A recent New York Times story painted an unflattering picture of technology so critical to buy-here, pay-here operators nowadays — GPS and starter interrupt devices. The feature also described pending litigation involving devices manufactured by one of the industry’s top providers — PassTime.

In response, PassTime officials shared a memo with BHPH Report, reinforcing the quality of its devices and the crucial role the company plays in the success of BHPH operators nationwide.

“PassTime has been recently contacted by various media outlets regarding its products as the result of pending litigation against one of PassTime’s valued customers. Our company policies prevent us from commenting on pending litigation involving our product,” the company said in its memo distributed on Tuesday.

“With that said, our device plays a vital role in allowing those who might not otherwise qualify for an auto credit to get financed.  We are proud that our technology has given consumers greater access to financing and enhanced transportation options,” PassTime continued.

In the New York Times story, the newspaper recapped the testimony given to the Nevada legislature by a woman who asserted that her vehicle was shut off while she was traveling on a busy Las Vegas freeway. The vehicle reportedly had a PassTime device installed by the subprime finance company who provided the loan.

The report indicated the borrower wasn’t behind on payments, but she reached a confidential settlement with the finance company following the incident.

“Devices cannot disable a moving vehicle, and all devices capable of vehicle disablement have audible warnings reminding the consumer when payment is due,” PassTime said in its memo.

“In the event of an emergency or to avoid inconvenience, a customer who has their vehicle disabled for non-payment may contact PassTime 24/7 for a code allowing the customer another 24 hours to drive the vehicle,” the company continued.

PassTime pointed out in its memo that the company has been in business nearly two decades and has more than 1 million devices currently in use.

“During that time, thousands of car buyers have personally called the PassTime customer service line to thank us for helping them get car financing for a better vehicle at lower rates that they otherwise would have had access to without the device,” the company said.

“Further, independent studies have demonstrated that, with the use of devices like PassTime, payment default rates at dealerships using the devices fall from as high as 40 percent to below 5 percent, while repossession rates as high as 25 percent to 30 percent fall to below 3 percent,” the company continued.

“In simple terms, the devices let people buy cars, and let them keep cars,” PassTime went on to say. “Nearly all car buyers with these devices installed also consistently see their credit scores improve — and access to credit builds personal wealth.”

The company also mentioned the lengths it goes to keep itself and its clients compliant. During the most recent national conference orchestrated by the National Alliance of Buy-Here, Pay-Here Dealers, PassTime joined with Hudson Cook to host a nearly two-hour seminar on now to use GPS and starter interrupt devices properly. Part of that education material was reviewed during the BHPH Webinar Training Series session hosted by BHPH Report.

“PassTime actively works with dealers and finance sources to ensure compliance with applicable local and federal laws. This includes providing regular workshops on the issues of legal compliance,” the company said. We have engaged national compliance counsel for over 15 years to monitor and advise us of changes in federal and state laws that impact the use of devices as those changes occur.

“PassTime also works with state regulators to ensure the regulators understand the use and safety of the devices and that PassTime complies with applicable state law. Passtime has also consulted on state legislation ensuring that enacted laws provide proper consumer protection and guidance for dealers and finance companies using the devices,” the company continued.

The company also refuted an insinuation made in the New York Times report regarding how borrowers have to pay extra to have these devices installed on vehicles.

“PassTime prohibits its dealers and finance sources from charging car buyers for the devices. PassTime provides its dealers a comprehensive disclosure statement detailing the purpose and functions of the devices — including, where applicable, a device’s ability to render a vehicle unable to start,” the company said.

“Dealers agree to use the PassTime disclosure or adopt a similar comprehensive disclosure that a car buyer must read and sign before buying the car,” the company went on to say.

PassTime closed its memo by reiterating its entire position on all of the matters raised in the newspaper report.

“PassTime is proud of its products, committed to compliance, and respectful of consumers,” the company said. “Again, PassTime will not comment on the merit or lack of merit of any lawsuit. PassTime will conduct an internal, thorough investigation of the matter, and will continue to ensure its compliance with the law.”