Customers Claim Lender Shut Cars Down Too Soon After Missed Payment

It seems like a very long time ago that we told you about a new practice in the auto lending industry––cars that the lender can shut down remotely if you happen to miss a payment. The cars won’t shut down while you’re cruising down the highway, but will simply refuse to start when the ignition is off. Simple enough, but some customers claim that one company shut their cars down too early, and have filed a class action lawsuit.

The controversy isn’t over the use of these systems in the first place: customers accept that when they purchase the car. What these customers and the company don’t agree on is whether the system, called Passtime Elite GPS, works in a way that should be legal in the state of Nevada.

At the center of the lawsuit is a woman who struggled to make payments on her minivan, and found that her car had been remotely disabled on the 11th of the month after she wrote a check with insufficient funds in her bank account. Nevada law spells out that a lender can repossess a car 30 days after the due date for the missed payment, and she was only 11 days past the date. The following month, the lender did the same thing only 16 days past the deadline.

“If the lender can’t send someone out to repossess your vehicle after a default, why should they be able to press a button and disable it before the statutory time?” an attorney with Nevada Legal Aid said in the organization’s press release. Is shutting down a vehicle (even if it’s easily turned back on remotely) the true equivalent of towing it away? If so, then the laws should be the same. If not, then states should consider making new laws for the new technology…which has been in use for the last decade, so it isn’t all that new.

Finance company shuts down vehicles too soon, lawsuit alleges (Thanks, Jonathan!)