By on September 15, 2017

2017 Kia Forte Sedan

Is there any lower form of life in the automotive biosphere than the buy-here-pay-here dealership operators?

It’s hard to see them as anything other than rent-seeking scumbags who inflate the market for inexpensive used cars, then turn around and sell those used cars to the poorest and most unfortunate members of our society for prices that are often multiples of the acquisition cost. There is literally no ethical reason for them to exist; most of the time the “down payment” charged by these dealers is more or less the true value of the car. Everything that comes afterwards is just tasty cake topping — and if the working mother or fixed-income older person buying from them misses the very last weekly payment, they can repossess the car and sell it all over again on the same ridiculous terms.

In a world without buy-here-pay-here dealers, the transaction prices of low-cost cars would eventually settle to the point where they could be bought for the “down payments” being handed over today. In fact, I’ve heard BHPH operators brag about making money on the down payment alone. The difference between one of these people and the victims of their operations, of course, is that the former has access to capital and an entry into the protected world of auto auctions.

You’ll often hear these dealers tell stories about how they “help their community.” The members of the community, of course, know better. They can see the BHPH dealers living high on the hog many miles away from the low-income areas in which the lots are deliberately placed right next to liquor stores and lottery ticket providers. So it’s no wonder they feel no sense of loyalty to their “dealers” and will often make the cars disappear without further payment if they can. To combat this, the BHPH people will often have remotely-operated ignition blocks installed into their vehicles. If you don’t make the payment, or if the dealer fails to record the payment correctly, your car is shut off — regardless of where you are or what you need to do with the car next. If you don’t deal with the bottom feeders of the auto biz, you’ve probably never seen one.

That might be about to change.

Consider the following scenario: You sign a four-year lease on a Kia Forte. Then your circumstances change and a family member ends up paying the lease off and buying the car outright for you in an effort to be helpful. You pay a $300 fee just for the privilege of buying the car out, but then the dealer tells you that you owe them an additional $200 fee. When you refuse to pay that dealer fee, your car, which you legally own, refuses to start. Why? Simple. There’s a dealership-owned, GPS-enabled ignition interrupt switch in the car.

That’s exactly what happened to Daniel Lallier, who leased a Kia Forte from Kia Sherbrooke in Quebec.

Lallier signed a four-year lease for a Kia Forte LX back in May from Kia Sherbrooke. Two months later, the 20-year-old’s grandmother offered to buy the car outright when he lost his job and couldn’t make his weekly payments.

After settling the balance and paying a $300 penalty, Lallier said, the dealership told him he would have to pay an additional $200 to remove a GPS tracker that had been installed on the car.

The device allows dealers to remotely immobilize a car in case lease payments are in arrears. Lallier said there was no mention of the removal fee in the contract and he disputed having to pay it.

Let’s get the easy part out of the way: If you’re leasing a new Kia when you are 20 years old and not in possession of a steady job, you’re not the brightest bulb. And if your grandmother has to bail you out of the problem, you’re probably not the pride and joy of your extended family. Still, from the perspective of the dealership this fellow is a solid customer. He paid off the car early and also paid the early termination fee. Which probably explains why they decided to go after him for the extra $200.

In the end, however, Kia Sherbrooke had to remove the box at no charge because they apparently had no contract language to support the removal fee. Which leads to the reasonable question: Why was the ignition box there in the first place? It turns out that starter-interruption boxes are commonplace in Canada, and not just among the JD Byriders of their market. Mainline dealers use them to get credit approval for subprime customers. Since the average American has below-average credit, expect to see this practice become popular south of the border as well.

From a consumer-protection standpoint, these boxes and the financing schemes that spawn them are utterly pernicious. They raise the price of used vehicles by throwing more available “credit” at them, leading more rent-seeking subprime financiers to get involved in the game, which further raises prices without adding value to the customer. The net long-term result is that people in all economic situations are paying more money for used cars because there are unwanted and unpleasant entities wetting their proverbial beaks.

But maybe none of that applies to you. Maybe you’re an 820-credit-score-beacon member of America’s privileged class. Maybe you’re that mythical personal finance mastermind who always pays cash for a lightly-used Toyota. So why give a damn about it, if you aren’t a credit criminal yourself and have no plans of ever becoming one? Well, here’s the kicker; these boxes are often activated while the car is on the move, as shown in court testimony. The more commonplace they become, the more likely you are to be around one of them when the ignition circuit breaks and the car to which it is attached comes to a sudden and frightening halt, likely accompanied by much swerving and dangerous agitation on the part of the driver.

I’d encourage you to contact your local legislators and tell them that ignition-interrupt switches are just the camel’s nose of a system that preys disproportionately on the poor, the uneducated, and the uninformed. If you don’t, then you might want to be careful the next time you’re next to a late-model Forte on the road. You might not have any involvement in subprime financing, but that doesn’t mean it cannot become involved with you.

[Image: Kia Motors]

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144 Comments on “New Car Dealerships Are Taking a Page From the Buy-here/Pay-here Playbook and Giving It an Evil Twist...”


  • avatar
    I_like_stuff

    Oh please.

    This is the same sob-story nonsense we heard with people signing 0% option ARM mortgages and then whining when they couldn’t afford the mortgage after a reset.

    I have zero sympathy for any of them.

    If the fee was not disclosed in the contract, fine then they can’t charge it. But if the fee is disclosed, I have no problem with this practice.

    • 0 avatar
      bking12762

      Thank you I_like_stuff……I thought it was me, but the first part of this story is drivel. Merely parroting the words of old school BHPH dealers is truly humorous. The BHPH industry has moved on quite a bit. I wonder if Jack has ever worked a BHPH lot? That is an education….

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      There was never any such thing as a 0% Option ARM. Was the rate below what you’d get on a fixed or variable rate loan? Yes, and then you’d defer the interest that you should have paid. Zero percent? Absolutely not.

      Actually, it was a great loan program for people with seasonal income. They’d make higher than needed payments while they were working, and then make the “deferred” payments when they weren’t. But some scumbag figured out that this loan would be sparkly and cool for idiots who were just looking to buy a house they couldn’t afford.

      As far as “it was in your contract, you signed it, you bought it” is concerned: yes, people didn’t read their loan agreements well enough. Then again, you had a lot of sub-humans out there who were outright misrepresenting these loans to borrowers. And you had lenders who were willing to make them to people who shouldn’t have had them.

      Plenty of responsibility to go around…

  • avatar
    yankinwaoz

    Wait. Don’t these boxes just prevent the car from starting? I can’t imagine any box manufacturer wanting the liability of killing a car in motion.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    This is a bit of an elitist-looking-down social justice diatribe. These practices exist to serve a market that wouldn’t otherwise be served. People sign these terms because no one else will lend to them because they are high risk. There is a high risk that they will incur cost for the lender by not paying and destroying or making an asset disappear. Most lenders don’t want that risk. Period.

    If it takes an immobilizer or GPS tracker install for the lender to be willing to take the high risk of lending to a roach, people are willing to accept that in order to be able to drive.

    In most places, being able to drive significantly improves a person’s employment prospects. Improved employment prospects allow people to earn money to pay their bills. Improved personal economics allow people to pay their bills and get out of poverty. Paying their bills improves their credit. It’s a necessary evil.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “This is a bit of an elitist-looking-down social justice diatribe. These practices exist to serve a market that wouldn’t otherwise be served. ”

      yeah, and so do Mafia loan sharks. Jack even said “In fact, I’ve heard BHPH operators brag about making money on the down payment alone.”

      It’s one thing to be a “lender of last resort.” it’s quite another to use that leverage to so royally screw the people who have no other options so hard you virtually guarantee they’ll default.

      which means, conveniently enough, they repo the car (which they’ve already made their money back on) and re-sell it to someone else and start the cycle of screwage over again.

      http://www.businessinsider.com/john-oliver-explains-auto-lending-2016-8

      “A remarkable example of how far these dealerships can milk this kind of deal is when the show highlights a 2011 Los Angeles Times story that tracks the sale of a 2003 Kia Optima from a Kansas City buy-here, pay-here dealership.

      The car, which the show points out had a Kelley Blue Book value of $5,350, was sold in April 2008 for nearly $11,000. It was then repossessed (or returned to a dealer) and resold eight times in three years, each time at a price that was double or triple its Blue Book value.

      “At which point you almost feel bad for the car,” Oliver jokes.”

      So please stuff your nonsense about them “serving a market.” They’re only serving themselves by screwing people left and right.

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        “The car, which the show points out had a Kelley Blue Book value of $5,350, was sold in April 2008 for nearly $11,000.”

        Curse that car dealership for putting a gun to the buyer’s head to force them to agree to purchase the car for 2x book value!

        I hope someday there is a ubiquitous “information superhighway” of some sort that would let people determine the approximate value of an automobile for free in 5 minutes.

        If people are going to do grown-up things like purchase and operate automobiles it is not unreasonable to treat them like grown-ups who can make decisions and live with the consequences.

        • 0 avatar
          everybodyhatesscott

          ‘Curse that car dealership for putting a gun to the buyer’s head to force them to agree to purchase the car for 2x book value!’

          Most poor people are poor because they’re not financially savvy. The econ 101 side of my brain says “they’re serving a market” but the humanity side of me wouldn’t let me sleep at night if I was the one doing it.

          • 0 avatar
            KevinB

            I wasted my entire life believing I could never get rich by doing business with poor people. I am such an idiot!

          • 0 avatar
            bikegoesbaa

            “I wasted my entire life believing I could never get rich by doing business with poor people.”

            What gave you that idea?

            Many successful companies (McDonalds, Marlboro, Chrysler) do business primarily with poor people.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          A few points:
          1. We live in a society where specialization is the norm i.e. mechanics, carpenters, doctors, lawyers, car salesmen.
          We therefore end up in a position where we have to trust “professionals” or “tradesmen” doing the work for us.
          2. Those at the low end of the socioeconomic spectrum tend not to have the knowledge or life skills to spot a bad deal.
          3. People tend to be “brainwashed” by marketing that health, wealth, youth and beauty are what you need to be happy. Marketing convinces people that you can buy any of the four or anything that give the appearance of being in possession of any/all of those four.

          We are social creatures and need to trust those around us to survive.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        >>So please stuff your nonsense about them “serving a market.” They’re only serving themselves by screwing people left and right.

        I’ll lump you in with Jack as an elitist who’s never been in a situation where you’ve had to take a bad term subprime loan just to have a ride.

        You’re falling victim to the group fallacy.

      • 0 avatar
        SoCalMikester

        someone forced them to buy that car? for 11k? in los angeles?

    • 0 avatar
      ScarecrowRepair

      Exactly my thoughts.

      If people had a better alternative, they’d use it. That they use this “lousy” way is proof there is nothing better for them.

      If BHPH dealers were making as obscene a profit as said here, then other greedy capitalist pigs would jump in to get some, and drive the profit margin down to the normal level.

      This is how markets work. The very first BHPH dealers may have been scumbags, I don’t know. But the fact that they had customers and thrived, and that there are more of them now, shows that they are not making obscene profits.

      The only businesses making obscene profits are the pioneers who risk all and are often wrong and go bust, or the true rent-seekers (does Jack even know what that term means?) who inveigle the government into granting them a monopoly.

      This rant is like so many rants against pay day lendors. The answer is the same: if there were better alternatives, they’d have no customers. If they were truly making obscene profits, there’d be more of them and the profits would level off. Both business models have been around long enough for markets to sort them out.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        A look around my (awful) community shows that many storefronts are now occupied by title loan and payday loan operations. It seems that capital is happy to avail itself of the desperate and the unknowing.

      • 0 avatar
        ClutchCarGo

        “If people had a better alternative, they’d use it. That they use this “lousy” way is proof there is nothing better for them.”

        No, it’s not proof that there’s nothing better, only evidence that some people don’t understand finance very well or don’t know how to pursue a better deal. Yes, BHPH does serve a segment of the populace that has no other option due to their prior behavior, but no small part of the BHPH clientele simply lacks the knowledge to get a decent deal. And even for the portion that has nothing better available, it’s a sad commentary on the nature of capitalism that human decency has no cash value. At least Steve Lang showed some compassion with his customers.

        • 0 avatar
          ScarecrowRepair

          What the hell has decency to do with it? Grocers don’t provide food for money out of decency. That car you bought wasn’t made for the sake of decency. You don’t work for your employer for the sake of decency.

          People are awful quick to condemn capitalists for making money, but I don’t see many of them working for free. They all expect a paycheck.

          • 0 avatar
            ClutchCarGo

            Grocers around me do provide food out of decency by donating to food pantries. I do work for free out of decency when I volunteer my time for causes that I believe in.

            I’m not condemning capitalists for seeking to make money. I’m condemning capitalists that seek to make all of the money, with no concern over who gets hurt.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “You don’t work for your employer for the sake of decency.”

            Too funny.

            There are many jobs that one would be real sh!tty at if all they did it for was for the money.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    How much of the BHPH rant is driven by/aimed at our old pal Steve Lang? lol

    Not that I disagree with the point being made. The BHPH lot is generally made up of auction-chaff that these guys scoop up for sub-$1k prices and then immediately eliminate their risk with the down-payment equaling their cost. Down and out folks, especially the older generation, not only lack the capital and access to auctions, but even knowledge of something like craigslist or other internet listing, which always has a decent amount of cheap/crappy-but-running beaters for sale. Are we to regulate the BHPH lot out of existence? I don’t think so, they are in fact offering an option to consumers, it is ultimately for the consumer to educate themselves and decide what the better source of their next ride will be.

    • 0 avatar
      bking12762

      Gtemnykh-Check the auction reports….sub-$1000 cars. Sorry, that just does not fly.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Fair enough, I personally have no knowledge of the inner workings of these operations, but looking at sad ovoid Tauruses on broken rear springs and various N-body and Cloud deritus at the local BHPH when I lived in a bad part of town, there’s no way anyone’s paying anywhere close to $2k for any of that junk just to ask a $699 down payment.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      There are BHPH lots that offer something for everyone. I consigned a truck of mine to a local BHPH dealer which sold it for over $46,000.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        2007 Tacoma with a salvage title and an asterisk next to the odometer reading?

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          Ha. No, a 2016 Ram Laramie 1500. He made around $2,500 gross profit up front plus whatever reserve he’s making on the loan.

          Dude who bought it is likely in the demographic around here that had lost employment or reduced employment in the resource sector last year but is working again now. As such probably didn’t qualify for financing on a new one. Maybe he’s paying 15% interest on it, but he’s got the ride he wanted. ALL BHPH DEALERS ARE SCUM!

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Okay well it’s those people that I have zero sympathy for. If you’re on a BHPH lot shopping for anything other that basic transportation because you’re in a very tight spot, you’re doing it very wrong.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          In the Western World, people want things, and there are others to provide them, at whatever cost is sustainable in the market.

          Dude who bought my truck very likely makes good money, but likely;

          – Has had employment issues recently
          – Is bad with money in general

          And so was likely turned down by traditional institutions. That’s the demographic around here.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Good point. I mean if he can make that work and pay it off quickly or stomach the 15% good for him. If he gets burned on the deal and ends up with a huge car loan hanging over his head with no way to pay, I have no sympathy for that guy. If things are shaky, and he just needed a car, a lower risk thing would have been some clean older Corolla or something for $2k cash and drive that until things settled down.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      gtemnykh, if I were to go to an auction to buy one beater, my outcome for that one car can be anywhere from great bargain to money pit. The total price for the car plus repairs varies a lot. If Steve Lang buys a hundred beaters over a year and preps them for sale, he gets to average out those outcomes with some great buys canceling out some other terrible buys.

  • avatar
    jh26036

    I thought Dodge and Nissan exist to give people with no credit a brand new car.

  • avatar
    chuckrs

    I think having a GPS function that blocked a kill signal unless the car had been immobile for 5-10 minutes would be a very good idea. Other than that, if a state wants to look into applying (how I don’t know) usery laws, that is their prerogative. But that probably hurts poor car buyers worse than BHPH rapacity.

  • avatar
    I_like_stuff

    All week I’ve heard sob stories about FL businesses “gouging” people. One man gouge is another man’s opportunity. We have this thing called a free market system. When something is really scarce and I have that something, I will charge an arm and a leg for it. Your option as a buyer is a) pay the price or b) go without the item. Your choice,.

    Same with charging 15% interest on a $3K beater car with $1K down.
    The lender is taking a huge risk in lending money and needs to be compensated for that risk. They are providing an option to a consumer who has no other options. It’s a supply and demand thing. The options are a) drive and pay the “outrageous” amount or b) don’t drive. The consumer has a choice. And if we outlawed BHPH type places, all it would do is remove that choice from the consumer.

    • 0 avatar
      TheEndlessEnigma

      Let’s see how you feel the next time you don’t have power and water. You head out looking for water and find a nice corner store that happens to have a shipment….then you realizes this nice owner of that store is charging $95 for that case of water that would normally go for 1/10th of that price. I’m sure you will be happy and thrilled to pay that massively overstated price and will not in any way complain.

      You know, I_like_stuff, it’s easy to take your smug attitude when you’re sure you are not impacted by the scenario. Let’s see what happens when that same scenario catches you square between the eyes.

      • 0 avatar
        I_like_stuff

        It’s not taking a smug attitude. It’s taking an attitude that free markets work better than govt controlled markets. Which has been proven for oh, I dunno, about 100 years give or take, all over the world.

        Let’s take your example. At $95 I will buy one case and use water sparingly.
        At $9, I will buy 10 cases and use water without a care in the world because I have 9 cases.

        And what happens when the first 10 people buy 10 cases each and all the supply is gone? Customer 11 has no water at all.

        So what’s better for Customer 11….$95 water or no water at all? Exact same principal as buying cars for people with bad credit. What’s better? Having no car, or having a car with a 15% interest rate on the loan?

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          “It’s not taking a smug attitude. It’s taking an attitude that free markets work better than govt controlled markets. Which has been proven for oh, I dunno, about 100 years give or take, all over the world.”

          How quickly we forget 2009.

          • 0 avatar
            I_like_stuff

            Did the ogvt impose price controls in 2009? I must have missed it.

            Do tell…..

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            do the words “mortgage backed securities” and “collateralized debt obligations” mean anything to you? The “free market” allowed that nonsense to go on.

          • 0 avatar
            psychoboy

            And what created the bubble of mortgage backed securities?

            GOVERNMENT INTERFERENCE IN THE HOUSING MARKET.

            If the government hadn’t decided to encourage renters to become homeowners with scads of nearly free money to buy assets that historically don’t depreciate, 2009 wouldn’t have occurred.

            This occurs time and again, sometimes it is ignorant private wishful thinking (the dot-com bubble) and other times it is ignorant government assistance (the school loan bubble), but the creamy nougat center remains. Free markets work, but only when buyers and sellers are fully informed. The minute some entity puts its thumb on the scale (loan rates, promises of government backing, ‘too big to fail’) by monopolizing the information (incomprehensible documents, poorly explained processes, hidden agendas, targeting useful-idiot customers) and the “free market” no longer exists.

            that’s where capitalism becomes crapitalism.

            In the case of the typical BHPH transaction, the terms are outrageous, but they are rarely obfuscated, although the average BHPH customer may not be all that economically literate. then again, ANYONE who willingly pays interest to buy a depreciating asset is worthy of a lesson in economics.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Government interference caused the housing bubble?

            LOL..no. Inflated housing prices caused the bubble.

            And what caused inflated housing prices? It was the Washington Mutuals / Countrywides of the world, who pushed loan programs that did enabled people to get more house than they ever could afford.

            The ‘government lending’ world – Fannie, Freddie, FHA, VA – all has a loan limit. They won’t lend more than a certain dollar amount, after all. Today, the loan limit for a FNMA conventional loan is $424100. They won’t lend you a penny more than that.

            (I know, I underwrite them.)

            If anything, the government’s to blame for not regulating the industry enough.

    • 0 avatar
      mrwiizrd

      “and what caused inflated housing prices? It was the Washington Mutuals / Countrywides of the world, who pushed loan programs that did enabled people to get more house than they ever could afford.”

      Freedmike, and when exactly did these lenders start “pushing” these programs? Oh yea, it was after Freddie and Fannie insured these lenders against losses to encourage home buying.

      Incentives matter. Prior to Freddie and Fannie distorting the market, lenders required 20% down payments to protect against default. Once our dear leaders decided to artificially mitigate that risk, rational actors did exactly what the politicians wanted them to do, loan money to people who had no business borrowing it.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        The lenders started pushing those liar’s loans when they had private and institutional lenders throwing money at them to lend and not requiring proper if any supporting documentation. Freddie and Fannie actually still required proper documentation. However the corruption in the loan origination game did creep over into the regulated sector.

        The other side of the equation are the homeowners, a significant number of the homes that have gone or are going through the foreclosure process are homes that were purchased long ago well before the prices peaked. I see so many where the person would be sitting just fine had they not 80/20’d every penny out of their house that they could at or just before the peak.

        You’ll see houses that the buyer did 10% down on say a $120k house long ago that now had a $240K first and $60K second on a house that wasn’t worth $300k when they got those loans.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          yep. you “government interference” @$$holes are forgetting how hard (private) lenders were pushing home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) leading up to the collapse.

          Stop letting Hannity and Limbaugh ram their opinions up your @$$es and convince you they were your own original thoughts.

    • 0 avatar
      SirRaoulDuke

      Actually we have this thing called government to protect the interests of the common good, especially during war and disasters, hence why price gouging is illegal. We also have government to give me a disincentive for putting a gun to your head, pulling the trigger, and taking that water you want to charge $100 for. It cuts both ways, doesn’t it? Anyway, what disasters and BHPH have in common is beyond me.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    ” And if your grandmother has to bail you out of the problem, you’re probably not the pride and joy of your extended family.”

    or you are, and your family is just a bunch of enablers.

    I’ve overheard cell phone conversations outside of my lab (roll-up doors don’t block that much sound) from one guy repeatedly haranguing his son about how he was “24 and needs to get off his butt and get a job real soon.”

    Chances are if your kid is 24 and you’re pleading with him to get a job, it’s probably *you* who has made at least several mistakes along the way.

    • 0 avatar
      I_like_stuff

      Heh.

      My brother in law was in his later 20s and still getting that talk from his mom and dad (my in-laws). It went something like this:

      In Laws: Get a job you bum.

      BIL: Uhmmm OK. Oh can you send me $1000 to get by for a few months? Oh and my car needs a repair, can you take care of that for me.

      In Laws: Sure thing. Anything for our baby boy!

      In Laws (to my wife): Why won’t he get off his butt and do something with his life? We can’t figure it out.

      Me to my wife: Your parents are insane, you realize that right? As long as they keep sending money he will never do anything with his life.

      My wife to me: Yes, but shut up about it.

      Rinse/Repeat about every 6 weeks.

      • 0 avatar
        turbo_awd

        My used to work for a “businessman” (whose main job appeared to be acting as a broker and hosing both buyer and seller, but that’s another story). He worked well into his 70s because he needed to keep supporting 2/3 of his 50+ year old kids who kept going broke every couple of months.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      My dumb@ss kid brother is 40, married, and he and his wife and 19yo kid (from previous baby-mama) live in my mother’s basement. Paying no rent to her, though my brother is getting $100/week from his kid(!). Kid dropped out of high school and works at a pizza place. Mom is finally getting tired of his crap though, I will be helping end the gravy train when I am back in Maine in a few weeks. Sigh. Sometimes the umbilical cord just doesn’t get cut, she’s been enabling his crap my entire life. But the first bank of Mom is now closed – she is retiring for real and just flat can’t afford it. Thankfully she is now realizing that.

      And surprise, he and the wife each have a waaaay too new truck that I am quite certain they can’t afford once they have to pay rent. And I have zero sympathy on that matter.

  • avatar

    There is a segment of the population which is a credit risk. I’ve done enough collections to know that some poor folk don’t pay bills. Some rich folk don’t either…honest runs all places and is missing in just as many.

    If the car dealer will be more fair than the “tender mercy of capitalism” sharp business practices we see, then good. A GPS kill doesn’t upset me provided that it is disclosed for a rough credit situation-but wtf canada … everyone ? I would think this is only legit for cars with a 50% chance of repo otherwise….

    Usury laws are great ideas…a shame they’ve been gutted at all levels.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “There is a segment of the population which is a credit risk. ”

      yes, but at some point on the curve you’re soaking them so badly you basically hasten or guarantee they’ll default. as I posted a bit above, some of that is deliberate.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “but wtf canada … everyone ?”

      No, not even close. We’re talking about a Kia dealer here.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @speedlaw – I just looked it up,
      “Vehicle tracking is legal in Canada provided the owner of the car is aware such a system has been installed onto their vehicle.”
      “Placing a tracking device in a vehicle without the owner’s consent is illegal and can lead to prosecution and a hefty fine. In extreme circumstances it can even lead to a prison sentence. The main exception to this is when law enforcement track a vehicle.”

      The owner must consent. A driver of the vehicle other than the owner does not legally need to know.

      Apparently ignition starter interrupters and trackers used by auto lenders is being looked into by government:

      “Though it has yet to receive a formal complaint, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is “actively following the issue, specifically the data collection made possible by the growing deployment of automotive sensors,” according to spokeswoman Tobi Cohen.”

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    It’s not only the ability to shut the car off; the GPS locator also tells them where the car is, so they can send a repo man to pick it up.

    This story from back in May, by the ABC affiliate in Dallas (WFAA) details GPS trackers and how dealers use them to pull cars back, if payments aren’t made, or if the buyer cusses out the dealer when the car breaks down:

    http://www.wfaa.com/news/which-auto-dealers-are-using-military-technology-to-watch-your-every-move/439039530

  • avatar
    bikegoesbaa

    *Ignition* interrupt switches do indeed seem like a bad idea. However, I doubt that many designs are intended to simply shut the car off while it’s in motion.

    *Starter* interrupt switches seem like a fine idea, and I support/encourage lenders to use them to protect their property when it is in the physical possession of people with a well-established track record of stiffing creditors.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    So I guess we can assume the Hammer Time column won’t be coming back. Shame, that was definitely a high water mark for Steve.

  • avatar

    BHPH clientele on the average have a proven track record of not deserving anything better. And the whole ‘single mother’ trope isn’t a negating factor is electing not to pay bills.

    These are the same people that have been posting things online post-Irma like:
    “YO FLORIDA DCF SAYZ YOU CAN USE UR EBT FOR HOT FOODS CUZ OF THE STORM!!!!”
    “NEWHERE HAVE HOT FOOD AND TAKE EBT BUT WAWA? SICK OF WAWA ALREADY :(“

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “BHPH clientele on the average have a proven track record of not deserving anything better.”

      and there it is. Poor people are poor because they deserve to be.

      • 0 avatar
        I_like_stuff

        Poor people are poor for a variety of reasons. Some because of stupid decisions, some because of bad circumstances, some between a mix of the two.But regardless of the reason, a business shouldn’t be forced to provide them with charity, in the form of 0% financing on a $2K car.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          “But regardless of the reason, a business shouldn’t be forced to provide them with charity, in the form of 0% financing on a $2K car.”

          oh Jesus Christ, can you do anything but construct strawmen? nobody’s saying they should be given 0% financing. But “screwing them six ways from Sunday” IS NOT THE ONLY OTHER POSSIBLE OPTION!!

          • 0 avatar
            I_like_stuff

            Screwing them six ways from Sunday, aka as providing a loan at a rate that compensates for the high risk.

            What you want is charity. Maybe not a 0%, but a rate lower than the corresponding risk demands.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “Screwing them six ways from Sunday, aka as providing a loan at a rate that compensates for the high risk.”

            except both Jack and I have provided examples of BHPH dealers going way, way beyond that.

          • 0 avatar
            tooloud10

            How do you not understand that if there were other/better options, those doing the ‘screwing’ wouldn’t exist? They’d have no market share, because others would be offering these people better deals.

            As a buyer, you don’t get to this point by being hard on your luck or bouncing a $25 check, you get there by already proving that you generally can’t be trusted to pay for a car that you agreed to pay for. That is, you’ve ALREADY screwed someone out of a large amount of money and now have the gall to accuse someone of trying to do the same to you even though there’s nothing compelling you to take any BPHP dealers up on their offers.

            Just walk away. That’s an option these buyers didn’t give to those creditors they already screwed.

  • avatar
    stuki

    It’s a bit myopic to focus on BHPH dealers as some sort of standalone evil. As others have pointed out, given the world we live in, they are inevitable.

    The evil at the root of all these practices, is the constant and ever accelerating debasement by way of cheap money and credit. Leading to an ever larger share of total compensation being doled out in the form of “asset appreciation” to those on the inside, rather than as payment for doing any sort of work.

    Over time, this cannot but lead to those dependent on working for a living, being left with less and less options, hence having to “accept” more and more dehumanizing terms of trade when dealing with those from the beneficiary side of the Fed’s and Government’s wealth redistribution project.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    People talking about this as a necessary or reasonable practice for low credit buyers are missing the point I think. Why would I want the power to remotely disable my car to exist anywhere? I don’t think I need to be wearing a tin foil hat to be concerned about the increasing ability of far off people/companies to have control over the functions of my car. What happens when this device moves from just subprime borrowers to everyone? And when the shutoff order goes to a VIN one off from mine, the $9/hr operator makes a typo and my car shuts off? Or when that database is hacked like Equifax and all of a sudden a kid in the basement or a foreign agent can turn off cars at will? If the customer isn’t a good credit risk without this kind of safeguard, don’t write the loan.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      ^ Up vote

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      “Why would I want the power to remotely disable my car to exist anywhere?”

      Because the alternative, in late stage, fully financialized, progressive dystopias, is that you have no car.

      When the fruit of your mere labor, by necessity, has been appropriated in order to fund “asset appreciation” for the guys you need to get on your knees and fellate while begging for a loan. Which you now need to do, simply to obtain something as trivial and cheap as a car to drive.

      Antebellum cotton pickers no doubt, in isolation, would have preferred the power to put chains around their ankles didn’t exist anywhere, either. But when the alternative of removing them would result in being shot, or torn to pieces by dogs, they mostly just sucked it up.

  • avatar
    saturnotaku

    So being responsible with my money, paying off my debts on time and in full, and not buying stuff I can’t afford makes me a “member of America’s privileged class?” Get bent, Baruth.

    • 0 avatar
      Cactuar

      Yeah, that was offensive.

    • 0 avatar
      DweezilSFV

      Same here. Never been on a BHPH lot. Never would darken the door of payday and title loan swamps. Prudent use of credit cards. Deferred gratification.

      Also considered a “deadbeat” because when I use a credit card, it’s paid off at the end of the month.

      Signed

      A Member of America’s privileged class. By way of working in retail most of my working life.

      I feel so special.

      • 0 avatar
        Cactuar

        Right, isn’t it nice living the privileged life? Every time I get in my 11 year old Odyssey I feel like I truly am a part of the elite.

        • 0 avatar
          bking12762

          Cactuar-I do feel part of the elite with my 15 yo Honda Accord. I’ve maintained the car as if it will be my last and it is FREAKY clean. No payments! My family owned new and used car dealerships for years and I learned the following: 1. Cars are a necessary evil. 2. Don’t pay interest on depreciating assets. 3. Cars do not define the person.

        • 0 avatar
          jalop1991

          Your Odyssey is only 11 years old???? Well, la-dee-DAH, Mr. Scrooge McDuck.

          Mine turned 16 this week.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      Not all privilege is economic. I’m privileged to never have had a major health problem that wasn’t covered by insurance, ditto for my wife. Speaking of my wife, I’m privileged to have met the right woman at the right time in my life, and have been married just once. I’m privileged to have been born into a family that had a long history of education and good sense which was passed on to me. This helped make sure that I haven’t done (and been caught) doing anything that resulted in my involvement in the legal system, criminal or civil.

      I don’t know that I’m necessarily a better or worse person than the customers of the BHPH lots, but the privileges that I enjoy have translated into an economic condition that means I don’t have to look to BHPH, payday loan or title loan operations to get by. Being poor doesn’t necessarily make you a bad person, and not being poor sure doesn’t necessarily make you a good person.

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      “So being responsible with my money, paying off my debts on time and in full, and not buying stuff I can’t afford makes me a “member of America’s privileged class?” Get bent, Baruth.”

      I have to agree with this. I got screwed during the housing crisis for being that very person, while lowlifes walked away scot-free from their obligations after having lived pretty damn good lives for awhile.

      And others got their mortgages “adjusted” simply because it was unfeasible for the banks to kick everyone out and get nothing, so they let people continue to live in splendor as long as they paid *something*.

      In the meantime, I continue to live in my modest home, paying huge amounts for utilities and gas for my car, and losing HUGE amounts of money on my retirement investments.

      So now here we are today and I’m not upset by people living the consequences of their poor life choices–and I’m a bad guy for “not caring”????????????

      ??????????????????????????????????

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Statistically speaking? Yes.

      Did you get healthy meals in school? Did you have a safe place to sleep at night when you were a child? Did you make it to 18 without being raped or molested? If so, then you’re on the sunny side of the American street. Hope that doesn’t make you feel any less self satisfied.

      • 0 avatar
        noorct

        We need an up vote button. I may not be as lucky as a trust fund kid but growing up in a safe neighborhood with parents who expected me to go to college and have a career? Still way up there in terms of opportunity.

  • avatar
    bikegoesbaa

    I encourage the people complaining about “predatory lending” to put their money where their mouths are and start a business making low-interest poorly-secured loans to borrowers with low credit ratings.

    If you’re not willing to do this ask yourself why. Turns out nobody else is either, for exactly those same reasons.

  • avatar
    George B

    Jack, my day job involves helping IoT devices like vehicle trackers pass the performance requirements of AT&T and other cellular carriers. I’ve worked on lots of products that monitor the position of cars, but so far none to immobilize cars remotely. It’s probably not worth the safety and liability issues of disabling a car. If you know where a car is parked, it’s easy to send out a tow truck to get it back.

    One of the major uses of vehicle tracking is inventory management at car dealerships. Knowing where a car is on the lot or out on a test drive speeds up the process of getting that car in front of a potential customer.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    If I remember correctly, Steve Lang was a BHPH dealer. Judging by what he wrote for TTAC, he made every effort to work with delinquent customers. Repossession was his last resort after everything else failed.

    I’m quite willing to believe there are sleazy BHPH dealers. Ditto for new car dealers. Where I live, there is exactly that kind of dealership. What’s strange is that it has passed through several owners but the culture at the place has remained constant and is different from others under the same ownership.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      This.

      I believe it is wrong to paint a group of people or a particular business with the same brush.

      Not every contractor you hire to do house repairs will do terrible work, steal you blind, and skip out when the job is 60% complete.

      Not every black guy is a criminal, not every Latino person is here illegally, not every gay man is feminine/gay woman is masculine, not every single mother is a whore, not every drinker is an alcoholic, and by-God, not every car dealer (inc. BHPH) treats every customer like a paycheck and not a person.

      (I mean no offence whatsoever to any of the B&B who may be gay and happen to fit the stereotype I mentioned, it was just an example showing its not smart to put everyone and everything in the same box as other people/things that are similar at their core. I do not fault you in any way for being you, in that sense.)

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    “If you’re leasing a new Kia when you are 20 years old and not in possession of a steady job, you’re not the brightest bulb. And if your grandmother has to bail you out of the problem, you’re probably not the pride and joy of your extended family. ”

    Very nice. Lets personally attack this guy, because we know he must be an idiot and a source of shame for his family. These things *do not* happen to people who are not losers or idiots.

    Because nobody ever was rendered unemployed by unforseen circumstances, such as a plant closing, a business going under, or some other unforseen, unavoidable situation that the man could not have possibly predicted when he leased a new car sometime before. It also could *never* happen for reasons beyond his control or his fault.

    Yes, he might have worked part-time and Tim Hortons, and came to work drunk or stoned and was fired as a result. Or, maybe he had a decent job and lost it for reasons that had nothing whatsoever to do with him or his performance in the workplace. We don’t know. If you did know his exact circumstances, and they were nobody’s fault but his, perhaps disclosing that would have made you look like less of an @$$.

    BHPH lots have the ability to not rip people off while still providing cars to people who otherwise can’t get one. Selling a $1500 car for $5k and getting away with it because the customer doesn’t have the knowledge or ability to make an informed decision is wrong. Makeing SOME money is possible without ripping people off.

    I met a guy when I lived in Florida who did such. The total price for the cars he sold were on the high side, but were not unreasonable given the risk he took by catering to such a market. My point is, there is a way to operate such a business without being a crook, without taking advantage of people, but with still being profitable.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “My point is, there is a way to operate such a business without being a crook, without taking advantage of people, and still being profitable.”

      nope, not possible according to the B&B. Either you charitably give them 0% loans, or you soak them for all they’re worth.

      That’s it. Those are your only two possible options. Nothing else.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        I feel your frustration, Jim. It does seem that many of our friends here enjoy putting everyone and everything into neat and tidy little boxes.

        You’re poor? Must be an idiot and a loser.
        Drive a domestic automobile? Ignorant and blind.
        Drive a not-Toyota truck? Your thingy is 3″ long on a good day.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          You’re poor? Must be an idiot and a loser.

          Isn’t that the war cry of a certain segment of political commentators?

          • 0 avatar
            ClutchCarGo

            I’m not sure which viewpoint is more corrosive, that being poor means you’re stupid and/or lazy, or that being rich means that you’re smart and/or hard-working. It goes back to our Puritan forbearers that didn’t believe in luck. Good outcomes were God’s blessing, bad outcomes were God’s punishment.

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        “nope, not possible according to the B&B. Either you charitably give them 0% loans, or you soak them for all they’re worth.”

        You misunderstand completely.

        It is possible. People are doing it. There are BHPH lots (and similar lenders) who charge interest rates commiserate with the unique challenges and higher risks posed by their customer base, but without victimizing them.

        So buyers should exercise some due diligence and frequent *these* dealers instead.

        If I’m selling cars at 2x KBB with 20% APR and an immobilizer fee and the guy down the block is selling cars near book for 11% and no fees then WHF are people buying from me?

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Want to do away with BHPH lots AND help poor folks? Vote for more mass transit.

    I’m FreedMike, and I approved this message.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I wish there were more car charities.

    I like to work on vehicles enough (and have the tools) that I’d donate time otherwise spent on personal degeneracy to fix things up for people. Unfortunately, various liability concerns seem to make that sort of arrangement not possible.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      It’s capital intensive which limits the reach, much like Habitat for Humanity, but they are out there and could probably use help from guys like you.

      https://www.vehiclesforchange.org/

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I know there is a local church that every fall they have a day where they have an inspection day where they will do things like replace bulbs, check tires and brakes for people in need. If they find things like brakes I believe they recipient does pay for the parts. Some of the things like light bulbs are donated by a local shop who I assume is a member of the church.

      But yeah the liability is a concern.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Where or where is FlyBrian? Shouldn’t he be the one commenting on this post?

  • avatar
    bking12762

    Silly me…I forgot that low income people aren’t allowed to shop around for fair/good deals. And I’ve heard that there is special adhesive (much like flypaper) applied to the pavement of BHPH lots that once a prospect/suspect walks onto the lot they can’t leave..

    • 0 avatar
      Hydromatic

      Pretty hard to shop around for a car when you’re juggling two low-paying jobs with demanding schedules, more so if you have a crumbsnatcher or two to feed. And surfing through the world of Craigslist or newspaper classifieds for a sub-$1000 beater isn’t much of an option for most, either.

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        Doesn’t running close to the financial edge mean that a person should be *more* responsible than those with a greater margin of safety?

        I know I watched my money a lot closer when I was poor than I do now.

        • 0 avatar
          jalop1991

          “I know I watched my money a lot closer when I was poor than I do now.”

          To clarify: you were never poor. You were broke.

          There’s a HUGE difference.

          • 0 avatar
            bikegoesbaa

            “you were never poor. You were broke.”

            I’m confident in saying that any demographer or socialist who was familiar with my background would agree that I solidly met the definition of generational poverty, at least as it’s understood in the developed world.

            What is your basis for saying otherwise?

            It is in fact possible for somebody to graduate from “poor” to “not poor”.

      • 0 avatar
        jalop1991

        “Pretty hard to shop around for a car when you’re juggling two low-paying jobs with demanding schedules, more so if you have a crumbsnatcher or two to feed.”

        Ummmm…..if you don’t have any sort of decent employment, such that you’re barely taking care of yourself, you have NO right to impose a crumbsnatcher or two onto society.

        What you just described is a person unable to make good life choices.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    The annoying thing about BHPH is that there are so many ignorant people with bad credit that they have squeezed legitimate customers out of the used car market. Your choices are private party and new now. I’ve got a friend that wants a car that is out of production. There are about six of them on the eastern seaboard, two of which I’d bother traveling to look at. They’re on BHPH lots, for prices I wouldn’t pay with my friend’s money. I’m a cash buyer whether the car is new or used, but no dealer wants to sell a used car for cash when they can finance it for a usury interest rate to someone who thinks math is an instrument of the patriarchy.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    I would accept that the shutoff switch needs to be disclosed on the paperwork, including all the fees associated….like any good contract should.

    Don’t like it, don’t sign it.

    I’m gonna agree with others, I have no problem with BHPH places. Again, don’t like it, don’t sign the paperwork. Don’t understand things? Don’t sign the paperwork. Don’t know how much a car is worth or if you are getting ripped off on the interest payments….Don’t sign the papers. Go to your computer and do some D*amn research. Do some of them “prey”…i’m sure. But that is in a lot of things in life.

    “They raise the price of used vehicles by throwing more available “credit” at them, leading more rent-seeking subprime financiers to get involved in the game, which further raises prices without adding value to the customer.”

    You just described just about any industry in America these days. Housing is exactly the same way. College educations. I’m sure there are others. Can you finance your medical bills? Then there is another. But nothing will change as long as consumers continue to sign the dotted line, whether they understand what they are signing or not.

  • avatar
    Hydromatic

    Pfft. It’s not our fault that poor people don’t have a wealthy relative who’d simply gift them a lightly used and/or well-maintained late-model vehicle they’re not driving anymore just to help them get back on their feet sans debt.

    Perhaps the poor in this country should emulate the poor in Asia and take to the streets on ratty 50cc mopeds and motorbikes. A family of five can fit on one with the right amount of balancing.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “Perhaps the poor in this country should emulate the poor in Asia and take to the streets on ratty 50cc mopeds and motorbikes”

      You’re obviously living in a non-urban area, perhaps next to these wealthy relatives you speak of. People zipping through the hood on cheap Chinese scooters is super common in working class/welfare class neighborhoods. Got a DUI and need a drink? Hope on your sub-25mph non-licensed scooter and ride on down to the corner liquor store.

      • 0 avatar
        WalterRohrl

        The “poor” in Asia on the scooters aren’t “the poor” in their society.

        The poor are the ones having to balance on top of the bus that’s about to crash into the ravine or crammed into a train cattle-car style.

        The scooter folk are solidly middle class comparatively, probably akin to our Accord and Camry drivers. Undoubtedly there is a BHPH scooter lot somewhere in town. In Saigon, that’s probably where May and Clarkson got their Vespa and Honda SuperCub…

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      “Pfft. It’s not our fault that poor people don’t have a wealthy relative who’d simply gift them a lightly used and/or well-maintained late-model vehicle”

      Can we please use the correct word again?

      How about “…who’d simply give them a lightly used car…”

      A gift is a noun. To give is a verb.

  • avatar
    everybodyhatesscott

    My ex is a sweet person, smart enough to get an accounting degree, but just a complete idiot financially. Her car broke down, she needed a new (used) one for about 6 months (she was moving overseas) and she got taken to the cleaners by a shady car salesmen. She couldn’t sell it cause she wouldn’t get what she owed and wouldn’t be able to get the title. I tried to negotiate with the finance company so we would at least handle the sale if they’d work with us. They would not. They would not even talk to me with her on the phone and her permission because they couldn’t strong arm her with her CPA there with her. Ultimately I just told her “Your credit already sucks, you’re moving to another country for the foreseeable future, let them come after you”

    Got a call from them 7 months later (Somehow they though I was her employer) wondering where she was. After I looked at the deal I also told her, never buy a car by yourself again.

  • avatar
    azmtbkr81

    It would be interesting to have access to a car equipped with one of these devices to determine how to remove it, can likely be done with a pliers and a wire nut to reconnect whatever signal wire it interrupts. Then hook the device up to a small 12v battery and mail it to a remote corner of Alaska.

  • avatar

    I don’t know if he still does, but at one time Rev. Jesse Jackson had an equity stake in a company that provided ignition shut off devices to car dealers. He was hooked up with the late Mel Farr, a former Detroit Lion who tried to create an automotive group based on his Ford & Mercury shops and ended up with just a Kia dealership before the Koreans stopped making crap.

    • 0 avatar
      cognoscenti

      I used to love those commercials as a kid – “Call Mel Farr, superstar, for a far better deal!” …”…and they can not fly, either!” LOL. BHPH tactics before BHPH was a thing.

      My wife and I actually tried to buy a late 80’s Toyota Celica from a Mel Farr dealer on Telegraph Road in Pontiac around 1990 or so. We negotiated the deal, then when it came to signing the paperwork the deal was totally different than we agreed to (F&I guy, anyone?). They would not honor the verbally agreed terms so we walked.

      There is a neat short Freep article on Mel Farr with videos here: http://www.freep.com/story/money/cars/2015/08/04/mel-farr-pioneer-among-minority-auto-dealers/31101145/

  • avatar
    bking12762

    I believe that I can tell what every poster’s political affiliation according to their comments…

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    Remember, Jack, that even “really good guys” can’t just sell a car for market value – because there’s overhead, lot costs, labor, refitting, etc.

    If someone can make money selling cars at “market price plus one payment”, say, why aren’t they stealing the BHPH lots’ lunch money by undercutting them?

    There’s money to be made, after all!

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    not even close to how it works. the switch only immobilizes the starter, not the whole car. the car will run until it shuts off, at which time the starter will do nothing.

    one tiny wire under the dash, easily seen, easily bypassed. its going to be the only wire under there thats cut and has scotchlock fasteners on it. or duct tape… or masking tape. possibly wire nuts or crimps.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    I didn’t read all the comments, but just say this. Being poor can be expensive in this country. I understand the mindset that the elites are just telling the poor that that the don’t need these things and shouldn’t have them. I also understand the mindset that adults should be accountable for their choices.

    I will say this:systems designed to create a cycle of poverty should not be tolerated. That probably includes at least some pay day lenders, some BHPH dealers….even certain aspects of the criminal justice system. I would suggest this as a solution. Make these businesses subject to audit and compliance with the state’s usury laws…typically 25%. But that seems totally reasonable doesn’t it.

    People who have never been poor, without credit probably aren’t the best people to comment on this practice, it’s benefits or it’s problems. Also, even though we are dealing with adults, let’s not forget that some of our worst school systems produce graduates that cant find the U.S. on a globe. They arent going to understand contract terms beyond the most basic clauses. Maybe I’m a bleeding heart liberal, but we as a society have failed these people and should at least try to protect them.

  • avatar
    manu06

    The solution to this problem is to teach personal finance in the schools. Usury laws existed and still exist for
    a reason, to protect not only the individual borrower but society as a whole . The government regulates
    lots of markets, the food supply, to medicine, etc… it doesn’t do it perfectly but we are better off with regulation
    generally.

  • avatar
    xtoyota

    This Country spend Billion and Billion on FREE education…. Many poor
    decided it was more important to squander their lives and not complete their schooling or drop out……….. Sorry I can’t feel sorry for them.
    The opportunity was available and they choose not to use it

  • avatar
    rpn453

    I’m trying to think of an age where I wouldn’t have been able to disable something as simple as a starter interlock; like if someone had installed some equivalent within the electronics one of my R/C cars and I knew it was there somewhere. 9? Maybe even 8?

    A hidden GPS for locating purposes only could be hard to find though.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I can honestly say that reading these comments has become less of a chore as of late. I used to come fairly often, but had to stop because politics for the sake of politics were discussed as often as anything related to the content.

    I don’t know how to feel about this article. I’ve seen where people have benefited from BHPH lots and I’ve seen where others have been hurt. I’ve never had to use one because I’ve been lucky enough to maintain a decent payment/credit history and have been able to patronize reputable new car dealers with workable terms and no tomfoolery; I’ve seen other people who couldn’t make a good decision with a big neon sign above it saying “DO THIS, DON’T DO THAT.” I’ve been around a couple who declined a sale because it wouldn’t benefit the would-be buyer. It’s a mixed and generalities make it hard to make a valid argument.

  • avatar
    guardian452

    The author brings up an important problem which nobody else seems to discuss:

    These lending deals drastically inflate the price of cheap cars to the point where they make financing practically required.

    When I was a kid buying my first car it was a 10 year old monte carlo for $2000. Cash from my parents which I paid half back. If the BHPH places had their way back then the car would have cost 4 or 5 k, if not more. And I probably wouldn’t have had my first car, I probably would have been borrowing the parent’s cars instead.

    If you’re broke and you need a car even the heaps on craigslist cost more than they should, unless the seller is really motivated.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      It is still possible to find some reasonable-condition and maintainable stuff in the $1500 – $3500 range from private parties, but it is much harder than 10 years ago.

      It also requires time to do leg work and a more than basic knowledge of automobiles, which most shopper don’t have.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Congratulations, you’re the first reader in this thread who could stop playing Warren Buffet long enough to actually understand the economics of it…

      • 0 avatar
        brenschluss

        My mind replaced Warren with Jimmy when I read that sentence the first time, and it still worked. Standing among Corollas and Sentras, hearing Margaritaville waft faintly from the small, dirty cinderblock office…

        “Mellow, but not smooth; kinda sh!tty.”

  • avatar
    kurkosdr

    Can’t the guy pay a mechanic to remove the GPS thingie? If it’s an aftermarket addition, it should be easy to remove.

    Even if it costs money, there is the satisfaction of not paying the scumbag dealer another fee.

  • avatar
    The Soul of Wit

    Um. Hasn’t nearly every GM vehicle for the last decade-plus come with a “Kill switch” as standard equipment? Or, have I misconstrued the capabilities of “On-Star”?

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    So I exercised a little Google-fu and it turns out these little big brother AVL devices are pretty easy to remove. Why even bother with the dealer. Tell them to pound sand with that fee and just cut the thing out.

    If your contract obligates you to have it but you aren’t a big fan of some sleazeball knowing your movements; you could probably even put the antenna in a Faraday cage to disable the GPS tracking of where you are. Technically you didn’t modify and/or remove squat.

    Personally I’d rather just buy a cheap car of Craigslist then deal with a BHPH lot.


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  • JimZ: what the hell does which side the steering wheel is on have to do with anything?
  • raph: Yeah just realized that a second ago and edited my comment below to reflect that. I wonder if there was ever a...

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