Right to Repair bill stalls in Massachusetts House

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Citing tremendous progress made toward the goals of creating more consumer savings and choice in car repair, the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition on Monday, Aug. 2, vowed to fight again next legislative session to enact the new law. Formal sessions for the Massachusetts legislature ended July 31 with the House of Representatives taking no action on S. 2517, the Right to Repair bill, following unanimous passage in the Senate.

The Right to Repair coalition said it had achieved major success in raising awareness of the need to enact legislation that would require the big car manufacturers to sell the repair information now held solely by car manufacturers to local repair shops. As it stands now, not all of the repair information is available to independent neighborhood shops.

“The Right to Repair issue has become the most talked-about consumer protection bill on Beacon Hill, and its momentum here made an impact nationwide,” said Art Kinsman, the spokesman for the Right to Repair coalition. “Lawmakers and consumers now understand that Right to Repair legislation is needed now to level the playing field for the car repair industry and save money for the consumer. The out-of-state car manufacturers have waged war on Massachusetts’ consumers and the 32,000 hard-working men and women who provide for their families by working in jobs related to the Commonwealth’s independent auto repair industry. The manufacturer’s shameful anti-consumer and small business campaign was entirely based on scare-tactics and unsubstantiated claims.”

Kinsman said the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition is “energized” by the 8,000 calls generated by consumers and independent repairers “who asked their lawmakers to stand up to big car manufacturers. We vow to come back stronger than ever. This is a piece of unfinished business that has a major impact on every person who owns a car.” Twenty-three Massachusetts newspapers editorialized on favor of S. 2517, he added.

The Right to Repair legislation would facilitate choices for consumer when it comes to auto repair facilities if repair shops had all the codes and information to fix the newer cars with more and more computer-controlled systems, Kinsman said; repair shops would need to pay for the data but more competition would result in lower prices for consumers.

Members of the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition include AAA Southern New England, the Massachusetts Independent Auto, New England Tire and Service Association, Retailers Association of Massachusetts, The National Federation of Independent Businesses, Bridgestone, Firestone, American Car Care Centers, the Massachusetts Insurance Federation, Midas, Consumer Electronics Association, Massachusetts Locksmith’s Association, RetireSafe, the Automotive Recyclers Association, the Automotive Recyclers Association, the Coalition for Auto Repair Equity, the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association and more than 1,000 independent auto repairers across Massachusetts.