Is this a trend with all manufacturers

…or is this unique to Chrysler/Fiat?

Sounds like what people in the computer world call DLC or crippleware: You think what you buy has certain features because it’s advertised with them, but then you discover after getting it home that you have to pay extra to unlock those features, even though they’re sitting right there already installed, but disabled.

That sounds like the scams where a computer virus program restricts you from viewing many on-line sites, but if you pay them a fee they will correct the problem.

I had that happen with a pop up that looked like “Norton Anti virus”. It said I had to update my definitions, so I clicked on update. I was locked out of even Microsoft sites.
Lucky for me I had a friend that knew how to work around the program and get into Microsoft to find the fix.


The guy buys a $38K truck and complains about a $100 alarm…what a ______(fill in the blank)…

That’s Nuts!

Why would they charge extra for a lousy burglar alarm?

Many people would decline. Manufacturers should charge extra to unlock the fuel door. At the first gas stop a customer makes, they’d be more interested in activating that service. Locked steering or brakes would be a huge revenue source, too. The possibilities are endless.

I was one of the loyal Chrysler customers, right up until Fiat was involved and then, Bam!


Well they are under Italian management now so there may be other surprises in the future. I guess maybe lucky there isn’t a monthly fee to insure the truck doesn’t catch on fire.

I had a similar thing happen with my 2002 Mitsubishi Eclipse 9,500 miles. I had stopped at a traffic light on a moderate uphill incline. I was applying pressure to the brakes and noticed the pedal “sinking” when I applied more pressure it sank faster. I did not know if it had one but I had heard of hydraulic system pressure relief valves to prevent excess pressure from damaging seals. Once I was moving I tried the brakes and they felt normal so I called the dealer when I arrived at work and they said I could bring it in. I took the day off and went directly to the dealer. A mechanic came out and tried the brakes. He agreed it was a bad relief valve and assured me it was easily replaced. They were offering a half price oil and filter change $29.95 so I asked the service writer if they could also do that? No problem. Less than 2 hours later they were finished so I went to the cashier to pay my $29.95 and get my key. The bill was $119.95! 1.0 hour for diagnostics. I took the bill to the service manager’s office. He explained the warranty covered parts and labor for repairs not diagnostics. Having previously worked at a moderately corrupt GM dealership I recognized one of the many warranty scams they used. I asked if he could dial the regional customer service representative and hand me the phone? He immediately switched to the appropriate song and dance. “That won’t be necessary. We value our customers satisfaction so this one time we will waive the diagnostic fee”. He adjusted the invoice and I paid and left. Fortunately that was the only warranty claim and I never had to return.

I find it easier to perform these services for free than to get into an argument with someone who will never understand.

The service writer and technician were both in error in trusting the customer when he reported the alarm wasn’t working. The first thing they should have done was to check the vehicle equipment list on Dealer Connect to verify that it was sold with an alarm.

Beginning in the 1990’s when adding things like cruise control of fog lights is was necessary to turn these features on in the PCM or Front control module.

In the 1990’s on some vehicles without factory alarm I could access the BCM with a scan tool and turn the alarm on for friends and coworkers. It was necessary to add the arm/disarm switches to the front door lock cylinders to initialize the alarm. This was not intended to be a dealer add on at the time, just a method of streamlining computers.

In 2005 to cut costs the arm/disarm switches were no longer installed on vehicles that came standard with remote keyless entry. The remote is built into the key so everyone has a remote to disarm the alarm making the switch on the lock cylinder redundant. However if the remote battery went dead and the operator opened the door with the key the alarm will sound until the ignition is switched on. Some people wanted that fixed.

Since then most FCA vehicles are equipped the same, alarm capable. The alarm system is a matter of choice for the customer, choose the vehicle with the option package that includes the alarm.

The dealer could turn the all the alarms on during new vehicle prep but what about the customer that selects a vehicle without an alarm because they don’t want the accidental sounding of the alarm?

That dealer may want develop a policy prohibiting turning on optional features that the vehicle did not come with. They would have been better off telling the customer this truck did not come equipped with an alarm.

Comes with wipers, oh you want them to work? We just said it had them, did not say they work. $100 to activate the wiper circuit please? Any difference?

I read though most of the comments after that story. The vehicle owner responded in the comments and eventually revealed that an alarm system was not listed on the Monroney label, “Sentry Key Theft Deterrent System” was listed and he thought this was an alarm system. I wonder how old his trade in was if he is unfamiliar with Dodge’s immobilizer ignition keys.

Is WHAT a trend with all manufacturers? Gobbledegook? Yup. Always was.

I can’t speak to the car part of this issue, but its a pretty common feature on Silicon Valley hi-tech products. They design, build, and test a product with all the functions a customer could want, but then disable the ones the customer doesn’t pay for. That gives them the ability to sell the product in different markets, at the price points those markets are commanding. Say a product has red, green, and blue features. They might sell the RGB version for $300, a GB version for $200, and a B version for $100. Even though its actually the same product, just certain features are purposely turned off at the time its configured. Sometimes they’ll allow you to turn them back on for a price, other times that’s not allowed. In some cases they have a product that commands a high price b/c of the quality of its performance. But they also want to sell a product to compete against a lesser-quality competitive product priced considerably lower. So they’ll purposely de-tune the higher quality product so its performance isn’t as good as it could be.

Stick with the Asian companies for the time being,I dont think the US Govt(taxpayer) has had to bail any of them out recently,it amazes Me how my how my midsize domestic truck behaves.

Several years ago Bausch + Lomb got caught selling 3 different lens (Good, Better and Best). They would always push the Best lens which sold for almost double the lower grade lens.

Turned out there was ZERO difference between the 3 different Lens grade except for what box they ended up in. If you bought the lower grade…they made a profit…If you bought the higher grade…they made a bigger profit.

I checked the Ram configuration web site, they don’t list an optional alarm system for the 2015 1500. So I’m confused - if it’s not available as an option, wouldn’t that mean it should have been standard, and no payment should have been needed?

"The vehicle owner responded in the comments and eventually revealed that an alarm system was not listed on the Monroney label, "Sentry Key Theft Deterrent System" was listed and he thought this was an alarm system."

I wonder if he returned the check after realizing it was his mistake in the first place…doubtful.

It didn’t help that the dealership folks were equally ill-informed. That just allowed it to escalate…

My van has a boatload of features AVAILABLE that are not on my particular version. Perhaps I should complain and get them installed/activated at no cost to me because the owner’s manual references them… :wink:

Just about every product made today has feature levels that cost extra money. Take apart any of them and you’ll see either a fully populated PCBA with the unpaid for features disabled in firmware or a circuit board with some components DNP (do not populate). It’s cheaper all the way around to have common parts because they can leverage volume buying. Even the guy buying the most basic unit is benefiting from this volume purchasing reduction in cost…

The last few cars I’ve purchased from the dealer (new or used) have had an alarm installed by the dealer.

During that time when they’re trying to sell you the Tru-Cote they also bring up that they have installed this alarm but if you want it you will need to pay for it to be activated.

This has always been a dealer item in my experience and not a manufacturer item.

I’ve never asked for the alarm to be activated and since they cannot remove it (or will not) I’ve asked for new, pristine, interior panels to be fitted to replace the ones they’ve drilled holes in.

"The last few cars I’ve purchased from the dealer (new or used) have had an alarm installed by the dealer. "
"I’ve never asked for the alarm to be activated and since they cannot remove it (or will not) I’ve asked for new, pristine, interior panels to be fitted to replace the ones they’ve drilled holes in. "

Wow, if that alarm wasn’t on the car when I test drove it and made a deal, but was on it when I went to pick it up, I’d demand a full refund, leave, and never go there again! I want no aftermarket or dealer installed items on any of my cars.


It sounds a lot like the alarm simply wasn’t working right or had not been programmed properly by the dealer, so instead of just earning some good will, the dealer decided to milk him for every penny they could. I’ve never heard of having to pay to make an alarm active, and I would call BS on the dealer’s charge.

Though I have a friend that bought his wife a used GM car that had no cruise control. To add the feature all that was needed was to add the missing dashboard switch–all the electronics and everything else were already there. Silly that this wouldn’t be a standard feature when all that was missing was a $5 switch, which he picked up from a salvage yard.

It appears there was a misunderstanding that was related to the poorly worded sales literature. When they figured out what the customer was talking about, they reviewed the sales literature and saw that the customer could have been confused. Crysler sent him the money he paid and changed the sales literature to make it less confusing. It wasn’t FCAs best day, but they did fix the problem at their expense.