WASHINGTON (May 17, 2006) — Supporters of the Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act faced tough questioning at a House subcommittee hearing today, even by some of the bill's congressional supporters.
The bill would require auto makers to provide to independent auto repairers the same repair and diagnostic information they give their franchised dealers. Opponents of the bill, however, insisted there is no hard evidence that this is a major problem, citing figures that showed the National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF) received only 57 complaints in 2005 out of an estimated 500 million auto repairs in the U.S. that year.
“This bill seems to be a magnificent cure for a problem that does not exist,” said Rep. John D. Dingell, D-Mich., a longtime supporter of the auto industry.
Those figures, however, don't indicate the depth of the problem, said Right to Repair Act supporter Aaron Lowe, vice president of government affairs for the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association. “The reason people don't go to the NASTF is because they don't have weeks or months to wait for an answer,” Mr. Lowe said. “If you can't repair that vehicle now, you've lost it.”
The House Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection Subcommittee is scheduled to vote on the measure next week.