Monday, February 27, 2012

Local Dealerships Install GPS Tracking Inside Your Newly Purchased Car

                   Privacy Concerns Force One Woman To Speak Out

by Matt Kroschel

Grand Junction - We have all heard about GPS tracking in our phones, but now, hidden tracking units in some vehicles we purchase give dealers the ability to track your every move in real time from their computers. Over the last few years, "buy here, pay here" lots worried about high risk loans they make on vehicles they sell at across the county have began the installing tracking units. The growing industry-wide trend leaves some customers with privacy concerns.

“I think it is creepy. They already know where I live. Now, they know where I am all the time. It is weird,” Clifton resident Dominicque Barker told NewsChannel 5 Tuesday afternoon. Barker purchased a used Cadillac Escalade, a vehicle that fits into a high-risk category according to industry insiders.

We can confirm that most companies that sell new and used cars and also offer financing here in the Grand Valley use some form of GPS tracking on at least some of the cars they sell. Because of privacy concerns, the companies we asked to go on camera for this story refused to be interviewed, but they did provide us with information about the type of tracking systems they use and what capabilities they have.

NewsChannel 5 has learned companies like Rocky Mountain Tracking, a Fort Collins based GPS provider, offer the units for under a $200 investment to start. Customers can also purchase upgrades that give the ability to shut down a vehicle remotely and have car alarms engaged.

The tracking units are legal in the state of Colorado and before they are installed in vehicles the owners have to sign a waiver acknowledging the devices are installed.

“I was basically told I either had to sign and have the GPS installed or else I could not get the loan for my car,” Barker said.

One dealership manager told NewsChannel 5 that as long as people pay their loans on time, they should not even know the device is on their car and their staff only uses the system when someone becomes delinquent in their payments.