New Jersey legislators want to Ban ‘Car Feature’ subscriptions

Image by Tirelire_Avenue from Pixabay

I recall seeing earlier this year how BMW is charging owners in Korea and UK a monthly subscription to access their heated seats which they already paid for when they purchased their Big Money Waster. That’s right, the car is sold with heated seats, but they won’t function without an active subscription. Then there is Tesla’s ‘Full Self Driving;’ which annual cost is more than a cheap used car. Some legislators in New Jersey want this money-grab practice to stop.

In late September, Assemblymen Paul Moriarty and Joe Danielsen introduced a bill that would prohibit car makers or dealers from offering subscriptions in New Jersey for any feature that uses hardware already installed on the vehicle at the time of purchase unless that feature would represent an ongoing expense to the dealer, manufacturer, or a third party.

The bill exempts third-party services like satellite radio or Wi-Fi and establishes penalties of up to $10,000 for a first offense and up to $20,000 for subsequent violations.

Satellite radio exception make sense being you are paying for a service, not a physical a feature (plus the radio is still going to work without a subscription for terrestrial radio, CD-Player or connect devices). Wi-Fi however, doesn’t make sense. and perhaps someone is confusing Wi-Fi with Internet/cellular connectivity. The way I interpret Wi-Fi is the vehicle’s head unit as acting as an access point when paired with the driver’s (or someone else’s phone). Passengers would be able to connect to the in car Wi-Fi network using their own mobile device (handy for Wi-Fi only tablets) . Internet connectivity means the head unit is accessing an outside 4G/5G network which the vehicle owner is paying an extra fee for service on top of their regular wireless service.

One other example of a ridiculous subscription service for an already installed feature was in the comments of the linked article below. This involves certain Toyota’s requiring some type of a subscription service to use the remote start feature on the key fob (yes, key fob not though an app).  If this is true than means that when the remote start button is pushed on the fob a single is sent wirelessly to the car which then validates through a cellular connection with Toyota’s cloud and if there is an active subscription the car starts. Why? What happened to using plain old radio frequency (RF)? Again, I understand if you want to remote start you car with an app (which I wouldn’t, in fact I don’t want my car connected to the Internet or reliant on smart phone which since I don’t have mobile date wouldn’t work anyway).

Let’s hope this passes and gains traction in other states (I am actually surprised California hasn’t already done this). Cars are already expensive as heck and people are spending money on needless subscription services.

via arstechnica