LENDERS INSTALL ‘KILL SWITCHES’ TO IMMOBILISE CARS – 16/07/2017
Just when you think you have seen it all, something like this article here that appeared in the papers over the weekend trumps it and I found it so shocking that I thought it would be worth a blog in its own right.
In essence, unscrupulous lenders are targeting desperate customers with poor credit scores whose choices are restricted due to their circumstances with extortionate car finance ‘kill switch’ agreements, which enable the finance firm to immobilise the car if payments are missed.
The customer sets a standing order up for the payments each month and on receipt, the finance firm sends a code to be entered by remote control in to a GPS device behind the dashboard.
If drivers miss a payment, the code is not sent rendering the car immobilised and concerns have been raised that vulnerable drivers could be stranded overnight or unable to get to an emergency.
These boxes will be recording a customer’s movements and once a customer has made more than 33% of repayments, the lender has to apply for a Court Order to seize the assets and cannot immobilise the car immediately if a customer stops making repayments.
Indeed, it could fairly be argued in Court that the customer was an unfair victim under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 if the agreement fails in any way, and I reckon a judge would take that view under the circumstances.
The Financial Conduct Authority is due to investigate car finance soon with a focus on PCP agreements, and this will fall within their scope.
These devices were originally invented to stop theft and not devised for rip-off merchants to use as part of a credit agreement, and experts have cited concerns that these devices could be illegal due to potential breaches of the General Data Protection Regulation Act 2018 (“GDPR”) and Consumer Credit Act 1974.
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