Legislation to bar motor vehicle dealers or lenders from remotely disabling motor vehicles was released today by an Assembly panel. The bill was sponsored by Assembly Democrats Paul Moriarty and Angel Fuentes.
The bill (A-4033) makes it an unlawful for a motor vehicle dealer or a loan lender to install a payment assurance device on vehicle in connection with its sale or lease.
The bill defines a “payment assurance device” as a device installed on a motor vehicle with global positioning system capability or starter interrupt capability allowing for the remote enabling or disabling of the motor vehicle.
It’s estimated about 2 million vehicles are equipped with the devices, but safety concerns have arisen as borrowers have reportedly had their vehicles disabled while idling or even while driving on the highway.
“No one should have their car disabled because they missed a payment by a day or two,” said Moriarty (D-Gloucester/Camden). “These devices are akin to having a predatory debt collector riding in the car with the borrower, ready to strike at the slightest mistake. It’s incredibly unsafe and unnecessary. We need this bill to protect the safety and privacy of consumers.”
“As the subprime auto lending market has expanded greatly in recent years, these devices are increasingly installed on motor vehicles as a condition of securing a loan,” said Fuentes (D-Camden/Gloucester). “Use of the devices is generally unregulated and allows predatory lenders to track and store data without any safeguards for privacy, causing potential consumer and public safety issues and other serious consequences.”
The bill was released by the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee chaired by Moriarty.