Service of Leasing a Car in a World of Hackers

May 7th, 2018

Categories: Automobiles, PIN Numbers, Sales, Security, Technology

2018 Malibu

A friend was refused a credit card offered by a cashier along with a special promotion at a store she frequents. She has a top credit rating. The cashier didn’t explain why her application was declined and she’d forgotten that she’d frozen access to her credit reports.

I, too, was tripped up by a frozen credit report. This post is to remind folks who protected themselves from the Equifax debacle or who froze their reports for any other reason to remember they’ve taken the step and to tuck the PIN numbers from credit services in a handy place.

Photo: nextbigfuture.com

In my last post I wrote about my experience identifying myself to my auto insurance company when we were leasing a new car. I didn’t remember which PIN number they were asking for—I have so many for that company–and ran into a second wall when my answer to “What’s the name of your child?” was “I don’t have one.”

Turned out we weren’t out of the woods once we’d cleared the insurance hurdle.

Starting from the beginning, we were at Ruge’s Chevrolet in Millbrook, N.Y. the last Saturday in April. We’d become, uncharacteristically, the kind of indecisive customers salespeople must detest. We finally leaned in favor of one model, but didn’t care for the color of the car on the lot. Fire engine red isn’t us. So we chose a different model.

I’m not used to being this finicky. Our salesman of many years, Barry Lang, was cheerful and patient as we zigged and zagged and although he didn’t show it, he must have been happy to see us leave [while wondering: “What happened to them?”]. It wasn’t the last of us. We had an appointment to pick up the new car Monday morning—the day the lease on our other car expired.

Barry Lang, Ruge’s Chevrolet

Not long after we left, Barry called to ask me to lift the freeze I’d put on my credit file at TransUnion. He gave me all the information I needed to reach them and I immediately tried online as the office was closed until 8:00 a.m. Monday. But my social security number was not in the system. [I knew that wasn’t accurate!]

When I updated Barry, saying I’d return to the city to retrieve my TransUnion file Sunday and grab the earliest train north Monday morning, he told me to relax, to stay put and to enjoy the weekend in the country.

Monday 8 a.m. I answered all the questions of the TransUnion agent until he asked for my PIN number. When you freeze your account, you get this number in a letter mailed to your official residence. I was sunk. The number was in the city. I was 90 miles away.

In the end, I was lucky: I reached David Reich, an associate whose office is next to mine and who was at work early. He found the paperwork and PIN and I was back in business.

The rest of the procedure at Ruge’s was seamless. Barry showed me what was new about the car. In fact, he shot me an email a few days afterwards urging me to contact him if I needed a refresher about the new technology or features. The new car has no key, for example. I start and stop the car by pressing a button.

The glitches were my fault. Remembering how smoothly everything had gone in previous transactions either buying or leasing a car from this company I came unprepared. The hiccups were caused because I’m not yet used to how I’m forced to protect myself from hackers. I didn’t come armed with the appropriate PIN numbers.

I’m grateful to TransUnion for protecting me from potential scofflaws as, no doubt, is my friend, even though she couldn’t glean the goodies offered by the retail store’s promotion.

Have you been blocked from making a purchase because of a credit report freeze or didn’t you freeze yours? Have you found it more complicated than previously to make large purchases involving credit these days?

Photo: 123rf.com

 

 

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6 Responses to “Service of Leasing a Car in a World of Hackers”

  1. Martha Takayama Said:

    I have not been blocked from making a large purchase lately, but then I haven’t tried to. I find everything that should be simple more complicated every day because of threats, hackers, warnings etc.

    My computer has been overtaken by viruses despite installing proper controls. When it went “inpatient” to Microsoft, I found it very tedious to resume using it and know I lost some information.

    I find the simplest payment tedious. I cannot keep track of all my ever-changing pin numbers. In short I am annoyed, frustrated and fed up more and more often by the consequences of electronic misbehavior.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Martha,

    It seems that the simpler everything supposedly gets, the more complicated it really becomes. I have been too lazy to keep track of the long list of “upgrades” that I’ve felt have been downgrades. I would draft a post about them. I should start keeping track as of now.

    As for your computer’s “hospital stay,” the several people I know with IT jobs say that if it weren’t for Microsoft and the complications and issues its upgrades cause, they would be out of business.

  3. Protius Said:

    The last time I owned a car was in 1962, and I got such a rotten deal that I had to pay the dealer $500 – a lot of money then — to take it off my hands a year later. I’ve dreaded going back to get a new one ever since, reasonably certain a mechanical ignoramus like me would be ripped off in the buying process all over again.

    It’s good to hear that things have gotten a lot better, and that there are men in the business like Barry who actually look out for their customers. Thanks for passing the word along.

  4. Lucrezia Said:

    Exhaustion and loss of patience (not necessarily in that order) took over after reading this post. There must be a better way! If not, the auto industry is sure to collapse.

  5. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Protius,

    There’s still a dollop of do-it-yourself required today that I bet you didn’t have in the ’60s–as in remember to have on hand any and all PIN numbers that might come up during such a transaction. Bet you wrote a check, too and didn’t try to lease.

    There were some cars, such as Jaguars–the vintage ones are among my favorites to look at–that were known to be so fragile that they spent more time in the repair shop than on the road and were not made for NYC with its legendary potholes. Maybe you had one of those or a lemon. I remember customers getting in trouble with dealers in the day for parking their bad luck cars in front of dealerships with giant plastic lemons on their roofs.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lucrezia,

    If I had paid by cash, credit card or check, the only glitch I would have encountered would have been with the insurance company because I didn’t remember the PIN number off the bat and responded incorrectly to the question about my child’s name, when I said “I have no children.”

    I have no idea how many people have frozen their credit reports and of those people, how many want to lease a car, which requires a credit check. I may be in the [unfortunate] minority!

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