WASHINGTON (April 24, 2013) — Ken Boyce, owner of Ken's Auto Repair Inc. in Buxton, Maine, testified against Maine's Right to Repair bill, LD 788, during the April 18 hearing of the Joint Committee on Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development.
Mr. Boyce presented testimony on behalf of the Automotive Service Association (ASA), which is opposing the legislation.
According to an ASA press release, Mr. Boyce testified that, in his opinion, "this legislation has no purpose. All it would do is codify an agreement that was reached over a decade ago at the behest of the U.S. Congress after they expressed their desire to not inject themselves into the middle of the situation.… With the formation of the National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF) and the introduction of the Secure Data Release Model, the agreement is strong and in a state of continual improvement."
He continued that the threat that "the manufacturers might take away the information is the last-ditch cry of the flat world, yet the manufacturers' support for NASTF has only strengthened over the past decade. There is no evidence of that ever changing. All evidence points to their continued support."
He said "the key is proper education, proper tooling, and support of the agreement that is already in place, not legislation. If our voluntary, industry service information process fails, we will be the first in line asking for the state of Maine's help. We see no signs of failure to date. ASA opposes ME LD 788."
A transcript of Mr. Boyce's testimony is available at the ASA's legislative website.
The Maine bill follows closely the Massachusetts Right to Repair legislation, which was both passed by the state legislature and approved by a wide margin by the state's voters in the 2012 Massachusetts election.
The legislation calls for auto makers to make available to vehicle owners and independent repair shops the same diagnostic and repair data they make available to their franchised dealers — at fair market price and in a way that does not give unfair advantage to dealers.
The ASA and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers are among the associations that oppose Right to Repair, while the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association and the Tire Industry Association are among the groups that support it.