BETHESDA, Md. — Following certification by the Massachusetts Attorney General of its proposed ballot question, the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition will immediately begin collecting signatures to place this important pro-consumer initiative petition before voters in the state. Supporters have until November 23 to get the nearly 70,000 signatures required to secure placement of the question on the 2012 ballot.
The proposed Massachusetts Right to Repair law would require automobile manufacturers to provide directly to consumers the non-proprietary diagnostic and safety information needed to repair their cars. Currently, auto manufacturers provide only some of the diagnostic and safety information needed to repair vehicle owners’ cars with independent technicians, limiting consumer choice and making business survival difficult for neighborhood repair shops.
“If the car manufacturers can continue to manipulate the market by withholding information, then do I really own the car?” saidJeff McLeod of Marshfield, Mass., one of the original signers of the initiative petition approved by the Attorney General. “Ultimately, if this law doesn’t pass it’s going to cost me more money as a consumer, so I can’t wait to vote for this ballot question next year.”
Industry research estimates annual savings of $300-$500 per family when vehicle owners are given the right to choose where their cars are repaired. For many consumers, this savings can mean the difference between having to choose between paying for groceries or car repairs.
Consumers across Massachusetts have filled out letters of support and sent them to their state legislators. More than 50,000 letters have now been submitted and the state coalition’s Facebook page has received nearly 10,000 “likes.”
On the federal level, the Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act (HR 1449) was introduced into the 112th Congress by Reps.Todd Platts (R-PA) and Edolphus Towns (D-NY) and currently has 30 co-sponsors, including Massachusetts Reps. Michael Capuano (D-MA-8), Barney Frank (D-MA-4), James McGovern (D-MA-3) and Niki Tsongas (D-MA-5).
About Right to Repair:
The Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act (HR 1449), which was introduced by Reps. Edolphus Towns (D-NY) and Todd Platts (R-PA), would require car companies to make the same service information and tools capabilities available to independent repair shops that they provide to their franchised dealer networks. The legislation further provides car companies with strong protections for their trade secrets unless that information is provided to the franchised new car dealers. The bill clarifies the responsibilities of the Federal Trade Commission in enforcing the bill’s requirements. For more information about the Right to Repair Act, visit www.righttorepair.org.