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Thread: Legality of VCDS

  1. #1
    New User Ddcboyle's Avatar
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    Legality of VCDS

    Hi guys, had my VCDS for about 2years now. (Only joined forum a month or so ago when i ran into an issue). Ive worked on mods for my own and friends cars, done the usual diagnostics and alterations.

    Ive mentioned this at work and made attempts to explain to colleagues how it works (my job is law related but not a lawyer) so as with the job, questions keel getting asked that I presumed I knew, but wanted to clarify.

    Questions were;
    1) is it legal to diagnose your car or others with VCDS? Im no trained auto electrician or any qualification in this, and I presume this is why its being asked.
    2) Is it legal to retrofit items or alter coding that was not factory spec? Again the point was made that vag spend a fortune coding cars and if you havent paid for the cruise control etc, is retrofitting it fraud?

    Its something thats a hobbie and curiosity of mine, and although theres some profit in it, id rather be confident in my replies to colleagues about the legality in coding the vehicles. Is it fraud, do i need qualifications to do it on others cars etc etc.

    Anyone with knowledge able to clarify?

  2. #2
    Benevolent Dictator Uwe's Avatar
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    I'm no expert on UK law, but...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ddcboyle View Post
    1) is it legal to diagnose your car or others with VCDS? Im no trained auto electrician or any qualification in this, and I presume this is why its being asked.
    Your own car: You own it right? What does it mean to own something?

    Someone else's car: They asked you to do so, right? And they own it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ddcboyle View Post
    2) Is it legal to retrofit items or alter coding that was not factory spec? Again the point was made that vag spend a fortune coding cars and if you havent paid for the cruise control etc, is retrofitting it fraud?
    Again, you own the car, and you presumably bought the parts you're retrofitting. The only way I could see this running afoul of the law is if the changes you make somehow take the car out of compliance with the standards it was certified to. This is, for example, why we won't provide instructions for disabling TPMS or other safety systems when we know they they were required as of a particular date.

    Now if enabling cruise control is as simple as a entering a Login or making a coding change, then I would ask you: Let's say you buy a brand new house from a builder. When you took possession of that house, he probably didn't leave all the lights on, did he? Does that make it illegal for you to flip the switches and turn those lights on? Because that's effectively what you're doing in such a case.

    Of course VAG would like to collect money for such things. That's why the latest cars have "SoftWare as A Product" and cyrptographically strong "Feature Enabling Codes". This is much more of a gray area, and VCDS doesn't touch it.

    -Uwe-
    The engineering problems are likely insurmountable. It would be like proposing to land a rocket booster section on a barge floating in the middle of the ocean.

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  4. #3
    Verified VCDS User
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    1) Yes. You are not "diagnosing" anything. VCDS does not tell you which part to replace. All you are doing is reading fault codes and telling the car's owner what the car believes is a fault of some kind. There is nothing illegal about this.
    2) Yes. Ross-Tech is actually quite careful to ensure that VCDS can't modify anything that could change safety or emissions related functions. You basically need other tools if you want to make illegal modifications to your car. The government really doesn't care whether or not you can open your windows with your key fob. If you are retrofitting (like cruise control) you still have to buy the requisite VW controllers and other parts so it is usually not really free. As for coding changes, you are just enabling features that were built into the car at the factory. Perhaps the real question should be: If they were built-in at the factory, why weren't they enabled at the factory? You paid for them when you paid for the car (they were built-in).

    Have Fun!

    Don

    P.S. {edit} it looks like Uwe types faster than I do. There were no replies when I started typing.
    Last edited by JSWTDI09; 10-07-2018 at 11:58 AM.

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  6. #4
    Ross-Tech Employee Jef's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JSWTDI09 View Post
    If they were built-in at the factory, why weren't they enabled at the factory? You paid for them when you paid for the car (they were built-in).
    • Different markets, different regulations, so different coding.
    • May not want "poverty spec" cars doing some fancy features as "champagne spec" cars.
    • Lawyers (NAR)
    Jef
    Ross Tech Support Team, Alpha Squad
    Auto-Scan, learn it, love it, live it... then check the fuses.

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  8. #5
    Ross-Tech Employee
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jef View Post
    • Lawyers (NAR)
    I blame it on dumb people .



    This is probably why we don't have remote windows enabled by default.

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  10. #6
    Benevolent Dictator Uwe's Avatar
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    ^^^ Damn, I was expecting to see something more like this:



    The engineering problems are likely insurmountable. It would be like proposing to land a rocket booster section on a barge floating in the middle of the ocean.

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  12. #7
    New User Ddcboyle's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies

    I had already thought that myself but after the barrel of questions, I ended up getting a bit curious.

    Its a god-send having it, i think the ability scares people and hence why they question it. One of those 2 good 2 be true scenarios.

    I heard ford had to add in some safety sensor because people kept locking ther hands in the window when it went up 😂 somehow....

  13. #8
    NostraJackAss Jack@European_Parts's Avatar
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    Legality of VCDS

    Hi guys, had my VCDS for about 2years now. (Only joined forum a month or so ago when i ran into an issue). Ive worked on mods for my own and friends cars, done the usual diagnostics and alterations.

    Ive mentioned this at work and made attempts to explain to colleagues how it works (my job is law related but not a lawyer) so as with the job, questions keel getting asked that I presumed I knew, but wanted to clarify.

    Questions were;
    1) is it legal to diagnose your car or others with VCDS? Im no trained auto electrician or any qualification in this, and I presume this is why its being asked.
    2) Is it legal to retrofit items or alter coding that was not factory spec? Again the point was made that vag spend a fortune coding cars and if you havent paid for the cruise control etc, is retrofitting it fraud?

    Its something thats a hobbie and curiosity of mine, and although theres some profit in it, id rather be confident in my replies to colleagues about the legality in coding the vehicles. Is it fraud, do i need qualifications to do it on others cars etc etc.

    Anyone with knowledge able to clarify?
    Just what is property I ponder when we pay taxes as a obligation of rent as a tenant?

    Isn't the legality as aforementioned in question by OP, a double edged sword of the legal system & when open to jurisdiction & the right argument; anything can happen or legislation to make it go either way regardless of public policy, versus the actual law or spirit of the law & for the right contribution?
    European Parts Emporium/Performance / Immobilizer Solutions EPE
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    Specializing in Custom Services IE: "welding-fabrication" / EPA-SMOG Update or Pass-Thru-Programming / Data Transfer / Immobilizers & OEM Quality Parts
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    www.FixMyEuro.com <<<<<CLICK HERE! or vwemporium@aol.com ( JPPSG & Unverified members need not PM me & Please don't email for free tech support...use the forum )
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  14. #9
    Verified VCDS User PetrolDave's Avatar
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    Isn't "legal" anything that isn't prohibited by whatever Laws & Statues are in force? - except in countries that use the Napoleonic principle where everything is illegal unless specifically defined as legal by Laws or Statutes.

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  16. #10
    NostraJackAss Jack@European_Parts's Avatar
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    Wanna wanna a banana republic?
    European Parts Emporium/Performance / Immobilizer Solutions EPE
    Certified Master Trained NY/BAR/BAD 7076062/ASE/SAE/NASTF Legal Factory Authorized/Licensed GeKo/FaZit # 403738
    Specializing in Custom Services IE: "welding-fabrication" / EPA-SMOG Update or Pass-Thru-Programming / Data Transfer / Immobilizers & OEM Quality Parts
    Above Magic!
    www.FixMyEuro.com <<<<<CLICK HERE! or vwemporium@aol.com ( JPPSG & Unverified members need not PM me & Please don't email for free tech support...use the forum )
    Getting you CONTROL again of your property - TAKE IT! In Conjunction with.........

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