If there was any trust that Amber Khan (not her real name) had in anti-car theft “tracker” companies, it was lost within minutes of discovering that her Daihatsu Cuore was stolen some weeks back, despite being under constant surveillance of the security company. “The first shock was the fact that my car was stolen. The second was the casual manner in which my complaint was handled by the tracking company which insisted that the fault was mine and not theirs,” she recalls.

Khan had purchased her car only some weeks back through UBL AMEEN, the Islamic car financing arm of United Bank Limited, one of the country’s leading banks. UBL AMEEN took care of the tracker company, in this case a Lahore-based company called Info-Track.

Khan says that she had trust in UBL but not in any tracking company. “They chose possibly one of the more dubious companies and as a result I lost my car,” she adds.A survey conducted by The News on the effectiveness of tracker companies operating in the city found that some companies were openly claiming that despite their state of the art systems, the system was useless for small cars and also not effective in theft cases. This is something neither Khan nor thousands of other customers who have taken the services of sub-standard tracker companies were ever told.

It may be recalled that many tracker companies started functioning in 2003 using a system called JASIM which directly connects to the network coverage areas of cellular companies. Initially, the companies showed good results as most car thieves were unaware of this technology. Then the Anti Car Lifting Unit (ACLU) Karachi, a specialised unit of the Karachi Police, discovered that several vehicles were “de-track-ed” by criminal gangs and taken away despite the hi-tech systems installed. These cars were then spirited off to other parts of the country.

Recently two major gangs involved in this practice of “de-tracking vehicles” were caught by the ACLU. During interrogation, the car robbers revealed that they could defuse the tracking system within five minutes. This has led to more questions being asked by the ACLU about the effectiveness of the system for which customers are paying millions of rupees collectively in special services being offered.

It may be mentioned that there are about 18 tracker companies working in Karachi and most of the companies have their head offices in Lahore. Karachi is seen as the hot-spot for car theft in the country.

Amber Khan recalled that when she took delivery of her Cuore car, before handing over the car the insurance company installed a tracker system. Officials of the company told her that their system was “the best system in the city and the safety of her car was their guarantee.” But after her car was stolen and she called the tracking company for her car’s location, the official refused to disclose the location of her car and told her that her car “was out of their screen and the criminals who had stolen her car had probably defused the tracking system.”

She asked why she was not told that defusing of a tracker system was common in the city. Despite repeated requests, the company has also not given any record of where her car’s last movements were recorded.

When contacted, Muhammad Zubair, Manager Operations of Info-Track stated that the tracker system of his company did not work for small cars when they were parked or when they were taken into a basement.

“Why was I not told of this?” asks Amber Khan. To this Info-Track officials have no answer, only an apology. Law enforcement officials and security experts say that such companies who claim to have hi-tech systems in place are “actually fleecing the people.”

Some say that the fault lies with the bank for making its customers compulsorily install this system. UBL President Atif Bukhari was contacted for his comments but there was no response from his side.

Not all companies are sub-standard. Many customers say that it depends on the service being offered by the company. Arsalan Ahmed Khan, a banker, told The News that he had a Toyota Corolla car installed with a tracking system. Once he was confronted by car snatchers at Teen Talwar in Karachi. As they snatched his car and tried to defuse the tracking system, Arsalan received an immediate response from the tracker company who alerted the police which encircled the criminals and caught them.

A police investigation officer said there is a prominent wire which is cut by the criminals and the tracking system is rendered useless. He warned that there were only three major companies whose system was different and criminals have been unable to crack their system.

However, due to the cost of installing a tracker system everyone cannot install the proper system and go for alternatives. The high end companies also disconnect the system when payments are not made by customers and this renders cars unsafe.

The officer said that the companies were using JASIM system, which is directly connected to the network of cellular companies. This was unreliable and would break down when coverage was down. More effective was the satellite system, he said.

The tracker system is fully effective at Super Highway, National Highway and RCD Highway but on the RCD to Balochistan Highway, it was noticed that after Hub, about 40 miles onwards, the tracker system did not work.

What is appalling is that most of the criminals held were former employees of the same tracker companies. To check this trend, the police have asked tracker companies to give records of those employees who were sacked by the companies so that they could follow this up in case of thefts. But the companies have not obliged so far.

One police officer recalled that a vehicle was stolen from Gulshan area in Karachi but after three days the car came on the screen of the tracker company giving location as Dadu. Immediate action was taken and the tracker company along with the police conducted a raid and recovered the car.

A police official commented that the system was largely effective and that in every ten vehicles, eight vehicles were recovered. At the same time, experts say that there are certain companies which are using low quality devices which at times malfunction. Some companies are using locally manufactured devices and software technology while others are using Chinese products and they don’t have proper guidance maps and proper management units to operate.

The tracker system works on GSM and GPS (Global Positioning System). GSM communicates with the car and GPS with the location. If the vehicle is out of the GSM coverage area, the GPS always points out the location of the car and if the company is a good one can always request the GSM operators to provide service to that particular area in order to recover the car.

However, it should be pointed out that the tracking of the car is not done 24/7. Only when the customer needs the location of their car, the location is provided. Or in the case of alarms going off, the company contacts the car owner and also does the tracking.

The reason given by some of the car tracking companies that the car lifters have defused or dismantled the device is seen as a lame excuse as it is the responsibility of the tracker companies to have efficient and fast mobile teams to track and reach the exact location of the stolen car, say experts.

There are some tracker companies using Beacon technology which is outdated. One such company, Star Track, was black listed for using outdated technology. Similarly, another company, Win Track, was also blacklisted.

Sohail Akram, Manager of the “Car Ijarah” facility at Bank Al-Falah said “car lifting is on the rise. We receive many complaints about car snatching and car lifting and there are car tracker companies which have failed to track the car. Due to this, some insurance companies have black listed such companies.”

Despite this poor record, what is worrisome is that leading banks, in a bid to offer attractive packages in their car loans, are falling for the temptation of signing agreements with low-tech car tracker companies. In this, customers who have seen their cars stolen have no recourse except to suffer in silence as their claims are processed over a period of several months though no fault of their own.

COURTESY : THE NEWS on
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
By THE NEWS correspondents

10 comments

  1. ali // April 7, 2008 at 10:51 PM  

    My name is Ali Ahmed and i work with one of the top most tracking companies in Pakistan.
    First of all when such a situation occurs that of a snacth or theft, the reason any information is not provided to the customer is to avoid any kind of a mishap which might occur possibly to our customers. There are certain procedures to be followed in such cases and Security Department is only to handle such issues.
    Secondly customer is to be blamed if any vehicle is left un-recovered.
    10 out of eight vehicles which are recovered are those, owners of which co-operate at their utmost. When ever they are informed that there is some kind of an issue with the reporting of their vehicle, they without wasting any time send their vehicles for the problem to be rectified.
    2 out of those 10 vehicles are not recovered because owners are not inclined towards the safety of their vehicle which in case of theft or snatch results in non-recovery of the vehicle.
    More over customers who are presently are availing the trakker services are clearly informed about the non-gsm areas, and that how dangerous it can be for their vehicles to be in those areas.

  2. alina // August 3, 2008 at 6:41 AM  

    I am the designer of the tracking devices in pakistan and most of the companies are using pakistani devices are following my foot prints
    after kidnapping in pakistan in early 2007 i moved my family to UK
    i want to share my experince with everyone
    1) out of 10, 8 vehicle got recovered means the system is effective at large
    2) Unrecovered vehicles are including every company like ctrack , wintarc, vtrack , logitrack , most of them are using imported units.
    3) to make a success storey pakistan should support made in pakistan products .
    4) alone my company was having around 500 people working for us in 2007. Are we doing any wrong by making devices in pakistan and providing jobs to people where as the recovery ratio of the company is 99%.
    5) In insurance companies, now they are signing agreements to recover the amount of loss from the tracking companies in case of vehicle remain unrecovered, so who is the having most of the burden
    the owner of the car - NO
    the insurance company - NO
    the tracking company - YES
    where as every one in the deal enjoy
    the car dealer commission around 7000~8000 RS.
    the bankers commision- YES as per arrangment
    the insurance person commision in bulk at the signing of the deal.
    the internal sales person commsion within company.

    all the above are the winners of something the losser is the owner of the tracking company.
    look V-track couldn't pay mobilink payment mobilink stopped servicing there sims, C-track covered its losses by having there own insurance comapny.
    logitrack is just surving. forget about all others.
    Due to huge car financing in 2005, 2006 and 2007 the bussiness of these companies grow upward now they are declining.

    May GOD bless our country , the corruption is now in the blood , the companies got there deals signed not on the basis of there performance but on th basis of what commision they will get if you resist compalined at large you will be black listed or delisted.
    this is what is happening everyone is trying to fill his needs not looking for others
    we should support our country and promote pakistani products of any nature we will be successful.
    the level of criminal activities automatically go down if our youth get jobs.
    look at the reports of ACLC you will find most of the unrecovered vehicles are fitted with imported units.
    Now the devices we are making in pakistan are being exported to UK , Kenya, Saudi arabia, brazil and still selling but not with the name of made in pakistan ( coz no body trust pakistani products how they can when our own pakistanis are not having trust in pakistni products)

    any way i am still a source of providing jobs to our people thanks to my allah.

    May GOD Bless Our Country.
    if you have any question please email me at alinafame@ymail.com

  3. My Blog // December 8, 2009 at 12:36 PM  

    Dear All, these posts are old but I seen them now just by chance. I am engineer and also technology user.

    Every thing which is made by human is not perfect, remember this basic point. All stuff created for safety could provide you margin of time to secure your asset but can't secure it forever.

    In case of vehicle tracking and recovery devices the basic point is that how soon you report mishap to tracking company and police because vehicles have limited space inside that can be fully explored in maximum 30 minutes by any lay man.

    Lastly, major objective of tracking devices are used for recovering vehicle whereas customers and insurance companies demands are different e.g. city exit alarm, central locking alarms, remote assistance, etc. What exactly these features do they provide easy traces to locate tracking device.

    In my opinion, all banks and insurance companies should get real time tracking without extra features so that hiding and installing of device can be more reliable and secure.

    However, there is a wording that you ultimately get what you think "jo gomaan ho wo ho jata ha" i think this is true in lady case...

  4. Nauman // May 12, 2010 at 2:35 PM  

    Hi,
    I am sorry but I disagree with all of you, the reason why I believe that tracking devices are a failure is because 2 days back my cuore 2010 got stolen infront of a hospital in bahadurabad, the car had TPL trakker installed, not only this my father also applied locks on the stearing wheel alongwith a local alarm syste which was installed to be on the safe side. The car got stolen, why was my father not called by TPL in the first place to confirm whether any tempering wad done with the car when the thief managed to break in and tried to disconnect the device, furthermore after the report of stolen vehicle when we asked the location of the vehicle they said the location was not available because it is believed that the tracker might have been defused or a jammer might have been installed and so called co-operating with the company we used all our sources even within the company, So the question is for you big companies what is the need to attract new consumers through false promises, next time when I buy a car I might have to stick to the old insurance system because it seems our companies are incapable to handle this tracking system unfortunately.

    8/10 lol
    Nauman

  5. adeel // May 28, 2010 at 2:12 AM  

    Hi,
    Im Adeel Nawaz and i've recently passed my graduation and given my Final Year Project on Tracking System in which i've tried to solve all the issues to my best.
    My Project is totally controlled by user it self. It's Functionalities are:
    I've provided 2 modes in that tracker, 1) armed 2) disarmed.
    If the Vehicle is in armed mode and some one tries to open a door or a bonnet of a car, the tracker will automatically generate a message that your door has been unlocked and automatically block the car by turning off the ignition and if the thief break the Glass of the door instead of opening the door, then there is a sensor at brakes and accelerate, when that motion sensor will detect a motion the device will generate a message and it will block the car automatically and if the battery is removed there is a backup battery which can give backup upto 1 month.
    on the other hand this device can give the exact location with in 10 to 15 meter of the surrounding of the vehicle and can be traced by just a single SMS. Every Function can b controlled by SMS. so i think its a best solution for Pakistani's.

    if any one have any query can easily contact me on
    adeel.nawaz@live.com

  6. Ve9us // July 11, 2010 at 2:10 AM  

    Hi My name is Faisal Afzal. i am an owner of Car tracking company. The issue discussed here that thieves disarming the device and stealing the car is not possible since our trackers have back up batteries which stay alive for three month. so there is no way that thieves can disarm the tracker.
    Second major issue now a days is stealing car by using gprs/gsm signal jammer which is a major issue at the moment but by the grace of Allah we have resolved that as well.
    Although you increase your security by having the tracker in your car, but tracking company is not an insurance company if you are paying about Rs 800 a month for tracking you are just decreasing your chance of loosing your car. if any comments or question please contact me at faisal.afzal@securityaz.com.pk

  7. AWA // July 13, 2010 at 10:29 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  8. Syed Ismail // November 19, 2010 at 7:42 PM  

    I m serving Insta Track (Pvt) Ltd and i am very happy to serve such a company which is having very sound SOPs. Insta Track always try to maintain proper records of all the customers and put its best efforts to recover the stolen vehicles. Till now, we are successful we are successful in recovering 90% of the vehicles. So, it is requested that you people should try the services of Insta Track (Pvt) Ltd.
    Syed Ismail,
    Business Development Manager
    +92 345 4955005
    +92 300 6305005
    +92 301 8405005

  9. Syed Ismail // November 19, 2010 at 7:42 PM  

    I m serving Insta Track (Pvt) Ltd and i am very happy to serve such a company which is having very sound SOPs. Insta Track always try to maintain proper records of all the customers and put its best efforts to recover the stolen vehicles. Till now, we are successful we are successful in recovering 90% of the vehicles. So, it is requested that you people should try the services of Insta Track (Pvt) Ltd.
    Syed Ismail,
    Business Development Manager
    +92 345 4955005
    +92 300 6305005
    +92 301 8405005

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