A member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives who originally supported the Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act in the state is now urging his colleagues not to vote for the legislation.
Rep. Martin J. Walsh, D-13th Suffolk, was listed as one of 29 co-sponsors of the bill when it was first introduced in the Massachusetts House on Jan. 7, 2009.
In a July 12, 2010, letter, Rep. Walsh denounced the legislation as a scam.
Proponents of this bill claim that small repair shops and consumers are being disadvantaged by auto makers refusing to turn over the proprietary parts information necessary for independent mechanics to repair vehicles, Rep. Walsh wrote.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The actual interests driving this legislation and its corresponding ad campaign are large aftermarket parts companies looking to expand profits under the guise of consumer protection, he added.
In his letter, Rep. Walsh cited the New England Service Station & Automotive Repair Association (NESSARA), which also denounced the Right to Repair bill after initially supporting it.
Like NESSARA, Rep. Walsh said that all repair and diagnostic information independent garages need is already available from auto makers, and that the National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF) is an effective organization to facilitate the sharing of information.
There is no epidemic of unrepairable vehicles stalled in service bays due to unavailable technical information, he wrote. On the contrary, there are repair stations that see it unnecessary to invest in a full suite of the tools and training. There are repair stations that see it unnecessary to service all makes and models. The solutions already are in placeand work.
The Right to Repair Act establishes government penalties against auto makers that don't make available to independent garages and do-it-yourselfers the same repair and diagnostic information they give to their franchised dealers. The Massachusetts version of the bill passed the Massachusetts Senate by unanimous voice vote July 6 and is awaiting action in the House.
On the other side of the ledger, the New England Tire & Service Association (NETSA) supports the bill, as do the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA), the Tire Industry Association (TIA) and the Coalition for Auto Repair Equality (CARE).
The Automotive Service Association (ASA), a Bedford, Texas-based trade group that negotiated a voluntary information agreement with auto makers in 2002, opposes the legislation.