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posted by martyb on Friday September 26 2014, @02:58PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the scorn-the-poor-man-as-a-thief-in-country-and-in-towne dept.

Auto loans to borrowers considered subprime, those with credit scores at or below 640, have spiked in the last five years with roughly 25 percent of all new auto loans made last year subprime, a volume of $145 billion in the first three months of this year. Now the NYT reports that before they can drive off the lot, many subprime borrowers must have their car outfitted with a so-called starter interrupt device, which allows lenders to remotely disable the ignition. By simply clicking a mouse or tapping a smartphone, lenders retain the ultimate control. Borrowers must stay current with their payments, or lose access to their vehicle and a leading device maker, PassTime of Littleton, Colo., says its technology has reduced late payments to roughly 7 percent from nearly 29 percent. “The devices are reshaping the dynamics of auto lending by making timely payments as vital to driving a car as gasoline.”

Mary Bolender, who lives in Las Vegas, needed to get her daughter to an emergency room, but her 2005 Chrysler van would not start. Bolender was three days behind on her monthly car payment. Her lender remotely activated a device in her car’s dashboard that prevented her car from starting. Before she could get back on the road, she had to pay more than $389, money she did not have that morning in March. “I felt absolutely helpless,” said Bolender, a single mother who stopped working to care for her daughter. Some borrowers say their cars were disabled when they were only a few days behind on their payments, leaving them stranded in dangerous neighborhoods. Others said their cars were shut down while idling at stoplights. Some described how they could not take their children to school or to doctor’s appointments. One woman in Nevada said her car was shut down while she was driving on the freeway. Attorney Robert Swearingen says there's an old common law principle that a lender can’t “breach the peace” in a repossession. That means they can’t put a person in harm’s way. To Swearingen, that would mean “turning off a car in a bad neighborhood, or for a single female at night.”

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  • (Score: 0, Troll) by tibman on Friday September 26 2014, @03:05PM

    by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Friday September 26 2014, @03:05PM (#98583)

    If i knew my bill collector was going to turn the car off because i didn't pay then i just wouldn't drive it. Why risk having it disabled some place other than home. You KNOW it is going to happen. Emergencies can still be handled with emergency services. If you don't pay your electric then they shut it off. All your food will rot without a fridge. The kids won't have a computer to do homework on. Everyone knows this and accepts it. Life is hard, man.

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    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26 2014, @03:12PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26 2014, @03:12PM (#98590)

      Too many deadbeats around gaming the system and lenders, so I support this.
      As for the "emergencies" argument, the engine cut off box could be equipped with a button that would allow the car to be driven for one more day after a non-payment shutoff. That should be enough to bring a kid to the hospital, and then the car to Western Union to make the payment.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by arashi no garou on Friday September 26 2014, @04:17PM

        by arashi no garou (2796) on Friday September 26 2014, @04:17PM (#98615)

        Too many deadbeats around gaming the system and lenders

        It's a two-way street. The lenders themselves are predatory, taking advantage of people who already prove that they make poor financial decisions. When you combine that with something like this, where they can deliberately put a driver in harm's way, or even cause an accident (stall a car on a freeway? What the hell??) you have a recipe for disaster. These devices should be outright illegal, or at least heavily regulated so they can't disable starting the car unless it's stationary and the engine is off. Whoever thought remote disabling a car without a clue where it is or what it's doing was a good idea, is a brainless moron.

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by scruffybeard on Friday September 26 2014, @05:59PM

          by scruffybeard (533) on Friday September 26 2014, @05:59PM (#98654)

          From the article it appears that the device only prohibits you from starting your car. So unless the car stalls or you run out of gas, you are able to safely continue to your destination, and are even able to activate a 24-hour reprieve so that you can get the car home. It does appear that there is some room for improvement as one person says it cut off, even though they say they were current on their payments, and that are rules are already on the books mandating that the borrower needs to be more than 10 days late, then allowed another 20 days to respond before the lender can take actions like this.

          • (Score: 3, Informative) by arashi no garou on Friday September 26 2014, @07:32PM

            by arashi no garou (2796) on Friday September 26 2014, @07:32PM (#98679)

            The problem is that these types of devices are error prone. Back in 2008 I bought a brand new (year model 2008) SUV from a dealership that, unbeknownst to me, was going out of business (Bill Heard Chevrolet, they were in the national news soon after). They were in such a rush to sell the car to me that they left the anti-theft starter interrupt installed. What this device does is listen for a combination of the pulse from the left turn signal, and a transmitter on the grounds of the dealership. Once you leave the dealership, if you don't have the left turn signal engaged when you try to start the car, it won't start. This keeps someone test driving the car from getting very far with it. When I left with the car, about half a mile from the dealership the engine just died. I was driving along at about 35mph at the time, and was able to coast to a stop on the shoulder of the road. Turns out the device was defective, and instead of just preventing me from starting the car, it actually killed the engine's ignition (i.e. spark plug) system while running.

            So, while the claims in the article about the cars dying in freeway traffic or at stop lights might sound dubious, I'd say there might be some merit to them. Systems fail all the time, and a cheap, slimy, predatory used car dealer might cheap out on the source for these devices as well.

        • (Score: 2) by Nobuddy on Friday September 26 2014, @09:58PM

          by Nobuddy (1626) on Friday September 26 2014, @09:58PM (#98720)

          The stall a car on the freeway part is either hyped up, or a major change from before. My son's unit would disable the car once it shuts off. If it was running, it stayed running until the next time it was shut off, then it would not start again.
          There was a box on the dash that he entered a code in when he wanted to start it (anti-theft bonus). Wrong code/locked out- no start.

        • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Saturday September 27 2014, @12:39AM

          by Phoenix666 (552) on Saturday September 27 2014, @12:39AM (#98771) Journal

          I dunno, to me it sounds like a dream come true. For years I have wished there was an asshole button you could press and aim at the guy cutting you off in traffic or cutting into the front of the line to get on, say, the Brooklyn Bridge. Drive like an asshole? You get a time-out, fella. Of course you could institute a system where you have to get clicks from two or more cars within a half hour to prevent abuse or to account for extenuating circumstances or honest mistakes. But boy would it make the world a better place on the road if the dangerous, selfish people whocause accidents were made to sit still and think about their behavior.

          Now if I can figure out how to simulate a cut-off signal from a creditor...

          --
          Washington DC delenda est.
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by davester666 on Friday September 26 2014, @05:37PM

        by davester666 (155) on Friday September 26 2014, @05:37PM (#98645)

        No, this is who everybody knows [buyer, seller, and loaner] the buyer is highly likely to default on the payments, so there is no 'gaming' of the system. This is to make it easier for the seller/loaner [typically the same party or very closely related] to game the buyer, but graciously permitting them to "purchase" the vehicle, then repossess the vehicle much more easily when the person misses some payments [which is 100% expected], because they know where the vehicle is and that it won't be moving anytime soon.

        Basically, it makes it a more cheaply implemented, crazy-expensive for the 'buyer' vehicle rental program for financially desperate people.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Snow on Friday September 26 2014, @03:14PM

      by Snow (1601) on Friday September 26 2014, @03:14PM (#98591) Journal

      I'm not the best at paying bills. Not because I don't have the money, but rather because I take the bills from the mailbox and put them on the counter, and then ignore them. Like once a year I get a call from the utility company saying i'm late on my payments. Usually by the time they actually call, i'm like 2-3 months behind and owe them a grand... My power has never been shut off. Same story on my cell phone.

      My late payments dont' even affect my credit rating. They call me, I pay in full, and they are happy. Now, if I was poor, I might get treated differently. I think that is what this story is about.

      • (Score: 2, Informative) by Subsentient on Friday September 26 2014, @07:00PM

        by Subsentient (1111) on Friday September 26 2014, @07:00PM (#98665) Homepage Journal

        I have three master bills. Cable, internet/phone, and power. I pay them all on the third every month like clockwork and then forget about it. I suggest you do the same.

        --
        “Man is not a rational animal; he is a rationalizing animal.” ― Robert A. Heinlein
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26 2014, @08:11PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26 2014, @08:11PM (#98691)

          I pay them all on the third every month like clockwork and then forget about it. I suggest you do the same.

          Praytell, why would you possibly suggest such a thing? Not paying bills helps sort out the insincere ones, so I don't end up sending money to Nigeria. And more to the point, why would I want to pay your bills on exactly the third? Forgetting about it I can do!

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Hairyfeet on Friday September 26 2014, @08:23PM

        by Hairyfeet (75) <reversethis-{moc ... {8691tsaebssab}> on Friday September 26 2014, @08:23PM (#98695) Journal

        What its about is Usury [wikipedia.org] which WAS illegal until a certain political party gutted consumer protection laws and predatory lending. If you haven't been to one of these "sub prime" car lots you REALLY need to go, because it will disgust you to see what kind of scamming bullshit they are allowed to pull legally these days. the cars are frankly garbage, we are talking worn out high mileage fleet crap that LOOKS nice on the outside but once you start looking at it (and know anything about cars) you'll see they are dogged out and shot and you'll find the prices they are charging for these "auction anchors" are what most would pay for a nice 5 year old vehicle from a place that wasn't the car equivalent of a payday loan center.

        So this kind of evil shit really doesn't surprise me, as along with rent-a-ripoff and payday loan centers are nothing but cancers on the ass of society and need to be treated as what they are, loan sharks.

        --
        ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Sir Garlon on Friday September 26 2014, @03:15PM

      by Sir Garlon (1264) on Friday September 26 2014, @03:15PM (#98592)

      In my state there are regulations for how, when, and under what conditions the electric company can disconnect a customer's service. They have to give notice, there's a waiting period, etc. The process exists to protect the rights of the customer. You seem to be suggesting that someone who is three days late on a car payment should have no rights.

      And as a taxpayer and health-insurance subscriber, I resent your recommendation that people in financial difficulty resort to emergency services. It is much cheaper to drive to the walk-in clinic than to call an ambulance. "Let them eat cake --" at the taxpayer's (or insurance pool's) expense.

      --
      [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
      • (Score: 2) by tibman on Friday September 26 2014, @03:21PM

        by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Friday September 26 2014, @03:21PM (#98593)

        There's no need to paint me as a bad guy. So, let's give someone two months of non-payment before turning their car off. Just like electric. I totally support this. But this article would still exist and the situations would be exactly the same. Someone will be driving on a car that is three payments behind and get disabled while idling in an intersection.

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        • (Score: 2) by Sir Garlon on Friday September 26 2014, @04:05PM

          by Sir Garlon (1264) on Friday September 26 2014, @04:05PM (#98611)

          Nothing personal, sorry. Your tone offended my bleeding heart, I guess. :-)

          --
          [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by urza9814 on Friday September 26 2014, @04:27PM

          by urza9814 (3954) on Friday September 26 2014, @04:27PM (#98617) Journal

          Actually, in many states (at least RI and PA, the two I've lived in) the electric company can't always shut you off for non-payment. You can owe them $5,000, they still can't shut you off if, say, it's the middle of December. Or if you have medical equipment that requires power. No matter how much you owe them, they MUST continue providing service if cutting it off could put you in a life-threatening situation. Same goes for many other utilities -- gas company can't shut you off in the middle of winter either.

          Same rule should apply to these asshats. They can't shut your car down in the middle of the freeway. No matter how much you owe. A couple hundred bucks is not worth more than a human life.

          Besides, if they don't think they can pay off the loan, why the hell are they giving them the money in the first place? They're trying to establish a situation where they can loan people money they know they can't pay back, and then take full control over their life when that happens. We've already brought back debtor's prisons; what next? Nonpayment is the cost of doing business. It's a risk you take as a creditor. These guys need to start taking some responsibility for their own decisions regarding who they loan to...but why bother when the government will bail them out every time? When the government will let them use OUR tax dollars and OUR police officers to recover their losses?

          • (Score: 2) by tibman on Friday September 26 2014, @05:48PM

            by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Friday September 26 2014, @05:48PM (#98648)

            Ah, i totally get and agree with not shutting off life-support. I also agree that it should be illegal to turn anyone's car off while it is in motion (or even turned on!). But i'd like to point out that having a car disabled seems far better than having it repo'd. It also seems like the whole point of this program is to provide another incentive to pay the car bill on time. It's not supposed to screw people over, as far as i can tell. Though it appears to be doing just that.

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            • (Score: 3, Interesting) by urza9814 on Friday September 26 2014, @05:53PM

              by urza9814 (3954) on Friday September 26 2014, @05:53PM (#98651) Journal

              Yeah, I mean it is better than getting repo'd.

              The way I see it though...by making the car payment higher priority as others have discussed, the loan is less risky. So the lender has a greater chance of getting it paid. So they should be able to charge a lower interest rate. So be up-front about that. Give people a 5% or whatever reduction on the interest rate if they agree to have these devices installed. That's fine.

              But instead they're making these mandatory, and likely just pocketing the difference. In which case: fuck 'em.

              • (Score: 2) by tibman on Friday September 26 2014, @06:24PM

                by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Friday September 26 2014, @06:24PM (#98660)

                Agreed!

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            • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Friday September 26 2014, @09:23PM

              by mhajicek (51) on Friday September 26 2014, @09:23PM (#98710)

              I had a car repod once because the car company neglected to take their automatic payment and also didn't bother sending a bill.

          • (Score: 2) by mojo chan on Saturday September 27 2014, @08:53AM

            by mojo chan (266) on Saturday September 27 2014, @08:53AM (#98847)

            They sell the car with the expectation that it will get repossessed. That way they can throw it in an auction where it sells for next to nothing to their friends. They buy the car and sell it again for a nice profit while still chasing the person who defaulted for the remainder of their loan. Essentially they can sell the same car over and over again, while collecting a loan for something the person no longer has.

            --
            const int one = 65536; (Silvermoon, Texture.cs)
        • (Score: 2, Informative) by arashi no garou on Friday September 26 2014, @04:28PM

          by arashi no garou (2796) on Friday September 26 2014, @04:28PM (#98618)

          The difference is that at least by the second month, the car buyer would have had time to make arrangements, return the car for repossession, etc. Three days? If they are a busy person, perhaps working two jobs and balancing kids and school, three days is easily overlooked. Also, disabling the car actually makes it harder to make the payment; how do you hustle up the money and get it to the lender the same day, if you can't drive?

          At the very least, they should get a written reminder a couple of weeks before this type of enforcement can be used, explaining that it will be enforced after X date. That's what the utilities do; they don't just cut off your power or water, you get a notice saying when it will be cut off.

      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26 2014, @03:42PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26 2014, @03:42PM (#98603)

        It is much cheaper to drive to the walk-in clinic than to call an ambulance.

        Really? You have to pay for ambulances in the USA? My god, your healthcare system is fucked up. What next, paying to call the cops?

        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Sir Garlon on Friday September 26 2014, @04:04PM

          by Sir Garlon (1264) on Friday September 26 2014, @04:04PM (#98610)

          Most ambulances in the US are operated by private, for-profit companies. I don't know the going rate for ambulance service but last I needed an ambulance, the bill was $900. That was in 1986. The cost is completely hidden of course -- you call the ambulance, it takes you to the hospital, no one mentions price, and two weeks later you get a bill for $1000 or $2000 or $7000 (I have no idea the current rates). Let's just say the ambulance companies are in a strong position to set their own prices. Insurance companies usually work out a deal with the ambulance companies where their customers get a deep discount and the insurer pays the rest. If you don't have insurance, or if your insurance does not have a crooked little deal with the ambulance company, then they charge you the full, non-discounted rate.

          I assure you, our healthcare system is more deeply fucked up than you, a foreigner, would dare to imagine. This is just one tiny facet of it, so inconsequential when viewed in perspective that people don't even complain about it.

          --
          [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26 2014, @05:52PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26 2014, @05:52PM (#98650)

            our healthcare system is more deeply fucked up than you, a foreigner, would dare to imagine

            There's a guy who was top executive at one of these for-profit outfits who oversaw massive fraud and abuse. [google.com] Details [wikipedia.org]
            He has gone on to be elected Governor by the people of Florida.

            -- gewg_

          • (Score: 1) by SacredSalt on Saturday September 27 2014, @12:22PM

            by SacredSalt (2772) on Saturday September 27 2014, @12:22PM (#98875)

            Indeed... All the ambulance did for me was put in a line to my arm (with no fluids) and transport me. They didn't give me the actual oxygen I needed even though my O2 sats were extremely low -- they waited to let the hospital do that. Then the billed $1500, which is roughly 500 per mile they transported me.

            Goody!

        • (Score: 2) by meisterister on Friday September 26 2014, @10:58PM

          by meisterister (949) on Friday September 26 2014, @10:58PM (#98742) Journal

          Wouldn't surprise me. This story is 4 years old, but at least somewhere in this country we basically have to pay to call the fire department:

          http://www.nbcnews.com/id/39516346/ns/us_news-life/t/no-pay-no-spray-firefighters-let-home-burn/#.VCXuxpWoJkU [nbcnews.com]

          Welcome to America: The Land of Endangering People to Make Money (tm) and Something About Liberty or Freedom or Bravery or Somesuch.

          --
          (May or may not have been) Posted from my K6-2, Athlon XP, or Pentium I/II/III.
          • (Score: 1) by kryptonianjorel on Saturday September 27 2014, @12:40AM

            by kryptonianjorel (4640) on Saturday September 27 2014, @12:40AM (#98773)

            NO!

            That story is about a town who pays for a fire department, and the residents of the surrounding county NOT paying for their own fire department. The residents of the CITY pay with their taxes, but the residents of the surrounding county do not. Thus the fire department of the city allowed the residents of the surrounding area to pay something like $20/year for fire protection. The house that burned down refused to pay the fee TWICE, and then got upset as the fire department let their house burn to the ground

            Its the equivalent to trying to buy insurance once you need it.

            • (Score: 2) by meisterister on Saturday September 27 2014, @12:54AM

              by meisterister (949) on Saturday September 27 2014, @12:54AM (#98775) Journal

              Alright, fair enough. I was hard-pressed to find an example. It's just that that sort of thing really wouldn't surprise me anymore.

              --
              (May or may not have been) Posted from my K6-2, Athlon XP, or Pentium I/II/III.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26 2014, @04:34PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26 2014, @04:34PM (#98622)

        Sir Quarrel-on? Is that you? How about a modicum of civility?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26 2014, @03:21PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26 2014, @03:21PM (#98594)

      If you need your car to get to work, then not driving your car isn't an option. How are you going to pay your bills if you lose your job?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26 2014, @03:32PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26 2014, @03:32PM (#98596)

        It's not "your" car, it's the lender's car who took a risk on handing it out to you, in exchange for you promising to pay him back.

      • (Score: 2) by tibman on Friday September 26 2014, @03:40PM

        by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Friday September 26 2014, @03:40PM (#98601)

        I have actually been there. Jeep was heavily damaged in a wreck on Sunday and had to work on Monday. I lived with a co-worker/friend during the week and commuted with them to work. I was able to work remotely for a while too but my boss hated it and threatened to replace me. I bit the bullet and went into debt to get a "new" (used) car with better mpg. I'm currently six months ahead on that car payment but still 2 years away from paying it off. I hate debts like that. You "own" it but not really. Miss some payments and poof it's gone. I'd rather a disable feature than a repo.

        TL;DR - you'll have to deal with it, just like everyone else. Don't just rollover and die, man.

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        SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
        • (Score: 2) by etherscythe on Friday September 26 2014, @04:19PM

          by etherscythe (937) on Friday September 26 2014, @04:19PM (#98616) Journal

          Similar deal for me. Got tired of bits falling off my daily driver, so I broke down and bought a new-ish vehicle with better mpg. Now, the idea that you can get a little extra time by just having the car disabled, as opposed to permanently repossessed, has some appeal. I don't know how you get to work to get the money to catch up on your payments with a disabled vehicle, but an enterprising individual could possibly do it, particularly with a good credit rating (personal loan to cover other bills or whatever).

          --
          "Fake News: anything reported outside of my own personally chosen echo chamber"
          • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Friday September 26 2014, @04:31PM

            by urza9814 (3954) on Friday September 26 2014, @04:31PM (#98619) Journal

            I don't know how you get to work to get the money to catch up on your payments with a disabled vehicle, but an enterprising individual could possibly do it, particularly with a good credit rating (personal loan to cover other bills or whatever).

            ...they don't install these devices if you have good credit. They install these devices when they know before they even give you the loan that you probably won't be able to pay it back.

            • (Score: 1) by GeminiDomino on Friday September 26 2014, @04:48PM

              by GeminiDomino (661) on Friday September 26 2014, @04:48PM (#98624)

              They install these devices when they know before they even give you the loan that you probably won't be able to pay it back.

              If they know you probably won't pay it back, why the hell are they giving it to you in the first place? No wonder things are so fucked up.

              --
              "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture"
              • (Score: 4, Informative) by urza9814 on Friday September 26 2014, @05:05PM

                by urza9814 (3954) on Friday September 26 2014, @05:05PM (#98626) Journal

                Well, it's a profitable business for 'em...three possible ways it ends:

                1) They charge massive interest rates, so a lot of people go broke and default on the loan after having already paid off more than they borrowed. These guys charge interest rates between 20-30%. So if you take a ten year loan, they might have already turned a profit even if you default with two years left. And then they get to take your stuff too...

                2) Government bails them out. Either directly or by getting taxpayer-funded police officers to go do the dirty work for them of taking your possessions, which they then sell and get their money. They don't particularly care if you end up on the street. They can even put you in prison and have you do labor for around $0.10 an hour...or less.

                3) You get a loan, pay it off...and then immediately apply for another loan, because you spent all your money paying off the first one. Then they can just sit there collecting interest forever.

              • (Score: 3, Informative) by sjames on Friday September 26 2014, @05:18PM

                by sjames (2882) on Friday September 26 2014, @05:18PM (#98634) Journal

                They have it all worked out so that between the high interest they charge and the bulk deal they have worked out with the repo man they make more money lending to people who will probably default than they would lending to people with good credit. They WANT you to default. It's called predatory lending for a reason.

              • (Score: 0) by tftp on Friday September 26 2014, @07:52PM

                by tftp (806) on Friday September 26 2014, @07:52PM (#98683) Homepage

                If they know you probably won't pay it back, why the hell are they giving it to you in the first place?

                It allows an honest, hard-working poor person to have a car. If he is good at paying his debt, he will keep the car and build up his credit history.

                Why would it be better if every bank refuses to deal with you? It certainly would be cheaper for the bank to do nothing; and they don't earn all that much on poor customers, considering their default rates and the hassle.

                With regard to the article, the sudden shutdown is very bad. However the device could give a warning several days in advance, and if you call the lender they could kick the watchdog if you convince them. It's their car, indeed - but they bought it for you, and they should be civil in how they deal with it. Yes, they have property rights on the car - but they don't trump the right for life and safety of your client.

                • (Score: 2) by sjames on Sunday September 28 2014, @04:07AM

                  by sjames (2882) on Sunday September 28 2014, @04:07AM (#99066) Journal

                  These aren't proper banks making these loans. The banks won't touch a loan like these.

                  In many cases, these are lenders who specialize in loans that end in repossession. They structure the loan to encourage defaults, particularly towards the end when they already made the principal back and considerable interest. They will make even more when they repossess the car and sell it again through an associated dealer.

                  Meanwhile, were these loans not available, the dealers would still need to sell the cars. They would find a way to help the buyers afford them.

              • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Friday September 26 2014, @08:19PM

                by Thexalon (636) on Friday September 26 2014, @08:19PM (#98694)

                Standard predatory loan looks something like this:
                1. Loan $X to a sucker^Hconsumer to purchase and asset worth approximately $X.
                2. Require that they pay the (exorbitant) interest $Y.
                3. The moment that the consumer fails to pay back the loan, repossess / foreclose.
                4. Sell the asset, recovering (at least most of) the $X, leaving you with most of $Y in profits.

                There are many industries that survive off of this scam. A huge percentage of auto sales, subprime mortgages, payday loan outfits, title loans (most common where payday loans are illegal), and of course your standard everyday loan sharks. It's not new either: A major plot point in The Jungle back in 1906 was the main character's immigrant family losing their entire savings to a predatory loan. It's a simple way of somebody with money to lend extracting money out of poor people without doing any actual work or taking any real risk.

                --
                The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
          • (Score: 1) by arashi no garou on Friday September 26 2014, @04:32PM

            by arashi no garou (2796) on Friday September 26 2014, @04:32PM (#98620)

            But if you've got a good credit rating, you're not going to buy a car from a scummy, predatory lender who uses tactics like this. Your comment makes no sense. If you have good enough credit for a signature loan from the bank, use that to buy a decent used car. Or better yet, pull it out of savings and pay cash. I don't have the best credit in the world, but we have enough in savings that if my car died today, we could go to a reputable dealer tomorrow and buy a decent replacement.

    • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Friday September 26 2014, @03:38PM

      by Thexalon (636) on Friday September 26 2014, @03:38PM (#98599)

      If i knew my bill collector was going to turn the car off because i didn't pay then i just wouldn't drive it.

      So following you "just don't drive" plan: How exactly would you get to work to earn the money you need to pay off the car? If somebody is accepting a car loan with over 15% interest, chances are that ridiculously high cost for a mediocre-at-best car is the least-bad option for them, and they have no better alternative.

      --
      The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
      • (Score: 1, Troll) by tibman on Friday September 26 2014, @03:42PM

        by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Friday September 26 2014, @03:42PM (#98602)

        Pack a dozen PB&J sandwiches and sleeping bag into your car. Park it at your work's parking lot. Live through some rough times and tell the story to your friends.

        --
        SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
        • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Friday September 26 2014, @04:36PM

          by urza9814 (3954) on Friday September 26 2014, @04:36PM (#98623) Journal

          Pack a dozen PB&J sandwiches and sleeping bag into your car. Park it at your work's parking lot. Live through some rough times and tell the story to your friends.

          And you get the car to work how? Push it?

        • (Score: 2) by sjames on Friday September 26 2014, @05:21PM

          by sjames (2882) on Friday September 26 2014, @05:21PM (#98635) Journal

          Throw your kids to the wolves...

          • (Score: 2) by tibman on Friday September 26 2014, @05:49PM

            by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Friday September 26 2014, @05:49PM (#98649)

            Sorry Sir, but that is illegal where i live : ) Also, not very moral!

            --
            SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
            • (Score: 2) by sjames on Friday September 26 2014, @06:35PM

              by sjames (2882) on Friday September 26 2014, @06:35PM (#98662) Journal

              Then why do you suggest it? It's a bit hard to live in the parking lot at work with a bag of B&J when the kids need to go to school.

              • (Score: 2) by tibman on Friday September 26 2014, @06:59PM

                by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Friday September 26 2014, @06:59PM (#98664)

                I'd rather not play the "nit-pick a flippant answer" game. But! In your proposed scenario i would see if the kid's mom (married to me or not) could take care of the kids while i deal with a life-altering and painful situation. Maybe have a retired family member come live at my place, that would work too. The answer is certainly not to just throw your hands up in the air and blame other people. Well, you can do that but it won't get you out of that situation. You'll have to do something, anything really, to get through. Playing the lottery doesn't count either, lol. Well, you can play the lottery too. Whatever gets you through it!

                Please don't be offended by my flippant answers to serious situations. It's never as simple as "Just do X and you'll be fine!". The ability to withstand suffering seems to be important in life.

                --
                SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
                • (Score: 2) by sjames on Friday September 26 2014, @07:23PM

                  by sjames (2882) on Friday September 26 2014, @07:23PM (#98674) Journal

                  I normally wouldn't, but when it comes to people struggling financially, a fair bit of their troubles come from people giving similarly flippant answers and somehow thinking they have actually solved the problem. They then go on about how pathetic the poor are for not using their mindlessly simple and completely unworkable 'solution'.

                  It's good to read that you realize it isn't actually that easy.

                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26 2014, @08:13PM

                    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26 2014, @08:13PM (#98692)

                    1) Find a credit union (a member-owned cooperative) near you.
                    2) Join it.
                    3) Stop giving your hard-earned money to for-profit financial institutions.

                    -- gewg_

                  • (Score: 2) by tibman on Friday September 26 2014, @08:54PM

                    by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Friday September 26 2014, @08:54PM (#98705)

                    I'm not a douche or asshat (usually). Have been poor but not dirt poor. Joined the US Army at 17 and left it after a year tour in Iraq. Best and worst times and all that. Left the army with about 14k$ in my name (couldn't spend it in a desert). Spent 8k$ on a Jeep and another 1k$ on civilian camping stuff + kayak. Survived the next year with little money and no job. I didn't have a home so i went camping. In the forest a homeless person looks (and smells) the same as the employed, lol. Crashed with some friends on a spare bed. Slept in the Jeep. Ran out of money and had to get a job. Worked at a hotel for a year (trash, mechanic, driver, plumber, whatever) before finding a job that i wasn't ashamed to talk about. Currently a self-taught software engineer who asks for a raise every six months, lol. Life is much better now! But unlikely to last forever.

                    I have seen the truly poor while living in Iraq. Seeing kids' feet that are just giant calluses walking around on garbage and glass (no shoes required!). With no such thing as a trash service, the entire ground is just covered in trash. People with insanely scary medical conditions who can never get help. I'm talking about stuff just growing out of some kid's neck and deforming him. He hobbles over to you with his best (but twisted up) smile and a wadded up $1 bill and asks if you can help him. This world sucks man. I'm often flippant because my worse day is like a good day for some people. How can i complain about my car breaking down when some people's stomachs are literally eating itself! Laughter and shrugs is my best defense. I mean, i'm tearing up just remembering this stuff. I don't want to feel all those feels, it kills me.

                    --
                    SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
                    • (Score: 1) by Squidious on Saturday September 27 2014, @01:21PM

                      by Squidious (4327) on Saturday September 27 2014, @01:21PM (#98894)

                      Terrific post, I feel your feels.

                      --
                      The terrorists have won, game, set, match. They've scared the people into electing authoritarian regimes.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26 2014, @04:13PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26 2014, @04:13PM (#98612)

      Why is parent modded as "Troll"? Maybe you don't agree the post, fine, respond and say why s/he's wrong.

      • (Score: 2) by tibman on Friday September 26 2014, @05:44PM

        by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Friday September 26 2014, @05:44PM (#98647)

        Thanks for the support but it's okay : ) Being FP on a story is dangerous, lol. Too easy to burn mod points on the first thing someone sees.

        --
        SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26 2014, @03:06PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26 2014, @03:06PM (#98585)

    Call it the Comcast approach to automobile financing.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by DeathMonkey on Friday September 26 2014, @03:29PM

    by DeathMonkey (1380) on Friday September 26 2014, @03:29PM (#98595) Journal

    I saw this on the other site and it set my BS detector off a bit. To be fair, I have done absolutely no research on any of this but there are logical inconsistencies within the very summary.
     
      many subprime borrowers must have their car outfitted with a so-called starter interrupt device, which allows lenders to remotely disable the ignition.
     
    Ok, sounds legit I guess.
     
      Others said their cars were shut down while idling at stoplights.
     
    I'm no mechanic but isn't a starter used to start a car. And if it is idling, isn't it already atarted?
     
      One woman in Nevada said her car was shut down while she was driving on the freeway.
     
    Again, pretty sure the starter is not in use while you are actually driving.
     
    Bolender was three days behind on her monthly car payment. Her lender remotely activated a device in her car’s dashboard that prevented her car from starting.

     
    Pretty sure credit cards even have a 3 day grace period and they are about as aggressive as you can get. My car loan has a 15 day grace period.
     

    • (Score: 2) by dublet on Friday September 26 2014, @03:56PM

      by dublet (2994) on Friday September 26 2014, @03:56PM (#98607)

          Others said their cars were shut down while idling at stoplights.

      I'm no mechanic but isn't a starter used to start a car. And if it is idling, isn't it already atarted?

      Newer cars have a stop/start function [wikipedia.org] that will stop the engine after idling a few seconds to save fuel. They will start the engine again if you press the throttle.

      Whatever the merits of the system, I can imagine this happening after they triggered the "bill not paid" event and shut down the car, resulting in a vehicle stuck at a set of lights/in a parking bay/where ever.

    • (Score: 1) by Arik on Friday September 26 2014, @04:13PM

      by Arik (4543) on Friday September 26 2014, @04:13PM (#98613) Journal
      "“I had a client who was in an intersection with a child,” Swearingen said. The car stalled, and when she tried to restart it, the starter was blocked. “She had to roll the car to the side of the road, get the child out and beg somebody for money to get on a bus.”"

      In theory it makes some sense to say that you can turn off the starter without disabling the car, but in practice engines do need to be restarted from time to time. Never had your engine stall out on a crowded freeway? Consider yourself lucky (and likely in a different socioeconomic bracket from the people victimized with these devices, whose cars may tend to be less reliable than your own.)

      Going after the loan-sharks under common-law for breach of the peace is a fairly old and standard tactic at this point, in both the US and UK at least, I am not sure about other common law jurisdictions. Whether or not remotely disabling someones car is a breach of the peace is the question before the court, and I find myself wondering if any of the judges that will hear the case have had their own car stall out on the freeway, or in a bad neighborhood.

      --
      If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26 2014, @05:08PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26 2014, @05:08PM (#98628)
        your font choice makes reading your comment difficult. please consider changing it back to the default font.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26 2014, @06:45PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26 2014, @06:45PM (#98663)

          ...is every bit as questionable.
          Try something besides Courier. Monofonto [google.com]

          -- gewg_

        • (Score: 2) by paulej72 on Friday September 26 2014, @07:25PM

          by paulej72 (58) on Friday September 26 2014, @07:25PM (#98675) Journal
          It is an issue with the default setting for monospaced fonts in all browsers. The next release of the slashcode has a fix for this issues. Sorry for not noticing and fixing it sooner.
          --
          Team Leader for SN Development
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26 2014, @08:28PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26 2014, @08:28PM (#98696)

          I think it is easier to read. Enough said.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 27 2014, @12:20AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 27 2014, @12:20AM (#98764)
          Your font choice makes browsing the web difficult. Please consider changing it to something other than the unreadable defaults in whatever browser you are using.
      • (Score: 2) by Nobuddy on Friday September 26 2014, @10:05PM

        by Nobuddy (1626) on Friday September 26 2014, @10:05PM (#98724)

        Tell the client to quit skipping payments. Case dismissed, next case.

    • (Score: 2) by Blackmoore on Friday September 26 2014, @04:33PM

      by Blackmoore (57) on Friday September 26 2014, @04:33PM (#98621) Journal

      I have an Ex who's car had one of these damn things. and she was always dealing with the damn thing being deactivated and dead in the driveway. (usually 3 days after payment was missed)

      what gets me is she was three states away from the original dealer. What's the range on these things?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26 2014, @05:29PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26 2014, @05:29PM (#98644)

        I would assume they depend on cell towers, so basically no range limit.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26 2014, @07:03PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26 2014, @07:03PM (#98667)

        I also wonder, if the unit's antenna was disconnected, would it then fail to get an occasional OK and would go into Disable mode.

        -- gewg_

      • (Score: 2) by Nobuddy on Friday September 26 2014, @10:02PM

        by Nobuddy (1626) on Friday September 26 2014, @10:02PM (#98722)

        Or she could, you know, pay her fucking bill instead.

        They are cellualr, so the range is anywhere a cell phone works.

        • (Score: 2) by Blackmoore on Friday September 26 2014, @11:31PM

          by Blackmoore (57) on Friday September 26 2014, @11:31PM (#98752) Journal

          or the check would get there late; or it would not get processed after received. (how is that for service?!) or lost in mail..
          didnt matter she always had more month than money. Eventually that car died anyway. it's expensive to be poor.

          • (Score: 2) by Nobuddy on Monday September 29 2014, @01:13PM

            by Nobuddy (1626) on Monday September 29 2014, @01:13PM (#99561)

            Then you take the bus and don't buy a car.
            And before you even try- bullshit. unless you live in podunk, SD- yes, the godddamn bus goes to your work. And even then they tend to fill the gaps with shuttle busses for the working poor. I have been down this road many many times with people online. They eventually name a place they "live" (actually naming the most remote backwoods they can think of) and I show them a fucking bus schedule in town and between neighboring towns.
            This has failed once, in a West Texas town that had a population of 2 and a cat.

            • (Score: 2) by Blackmoore on Monday September 29 2014, @02:39PM

              by Blackmoore (57) on Monday September 29 2014, @02:39PM (#99601) Journal

              Sir, i said she was poor, not bright. she had moved from a city - where bus would have been practical, out to aint no transit here podunk. so she could drive out to suburbia to work minimum wage.. as a manager.

    • (Score: 2) by sjames on Friday September 26 2014, @05:23PM

      by sjames (2882) on Friday September 26 2014, @05:23PM (#98636) Journal

      What they actually said is that the old beater stalled while idling at the light and wouldn't re-start.

    • (Score: 2) by mojo chan on Saturday September 27 2014, @04:16AM

      by mojo chan (266) on Saturday September 27 2014, @04:16AM (#98808)

      Many modern cars have a feature where if you come to a stop and shift into neutral they turn the engine off to save fuel. When you go back into gear they start up again, unless someone disabled the starter motor.

      Could have been standstill traffic on the freeway.

      --
      const int one = 65536; (Silvermoon, Texture.cs)
  • (Score: 0, Troll) by Ethanol-fueled on Friday September 26 2014, @03:33PM

    by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Friday September 26 2014, @03:33PM (#98597) Homepage

    Single females -- no matter where you are, or who you are with -- being single and without a working car is unsafe because of the evil phalloform patriarchial rape-menace lurking behind every bush and around every corner, as long as you are a single female at night.

    Potential solutions to the problem of being a single female at night and without a working vehicle include not being single, changing your gender, or not having your car shut down any time or at any place.

    • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by Sir Garlon on Friday September 26 2014, @05:06PM

      by Sir Garlon (1264) on Friday September 26 2014, @05:06PM (#98627)

      What about solutions to the problem of misogynist dickheads trolling every Internet forum?

      --
      [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
      • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26 2014, @07:26PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26 2014, @07:26PM (#98676)
        I think eth has a point here. "Single female alone at night" is about as valid as "think of the children". I realize there are some asshole men out there that want to rape and take advantage of women... but I have a hard time believing it is so common that no woman should every be alone. Oh, and let's not mention how I assume they are assuming that the female is weak, unable/doesn't want to carry, own and use a gun, and that they in general are helpless little people that we need to coddle and protect at every turn!
    • (Score: 0, Troll) by Username on Friday September 26 2014, @11:08PM

      by Username (4557) on Friday September 26 2014, @11:08PM (#98744)

      Oh no someone made a joke about women not being weak, must mod down.

    • (Score: 2) by francois.barbier on Friday September 26 2014, @11:48PM

      by francois.barbier (651) on Friday September 26 2014, @11:48PM (#98758)

      Don't pay attention to the posters below you. They can't stand a woosh... I would vote you out of "Troll" if I had modpoints.
      Seriously, I thought the article was written well enough, with the first § describing the point of view of the seller, and the second § the point of view of the buyer.
      But that last line, man... I don't know. I'm a male so I should feel safe everywhere? I'm a female so I should feel threatened everywhere? Come one.
      Whether you are a male or a female in a bad neighbourhood, you are still in a bad neighbourhood.

      Potential solutions to the problem of being a single female at night and without a working vehicle include not being single, changing your gender, or not having your car shut down any time or at any place.

      Couldn't agree more ;-)

    • (Score: 2) by EvilJim on Monday September 29 2014, @12:11AM

      by EvilJim (2501) on Monday September 29 2014, @12:11AM (#99403) Journal

      Virtual +1 insightful - no mod points currently. always when there's a good Eth post thats been marked as troll.

  • (Score: 2) by richtopia on Friday September 26 2014, @03:35PM

    by richtopia (3160) Subscriber Badge on Friday September 26 2014, @03:35PM (#98598) Homepage Journal

    Sorry, but this summary sounds like a huge scare tactic. Similar to presidential debates where they roll out one little old lady who cannot eat or take her meds. Horrible, but I don't want one sob story, please give me some numbers for the big picture.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by MrGuy on Friday September 26 2014, @03:39PM

    by MrGuy (1007) on Friday September 26 2014, @03:39PM (#98600)

    PassTime of Littleton, Colo., says its technology has reduced late payments to roughly 7 percent from nearly 29 percent.

    I'd like a more objective source on the efficacy of the device than the marketing literature of someone with a vested interest in selling as many devices as possible.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by MrGuy on Friday September 26 2014, @03:55PM

    by MrGuy (1007) on Friday September 26 2014, @03:55PM (#98606)

    Any loan that ends in repossession (be it a mortgage, a car loan, a small business loan, or any other property secured loan) is virtually always a loss for the lending company. Lenders want to avoid loans going bad. They also want to make a return on their investment, when factoring in such a risk.

    So, how SHOULD someone with money they potentially want to lend approach loans to sub-prime customers (where there's a significant repossession risk)? One option is to avoid it entirely. This is not ideal - it would mean no one with imperfect credit could get a loan (many people couldn't get a mortgage in the wake of the financial crisis, even if they had "decent but not perfect" credit, because lenders were afraid to take on any risk). For lenders to lend to riskier borrowers, they need a reason.

    One reason would be higher returns, which they definitely do charge - sub-prime borrowers pay huge premiums (TFA quotes a 29% APR rate as not-uncommon, where a good buyer purchasing a car at the right time might pay as low as 0%). The high rates cover the lenders' likely losses making these loans when SOME customers eventually default.

    This device, by making "keep the car payments current" a higher priority than "keep other bills current," will reduce the risk to lenders (if it truly can cut the late payment rate by ~75%, as claimed in TFA, that's a HUGE reduction), then lenders shouldn't command such a high risk premium. Less defaults means less risk to charge for, so in principle they could cut sub-prime lending rates, and more people will be able to afford to purchase cars, which in general is good (especially for people who can responsibly manage payments if the interest rate were lower). It will mean more demand (and so high resale values) for everyone who owns a car when they sell it used. Society could, in theory, benefit from this result (at least when we only consider that "car" market portion of the economy).

    That said, the other option is for the lenders to simply pocket the proceeds - reduce their risk and still keep charging the same rates. Then the lenders benefit and nobody else.

    In theory, EVENTUALLY the savings SHOULD trickle down - if I can reduce my interest rate by 3% and double my business at the expense of competitors, eventually (in theory) SOMEONE will make that move. How long that takes depends on a lot of factors (and implies a largely frictionless market for sub-prime auto loans, which is questionable for multiple reasons).

    The other factor to consider here is that, if a device like this forces people with limited means who have to choose which bills to pay to favor car payments, which OTHER payments are going unmade so that this one can be made? I'm sure every lender would LIKE to be "top of the pile" of bills to pay, but eventually there's a decision to make, and by moving themselves to the top of the pile, auto lenders are pushing everyone else down, and pushing someone else "below the line" of "can't make that this month." It's debatable whether this is a good thing (preventative medical care. for example, would be a terrible thing to have going unfunded to pump up auto lenders...)

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by scruffybeard on Friday September 26 2014, @06:17PM

      by scruffybeard (533) on Friday September 26 2014, @06:17PM (#98657)

      ...(preventative medical care. for example, would be a terrible thing to have going unfunded to pump up auto lenders...)

      I think it is safe to say that most people, even of decent means have already pushed preventable medical care to the bottom of the stack. Even now with subsidized policies, I hear too many people talk about how they can't afford a policy, all the while getting their nails done every week, with a daily Starbucks habit, an iPhone 6, driving a brand new car. There are a great many people with true hardships, however there are far more people with messed up spending priorities that are putting companies in the position of competing for the "top of the pile".

  • (Score: 2) by bradley13 on Friday September 26 2014, @05:11PM

    by bradley13 (3053) Subscriber Badge on Friday September 26 2014, @05:11PM (#98630) Homepage Journal

    I spent a summer working for a garage that also sold marginal used cars to people with little money and no credit. When someone fell behind on payments, we would just go out to wherever they worked (the boss made sure he knew for certain where they worked and lived) and take the car.

    Really, I don't see a problem with what TFA is talking about. Without this system as security, lots of the people mentioned simply wouldn't have any car at all.

    --
    Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by _NSAKEY on Friday September 26 2014, @07:15PM

    by _NSAKEY (16) on Friday September 26 2014, @07:15PM (#98672)

    1. These devices can't just disable vehicles. They are also able to show real-time location, and will even (As of around 5 years ago) show an approximate speed if it's traveling. The ones I saw up close in 2008-2009 operated through GSM towers, with no actual GPS functionality (Although that never stopped sales guys from referring to their wares as a GPS).

    2. That being said, if the vehicle is in an area that doesn't offer GSM coverage, they simply can't be pinged. Disconnecting the battery will also make it unreachable.

    3. A lienholder CANNOT disable a vehicle while it's running. The command can be sent, but the vehicle won't be disabled until after the person driving it has parked and stopped. After that, it won't start up again. Anyone claiming otherwise probably just suffered from car trouble after the shut down command was sent, and blamed their lienholder when their car wouldn't start again.

    4. I once got to see an installer put one of these in. It took him around 10 minutes (He took the time to explain stuff to me; It would have taken him less time if I wasn't bugging him). They just strip one hot and ground wire each in the wiring harness and solder it in. The antenna is usually ran so that it comes up through the dash on the driver's side (Generally near the VIN plate). Someone who isn't scared of electricity or cars can do a quick uninstall, but shouldn't be surprised if that's considered grounds for immediate repossession.

    5. If I recall correctly, the going rate for the device + installation was around $350 in 2008-2009.

    • (Score: 1) by arashi no garou on Friday September 26 2014, @08:57PM

      by arashi no garou (2796) on Friday September 26 2014, @08:57PM (#98706)

      A quick hack would be to desolder it, then connect it to a 12v battery, and place a dummy load across the kill switch pins. keep it in the glove box of the car so it can be seen to be moving by the system. If you know you're going to be late on your payments, put the device somewhere stationary so they think it worked.

      Or, screw all of that and don't buy a car from a scummy dealer.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by mrchew1982 on Friday September 26 2014, @11:20PM

      by mrchew1982 (3565) on Friday September 26 2014, @11:20PM (#98747)

      They also usually cut you a break on interest rates when they install a device like this. No one seems to want to mention that fact. When the risk is high the interest rate is also high. By reducing the risk to them they can cut you a break on the interest rate. If they don't then you need to negotiate that or find a new dealer.

    • (Score: 2) by mojo chan on Saturday September 27 2014, @04:40AM

      by mojo chan (266) on Saturday September 27 2014, @04:40AM (#98813)

      These things work by disabling the starter motor. If you have a car with stop-and-go where the engine stops at idle and then starts again when put into gear what do you think will happen? Do you think the people installing them bother to check if the car has this feature?

      --
      const int one = 65536; (Silvermoon, Texture.cs)
  • (Score: 2) by Nobuddy on Friday September 26 2014, @09:50PM

    by Nobuddy (1626) on Friday September 26 2014, @09:50PM (#98715)

    If her daughter had an emergency why was she going to her car? Call 911. they have doctors on helecopters that will come to you if it is urgent enough, for fuck's sake. NEVER drive to the ER.

    If it is not critical enough for 911, it is not critical enough for the ER. Go to urgent care.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by mhajicek on Friday September 26 2014, @11:21PM

      by mhajicek (51) on Friday September 26 2014, @11:21PM (#98748)

      In the US, ALWAYS drive to the ER if at all possible unless you know your insurance will cover it. Taking an ambulance, let alone a helicopter, without good insurance can bankrupt you.

      • (Score: 1) by Squidious on Saturday September 27 2014, @01:34PM

        by Squidious (4327) on Saturday September 27 2014, @01:34PM (#98897)

        If you arrive in an ambulance you are an automatic top priority for the ER. A major downside of driving yourself is that you go into the queue in the waiting room unless you are critical. Then you are stuck in a waiting room with all the non-insured who are there with minor problems (for the free care). You will be surrounded by sick people coughing and sneezing while you wait many hours for your turn to be admitted.

        --
        The terrorists have won, game, set, match. They've scared the people into electing authoritarian regimes.
        • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Saturday September 27 2014, @04:41PM

          by mhajicek (51) on Saturday September 27 2014, @04:41PM (#98930)

          That's not how it worked for me when I arrived by car with a smashed open finger. They saw me immediately. Though I'm sure results vary depending on location.

  • (Score: 2) by Ken_g6 on Friday September 26 2014, @09:52PM

    by Ken_g6 (3706) Subscriber Badge on Friday September 26 2014, @09:52PM (#98716)

    It sounds like there are two problems here. One, the borrowers may not be following the law regarding time to pay. And two, the devices don't clearly state when the car is potentially going to be disabled.

    So I would have the devices clearly speak when a car payment is late. No whistling, no beeping, synthesized speech. In Missouri, for instance, one of TFAs says a letter is sent after 10 days, and repossession may occur after 30. So I would have it say the following, clearly and loudly, every time when starting and stopping the car:

    Day 1: "Your car payment is 1 day late"
    And likewise days 2-9.
    Day 10: "Your car payment is 10 days late. Your car will be disabled in 20 days."
    And likewise days 11-29.
    Day 30: "Your car payment is 30 days late. Your car will be disabled tonight at midnight."
    Day 31: "Your car payment is 31 days late. Your car has been disabled." (And it won't start.)

    • (Score: 2) by Nobuddy on Monday September 29 2014, @01:22PM

      by Nobuddy (1626) on Monday September 29 2014, @01:22PM (#99564)

      My son's unit was 15 days late. When the bill was due but not paid, it would flash constantly when the car was running, right in your line of sight. No way in hell they can claim they did not know the bill was not paid yet.

      I never saw it, but he said it starts flashing faster the day before they disable it. And they explain all this when you buy the car.

  • (Score: 2) by Nobuddy on Friday September 26 2014, @09:55PM

    by Nobuddy (1626) on Friday September 26 2014, @09:55PM (#98718)

    I think it is a good thing. Immediate consequences force him to make smarter decisions.
    Sure, you have not been out to party all week. but if you go, you cannot afford your car payment due Monday. And that car will not start Tuesday. Time to be an adult. Find a different pastime than going to the club. One you can afford.
    It actually had a huge impact on how he planned his finances. No more letting it slip a month because they won't repo right away. Starts to seep in to all his decisions which improves his financial choices overall.

    We lived in Littleton then, so it might have been bought from the dealership that pioneered it, for all I know.

  • (Score: 1) by Clev on Saturday September 27 2014, @05:11AM

    by Clev (2946) on Saturday September 27 2014, @05:11AM (#98819)
    It's all fun and games until somebody loses the keys to the kingdom. [jalopnik.com]