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Used Car dealerships use GPS to track vehicles

Published: Nov. 8, 2014 at 12:01 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 12, 2014 at 2:18 AM EST
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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A Philadelphia woman who was snatched off the street and forced into a car, is home safely after police located her using a GPS planted in the suspect's car by the dealer he bought it from. That same GPS technology is found in hundreds of used-cars in Wilmington, but their intended purpose has nothing to do with catching kidnappers.

Low-credit car dealerships that offer "buy here pay here" policies use the GPS's to track down consumers who fail to make payments on their vehicle.

Lorna Lovitt, co-owner of Lovitt's Auto Sales on Third Street, said each GPS costs about $200, but it saves the dealership more than that in time and resources.

"We put the GPS in the vehicles because it uses less time to locate the vehicle," Lovitt said. She compared it to the six to eight months it takes them without using the technology. "It we don't find the vehicle, their account gets so past-due that they're not actually able to afford to get it back."

The dealer can't tell you where the GPS is located, but they're required by law to tell you it's in your car before you drive off the lot.

Michelle McNish who manages the office at Lovitt's, said the GPS's in one of the cars they sold helped first responders save a Wilmington woman's life. It happened when officers called the dealership with a missing person's report. They used the GPS to track her car to a parking lot where they found her unconscious.

"We could have saved that woman's life by getting her the immediate medical attention that she needed. [Her husband] might have never found her. She was just in a random parking lot because she started feeling sick and pulled over," McNish recounted the incident that made her aware that the GPS' they install can track much more than tardy payers.

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