Lenders Turn off Vehicles Remotely for Late Auto Loan Payments

Kristan T. Harris | The Rundown Live

gpssaleLenders are beginning to rely on new technology known as “starter interrupt devices,” that allows them to track and disable delinquent borrowers all from their tablet, pc or a cell phone app.

This new technology is Wall Street’s version of Big Brother and also brings along privacy concerns to the lives of people with credit scores battered by the financial downturn.

About one-third of all auto loans are now given to subprime borrowers,  according to Equifax and lenders are investing in payment assurance devices to protect their assets.

Lenders and manufacturers of the technology say without them, millions of Americans may not qualify for a car loan at all.

Some lenders are even leaving drivers helpless in distant locations and often giving no advance notice of a shut-off. If you are a few days late on your payment some lenders are opting to turn off vehicles sometimes while in use.

Ms. Bolender from Mesa, Arizona is one of them. She was three days behind on her monthly car payment. Her lender, C.A.G. Acceptance of Mesa, Ariz., remotely activated a device in her car’s dashboard that prevented her automobile from starting. Ms. Bolender describes her feelings as “absolutely helpless,” when her lender demanded 389$ to start her vehicle and she didnt have it.

Michelle Fahy of Jacksonville, Fla., agreed to have one installed in her 2001 Dodge Ram because she needed her vehicle for her job delivering pizza. Shortly after picking up her four children from school one afternoon in January, Ms. Fahy, 42, said she pulled into a gas station to fill up. But when she tried to restart the truck, she was not able to do so because of the device installed, according to the New York Times.