The Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act Reintroduced in Congress - HR 2057

The Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to repair Act, Legislation that allows consumers to continue to choose where they have their vehicles repaired was reintroduced into the11th Congress on April 22, 2009.

“HR 2057, known as the Right to Repair Act goes to the heart of American property rights and ownership.  When motorists purchase their vehicles, they should have the right to own their vehicles electronic, diagnostic and repair information so they can make affordable and convenient repair choices, whether that choice is an independent repair shop or a car dealership,” said Ray Pohlman, President of Coalition for Auto Repair Equality (CARE).  “As vehicles become more computerized, soon customers will be very limited on repair options.  In some cases, they will be forced to take the vehicles back to the new car dealerships even when their vehicles are out- of- warranty”.

Vehicles that are 1994 and newer (and some earlier models) are equipped with computers that control the repair and service information on most of the vehicles’ systems, including, but not limited to: airbags, brakes, emissions (check engine light), tire pressure, oil changes, electronics, ignition systems and keys and transmissions.  In many cases, the only way for motorists to have these systems repaired is to return to the new car dealership.

U.S. Representative Edolphus Towns (D-NY), the lead Right to Repair Sponsor, stated,  “By guaranteeing access to vehicle repair information, we can empower consumers and give them the opportunity to choose where, how and by whom to have their vehicles repaired.  We reintroduced The Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act so Brooklynites can have the option of self-servicing their vehicle, or the freedom to use and automotive independent repair shop or a car dealership to meet their auto needs.”

Joining Rep. Towns, as original sponsors are Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and George Miller (D-CA). Rep.Towns’ is the chairman of the Government Management, Organization and Procurement Committee and serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee.  Representative Eshoo is a member is a member of the Energy Commerce Committee and Rep. Miller is Chairman of the Education and Labor Committee.

The Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) conducted a ‘first-of-its-kind’ study, which illustrated the enormous cost-benefit to consumers when their vehicles are repaired in the independent repair industry.  The study clearly showed that repairs conducted at new car dealerships cost consumers on average 34 % more than at the independent repair shops, thus resulting in $11.7 Billion in excess costs annually.  Los Angeles consumers pay, as much as, 46.8% more at new car dealerships, for repairs.   The Right to Repair Act will help all of America’s motoring consumers.

Arron Lowe, Vice President, Government Affairs for AAIA, stated, “with dealerships closing at unprecedented rates, the ability for consumers to obtain convenient and affordable repairs from their local independent vehicle repair shops is more important than ever.  Right to Repair ensures that independent shops have access to the most up-to-date information, tools and software so that they continue to maintain and repair their customers’ late model vehicles.”

Pohlman concluded, “Five million people in the United States work in the automotive aftermarket (independent repair industry) in over 495,000 locations nationwide, including “mom and pop” shops.  The aftermarket is a large segment of the nation’s economy and for more then 100 years has helped consumers find affordable and efficient ways to repair their vehicles.

A broad coalition of consumer oriented and small business groups support passage of The Right to Repair Act, among them: American Automobile Association (AAA), National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), RetireSafe (represents 4000,00 seniors nationwide), Tire Industry Association (TIA), National Grange and 60s Plus Seniors.

The right to Repair Act is in the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection.  Information on the legislation can be found on: www.righttorepair.org.   Go to the website and put in your own zip code for the contact names of your Elected Officials.

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