Welcome to Microtransactional Hell!
BMW to sell access to heating/cooling system for US$18 per month.
Back in the day when you bought something, you owned it. Now, little by little, we not only have to buy something but to get full functionality, we have to commit to a small monthly fee to gain full access to the item that we thought was included in the original purchase price. Just think how many monthly subscriptions you pay to be able to access all of the apps on your phone, most of which used to be free.
Most of these monthly fees have been associated with computers and phones, and are termed MICROTRANSACTION by those who use them, whereby the amount you pay is considered so small that you don’t mind it and in fact, don’t notice it going each month from your credit card, that is until you realise that eleven-tenths of your credit limit has been used by apps that your kids signed up for and now don’t really need or worse, never use.
BMW is now getting in on the act it would seem. According to a report in THE VERGE, in what can only be a clear example of consumer hostile action that will probably only get worse as we are forced into EVs that are festooned with online apps ripe for hellish microtransaction applications.
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For now, the feature is limited only to cars in South Korea and fitted with electrically controlled front seat heaters. So, for us in Southeast Asia, not much of a threat right now. The cost is US$18 per month or if you pay in advance, US$180 for a year, US$300 for three years or US$415 for unlimited use.
The sneaky folks over at Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW to us) will also be pay-walling other features that you may have thought were included in the original purchase price of your car. Things such as heated steering wheels will now cost you US$12 per month and if you want to record from your camera, that will be US$235, thank you very much, sir.
If you think this is new then think again. Most of us have had to pay some sort of subscription or update fee for an in-car navigation fee and in the past, there was a fee for using Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The cost for these at BMW was an additional charge of US$80 a year. This particular exercise in cynical gouging of customers proved so unpopular that it was reversed when the company realised the outrage it caused.