As if corporate greed couldn’t get any worse, there are automobile manufacturers who are now attempting to charge car owners for the hardware already installed within their vehicles.
The idea is simple: Your car, connected to internet like every other thing in our modern lives, will have features behind a paywall that you can access via a subscription model. This could include a variety of different amenities, some of which are actually safety features.
Now, New Jersey is taking a stand against the practice.
Subscriptions for in-car services: Nobody seems to want them—besides automakers, of course. Paying a subscription for things like heated seats or remote start is something most people aren’t enthusiastic about. Luckily for them, neither are lawmakers in New Jersey. Two state legislators are proposing a bill that would ban car companies from “[offering consumers] a subscription service for any motor vehicle feature” that “utilizes components and hardware already installed on the motor vehicle at the time of purchase.” Yes, that would include a pre-installed heating element in a seat. In fact, that’s explicitly mentioned.
But there’s a catch.
The bill has one stipulation, however. The subscription would only be unlawful if there was no “ongoing expense to the dealer, manufacturer, or any third-party service provider.” In other words, if an automaker or other associated party can prove that it costs money to maintain the feature and/or service in question, then it’d be legally allowed. This would include services like OnStar and such.
Manufacturers who do not comply could be fined up to $20,000 per infraction.