Serves the Commercial Small Fleet Market of 10 – 50 Vehicles

Device Prevents Operation if Car Payments Are Late

June 15, 2006

LIMERICK, Pa. – Dealers are now able to lease or sell cars to consumers with poor credit histories and use starter-interruption devices to ensure timely payments, according to the Associated Press.Manufacturers say that not only do the interrupters ensure that lenders get paid, but also that customers seem willing to accept the devices in order to get nicer cars, a smaller down payment and lower interest rates. The device, mounted under the dashboard and connected to the starter, will emit sounds or flashes before the payment deadline. If the payment is made on time, the customer contacts the dealer for a code to operate the car. Manufacturers say the device won’t kill the engine during use and customers are allowed emergency starts. According to the Associated Press, three manufacturers dominate the market: Payment Protection Systems, PassTime and Pay Technologies. They report double-digit increases in sales this year, with an estimated 1 million devices in use today.Opponents, like Consumer Federation of America spokesman Jack Gillis, say that companies are using the arrangement to sell cars at no risk to themselves, with all the risk to consumers. Gillis calls the measure “draconian.”
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