John Oliver mocks device that nags until you make a car payment

Technically Incorrect: In an excoriation of subprime car lenders, the HBO comedian is appalled that lenders can install gadgets in your car that annoy you until you pay up.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

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Beware devices in your car.

Last Week Tonight/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Employers are using gadgets to monitor where their employees are at all times.

Last year, a sales executive says she was fired for turning off an iPhone app that monitored her all day. And all night.

But did you know that if you buy a car and take out a loan, the lender might have inserted a device in your car that reminds you when you payment is due?

Indeed, as John Oliver delighted in explaining on his "Last Week Tonight" show (around the 6-minute mark), the device beeps and beeps until you make a payment.

Every five seconds.

I have lived through something like this. I used to live in Singapore. Every taxi was fitted with a device that rang a bell -- constantly -- when the driver exceeded the speed limit. It was maddening, especially as some drivers just ignored it.

But what if you ignore it in your new car?

Oliver explained that if you haven't made the payment by midnight, the device shuts down your car.

Yes, you can't start it and it will likely get repossessed with everything that's inside it. In one case, Oliver revealed, a lender reportedly repossessed a car that still had a baby inside.

You, though, might imagine that you wouldn't take a car loan from one of these unscrupulous lenders.

But you know how it is with gadgets. Once even reputable lenders see their use (to them, that is), they might insist they're installed in every car in which they have a stake.

In any case, as self-driving cars become the norm you're going to be even more closely monitored all the time.

Please imagine. You're rolling along in your self-driving car. You're texting away and tapping at your laptop. Suddenly a voice bellows from a speaker: "Make Your Loan Payment Now! Make Your Loan Payment Now!"

I'm not sure I'd like that very much.