The Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition announced that it has collected 106,658 voter signatures after just 19 days of effort, well exceeding the 68,911 required for the pro-consumer initiative to appear on the 2012 ballot. A groundswell of support and enthusiasm from Massachusetts consumers has driven this issue forward in what could be record time for a signature gathering effort to reach 100,000-plus.
The Massachusetts Right to Repair voter initiative would, for the first time, allow consumers to access all of the non-proprietary repair information required to have their vehicles repaired where they choose, at a new car dealership or an independent shop. The proposed law would level the playing field between the big car manufacturers' dealerships and independent, neighborhood repair facilities, allowing the latter to finally be able to access the same non-proprietary automobile diagnostic and repair information that is currently only available to the manufacturers’ dealers and their new car dealerships.
“It's time that car owners have the right to get our vehicles repaired wherever we choose,” said Jeff McLeod of Marshfield, Mass., one of the signers of the ballot petition. “The growing support for this issue shows how important it is for consumers, especially in a difficult economy.”
The proposed Massachusetts Right to Repair law would keep vehicle repairs affordable for consumers by ensuring competition among repair facilities. By leveling the playing field and increasing consumer choice, Right to Repair can save families an average of $300-$500 each year, according to an industry study. A recently released AAA Financial Automotive Repair Survey highlighted that many car owners can’t afford to pay for their repairs, often forgoing having them performed and creating a safety hazard for them and others on the road. Right to Repair would help alleviate motorists’ financial burden by increasing competition and allowing them to patronize the repair facility of their choice.
On the federal level, the Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act (H.R. 1449) was introduced into the 112th Congress by Reps. Todd Platts (R-PA) and Edolphus Towns (D-NY) and currently has 33 co-sponsors, including Massachusetts Reps. Michael Capuano (D-MA-8), Barney Frank (D-MA-4), James McGovern (D-MA-3) and Niki Tsongas (D-MA-5).