Right to Repair Bill Reintroduced
WASHINGTON, DC (May 19, 2009) -- Earlier this spring, in announcing the government's blueprint for saving the big three automakers, President Obama said, "The United States government will stand behind your (car) warranty." While it's unlikely many car owners would trust the federal government with an engine overhaul, a bipartisan bill called the Right to Repair Act of 2009 has just been introduced in the House of Representatives that would, in fact, make it cheaper and easier for millions of consumers to have their cars repaired. Although similar legislation has been introduced in previous Congresses but not voted on, it takes on additional urgency in these tough economic times, especially with the closing of many auto dealerships.
Currently some manufactures only make diagnostic tools and software available to their dealerships, severely limiting repair opportunities for consumers. Enter HR 2057, introduced by Edolphus Towns (D-NY), which would require car manufacturers make the tools and diagnostic information needed to repair their vehicles available to independent repair shops on the same basis that they make them available to their dealer-operated shops. (The legislation expressly protects manufacturer trade secrets from public disclosure.)
Basic consumer choice in vehicle repairs means more fair market competition, which helps keep repairs affordable. In addition to the economic and convenience issues connected with this legislation, it is well known that vehicles that are well maintained operate cleaner and more fuel efficiently. Enactment of the Right to Repair Act of 2009 would be a win both for small businesses and consumers at a time when both need a boost. Although HR 2057 does have a greater likelihood of passage this Congress than similar bills have in the past, it still has a long way to go before being signed into law. The MRF asks that you contact your US Representative to ask that he/she co-sponsor this important piece of legislation.