Most modern gadgets have technology built-in, which in theory can be used to track stolen devices down. Many of the consumers out there know this, but the companies selling the devices are not willing to help. Some consumers even suspect that companies may not be helpful for ulterior reasons.
One of the most frustrating things that can happen with gadgets today is losing them. Modern gadgets have evolved to a point where we are constantly investing in them. For example users with the Kindle device can continue to purchase e-books and have it downloaded to it. iPhone owners can purchase apps for the device. Once consumers lose their device, they not only lose the gadget but all of the content on it.
There is one thing the Kindle, Sirius XM and iPhone have in common; all of the devices can be tracked by the service provider. The devices either need to be synced up to a computer, or have GPS/Wi-Fi capability which allows service providers to track them.
According to The New York Times, many companies are reluctant to help consumers track down their devices. Companies such as Amazon and Sirius are making it difficult for consumers to shut off devices remotely so that thieves can not use them. Users can cancel their subscription but if you were to ask Amazon to block your Kindle’s serial number from being registered the company will not comply.
This is an example of what happened to Samuel Borgese when he left his Kindle on a plane by accident. He promptly canceled his account so no one could buy books using his credit card. However, upon asking Amazon to put the Kindle’s serial number on a do-not-register list, a service rep told him that the police must contact them with a subpoena.
Sirius XM has a similar policy where the victim of the theft must get a subpoena to deactivate the device. iPhone service provider, AT&T has the capability to track exactly where the device is located, but will not do so or lock the device. Apparently, this is AT&T’s standard policy.
Consumers like Borgese, suspect that companies like Amazon would rather have a stolen device out there being utilized then to go through the hassle of tracking it down. I suppose even a paying thief is a revenue stream when you get down to it. However, companies may want to rethink its policy when it comes to dealing with frustrated consumers and evolving technology.