NJ Takes Stand Against Car Amenity ‘Subscriptions’


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.