Repossession going electronic with remote vehicle disablers

Missing a payment on your car might get a whole lot dicier in the near future as more and more dealerships are equipping vehicles with devices capable of disabling vehicles remotely. Termed “electronic reposession,” drivers will be reminded to pay the car’s bill thanks to a non-stop series of annoying beeps if payment hasn’t been received within 24 hours of the due date.

Consumers’ rights advocates point out that motorists could be stranded somewhere dangerous or late for work thanks to a remotely disabled car and worry that billing errors have the potential to render some cars undriveable even though the bills have been paid on time, but car dealerships and even some consumers think the tradeoff is worth it.

Apparently installing the device makes it easier for someone with less than stellar credit to make payments on a car when he or she would otherwise be turned down for a loan. And for some people, the device serves as a helpful reminder that the bill is due when it may have been overlooked.

No matter your stance on this issue, guess what? You’ll probably start to see it spread to more and more items that carry monthly payments. Remember the data cards used in AT&T netbooks that can brick the computers remotely? As wireless-enabled chipsets get smaller and cheaper, electronic reposession makes a lot of sense in an economic climate where people want to finance stuff without having the money to pay for it from companies that are more and more apprehensive to extend credit.

[via Consumerist]