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Any Advice on Inexpensive GPS Trackers?

Anyone here using one of the many low cost GPS trackers available? I'm not interested in navigation or snooping on how someone else is driving my car, but it would be nice to be able to locate it if it were stolen so I could, uh... ask for it back.
Old 06-11-2018, 09:29 AM
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Did I read somewhere that an old iphone stashed somewhere in your car could be used as a tracker with the where's my iphone app?
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Old 06-11-2018, 12:17 PM
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Any of these will need monthly monitoring costs. I installed one in one of my cars a while ago, I can’t even remember where it’s installed now. Lol. The service was $10 a month back then, it might be more now. That extra cost may be better spent on upping your insurance value, so you are comfortable with the pay out if it gets stolen. Instead of the alternative, which is recovering a stolen car that becomes worth much less if/when Carfax makes note of the theft. Cause unless you have a stellar insurance policy, they won’t pay you for diminished value. Just my two cents...
Old 06-11-2018, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by NYNick View Post
Did I read somewhere that an old iphone stashed somewhere in your car could be used as a tracker with the where's my iphone app?
An Iphone would require it be on a cell plan (as opposed to wi-fi) and a way to keep it charged......
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Old 06-11-2018, 05:41 PM
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Any GPS tracker would require some kind of ongoing monitoring plan. The GPS unit itself simply sends and receives signals to the satellites, nothing else. It requires some form of communication method to relay its position to you, and that's usually (always?) done through the cellular network with what's basically text messages. When you ping the unit to get its location, you're basically texting it a request, then it texts you back with the coordinates. I don't know of any other way of communicating with them.
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Old 06-12-2018, 05:02 AM
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There are very cheap trackers that the bottom end of the used car dealers use, i.e. Buy here pay here types. They put them in all the cars they sell, makes repo easier. Super cheap cell plans are under ten bucks if you don't use minutes or data, which a tracker wouldn't, unless you need it.
Old 06-12-2018, 06:12 AM
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There are very cheap trackers that the bottom end of the used car dealers use, i.e. Buy here pay here types. They put them in all the cars they sell, makes repo easier. Super cheap cell plans are under ten bucks if you don't use minutes or data, which a tracker wouldn't, unless you need it.

While that sounds like a very convenient idea, it is not legal. You need a warrant to place a tracker on someone else's car. If you know of dealers employing this, I would suspect they are breaking the law many times over on a daily basis. Police even need warrants to place a tracker on someone they are surveiling.
Old 06-12-2018, 07:00 AM
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My neighbor was talking about a Pet collar GPS tracker for his dog. Maybe look into one of those?
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Old 06-12-2018, 07:31 AM
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Thanks guys... The light is finally going on, of course, a cellular network! I'll talk to my cell provider and also my used car dealer buddy. The trackers are available through eBay and Amazon, starting at under $20. I have a few cars and not much faith in insurance companies, so tend to self insure aside from legally required liability. I'm probably just being paranoid as I haven't had a car stolen since my 66 Bahama yellow 911 at SF State in about 1970. Still, it's hard for me to leave unattended a car I've put a year or so of my into.
Old 06-12-2018, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by JMS935 View Post
While that sounds like a very convenient idea, it is not legal. You need a warrant to place a tracker on someone else's car. If you know of dealers employing this, I would suspect they are breaking the law many times over on a daily basis. Police even need warrants to place a tracker on someone they are surveiling.
That's not even close to true. It's perfectly legal so long as it's disclosed and signed for by the customer. There are several nationwide companies that provide these devices and services. I used to be a licensed dealer and we installed them in all our cars, perfectly legally. These are the guys we used: https://passtimegps.com/
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Old 06-12-2018, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Christien View Post
That's not even close to true. It's perfectly legal so long as it's disclosed and signed for by the customer. There are several nationwide companies that provide these devices and services. I used to be a licensed dealer and we installed them in all our cars, perfectly legally. These are the guys we used: https://passtimegps.com/
It depends on what state you are in. If someone consents to having a tracking device placed on their personal property, I can't imagine that would be an issue anywhere. I think what JMS was referring to was unauthorized placement. Here in Massachusetts, that very issue was argued in our Supreme Judicial Court recently. A decision is pending.
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Old 06-13-2018, 10:42 AM
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It depends on what state you are in. If someone consents to having a tracking device placed on their personal property, I can't imagine that would be an issue anywhere. I think what JMS was referring to was unauthorized placement. Here in Massachusetts, that very issue was argued in our Supreme Judicial Court recently. A decision is pending.
Thatís exactly what I was saying. You definitely need permission, either permission from a judge in the form of a warrant, or from the person that you want to monitor needs to consent to it. And I highly doubt anyone would be ok with being tracked and just sign off on it, especially if/when they know itís for repossession purposes. The Supreme Court ruled on this very issue, and determined that a gps tracking device on a vehicle is consider a search, and therefore protected by the fourth amendment. So no, you canít just do this, any dealer doing so is violating your constitutional rights without your signing off on it, and if even if you did sign off on it thatís a whole Ďnother argument altogether. And since this is a constitutional right afforded to every citizen, why would anyone be willing to sign away their constitutional rights? They wouldnít. This isnít done, I firmly stand behind my previous statement.

Read this article, it will help clear it up...

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/03/supreme-court-if-youre-being-gps-tracked-youre-being-searched/389114/

Here is the cliff notes version copy and pasted from that same article...

ďthe Court has considered the Fourth Amendment quite a bit recently. In 2012, it ruled that placing a GPS tracker on a suspectís car, without a warrant, counted as an unreasonable search.Ē

Christien, those monitoring services you refer to are legit and legal, Iím not saying they are not, as I have one myself on one of my own cars. But they are NOT being used by dealers to track their inventory of financed vehicles for if/when they need to repossess them. They would be violating each customerís constitutional rights by doing so.
Old 06-13-2018, 01:18 PM
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And as the implied sleazeball car dealer, I'd argue I wasn't THE GOVERNMENT tracking the twice convicted recidivist sex offender in the cited case, but merely tracking a vehicle of which I'm still legal owner until I get paid for the sucker.
Old 06-13-2018, 02:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMS935 View Post

Christien, those monitoring services you refer to are legit and legal, Iím not saying they are not, as I have one myself on one of my own cars. But they are NOT being used by dealers to track their inventory of financed vehicles for if/when they need to repossess them. They would be violating each customerís constitutional rights by doing so.
Passtime's biggest clients are (or at least were, when I was still slinging cars a few years ago) dealers. It's strictly for subprime, and I've never once seen a customer walk away from an offered deal because of them. These people have no choice but to accept loans at 20+%, because somewhere down the line they've messed up their credit badly, and they're well aware of it.

Out of all the cars on the road, approximately 80-85% are financed, and of those, sub-prime makes up about 40%. Most BHPH dealers (and larger ones as well) couldn't afford the losses from inability to locate and repossess cars (especially post-2008) without these devices. That's probably 20% or more of the population that would then be left without a vehicle. Of vehicles with those units installed, somewhere between 10-20% will end up in repo. Those #s are unsustainable for a small dealership.

I'm not by any means defending shady dealers - there are tons of them, and that's half the reason I got out of the industry (shady deadbeat customers are the other half). But GPS trackers/starter interrupters are a necessary evil in the world of vehicle finance.
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Old 06-13-2018, 02:32 PM
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Even if that’s the case, and they consented to it, that’s still not legal. That was the whole ‘nother argument that I was referring to, cause you can’t just sign away your constitutional rights. It seems as though these dealers are having customers sign contracts that would never stand up in court, but since these are all sub-prime customers, none of them have the money for legal expenses to invalidate their illegal contracts. It’s a catch 22 that both the dealers and their customers seem to be ok with. That’s all I can make of it.
Old 06-13-2018, 03:30 PM
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The constitutional rights arguement refers to the "suspect's" rights, and usually are associated with "crime". GPS trackers are not a violation in the private/business sector. All fleet vehicles are tracked, rental cars, cabs, buses, used cars..... Think of it as inventory control. The car dealers are the least invasive, they aren't monitored until repo day.
Old 06-13-2018, 06:29 PM
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The constitutional rights arguement refers to the "suspect's" rights, and usually are associated with "crime". GPS trackers are not a violation in the private/business sector. All fleet vehicles are tracked, rental cars, cabs, buses, used cars..... Think of it as inventory control. The car dealers are the least invasive, they aren't monitored until repo day.
All Fleet vehicles you refer to are being monitored (or tracked) by their respective owner(s), which isnít the same as a dealership that is financing a car (or cars) that in the eyes of the law is owned by someone else. Those arenít the same. The former is legal, the latter is illegal. It is considered an unconstitutional search, you canít track someone elseís car without a warrant to do so.
Old 06-13-2018, 06:55 PM
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That's the point, the asset is not owned by "only" someone else and if your car is financed it is not yet owned by you in the eyes of the law. Hence said ownership (title) has a lien holder. Same as your house, it's just not mobile, the bank knows where the collateral is located.
Old 06-13-2018, 07:27 PM
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Yeah, but am I guilty of stalking if I find my stolen car with a tracker and wait outside someone's house for the police to come?
Old 06-13-2018, 07:37 PM
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That's the point, the asset is not owned by "only" someone else and if your car is financed it is not yet owned by you in the eyes of the law. Hence said ownership (title) has a lien holder. Same as your house, it's just not mobile, the bank knows where the collateral is located.
That is totally and completely wrong. The lender only holds a lien position, both for a car or a home, they have no other rights - period. When you buy a house and put a measly 5% down and your lender puts down the other 95%, you say you own your house right? Yes. Thatís cause your name is on title, the lender does not own the home, nor the car. They have first lien, that is it. First lien holders donít have the right to track their loans with gps devices. Nor does the lender have any right to access your home, yet based on your analogy theyíd have more right to your own home than you do since they technically own almost all of it (in my example). Does your title state your lender is part owner? No. Cause they are not. Their loan only entitles them a first lien position, which doesnít come with any ownership rights whatsoever. If the borrower fails to honor their agreement, then the lender can use their first lien position to take back the property, but that takes a lawsuit to transfer their first lien to a position of ownership. What youíre saying makes no sense, thatís not how the laws of this country work.
Old 06-13-2018, 07:50 PM
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