The Chesapeake Automotive Business Association (CABA) of Maryland has announced its support of the passage of the Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act (HR 1449).
"Our members are in full support of the Right to Repair Act and think it is imperative that Congress pass this important pro-consumer, pro-small business piece of legislation," said James Donohue, executive director of CABA. "HR 1449 does not use tax payers' money or government funding. It does not request proprietary information and does not create new regulations. It is simply a bill that would require automakers to provide the same non-proprietary service information and tools to independent auto and maintenance shops, as well as to consumers, that the new car dealership service centers receive."
Donohue recently sent a letter to Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-6) of Maryland encouraging the congressman to support the Right to Repair Act. Rep. Bartlett's district has 337 repair shops and wholesalers employing between 3,000 and 4,000 people. Donohue's letter to Rep. Bartlett stated that independent repair shops charge, on average, a labor rate of $85 per hour while car dealers charge an hourly rate of $125 and that consumers require the freedom to have their vehicles repaired where they want, at a price they can afford.
"Consumer Reports recently found that 40 percent of car owners are delaying vehicle repairs because they are cash-strapped and AAA conducted a survey which showed that one in four car owners can't afford to have their vehicles repaired. Right to Repair is about safety, affordability and consumer choice," continued Donohue. "The automotive aftermarket is well served by highly-trained technicians and is responsible for the majority of vehicle repair and maintenance in this country. In fact, aftermarket companies invest heavily in the training and continuing education of professional service technicians. Therefore, I urge Rep. Bartlett to co-sponsor this important bill because it benefits all of his constituents, including the more than 32,000 Maryland automotive aftermarket employees who work in over 4,000 aftermarket businesses."
The Right to Repair Act levels the competitive playing field for motoring consumers and between new car dealerships and independent repair shops 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. The legislation provides car companies with strong protections for their trade secrets, only requiring them to make available the same non-proprietary diagnostic and repair information they provide their franchised dealers. The Right to Repair Act was introduced into the 112th Congress by Reps. Todd Platts (R-PA) and Edolphus Towns (D-NY) and currently has 46 co-sponsors, including Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD-1).
"CABA urges all members of Congress to co-sponsor the Right to Repair Act. If Congress is serious about jobs, HR 1449 helps achieve that goal without costing the government and tax payers any money," concluded Donohue.