Strongly Worded Letter Edition

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September 2, 2016


Strongly Worded Letter Edition

Strongly Worded Letter Edition
(Photo from


Have you ever seen Team America: World Police where the UN sends a strongly worded letter to Kim Jong Il, to protest his maniacal actions instead of actually doing something to stop him? Well this story is a lot like this: “In response to the arrests of two suspected car thieves who had reportedly stolen over 30 Jeep and Dodge vehicles in the Houston area using its DealerCONNECT software, parent company FCA has updated the terms of use for the DealerCONNECT program, stating that it could pursue “civil and criminal proceedings” against unauthorized users, Automotive News reports.

It seems that FCA software isn’t the most secure and can be easily hacked. This has been proven before and FCA said they fixed it. Well, in this latest episode of strongly worded letter, FCA updated their software’s terms of service to include a line about FCA pursuing civil and criminal punishments if their software is misused. This is the company response to 30 vehicles being stolen using a pirated copy of dealer software. Yep. Someone gained access to the software—police, nor FCA will say exactly how—and reprogrammed key fobs to steal the vehicles. And their solution is a strongly worded letter. 

It’s funny in some ways. Sad in others. Okay, lazy. I think that it’s just lazy. Rather than fix any security holes in the software, FCA adds lawyer speak to cover their posteriors and give them legal recourse to punish the thieves. In the meantime, the 30 vehicles in this case (there might be other cases and more vehicles) are gone. The owners now have to play the insurance game, claim the loss and spin the roulette wheel of “are my rates going to go up now?”

When the story of the thefts broke almost a month ago, FCA went on record saying blah blah safety and security of our customers blah blah blah. Their “stronger” terms of use is the level of their commitment to customer safety and security, I guess.

I wonder what the retainer of the attorneys FCA consulted is and what the bill was to come up with that pivotal, ironclad line about civil and criminal charges to protect the safety and security of its customers. I wonder how that compares to the cost of just improving security of their dealer software and security of access to that software.

I don’t know why, but this reminds me of a few weeks ago when FCA mailed out letters to Jeep owners telling the owners about their possibly dangerous shifter, but didn’t give the dealers the ability to fix the cars until later, as in the case of Anton Yelchin where his recall notice showed up a week after his death.

But what do you think? Do you think the change in wording is enough to protect the vehicles or just enough to protect FCA and is that sufficient?

If not, perhaps FCA customers should write some strongly worded letters of their own asking about FCA’s responses lately.




Final Thought:

This. Is. Hilarious. And, I am guessing, not what Lexus was expecting when they sent their new LX570 to Jason Torchinsky to review.  This may be his last vehicle from the brand!

Here is to honest reviews:

Please post your comments and conversations on my Facebook page: Lauren Fix The Car Coach

Or on Twitter: @Laurenfix.

Love Your Car! See you next week!

–Lauren Fix

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