Mercedes 'spies on drivers and passes information to bailiffs'

Mercedes cars are installed with tracking devices

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Mercedes has revealed its cars are installed with tracking devices that can pinpoint the vehicle’s exact location, following an investigation by The Sun.

The carmaker has not said how long the trackers have been installed as standard, and insisted most sensors remain dormant.

According to the company the devices are activated only in “extreme circumstances” when customers have defaulted on their payments.

It also admitted sharing the information with debt recovery firms who can repossess the car on behalf of Mercedes dealers.

Speaking to talkRADIO’s Mike Graham, motoring journalist Mike Rutherford compared the technology to a landlord dealing with a tenant who has not paid their rent.

“Is it such a bad thing that you go to your door one day and you put your key in, and electronically the owner of the property actually blocks you from entering the room?” he said.

“I don’t have a problem with that kind of commercial tracking of somebody who’s not paying their bills. What worries me is the bigger picture.

“You can build an incredibly complicated picture on somebody.”

Conservative MP David Davis said the government must investigate.

“This is not the first time big business has behaved like Big Brother but it’s rare to be quite as deceitful as this,” he said.

“I would think the relevant minister ought to look very closely at the legality of this procedure.”

It is illegal to track a vehicle without the driver’s knowledge, however Mercedes customers are required to sign a clause about “location sensors” as part of lengthy contracts.

Mercedes said the clause is “in bold print, just above the customer’s signature”.

Other carmakers including BMW, Jaguar Land Rover and Volkswagen have said they do not carry out similar tracking.

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