Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Consumer Reports Study Reinforces Need for Right to Repair Act

/PRNewswire/ -- According to the June 2010 issue of Consumer Reports, more Americans (74 percent) are very satisfied with independent repair shops for vehicle repairs than new car dealers (59 percent). To ensure that car owners can continue to choose between local repair shops and dealerships for vehicle repairs, Congress introduced the Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act (HR 2057/S 3181).

In May 2009, Consumer Reports came out in support of the Right to Repair Act, stating that "Consumer Reports agrees, in principle, with the Right to Repair Act as it restricts its scope to 'repair' which would increase repair options for car owners."

"As evidenced by the Consumer Reports study, millions of car owners trust independent repair shops to provide affordable and competitive automotive repair service," said Kathleen Schmatz, president and CEO of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA). "The top priority of the Right to Repair Act is motorist safety, ensuring that car owners know what is happening with their vehicles. To keep every motor vehicle serviced, repaired and operating safely, there must be equal access to safety alerts and repair information from the car companies."

The Right to Repair Act protects motoring consumers from a growing and potentially hazardous vehicle repair monopoly by requiring that car companies provide full access at a reasonable cost to all service information, tools and safety-related bulletins needed to repair motor vehicles, ensuring a competitive, level playing field between dealerships and independent repair shops. The legislation further provides car companies with strong protections for their trade secrets, only requiring them to make available the same diagnostic and repair information they provide their franchised dealers.

"It is important that every repair facility, whether a neighborhood repair shop or a new car dealer, has the same access to safety alerts and repair information from the manufacturers," said Ray Pohlman, president of the Coalition for Auto Repair Equality (CARE). "Supporters of Right to Repair are not seeking an unfair advantage, nor are they looking for access to the proprietary information protected by the bill. Instead, they are asking Congress to ensure that car owners, and not the car companies, decide where their vehicles are repaired."

The Right to Repair Act has bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress. The Senate version of the bill (S 3181) was recently introduced by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Sam Brownback (R-KS) and has 3 co-sponsors. The House version (HR 2057) was introduced by Reps. Edolphus Towns (D-NY), Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and George Miller (D-CA) and currently has 62 co-sponsors.

About Right to Repair:

The Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act (S 3181) was introduced into the Senate by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Sam Brownback (R-KS). The House version of the bill (HR 2057) was introduced by Reps. Edolphus Towns (D-NY), Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and George Miller (D-CA). The Right to Repair Act protects consumers from a growing vehicle repair monopoly by requiring 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. For more information about the Right to Repair Act, visit www.righttorepair.org.

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