A leading automotive aftermarket Right to Repair bill, the “REPAIR Act” has been reintroduced in the new U.S. congressional session.
The move was soundly applauded by aftermarket associations.
MEMA Aftermarket, Auto Care Association, CAR (Consumer Access to Repair) Coalition, and Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) all thanked United States Reps. Neal Dunn (R-FL), Brendan Boyle (D-PA-02), Warren Davidson (R-OH-08), and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-WA-03) for reintroducing the ‘Right to Equitable and Professional Auto Industry Repair (REPAIR) Act’ (H.R. 906).
“The legislation will ensure the preservation of consumer choice, a fair marketplace, and the continued safe operation of the nation’s 292 million registered passenger and commercial motor vehicles, 70% of which are maintained by independent repair facilities,” said the associations in a joint statement.
The REPAIR Act, they say, will accomplish this by:
- Preserving consumer access to high quality and affordable vehicle repair by ensuring that vehicle owners and their repairers of choice have access to necessary repair and maintenance tools and data as vehicles continue to become more advanced.
- Ensuring access to critical repair tools and information. All tools and equipment; wireless transmission of repair and diagnostic data; and access to on-board diagnostic and telematic systems needed to repair a vehicle must be made available to the independent repair industry.
- Ensuring cybersecurity by allowing vehicle manufacturers to secure vehicle-generated data and requiring the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to develop standards for how vehicle generated data necessary for repair can be accessed securely.
- Providing transparency for consumers by requiring vehicle owners be informed that they can choose where and how to get their vehicle repaired.
- Creating a stakeholder advisory committee and providing them with the statutory authority to provide recommendations to the FTC on how to address emerging barriers to vehicle repair and maintenance.
- Providing ongoing enforcement by establishing a process for consumers and independent repair facilities to file complaints with the FTC regarding alleged violations of the requirements in the bill and a requirement that the FTC act within five months of a claim.
As vehicle technology continues to advance, new barriers to a competitive auto repair market are emerging. These barriers limit consumer choice in where to repair their motor vehicles and increase the cost to repair and maintain vehicles. The REPAIR Act will reduce these barriers, putting consumers’ interests first.
Rep. Dunn is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee which has responsibility for consumer protection matters (among several other topics) and is where the bill has been referred.
“When it comes to repairing their automobiles, consumers deserve options,” said Representative Dunn.
“The REPAIR Act would give owners, including the rural communities in my district, secure access to critical data so the service center of their choosing can replace parts and repair their vehicles. I am proud to support competition in the vehicle repair industry and this important legislation.”
“There are hundreds of neighborhood mechanics in Philadelphia,” said Representative Boyle. “The last thing those small business owners need is to be boxed out of making a living. This legislation would not only protect the business relationships between automobile owners and their mechanics, but it also ensures consumers continue to have more options on where to go for repairs.”
“By prohibiting vehicle owners from accessing and sharing data they generate, manufacturers stop consumers from accessing third-party repair shops,” said Representative Davidson. “American vehicle owners have a right to control their data, and a right to access third-party repair shops, tools and parts.”
“Working families in rural America can’t afford to take a day off to drive their car to the dealership for a costly repair. The REPAIR Act is a bipartisan solution to improve vehicle data access laws to give working families more choices for repair when their car breaks down,” said Representative Gluesenkamp Perez. “I appreciate Representatives Dunn, Boyle, and Davidson for their leadership on this issue, and look forward to working in a bipartisan fashion to improve repair laws for families who work for a living.”
The bill is introduced on significant momentum for choice in repair.
In November 2020, Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly voiced their support for Ballot Question 1 (also known as Right to Repair) with 75% of the vote, which preserves their right as vehicle owners to have access to and control of their vehicle’s mechanical data necessary for service and repair at the shops of their choice. In May 2021, the FTC released their Nixing the Fix report which highlighted barriers that vehicle manufacturers have instituted to squash a consumer’s right to repair.
The FTC strongly supports expanding consumer repair options and found “scant evidence” for repair restrictions imposed by original equipment manufacturers. In July 2021, U.S, President Bident issued the “Promoting Competition in the American Economy” executive order which encouraged the FTC to address anti-competitive repair restrictions. In December 2022, the Digital Fair Repair Act was signed into law by NY Governor Kathy Hochul and in January 2023, John Deere signed an MOU with the American Farm Bureau Federation.
The REPAIR Act is the only bill that addresses vehicle maintenance and repair restrictions, including heavy duty vehicles the U.S. economy depends on for freight transport.
Automotive aftermarket companies can urge U.S. legislators in their district to also co-sponsor the bill by visiting repairact.com.
In Canada, updates on right to repair and legislation and guidance can be found at RighttoRepair.ca