed. Ask them to state in writing that it isn’t, or, if one is, to give you the specific model number. Try and find your own financing before you go to the dealer. When you talk to different banks or credit unions, ask them if they use these devices. Always try to get written reassurance that they don’t.

If something happens, if your vehicle gets shut down by a lender or you have concerns about someone having all of your location information, call, and we’ll see what we can do for you.

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