May 30, 2006

“Right to Repair” passes first hurdle by small margin

Alexandria, Virginia – The Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act HR 2048 has passed the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection in the U.S.; if passed by Congress, the Act would require auto companies to make proprietary information on a vehicle’s computer system available to owners and independent repair facilities. The vote was 14 to 13 in favour.

The “Right to Repair Act”, as it is popularly known, was introduced by Representatives Joe Barton of Texas, Edolphus Towns of New York and Darrel Issa of California; Barton reintroduced the Act in May 2005. Following the Act’s introduction, automakers released some information, but not enough for the automotive aftermarket to repair the entire vehicle. Critics say the inability to do so forces many consumers back to car dealerships for repairs.

“When consumers own their vehicles, they should have the ability to make their own judgment calls on that property,” says David Parde, president of The Coalition for Auto Repair Equality (CARE). “But unfortunately, the car companies disagree with that free-market philosophy. When asked in a May 17, 2006 Legislative Hearing in the same Subcommittee if consumers have the right to their own repair information, Mike Stanton, spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers stated, ‘No. Because anyone could have it

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