Big Data Bounty: Firm offers bounty on tow transaction info

Toronto, Ontario — April 29, 2019 — Should towing professionals be selling vehicle information to third party businesses?
Locator Technologies, a Las Vegas automotive business information provider, says they are leaving money on the table if they do not. The company is offering to pay towing and storage providers for tow information, electronic notifications to lien holders about towing and storage, and access to lienholder and registered owner information to its subsidiary site,
In a press release, the company wrote: “With COVID-19 and the shutdowns occurring, an all-electronic process means there is no interruption in processing impounds and identifying and notifying lien holders.”
“We are also paying $0.10 [$0.13 Canadian]  per VIN for all tows submitted, even if there’s no match in our internal lien holder database,” the company wrote. “On top of that, eImpound and Locator Technologies are paying towing and storage providers $1.00 ([$1.25 Canadian] per VIN submitted at, if there is a lienholder match in our internal lien holder database.”
“It’s actually more for Canadian tow companies. For Canadian tow companies, it is $2.00 per VIN if there’s a lienholder match, and $0.25 per VIN if there is no lienholder match,” wrote a company spokeperson in a email to Canadian Towing Professional.
Towing professionals in Canada, however, may face different regulations regarding the sharing of vehicle information than their U.S. based-peers.
According to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada,  The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA)  sets out a number of restrictions on the sharing of customer information.
“Organizations covered by PIPEDA [including towing businesses] must generally obtain an individual’s consent when they collect, use or disclose that individual’s personal information. People have the right to access their personal information held by an organization. They also have the right to challenge its accuracy.”
The information protected includes information about a person’s age, name, ID numbers, credit records, loan records, medical records, and the existence of a dispute between a consumer and a merchant.
Canadian Towing Professional reached out to Locator Technologies for information about whether Canadians are able to access information held by the organization and if they can challenge its accuracy.
According to Locator, the company is not required to provide access to Canadians about information it has gathered because it does not store the information about customers, rather the owners of liens.
“Locator receives VINs from lien holders, because we monitor the VINs for the lienholders (lenders). In Canada, we have TD, Scotia [Bank], and many others.”
“We don’t have debtor information or registered owner information in our internal database. We also pay towers for their tow info, as I mentioned. Because its valuable to lien holders and us.
“We were looking up PPSA information for Canadian towers before (through government-approved databases there), but we’ve pretty much quit doing that due to it being so expensive.”
“Now we just send the Canadian tower the secured party info, if we have it and we email the secured party (due to them sending us their VINs and their email address to get notified). That’s how we get paid – by lenders and lien holders to monitor their VINs.”
The spokesperson says the situation is somewhat different in the United States.
“In the U.S., we have about 85 percent of the lien holders’ VINs [are] in our internal lienholder database. We’re not a government database, and we don’t handle registered owner or debtor information. “
“In the U.S., we still provide towers with registered owner info we find from an outside database. In the United States, all states require notification to lien holders and owners. And the U.S. Federal Drivers Privacy Protection Act requires that those needing to notify lien holders and owners about towing and storage can get access to lien holder and owner info for those purposes. We’re also sending them U.S. lien holder info as well from our internal database, and emailing the lien holder (if there is a match in our internal lien holder database). “

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