Right to Repair bill introduced into U.S. Senate

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U.S. Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) on Thursday, March 25, introduced the Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act into the U.S. Senate. The U.S. House of Representatives version of the bill (H.R. 2057) was introduced by U.S. Reps. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and George Miller (D-Calif.) and currently has 56 cosponsors.

The Right to Repair Act would require that car companies provide full access at a reasonable cost to all service information, tools, computer codes and safety-related bulletins needed to repair motor vehicles, thus leveling the playing field between dealerships and independent repair shops. The legislation further provides car companies with strong protections for their trade secrets, only requiring them to make available the same diagnostic and repair information they provide their franchised dealers.

“By introducing this legislation, Senators Boxer and Brownback have taken important action to ensure that American car owners will continue to have access to a competitive auto repair marketplace, thus ensuring that repair costs don’t price vehicle ownership above the heads of many Americans,” says Kathleen Schmatz, president and chief executive officer of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association. “This bill keeps motorists in the driver’s seat by making sure that they, and not the vehicle manufacturers, have the final say on where a car is taken for service.”

“The Right to Repair Act is all about consumer choice, ensuring consumers have the right to choose where and by whom they have their vehicles repaired,” says Ray Pohlman, president of the Coalition for Auto Repair Equality. “Failure to pass this bill could mean that car owners are held hostage by the car companies, forced to return to the dealership even after the vehicle is out of warranty.”