Federal Trade Commision


Right to Repair is Stuck in a Rut

The Right to Repair Bill seems to be stalled in congress as it waits yet another day to be considered by the Massachusetts Senate. The legislature was first introduced to Massachusetts in 2006 proposing to allow independent repair shops unlimited access to major manufacturer’s service techniques, repair codes, and tools. Bills similar to this one have been proposed in eight other states since 2001 however never enacted.

Proponents of the Right To Repair Coalition include consumers along with the auto parts and repair industry. In fact the Right to Repair legislation is funded and lobbied by some of the largest aftermarket auto part retailers. Those supporting the bill argue theĀ  computers vehicles rely on are becoming increasingly advanced and making repairs more of a nightmare for fix-it-yourselfers and independent repair shops.They argue its time repair shops and repair part manufacturers should have explicit access to the repair codes, techniques, and tools necessary to repair vehicles. This measure would drive down consumer’s repair costs and grant a greater convenience and choice in choosing repair shops. Supporters of the bill hopes the measure will pass giving the Federal Trade Commission authorization to enforce regulations and encourage competition.

Opposers of the bill believe it would force manufacturers to release confidential trade secrets and other information that would give competitors an unfair advantage. Others believe the Bill’s goal is gain access to automakers information to reproduce parts outsourcing at a lower cost overseas. Those opposed to the bill reference the National Automotive Service Task Force that was formed in 2000 to grant independent repair shops the same access to services and techniques franchised dealers had. The National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF) created a website: www.nastf to address any questions independent shops have while repairing a vehicle. The largest organization representing independent repair shops, New England Service Station and Auto Repair Association, has told congress this piece of legislature is unnecessary as service information and repair codes are already available.

Here’s the big question… who is right? If you have an opinion on this piece of legislation contact your local congress member via the contact information at link: www.mass.gov/legis/.

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