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Massachusetts state legislature passes Right to Repair bill

Wednesday, August 1, 2012 - 09:10
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The Massachusetts legislature has passed the Right to Repair bill after the car companies, new car dealers and the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition reached a last-minute agreement.


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According to the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association, the agreement would:

• Mandate that car companies immediately make available to the independent vehicle repair industry the same tools, software and repair information that they make available to the franchised dealers.

• Require, beginning in model year 2018, that car companies maintain all of their software and service information in an electronic database that is available to consumers and independent service facilities on a subscription basis. Further, car companies would need to provide access to their diagnostic and repair software through a standardized interface that will mean reduced capital costs for independent repairers and that they will access to the most up-to-date tools that are now often only available to franchised dealer technicians.

• Prohibit the car companies from avoiding the bill’s service information requirements should they attempt to provide vehicle diagnostic information to their dealers through telematic systems.

• Subject car companies to treble damages for non-compliance under the state’s strong 93A consumer protection statute.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Association of Global Automakers, Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association, and the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition released the following statement regarding the passage of the bill:

“Automakers, dealers, and independent repair shops applaud the Massachusetts Legislature’s action late last night to approve a compromise “Right to Repair” bill.  This legislation represents common ground among the parties. 

“Under this new law, consumers, dealers, and independent repairers have total access to original equipment manufacturer (OEM) tools and repair information.  It ensures choice for Massachusetts vehicle owners, protects manufacturers’ intellectual property, preserves the integrity of the role of the dealer in the repair process and protects Massachusetts small independent repair businesses and community dealers.  

“We wish to acknowledge the significant efforts of House Chair Ted Speliotis and Senate Chair Tom Kennedy in the development of this compromise and thank Speaker DeLeo, President Murray, House Minority Leader Jones, and Senate Minority Leader Tarr for ushering this legislation through their respective chambers during a busy last day of session.

“Once the bill is signed into law, all parties have agreed to work together to educate public on the compromise bill and that the ballot question is no longer necessary.”

The governor has 10 days to sign the bill, AAIA reports, adding that the governor has stated publicly in the past that he supports Right to Repair legislation and would sign it if it was passed by the legislature.

AAIA says that the referendum cannot be taken off the ballot at this point, and should the governor sign the bill, it will work with the car companies and dealers to educate voters on the agreement and the fact that it believes the ballot measure no longer needs to be passed.

Should the governor not sign the measure, AAIA says it would continue to push for passage of the ballot measure.

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